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and emerged blinking, into the spotlight in away. But not that you’d have guessed from showing signs of Donegal fiddling. Six of the
2004 as BBC Radio 2 Young Folk finalists; here the stunningly unadulterated accent that it had tunes are her own compositions that should
they are making music that wouldn’t disgrace been that long a time. You’d have thought he’d fit well into anyone’s repertoire. Three reels
bands comprising gnarled veteran gigsters have left deepest Glasgow only last weekend. from Paddy Ó Brien make up track 7. Two
twice their average age, which I’d guess is He sounds like the more earthy brother of a Scott Skinner compositions and one from
barely twenty-something. Past the support act Rab C Nesbitt: and like it was Rab was the Phil Cunningham on track 2 are treated as
stage now, their current Festival diary looks posh one who’d been to Fettes College! Highlands, a form found only in Donegal.
especially healthy, and it comes as no surprise
that the quality and conviction that has drawn And I love the fact he makes no concessions It’s not uncommon for three generations of
fulsome praise in this magazine for previous to us Sassenachs. (Well actually, he does one family to play together but this must be
albums is evident in spades on this fourth slightly: he provides a glossary of Scots words the first time it’s happened 40-odd years after
outing. in the liner notes.) As befits a man who paid the death of the oldest. Peter Kennedy, who
his dues all those years ago (a co-founder of probably collected nearly as many musicians
To The Ground quickly reveals their forte The Singers Club along with the MacColls), this as Séamus Ennis, recorded Neilidh Boyle in
to be melodic traditional songs along the CD impresses with its sheer INEGRITY. Two of 1953. Kathleen Boyle on the box and her father
lines of Arise, Arise (a Bedford May Carol) my favourite traditional songs are here: Johnnie Hughie on piano ‘accompany’ Neilidh on his
and traditional-sounding items (a beautifully Lad and Coulter’s Candy. And a fine job he own reel, The Moving Clouds. I think most of
haunting Betty Corrigall’s Lament from Murray does, although on a third Tae The Beggin, he us know it as The Moving Cloud, so that puts
Grainger’s pen) contrasting with formidably chooses not the glorious song much performed the record straight. One of the most moving
beefy tune sets, always confidently crafted. by Alex Campbell, but a lesser known and moments comes right at the start when Neilidh
Things get off to a powerful start with Roger inferior second cousin. A fine job he does announces the name and ownership of the
Watson’s Katie Shaw and don’t let up until on just everything, even the closing number, tune.
the resonant, concluding The Rogue’s March The Crematorium. But quite what he sees
calling at all stops – acapella, Playford, Morris in this little ditty, escapes me. It is strangely Julie Fowlis sings her own translation from Irish
and Child No.20 along the way. jarring given the rest of the CD, and probably into Scots Gaelic (Gaeilge to Gaidhlig) of the
unworthy of his efforts title song, An Cailín Rua, and does a great job
The fact that main vocalist, Hannah James can on it. In spite of them being basically the same
actually sing as opposed to alt-rock yelping or But the standout track is his version of Ian language there are enough differences to make
hesitant nu-folk whispering helps no end and Walker’s Some Ha’e Meat with – as the title hard work of faithful translations that sing well.
the creative fiddle/accordion hub of the band suggests – a chorus that is Burn’s Selkirk Fowlis gets full marks for her work here.
allied to Tom Sweeney’s sturdy bass lines Grace put to music. Recommended.
combine perfect poise with a jostling drive Heidi Talbot’s version of The Banks of Red
that would invite quarantine if it became more Dai Woosnam Roses is one I’ve not heard before but I’m glad
contagious! Accomplished and diverse, To The now that I have. It’s a chilling tale, not a bit like
Ground is the point where fledgling passion
the faster version most of us know and are
and measured musicianship meet. An album bored to tears with. Johnny isn’t just going to
not just to be admired because hey, they’re
An Cailín Rua
leave the maiden; he’s got murder in mind. The
young, but to be valued for what it is – a
recording that encompasses the specific as
well as the big picture. Slow airs on any kind of free reed instrument
are usually to be avoided (unless you’re Tony
Clive Pownceby MacMahon of Clare). Don’t ask me why; I’ve
tried for years to find an explanation but always
failed, as have other musicians I respect. But
Boyle plays one of her own compositions,
One More Round
Goodnight Manny, and it works. Maybe
Borealis BCD190
because it’s dedicated to her late uncle; does
it matter, so long as it works? She repeats the
good work on the old song, Cailín Deas Cruite
na mBo (A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow).

All in all, I really enjoyed An Cailín Rua. It’s
good playing with a good balance of tunes.
I guess I need to revise my opinion on slow
airs and the box. There seems to be a slight
problem with the review copy. Immediately after
the last track it starts the CD again. That’s not

a complaint; I don’t actually mind it. If anything,
I’ve always been a bit wary of the piano
it reminds me of leaving the arm up on the old
accordion in spite of having three friends who
record player so that it repeated the last disc.
are top class players. In the wrong hands it can
Maudlin reminiscence, how are ye?
overpower most other instruments. I’ve suffered
Mick Furey
agony sitting between two piano accordions
and hardly hearing my own whistle. So I started
Enoch Kent is - to all us Brits - a candidate for listening to Kathleen Boyle almost ready to
the title of the most unknown of all the Greats wince and turn down the volume. More fool me;
who were there in the frontline of the Folk this isn’t, ‘You’ll hear me if you hear nobody
Lark Rise Revisited
Revival that swept Britain after we’d carted else’, it’s very sensitive playing. You couldn’t Talking Elephant TECD124
away all the rubble caused by Adolf Hitler, and have a more apt title for the album either. Boyle
started as a nation to enjoy ourselves again. is An Cailín Rua, the red-haired girl. It’s not Some 27 years after the Albion’s first Lark Rise
Rapunzel length but it’s long enough. musical foray, Ashley Hutchings and Co. fill in
Now, this relative anonymity is perhaps some of the blanks – some of which were not
inevitable when you consider that Enoch left Kathleen Boyle is Scots-born of Donegal stock, even vaguely conspicuous by their absence the
Britain for a new life in Canada some two years and well-known stock at that. Her grandfather first time around the block. For those unfamiliar,
even before an even more famous Enoch was Neilidh Boyle, a well-known fiddler who the original album was the soundtrack from
made his “Rivers of Blood” speech. Forty- died in 1961. Her style is a fine mix of both a show dramatizing the trilogy of books by
two years is a long time for a man to be living influences, leaning more to the Scots but still Flora Thompson, collectively known as Lark
Sponsored by BIrnam CD The Living Tradition - Page 
Issue80.indd 47 14/7/08 14:54:48
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