Leeds Golden Collection CD

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Neil Barron and his Scottish Dance Band. The Leeds Golden Collection Book is also available for £5. 

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Neil Barron (accordion), Alasdair MacLeod (accordion), Marie Fielding (fiddle), Bill Craib (double bass),
Dennis Morrison (piano) and Gordon Smith (drums)

Charles Ogden’s Jig J8x32
Golden Arc R8x32
Shirley’s Strathspey S3x32
The Leccamore Jig J8x32
Jacqui Watson’s Strathspey S3x32
All the Eights J8x32
A Twinkle in his Eye S4x32
Nifty Ninety R3x32
Scarborough Castle S8x32
The Cooper Children J8x40
Candyfloss S3x32
Jovial Jack R8x32

South from Oban (From RSCDS Leeds Branch, Tenth Anniversary Book)

Reviews

Grade 
21-04-2015

Leeds Golden Collection CD

If you think the winter blues are getting too much, then perhaps this sparkling collection from Neil Barron & His Scottish Dance Band will help you into Spring?
The band line-up features Neil on lead accordion, Alasdair MacLeod on second box, Marie Fielding on fiddle, Bill Craib on double bass, Dennis Morrison on piano and Gordon Smith on drums.
If ever there was a formidable musical line up, then this surely must be it. From the very first note of the opening jig it is evident that here is a band playing with great chemistry and in strict disciplined timing resulting in the creation of a great infectious sound. The collection, which features fifty great tunes, was
recorded for the Leeds Branch of the RSCDS at Castle Sound Studios. The sound mixing is top class, as we have come to expect from Stuart Hamilton, and the sound is deep, rich and warm leaving the listener with a real feel good factor.
The album features five sets of jigs, three reels and five Strathspeys. The collection
includes fourteen compositions from Neil himself showcasing his talents, not only as a great musician, but also as a prolific writer. All thirteen sets on the CD are as good as each other, but I particularly enjoyed the opening set Charles Ogden’s Jig featuring the tunes Charlie Ogden’s Jig, The Tattie Cellar, Mr & Mrs Bryan Ridley and Drumdelgie.
This is Scottish dance music played at its best from a very understated band. It is a cracking good listen and comes highly recommended.

Bill Brown

Published in the Box and Fiddle

  • 1 out of 1 people found this review useful.
Grade 
20-03-2015

Leeds Golden Collection CD

Neil Barron’s characteristics of a beautifully integrated, full band
sound, largely ‘straight’ arrangements, with the whole band playing
their part, and great tempi really supportive of the dancers, are very much in evidence in this recording, which accompanies The Leeds Golden Collection of dances, celebrating the Branch’s 50th Anniversary in 2012.
The original tunes, mostly by Neil himself, set things off well – I particularly liked the distinctive Miss Nicola Gray for Jovial Jack – and the alternative tunes include examples of many of the best composers of tunes over the period of the Leeds Branch’s existence, particularly the first part: Andrew Rankine, Bobby Crowe, Rob Gordon, Lindsay Ross and Charlie Sherritt all feature, as well as Neil himself, alongside some traditional tunes. I take slight issue with the approach to The Cooper Children, but otherwise all are nicely matched.
Scarborough Castle, with an original tune by George Meikle, comprises a lovely set of slow airs, with the band somewhat let off the leash, leading to a lovely rippling and flowing piano accompaniment from Dennis Morrison, and melodic interplay between Neil on accordion and Marie Fielding on the fiddle. Alasdair Macleod is on second box, Billy Craib on bass, and Gordon Smith his usual perky self on the drums. I always enjoy the fact that his drum rhythms are grounded in the tunes he is accompanying, and the distinctive little flourishes that mark up the end of a set of tunes. The CD is an ideal match for some interesting looking dances in the new book, plus South from Oban from their 10th Anniversary.

Jeremy Hill
RSCDS London Branch
Published in The Reel

  • 1 out of 1 people found this review useful.
Grade 
15-02-2015

The Leeds Golden Collection CD - Neil Barron and his SCD Band.

A brief appreciation from a fellow musician.
It’s not often I sit down and listen to a disc of dance tunes from end to end. I find it too difficult to suppress the urge to get up and dance. Alone, and amongst the living room furniture, that is just too frustrating.
So I was surprised that what I had intended as a toe dipping session of short snippets from Neil’s recent recording for the Leeds Golden Collection, turned out to be almost an hour of happy listening calling for the exercise of much self control – just a little involuntary foot tapping and only an occasional travelling step foray around the furniture. After a cup of tea and a brief rest I played it through again just to make sure my initial assessment was accurate.
And it was. This must surely be the best CD Neil and his band have ever produced.
As bands go it is one of the biggest, with six accomplished players. The result is a full, homogenous sound and very pleasing. The overall balance is excellent and the disc has been well engineered by Stuart Hamilton at Castlesound Studios. The piano and drums are pleasantly discreet and the inclusion of Bill Craib’s double bass gives the band’s sound an enhanced depth with very little loss of clarity. Alasdair MacLeod on second box shows good judgement on the weight of that off-beat emphasis so essential to the rhythm of the music which gives us all such a buzz and I particularly enjoyed Marie Fielding’s violin playing. She shows a strong sense of rhythm and her intonation is faultless, blending with the accordion in a way we do not often hear. Usually there is either too much fiddle or none at all. With all due respect to Neil I feel that he might have given her her head a little more often. The opportunity of hearing such fiddle playing in Scottish country dance music does not come too frequently.
Neil is at his best throughout and never drops a shoe. He leads well and his playing, which dominates as it should, has clarity without being too incisive.
There will rarely, if ever, be agreement on tempi – it’s all far too subjective – but for me they are here spot on. But then, thanks to “Rodney’s Rant”, everyone knows just how old I am, so I will leave you free to make your own minds up. But this is a CD to be listened to as well as danced to, and all concerned in its production are to be congratulated.
Just one small but personal carp which has nothing to do with Neil and his band and which I know not all will agree with. It concerns the choice of music for Scarborough Castle and Jacqui Watson’s Strathspey, both of which appear on this disc, and for that of many others. For me the “scotch snap” is the very essence of the strathspey and without it here and there it surely cannot be considered a true strathspey. So why, oh why are they now so often set to airs ... and not good Burns-like airs but those so reminiscent of a variety act on the stage of the Glasgow Metropole on Saturday night? Miss Milligan – please forgive them for they know not what they do!

  • 2 out of 2 people found this review useful.

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Leeds Golden Collection CD

Leeds Golden Collection CD

Neil Barron and his Scottish Dance Band. The Leeds Golden Collection Book is also available for £5. 

Write a review