IAN BRUCE & THE TARTAN SPIDERS
Young Territorial CDTRAX414
Ian's one of the most highly regarded of Scotland's singer-songwriters, a strong and characterful singer and guitarist with a reputation for well-crafted and tuneful songs and a ready rapport with his audience. He's released many fine albums, both solo and in duo partnership with brother Fraser or Ian Walker, and he's been involved in a number of key projects including the Far, Far from Ypres stage presentation.
One of Ian's earliest successes was 1998's Hodden Grey album; named after Lord Elcho's tartan, as bestowed on the London Scottish Regiment, and dedicated to his father, who had been the Regiment's Pipe Major during World War 2.
Ian was the natural choice, then, when (cutting a long story short) The London Scottish Volunteer Enterprises decided to commission this commemorative project in honour of the Regiment. His brief was to attempt to re-imagine, rewrite and remember the old songs found in a book of trench songs collated by Duncan Tovey, a storyteller of the Regiment during World War 1. This soon developed into Young Territorial, sequence deploying original songs and linking recitations to tell the Regiment's long and colourful story and highlight its role in quietly lacing and touching almost every major conflict from the Boer War to the present day. Major Rob Pitt, VR Rifles sets exactly the right tone with the recitations, while Ian's supreme songwriting skills enable different facets of the story to be told authentically and affectionately. To realise the story, Ian's assembled a 13-piece roster of guest singers and musicians, a crack team humorously christened The Tartan Spiders, who rise to the occasion with true spirit and are clearly enjoying every moment of their involvement. The musical idiom embraces the proudly anthem scale of the title song and Hallowe'en, full brass backing for Big Drum Major, cheeky music hall on The Auld Corps, the deliciously fun tale of Sandy The Piper, and Fairport/LJE-style folk-rock on Grey Kilts and the cumulative ensemble piece Wey Hey For The Hodden Grey. Ian's stirring original poem, A Legend of Sheppey, 1910, memorably recited by Charlie Milne, makes a fitting finale to the album.
Young Territorial is beautifully presented in the best Greentrax tradition. It's self-evidently a labour of love for Ian, a well unified sequence of songs and readings that celebrates its subject mightily in entertaining and accessible folk style while also providing uplift and enlightenment in these troubled times.
IAN BRUCE & THE TARTAN SPIDERS: Young Territorial (CDTRAX414)
Ian Bruce, singer, Scottish guitarist and songwriter, is one of the most known from the Scottish scene. With a strong Scottish accent, he articulates very clearly while singing, and this is noticeable especially since he has a strong voice. His songs (at least on this cd) begin often through a spoken presentation; some, like a legend, are spoken from end to end with a seductive poetry. At other times, supported by musicians to his measure, his voice thunders on dynamic melodies.
Ian Bruce builds his compositions with care, taking advantage of the presence of thirteen musicians and guest singers he has grouped under the humorous name Tartan Spiders.
He's a real stage beast, which establishes a strong emotional relationship with his public.
This is a very Scottish album although it uses bagpipes only sparingly, and who will not indifferent person. (www.greentrax.com)
Le Canard Folk