Old Blind Dogs

The Gab O Mey

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Old Blind Dogs' third release for the Green Linnet label finds the band continuing to explore Scottish musical traditions both old and new with traditional tune sets and original songs, as well as expanding its repertoire to include music from Brittany and Galicia (the Celtic region of northern Spain). Not all of the band's stylistic experiments are unqualified successes -- singer Jim Malcolm's blues harmonica on "Whistler is technically impressive, but not a very good idiomatic fit -- but most of them are. Highlights include an unusual rendition of the bothy ballad "Bogie's Bonnie Belle" (cf. Richard Thompson's more anglicized version on the Watching the Dark compilation) and a lovely version of the night-visiting song "Moneymusk Lads," on which the group sounds a bit like a younger Tannahill Weavers with ethnic percussion. But the best moments come on the achingly beautiful Breton and Galician tunes, and on a rollicking rendition of the well-known shanty "Rolling Home" that closes the album. Recommended.

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