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COLIN REID "Colin Reid" Veesik Records VKCD102

Veesik Records have just released Belfast guitarist Colin Reid's self-titled debut album, and it's probably the most accomplished introduction to a new artist I've ever come across. Firmly rooted in the style of Renbourn/Jansch (in fact Jansch himself is quoted as saying "Colin reminds me of myself and John fused together", high praise indeed) and every word is true. Over 15 tracks of largely solo folk/blues guitar the listener is treated to a virtuoso performance, and really demonstrates what six strings and a moulded piece of wood ought to sound like. If that wasn't enough to get you beating a trail to your local music vendor to beg, steal, or borrow a copy ... wait for it ... production is handled by Scotlands' leading exponent of the Celtic guitar, Tony McManus. Heaven really is a 5" shiny plastic disc, as for Tony, well he must be a direct decendant of Midas.

After the opening "Bluefinger", "The Cat Came Back" is confirmation of which mood this album will take, with its "Angiesque" decending bass, being a dead giveaway as to its influences. Although I said that the album was largely solo it would be remiss of me not to mention "Leon Broccan" where Colin is joined by Tony on mandolin, and the wonderfully subtle Catriona McDonald on fiddle. If I had to pick one champagne moment for this release it definitely goes to "Frantic", one minute thirty-six seconds of the most dextrous playing I've heard for a long time. There is a downside to this album however and that rather sadly comes in the last track "Black and White Rag" (the old "Pot Black" theme tune), which merely sounds as if it was put there as a schoolboy grades examination, totally out of sync with the rest of the album. That said, there is no reason why any fan of the folk/blues guitar shouldn't get hours of entertainment from this fine CD.

Keith Whitham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 33 of The Living Tradition magazine.