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of Folk On

reviews The Lea Rig by Hector Gilchrist & Liz Thomson

It’s the season for issuing albums as witnessed by the mass of jiffy bags on reviewers’ doorsteps these days.  It also seems that time of the century for Burns albums, for this is another entry.  No pretence at being the entire collection here but just a gentle offering from Hector and Liz (better known as the duo “Selkie”) with the aid of some delicate instrumental work from Bill Eddie, Tony Hooper, Chris Bartram, Paul Hutchinson, Doug Bailey, Fran Wood and Chris Thomson.
In a way, it’s really Hector leading and the others supporting for he is a longstanding performer of Burns’ works in his own right, although there’s no doubting the love ofthe material which the others hold, and display.
I have to be careful in my praise here for I’m writing this just after reviewing the wildly different V-J Incident!  Seeking another description of the album which beats “gentle” I get “gently pleasing”.  There’s a lack of pretension refreshing these days and the tiny quibble which MIGHT be forced from me is that it is too gentle in places.  Burns loved perfection and would have possibly found a smoky-folky performance of his work not to his liking.  I see nothing wrong in an up-front delivery where the song needs it but Hector obviously knows what he’s about and the point is minor.  Full marks for the clever choice of instrumentation; fans of the bagpipes get their own pieces (and a written “excuse” for including them!)
It’s a collectors’ album, as are most other Burns’ anthologies; he’s been done so often it’s really a case of how one likes the performers  in question.  This is delightful.