Aly Bain / Phil Cunningham


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The duo of fiddler Aly Bain and accordionist Phil Cunningham followed up their first project, The Pearl, with 1997's The Ruby, a fine CD demonstrating just how strong a rapport the Scottish musicians enjoyed in the '90s. Their dialogue is a solid one on this entirely instrumental collection of Scottish/Celtic music, which ranges from charming originals like "Violet Tulloch Queen of Lerwick," "Sarah's Song" and the title song to traditional numbers such as "Lady Mary Ramsay's Reel" and "Starry Night in Shetland." One of the oldest tunes they embrace is "Logan Water," an air that goes back at least as far as the 18th century. Not all of the songs on The Ruby originated in Scotland -- "La Bastringue" is a French-Canadian song, while "Bonaparte's Retreat" is a famous American folk song. The music that Irish, Scottish and Welsh immigrants brought to the U.S. paved the way for American folk, bluegrass and country -- so it's quite appropriate for Bain and Cunningham to interpret "Bonaparte's Retreat." This album has many inspired moments and is well worth obtaining.

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