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Dancing Feet

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Album Review

Celtic music began to gain enormous popularity in the late '80s, and after the release of Land of Light, Scotland's the Tannahill Weavers — who are now known in the U.S. — spent the next three years touring. In 1987, after a lineup change that included the departure of piper Alan MacLeod, they released their seventh record. Dancing Feet is a real return to form for these folk veterans. Their brief experimentation with keyboards and electric guitar — while tastefully executed — isolated some of their most fervent supporters. Beginning with an explosive set of reels, "Turf Lodge/The Cape Breton Fiddlers' Welcome to the Shetland Isles/Lady Margaret Stewart/The Flaggon" and featuring the definitive version of the Scottish classic "Wild Mountain Thyme," the record as a whole is meticulously arranged, yet spirited and touching. Newcomer and master piper Iain MacInnes — the band goes through pipers like Ozzy Osbourne goes through guitar players — carries each song like his job depended on it — it probably did — and proves himself proficient on the penny whistle and small pipes as well. Founders Roy Gullane and Phil Smillie share the lead on the rousing battle anthem "Tranent Muir," and Gullane delivers a heartbreaking version of Archie Fisher's fishing lament "The Final Trawl." This is an exceptional record.


Genre: World

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Tannahill Weavers, who started as a band in the late '60s, occupy a unique position among the groups on the Scottish folk scene. Stalwarts Roy Gullane and Phil Smillie have surrounded themselves with a rotating cast of great musicians. Their music, which uses the Highland bagpipe, flute, and fiddle as its melodic core, is tighter, more intense, and harder-driven than the Battlefield Band, Silly Wizard, or their other contemporaries. Despite their mostly acoustic sound, they're the closest thing...
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