Old Blind Dogs,
Play Live
(Green Linnet, 2005)

Opening with "Battle of Harlaw" the Old Blind Dogs will have your attention and they will keep it. The use of the border pipes gives a wonderful lift to the song.

The mood quietens on the set of instrumentals collectively called "Sky City," combining the contemporary title piece with a traditional Galician jig and the beautifully named "Lovely Basket of Nice Smelling Flowers."

One of my favourite tracks on the album is "Young Edward," a chilling ballad dating back two centuries and, like so many such songs, it is filled with blood and violence. Going to a restaurant for lunch will never be the same after you listen to the contemporary tune called "Soup of the Day."

They return to the tradition for the next track, "Tramps & Hawkers," to remind us of a bygone age that was far from rosey for the itinerant workers who inspired the tale. The band then takes on another challenge by combining new lyrics and a traditional tune on "Battle of Waterloo." I am delighted to report that the chance pays off.

One of my favourite instrumental pieces is the beautiful "Lochanside" and it is heard here combined with "Morag Haig-Thomas."

No Scottish album is complete without something from Robert Burns, and we must admit there are many tunes to choose from. The Old Blind Dogs take "A Man's a Man For A' That" and re-arrange it to great effect. They end this concert in your living room with a gentle start and hearty finishing "A Wild Rumpus."

The insert gives us the background and lyrics.

This is a wonderful live recording that captures the atmosphere without having long rambling chat between tracks.

by Nicky Rossiter
25 March 2006

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