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Book 51 CD

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Music for 12 Scottish country dances and Band leader’s choices. Music recorded by Ian Muir and his Scottish Dance Band.

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  1. The Edinburgh Toy Store (J/ 8 x 32 / 4:37)
  2. The Somerset Children's Reel (R / 8 x 32/ 4:41) 
  3. Save the Children (S / 8 x 32/ 8:11) 
  4. Fair Enough (J/ 4 x 32/ 2:19) 
  5. Summer on the Beach (R / 4 x 32/ 2:19)
  6. And for the Young Ones (J / 4 x 32/ 2:23) 
  7. Continental Waltz (W / 4 +192 bars/ 2:43)
  8. Holyrood Strathspey (S/ 8 x 32/8:10) 
  9. New Year Jig (J/ 8 x 32/4:35) 
  10. Hello-Goodbye (S/8 x 32/ 8:08) 
  11. Grand March (M / 4+192 bars/3:40)
  12. Pluto's Head (R/8 x 32/ 4:44)
  13. Come What May (J / 8 x 32/ 4:37)
  14. Bohemian Reflections (R / 8 32/4:38) 
  15. Slow Air / 4:01



Book 51 CD

The 2017 recording from the band of Ian Muir (of Prestwick) to accompany the new book boasts a really classy sound, not surprising when you see the band listing Susan Gordon (fiddle), Duncan Black (second accordion), Neil MacMillan (keyboard/bass) and Scott Gordon (drums). The combination is very tight, beautifully and crisply played, varied in sound and style, rhythmically together throughout, and there is plenty to tickle the ear: some really good interplay between the players, with counter melodies and interesting harmonies. So why do I come away feeling uncertain about this recording?
It is partly to do with purpose: Book 51 is a book of new dances designed for children and less experienced dancers; yet this appears to be a recording designed not for a class, but for use at a dance or social evening. In several cases the tunes lead to the “big finish” – potentially away from the style of the original. At several points, there are superbly co-ordinated breaks between tunes, which may cause less experienced dancers to stop, or not start. However, if the quality of the recording encourages clubs to include these dances on a social evening, that would be great.
One further point: I know the Society has moved away from previously rigid views on original tunes, but I was jolted from my listening when the second tune on the first track turned out to be The Foula Reel. Perhaps that is because it was ingrained in me from my years of donning my Shetland jumper and hard shoes to present the Book 4 dance to this tune at Branch Children’s Dances, but even for those unfamiliar with the dance, there is a clear switch of style of tune. Notwithstanding that, there are some fabulous tunes and sets here, from a traditional set for The Somerset Children’s Reel to composer sets for Summer on the Beach (alternatives by Graeme Mitchell), Hello-Goodbye (Jim Johnstone) and Fair Enough (Ian Muir of Prestwick himself). As with other recent Society recordings, the band had free hand with three tracks, including the great continental Comet Valse.
It’s a great listen, and I think would be fun to dance to, in the right setting. I just wonder whether these are the right dances for this style of recording.
Jeremy Hill - RSCDS London Branch Published in the Reel

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Book 51 CD

Book 51 CD

Music for 12 Scottish country dances and Band leader’s choices. Music recorded by Ian Muir and his Scottish Dance Band.