Monthly news summary of all the happenings and up and coming events in the Scottish Traditional Music scene.
This is the followup to Gordon's debut CD - Just for Seamas. It was always going to be interesting where Gordon went with this CD as his first album was such a trail blazer. Well I have to say that he managed to move forward again with more fantastic compositions including the immensely popular "The High Drive" whiched is played on the practice chanter accompanied by Gerry O'Connor on the banjo (a great combination!). As always Gordon does not not forget the tradition with stirring versions of strathspey "The Shepherds Crook" and reel "The Sheepwife". He even dips into the Irish tradition with a stunning version of the reel - The Contradition. Apart from the brilliant playing on this CD another reason to buy this recording is that the booklet is full of the music for Gordon's tunes. This CD is a great resource for any musician and a must to any piper young or old who wants to hear this great instrument played by a virtuoso.
Gordon Duncan - Highland pipes, practice chanter, Overton whistle, Gerry O'Connor - tenor banjo, Ian Carr - guitar, Andy Cook - Ugandan Harp, Ranald MacArthur - bass guitar, Donald Hay - drums, Jim Sutherland - congas, djembe, Uduh drum (clay pot)
Also available by Gordon Duncan Just for Seamas
|Title:||Given a liberal supply of the amber nectar, someone daft enough to listen and I've been known to expound my theory on why Gordon Duncan is the most influential piper of his generation.|
|Review:||I'll spare you the flowery talk and cut to the crux. First, Gordon's tunes have become standards not only in the piping world but also in the wider folk world (Andy Renick's ferret and Zeto the Bubbleman to name but two). Second, Gordon's style of playing, though inimitable, is becoming the goal of many of today's up and coming pipers. Those wishing to disagree please apply at the Living Tradition office with the appropriate bottle.
"The Circular Breath" provides a barrel load of support for my case. The CD features seven new tunes from Gordon and they are all crackers. My favourite is the reel "the High Drive" which Gordon plays on the practice chanter of all things. That Gordon can make the practice Chanter sound pleasurable is a measure of his outstanding musical ability. Gordon gets a little help on "the High Drive" from "Four Men And A Dog" banjo player Gerry O'Connor. This is a pairing made in heaven. Gerry gently spars with Gordon as the banjo weaves in and out of the pipes (or chanter) the result is feisty and spirited with the listener the undisputed winner. Gerry is again to the fore on the cleverly arranged track "pressed for time" which sees the part of the piobaireachd "The Earl Of Seaforths Salute" imaginatively intertwined with the reel "pressed for time". As well as the chanter Gordon also plays the low whistle on the track which gives it a multi layered sound.
In case anyone thinks Gordon only plays the practice chanter on this CD I should point that the Great Highland Bagpipe is given serious stick as only Gordon Duncan can, on all but three of the sets. On most of the sets Gordon gets cracking support from Ian Carr on Guitar, Ronald MacArthur an bass guitar and Jim Sutherland playing clay pots (If Gordon can play the chanter ...). The other track which doesn't feature the pipes is the appropriately named "Clan Meets Tribe". This track has Gordon playing a delightful slow air on the low whistle while Andy Cook does his thing on the Ugandan Harp. I know ... but It works beautifully.
As if the use of Clay pots and Ugandan Harps wasn't cosmopolitan enough Gordon uses a Galician Jig as the opener for one of the sets and it sits well on the Great Highland Bagpipe and has a very catchy melody. That is a feature of this CD all the tunes are of the highest quality. Not only does Gordon write good tunes he also likes to play good "classic" tunes which is why you'll find tunes such as "I laid a herring in salt", "Inveraray Castle" and the timeless "Mrs MacPherson of Inveran" being played. It is probably fair to say that the vast majority of folk who but this CD wont be buying it to hear Gordon play "The Sheepwife" or the piobaireachd "MacDougall's Gathering", but the tracks are worth listening to nevertheless.
In conclusion Gordon has produced a highly entertaining and listenable CD. The support cast have done a magnificent job and little snippets pop out with each listen Bringing Gerry O'Connor in was a master stroke which must be repeated (a joint CD perhaps!). To my mind this CD sees Gordon come of age musically speaking, the piping was always there, but now it has been married with clever arrangements, an eye for detail and of course flaming good tunes. Highly recommended.
Chris MacKenzie, Living Tradition
|Title:||A highly entertaining album , as good music should be.|
|Source:||Irish Pipe Band Association|
|Review:||This is the second solo recording by Gordon Duncan for the Greentrax label . As well as featuring Gordon on the highland bagpipes and Overton whistle , he is accompanied on a number of tracks by a variety of other musicians including Gerry O'Connor on banjo , Ian Carr on guitar , Andy Cook on Ugandan harp , Ranald MacArthur on bass guitar , Donald Hay on drums and Jim Sutherland on miscellaneous percussion . Oh yes -it also features Gordon playing the practice chanter! This is a decision which will probably open Gordon to some criticism but nevertheless it is a brave move in some respects and makes an attempt at elevating the practice chanter into the position of being a musical instrument in its own right . This works to a degree . The chanter played is much more pleasant to listen to than your 'run of the mill' band room practice chanter and it actually combines well with the banjo and percussion . Added to this Gordon's amazing breathing control (hence the title "Circular Breath") the effect is not totally unpleasant . I think personally that I would still have preferred to hear the excellent tunes played on the bagpipes proper . The album is much different to the usual solo piper's album in that it is not all piping . Gordon plays a very nice tune on the whistle called 'Clan Meets Tribe' . It is a very relaxed tempo and combined with bass and practice chanter gives a very nice effect . As well being accompanied on the practice chanter with the banjo , Gordon is joined on some piping tracks by same . Incidentally , Gerry O'Connor's banjo playing is excellent . To disprove the theory that Gordon is a 'kitchen piper' , he also plays a number of tracks in the traditional style including march strathspey and reel sets and a piobaireachd . Apart from perhaps playing the marches at a much faster tempo than we are accustomed to , Duncan acquits himself well in these . All are adorned by his incredible fingering technique . The album also contains copious examples of Gordon's 'kitchen piping' - a number of highly entertaining pieces - many of which are his own compositions . Accompanying the album are the typed settings for each of his own tunes - a nice innovation . This album transcends the normal boundaries of solo piping albums and should have a big appeal to non-pipers . Anything that brings piping to a wider audience cannot be bad . Of course , I am writing all this from the viewpoint of being a dedicated Gordon Duncan fan . The man is incredible . A genius,albeit one who often breaks the conventional rules . This album will not disappoint irrespective of what you think of the practice chanter and other innovations . A highly entertaining album , as good music should be . Irish Pipe Band Association|
|1/2||The High Drive|
|1/4||Clan Meets Tribe|
|1/6||Herring in Salt|
|1/7||The Circular Breath|
|1/9||Blow My Chanter|
|Deliver to:||United Kingdom|