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Kevin & Ellen Mitchell 'Have a Drop Mair' Musical Traditions MTCD3156

I have always admired Kevin Mitchell's singing. That's putting it mildly, I have always loved Kevin Mitchell's singing, so to see a double CD bearing his name came as a huge delight. That the album also included his wife Ellen delivering her lovely voice and style was just cream upon cream. I sat back, pressed 'Play' and did nothing for the space of twenty songs until it was time to put on the second CD, after which I listened to nineteen more. Yes, thirty nine songs, not a dud among them, each one sung to the full by two grand singers.

What do I mean by "grand singers"? I mean people who have the vocal and interpretative flair to carry off 'big' songs, of many verses, with complex word schemes and dramatic stories, songs that demand attention of the listener. Both Mitchell's have these qualities, Kevin with his high, rich, voice, forthright delivery and command of decoration, Ellen with her direct attack, though gentler tone, bearing a just a hint of Lizzie Higgins. Don't think that all is deep stuff here though. They put the same qualities into the lighter songs in their repertoire too, for instance the charming 'Miss Mouse's Ball', sung by Kevin, or Ellen's 'Old Maid in a Garrett' Their voices and repertoires complement each other, and they have the gift of sounding as though they enjoy every syllable they utter. Wouldn't I just love to be a cricket on their hearth when they're singing at home. I'm not going into this at length. There's no need to describe it's many highlights, or to pick out individual items. Just take it from me that this is a double CD of the highest quality singing you could wish to hear. A real bargain. Congratulations to the Mitchell's, and a huge thank you to the phenomenally dedicated Rod Stradling of 'Musical Traditions' magazine ( who's production this is.

Roy Harris

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This album was reviewed in Issue 48 of The Living Tradition magazine.