(Whirling, 2003)

Sit back, relax and let Spirit lift your Celtic spirit to new heights. Dervish, of course, needs little introduction. They are one of the finest bands on the circuit at present and this new CD is an excellent showcase of their towering talent.

It opens with a set called "John's Blessings," a combination of four reels, and ends with "Whelan's," comprising two jigs. On the intervening tracks it will transport you to a land where music is king and your feet will not be able to stay still.

As usual this album combines instrumentals with vocal work to great effect. On track two they actually combine both styles with a lilting set called "Jig Songs" as Cathy Jordan's and Seamus O'Dowd's voices become musical instruments.

Among the writers included on this top-class album are Brendan Graham, Bob Dylan and Robbie Burns, among others, and each one gets a very Dervish treatment.

"Fair Haired Boy" is from the prolific pen of Brendan Graham and it has the potential of being a new folk classic of parting, with the beautiful voice and spare accompaniment on offer here in the build up to the later verses. A long-time favourite of mine has always been the Ewan McColl composition "The Lag's Song," and I thought that I had heard it done to perfection by the Dubliners and Paddy Reilly -- until I put on this CD. Here the song is given a new life with an intensely realistic interpretation. Here it is truly a song from a prisoner. Another well-known song that becomes new at the hands of Dervish is Dylan's "Boots of Spanish Leather."

From the familiar to the new -- well relatively new -- "The Cocks are Crowing," Dervish have produced an album that is a must for any serious collection.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 20 December 2003