Carlingwark Collection CD Set, The

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A three part set of CDs to accompany The Carlingwark Book of 30 Scottish Country Dances by Bill Little. 

Volume 1 CD is by James Coutts and his band.

Volume 2 CD is by Scot Band and his band.

Volume 3 CD is by Ian Muir and his band.

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Volume 1

  1. Auchengar
  2. 75th Anniversary Reel
  3. Mrs Alison Veitch
  4. Cilla's Jig
  5. Bonnie Gallowa'
  6. Mairie's Wedding
  7. The Laxey Wheel
  8. Viennese Waltz
  9. Kirkcall Strathspey
  10. The Haggis
  11. Jessie Cannon's Strathspey
  12. Welcome Home
  13. Canadian Barn Dance

Volume 2

  1. The Raiders Road
  2. Threave Strathspey
  3. Carol's Frolic
  4. Kind Robin
  5. My Friend Jim
  6. Greyfriar's Strathspey
  7. Port William Lass
  8. Bracken Wood
  9. 70 x 4
  10. A waltz for Angue Fitchet
  11. Rooftops
  12. Fidget

Volume 3

  1. Carlingwark Jig
  2. Gay Gordons
  3. Rose of Ardwall
  4. Our Friend Viv
  5. Anne and Friends
  6. Isabel Paterson's Jig
  7. Sandy's Strathspey
  8. 90th Birthday
  9. Wee Mary's Strathspey
  10. Scottish Waltz
  11. Light of Hope
  12. Galloway Lads And Lassies

Reviews

Grade 
09-06-2018

Carlingwark Collection CD Set

I have only met Bill Little once, at my first ever day school, in Manchester over thirty years ago, but the class has stuck in my memory for its precision, energy and enjoyment. I also remember some of the dances we did, which I later filleted to cobble together what became The Westminster Reel (originally, or rather unoriginally, named The Day School Reel). I do not remember whether any of his own dances featured, but this book, published by Castle Douglas and District RSCDS, demonstrates that devising dances has been a constant thread in his dancing and teaching career, which continues in Castle Douglas Branch even to this day, aged 94.

This is a CD review, and it is always difficult to give a true reflection of a set of dances based purely on reading and imagining, but I like the look of the dances: built around formations combined in different ways; a good variety of dance lengths; generally they look to be very danceable across a range of standards – several were written in the context of children’s classes or competition – and present something for everyone.

It is clear from the book’s introduction that, for Bill, the combining of music and dance has been much of the source of pleasure, with tunes carefully chosen for the dances: 13 of the30 dances are strathspeys, with pastoral or song tunes for seven of those. Some original tunes will be familiar, such as The Cradle Song for Jessie Cannon’s Strathspey, Duncan Gray for The Haggis, and Scott Skinner’s Miss Dow’s Fancy for Rooftops (one of a dozen dances this tune has been selected for). Around half the originals are more recently composed, including Bill’s own composition for Miss Alison Veitch, and others by Gordon Shand, Ian Holmes and George Meikle.

Castle Douglas Branch have done Bill proud on the musical side, through the publication of three excellent CDs alongside the book of dances. The 30 dances are interspersed with some additional tracks (see above). All have been put together with real care, and each (or all) can be recommended, with strong line-ups, good clear sound, tempi well-judged and alternatives matched. For listening purposes, the preponderance of airs and song tunes reduces variety, but all come across well for dancing purposes.

If I had to choose one of the CDs, it would be James Coutts’, where Graham Berry’s piano, as always, provides beautiful rhythm, harmony and counterpoint to enhance, but not supplant, the strong lead from James, but there is great playing across all three discs. Scott Band has a fiddle in the hands of Gillian Ramsay in his six-piece band, but Ian Muir equally creates variety in his four-piece, particularly through Duncan Black’s second accordion. The ‘filler’ tracks are all good value, with James Coutts having fun with Ian Powrie’s Continental Waltz Jimmy and Mickie, matched by Ian Muir’s Scandinavian Waltz.

Jeremy Hill
RSCDS London Branch 
Published in The Reel

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Carlingwark Collection CD Set, The

Carlingwark Collection CD Set, The

A three part set of CDs to accompany The Carlingwark Book of 30 Scottish Country Dances by Bill Little. 

Volume 1 CD is by James Coutts and his band.

Volume 2 CD is by Scot Band and his band.

Volume 3 CD is by Ian Muir and his band.

Write a review

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