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Old Blind Dogs Old Blind Dogs
Album: Room With A View
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 9

Old Blind Dogs celebrate their 25th anniversary with the release of their pledge funded new album "Room With a View".

Twenty five years that have seen the band become a well loved Scottish institution. From the opening "Bunker Hill" the talent of the individuals shines through, Jonny Hardie(fiddle), Aaron Jones (bouzouki), Ali Hutton (pipes and whistles) and Donald Hay (percussion) all create a sound which is both fresh and wholesome. They weave patterns effortlessly, the music flows and carries you foot tappingly along.

A mix of sparkling tune sets and songs delivered with enthusiasm follows.

Highlights for me are the two Lionel McCelland songs. McCelland, a poet from Moffat, sadly passed away a number of years ago, his legacy though continues. Here, the Old Blind Dogs bring us the tragic love tale "Earl O March's Daughter" and the deeply dark and gruesome "Sawney Bean" which tells the story of a renegade cannibal family living in a cave who preyed on travellers. Both are song beautifully in a lilting Scottish accent by Jones who also hails from Dumfries.

"Nevertheless" a tune set joining "Billy Rush(trad)/Nina's Jig(Niall Keegan)/The North Star(Brian Finnegan)" is an absolute joy as each member of the group showcases their considerable skills, Hardie's precise fiddle, the breathtaking low whistle of Hutton underpinned by driving percussion from Hay and the bouzouki of Jones.

"Gavottes Des Montagnes" is a swirling hypnotic beast of a tune, the way this track keeps floating back to the top of my "must play list" it almost defies gravity. It is worth the price of the album along.

A rendition of the traditional "Warlike Lads Of Russia" stands the test of comparison with Phil Beer's version, the diction here is perfect you can pick out every single word.

The band are undertaking a UK tour in April, predominantly Scotland and the South Of England, on this showing they are well worth catching.

Ian Cripps