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THE SMOKING STONE BAND "Coming Through" Mariner Records TRAXZ

This is an Orkney band featuring fiddle, banjo, mandolin, whistle and bass, and an excellent job they do of things. Not prepared merely to present standard versions of tunes, these boys take great delight in devising intros and outros which are inspired by sources as varied as The Animals, The Byrds and Fleetwood Mac. Sounds odd? - Not a bit - these arrangements are well-planned and well-executed, adding an extra interest to the tunes, which are all played to a very fine standard indeed.

The tunes themselves incorporate a lot of Shetland, Scottish, Irish and American numbers which are particularly suited to the instrumentation of the band, and most of the tracks fairly hoover along at a fair old rate. Not that these are a bunch of fast and furious freaks - they handle slower numbers such as Da Slockit Light with a sensitivity and feel for the music.

Congratulations, then, to Douglas Montgomery, Dick Levens, Jim Hall and John Adams for putting together a splendid CD with nearly an hour's worth of inspired music which just gets better and better with each listening.

Somehow, I get the feeling that this would be a first-class group to hear live, as their enthusiasm is as evident as their versatility. Nice one chaps.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 17 of The Living Tradition magazine.