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Pauline Cato & Tom McConville

The Great Northern Roadshow
Pauline Cato Northumbrian Pipes      
Tom McConville Fiddles, vocals
Terry Docherty Guitars


Marie Claire / The Old French Reel
2 Rambles Of Spring
3 The Steampacket / The Barrington Hornpipe / Miss Johnson
4 Spring the Summer Long U
5 China Traveller U
6 The Wild Hills O’ Wannies Jig / All the Fair Young Maids
7 Fitzy’s Waltz
8 Black & White
9 The Steamboat / July 24th
10 The Montgomery Bell Waltz
11 Sailing to Philadelphia
12 Mrs Jamieson’s Favourite
13 J.D.Peace of Shoreside / Blazing Fiddles / Sandy Grant

Pauline Cato, Tom McConville, Terry Docherty (Tomcat Music TCCD03)

This album is the first recorded fruit of the collaboration between three of the most highly regarded North Eastern musicians on the circuit, and, like the live shows given by this acclaimed touring partnership, features an exhilarating sequence that alternates lively dance tunes with moving,delicate airs and beautifully-managed songs. It's so attractive a listen that you don't quite realise you're missing the visual dimension, since you can virtually hear fiddler/vocalist Tom's wide grin and chuckling repartee, not to mention the permanently beaming visages of both piper Pauline and guitarist Terry, communicated in their total enjoyment of the music they play so well. Virtuosity and musicality have never been more effectively (and effortlessly) partnered than in this outfit, a shining example of wha tcan be achieved by three musicians who have a striking empathy that's at the same time canny and uncanny. Every track's stunning in its impact, and it's unusual to find a studio CD that comes as close to capturing the vital presence of a live act as this CD does; all that's missing is Tom's repartee with the audience (and himself - isn't that right Tom?, yes mate.).    All three players have an innate versatility that makes any combination of their collaboration an exciting and enriching experience for them each time they perform, and this excitement is conveyed to the listener in the immediacy of their realisations of the chosen songs and tunes. Of the songs, the two penned by the underrated Ewen Carruthers might well prove to be the cream of the crop, whereas my favourites among the tunes are probably the opening set of reels and the final set of marches, whereas the combination of Mark Knopfler's Sailing To Philadelphia with the popular Fisher's Hornpipe is nothing short of inspired; but honestly there's no weak link. If you appreciate joyous and scintillating playing presented in a sympathetically accomplished blend of subtlety and energy, then look no further.

Reviewed by David Kidman