Hot Toddy,
Three Sheets to the Wind
(Lochshore, 1997)

Only the most energetic dancers could keep their feet with Hot Toddy on the stage. And Three Sheets to the Wind, an all-instrumental album, shows just what a ceilidh band can do with a little ingenuity and a barrel of adrenaline in its musical arsenal.

The band is Alan Jones (bouzouki, tenor banjo, concertina, guitar), Angus Lyon (accordion, keyboard), Amy Geddes (fiddle) and Jim Anderson (percussion), with Tommy Couper (Highland, Lowland and uilleann pipes) and Steve Lawrence (percussion, electric bouzouki) making guest appearances on the album.

You'll find a few slow numbers among the CD's 14 tracks, but don't be fooled. It's just enough to catch your breath before the band kicks in with more of its boundless pep and enthusiasm.

The recording delights from the get-go, starting with the lively "Hogtie's Reel Set," and despite a few minor hitches in intonation here and there, I found myself wildly impressed with the whole package. By the time the album wound down with "Andy Renwick's Ferret Set" and "Midshore Set," I was ready to go back to the beginning and hear it all again. And again.

This is a good CD to slip into the stereo and keep on repeat. Anyone who likes music from the Scots-Irish dance tradition will be enthralled.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 6 April 2002