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THE PRODIGALS "Raggles to Riches" Smiddymade SMD611

Rather an impressive second offering from this combo. They may be more familiar to most of you as their earlier incarnation - "Prodigal Sons & Marcy d'Arcy". Alright, this isn't your standard midweek folk club band. At times their presentation owes more to Boney M than to Andy M. But on the tracks where they just let rip and go for it when their spirits are flying, they have a confidence and a tightness that is refreshingly bright and slick.

This is an album of contrasts, but cleverly melded together such that the total effect is a tidy cocktail of styles showcasing the various musical and vocal talents of the band. Particular mention must be made of their versions of John Martyn's "I Don't Wanna Know", and the "Battle of New Orleans" (long time since I heard THAT at a folk club!). "What Goes Around Comes Around" by their own Kenny Miller is a cracker of a stomp and the jigs and reels pound along quite nicely thank you very much!

Some of the vocals aren't particularly strong but they are all well pitched so what the heck, they still have the power to move people and that can't be bad in these troubled times for gigging folksters. What does come across is that these people HAVE to be seen live - but don't forget to take home this album as a wee memento.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 23 of The Living Tradition magazine.