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English Dance & Song
Published Date: Summer 2011
By Vic Smith

Where Ravens Reel
Geordie McIntyre & Alison McMorland

Rowan Records, ROWR01CD

You would expect an album by two of Scotland's leading singers to be a treat; well, you won't be disappointed by this offering. Alison, in particular, is in very fine voice throughout whether singing on her own or in partnership with Geordie or with Kirsty Potts; the mother and daughter version of 'The Factory Girl' is a particular delight - so are the tracks where Alison sings on her own, 'Thomas Rymer', 'Burns And Highland Mary' and 'The Cruel Grave', the latter two learned respectively from Lucy Stewart of Fetterangus and her niece, Elizabeth.

Not to be undone on the ballad front, Geordie turns in an engaging version of 'Clyde's Water' and he contributes some fine compositions and the tunes for a number of settings of poems. The album opens with a song by Geordie in tribute to Hamish Henderson and elsewhere there is a setting of one of Hamish's wartime poems to the tune of 'McCrimmon's Lament'. The combination of Alison's singing and Geordie's spare but very effective guitar accompaniment makes this another of the album's highlights. Two of Geordie's compositions are praise songs for famed Glasgow sportsmen - a cyclist and a runner. The programming decision to start and finish the album with songs with their lyrics set in mountains is a good one. We are on Gulabeinn at the beginning and we end up on Stob Ghobar with a strong performance of the fine title track by Geordie.

If there were to be a criticism of this album, it would be that all the songs are sung at a middling to slow pace; a couple of bright, pacey songs would have contributed variety. Having said that, there is diversity in the way the album is structured with unaccompanied singing interspersed with those sung to banjo or guitar and with solo and duo voices alternating.

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