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Album Review

The fifth record from these Scottish folkies introduces new member Fraser Fifield on pipes, whistles, and sax. His presence is immediately felt on "Trip to Pakistan," a Scotland meets the Mideast instrumental seasoned by Fifield's border pipes and Davy Cattanach's hand drums. Cattanach opts for a similar percussive cadence on several selections; in fact, Old Blind Dogs seem committed to uniting diversified cultural and musical elements. Abandoning its customary dirge-like shroud, "Parcel of Rogues" adopts a surprising upbeat and almost cheerful arrangement creating an interesting instrumentation-to-lyric paradox. Similar (but not equivalent) to classical music's canon, Old Blind Dogs have the tendency of starting small, building on a theme, and ending with a flourish. Their core members are Johnie Hardie on fiddle and mandolin, Buzzby McMillan on cittern and bass, and lead vocalist Ian Benzie. Together they display an acute awareness of the celebrated path the Scottish musical tradition has traversed and the possibilities that lie ahead. They delight in creating just enough bumps and detours on that road to keep things fresh.


Formed: 1990 in Aberdeen, Scotland

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

In Britain and Ireland, as in America, a number of folk music bands sprung up that have combined strong elements and foundations of the traditional with a variety of influences from other cultures and styles. Steeleye Span, the Tannahill Weavers, Fairport Convention, the House Band, Wolfstone, and others all produced music that borrows as freely from reggae, African rhythms, and American folk and rock music, as from the ancient ballads and tunes of their own cultures. Among the most striking and...
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Five, Old Blind Dogs
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