various artists,
A Tribute in Music & Song to John Bellany
(Greentrax, 2015)

John Bellany was an accomplished artist whose family had always been associated with the sea and fishing. His work reflected that ancestry to great effect. He also had an interest in the music of his native land and had a band called The Blue Bonnets in his early years.

This album of 19 tracks is compiled and released as a tribute to him, and we lovers of Scottish music reap an extra benefit in obtaining a diverse collection of works and performers. Having said that it opens not with a traditional Scottish air but rather with Henry Mancini's "Moon River." It soon gets to the meat with Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham providing a very distinctive rendition of "Bonaparte's Retreat" followed by Davy Steele with Ceolbeg bidding "Farewell to the Haven," a wonderful song that has the listener almost feeling the salt air against his skin.

Hamish Moore performs "John Bellany of Port Seton," bringing the album to a personal note that is repeated on the track "The Reel John Bellany." The John Bellany Day Centre Folk join Alex Hodgson on "The Boatie Rows."

Like all the best compilations we get a mixture of old and new. The better known tracks are performed by The Corries on "The Road to Dundee," "Ae Fond Kiss" by Gill Bowman and "The Shoals of Herring" by Rod Peterson and Coolbeg.

One stand-out track is "Dark Lochnagar" by the great Calum Kennedy.

Once again the listener gets a bargain from Greentrax while helping to build a wonderful library of Scottish folk music and song.

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

21 November 2015

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