‘Swarbtricks' - from Duncan Wood - a labour of love(February 22, 2013)
Any CD that features the name Swarbrick in the title is bound to get the saliva juices flowing, particularly if you’re a fiddle or mandolin player. Now, although the wonderfully 24-worded sleeve of ‘Swarbtricks’ may fall far short of Sir John B MacKenzie’s 38-word challenge to be awarded the Guinness World Record for longest CD title, it is every bit as impressive as the gatefold sleeve those nice folks at Birnam have produced in which to house the silver disk.
Duncan Wood’s skills on fiddle and mandolin will possibly be most recognised for his recent tour collaborating with flute player Cathal McConnell who also appears alongside Martin MacDonald (guitar, bones), Gavin Sutherland (guitar) and Maureen Hunter (harp). Obviously a labour of love for all concerned it’s nice to see the strengths of the mandolin coming to the fore with plenty of the Cheeky Chappie’s humour and musical disregard for time signatures that so enraptures his listeners ears.
The musical interplay between the mandolin and its cousin the fiddle with the emphasis very much on the Scottish tradition of tune writing are enhanced by Duncan’s explanatory notes that accompany each track and in my personal opinion you will be well rewarded if you take the time to read them. A quality recording by quality musicians and well worth purchasing for Swarbrick’s under acknowledged tune writing skills of which the album features 37 original compositions. ‘Swarbtricks is out on Beechwood Records SWB121117 and for further information: www.birnamcd.com
Reviewer: Pete Fyfe