Celtic Nots

Celtic Nots

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The Celtic Nots have a pleasant sound, and this self-titled sampler gives listeners another taste of the band's diversity. The encouraging news is that, while they still have a tendency to jam for long and yet longer on the instrumental breaks, their vocals are becoming stronger, especially on the cuts selected from Untied: Live at the Shop. "An Nighean Dubh" is an example of both the long instrumental experimenting and the more powerful vocalization. The break works all right on this one but is less successful on others, such as "Shady Grove." It's a distinctive sounding arrangement, but the instrumental break before the conclusion goes on for way too long. Surely they had fun jamming on it, but listeners may find themselves wondering when it will finally wrap up. The "Mary Kay" set is enjoyable, and "Seinn" is also nicely done -- it's a milling song with the characteristic rhythmic repetitions of the style. "Bonnie Bonnie Bows of London" is another gruesome traditional one, with one sister drowning the other. In this version, the drowned sister's hair is made into fiddle strings, and the fiddle itself from her bones. Then, in court, it speaks to identify her sister who pushed her in -- but in this version the song ends before the sister gets any comeuppance for her evil deed. In all, this sampler is more memorable than the set of earlier cuts on Not in the Least, and new listeners may prefer it as an introduction to the group.