Chris Norman,
Man with the Wooden Flute
(Dorian, 1992)

This CD is subtitled "Traditional Flute Music of the British Isles, America, Quebec & Cape Breton." With 32 tracks, the CD covers all these areas with traditional tunes ranging from between one and four minutes. Most of them are folk songs; only seven are credited to a known composer.

Norman uses what he calls an "Irish flute," which he describes in the excellent booklet that accompanies the CD. Although it has a wooden body, which provides a warmer tone, it has metal keys and stops to make the instrument more versatile.

Other musicians included here are Robin Bullock on guitar, cittern and fiddle, Ann Marie Morgan on viola da gamba and Pete Sutherland on fiddle. They back up Norman together or singly to change the feel of different tunes.

Although he uses the same instrument throughout most of the CD, Norman displays a remarkable variety in styles, both in song form and playing technique. He never shows off with the latter, but effortlessly changes rhythms, styles and moods in different compositions. It hardly needs to be said that his tone is always perfect.

Man with the Wooden Flute was made in 1992. Since it covers music from an earlier time, it has not gone out of date. In fact, it has become somewhat of a classic, sounding just as fresh as when it was first released.

by Dave Howell
27 January 2007

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