Album Review
Parallel Lines

"Dirty Linen"

It's always a blessing when a classic album is reissued on CD. It's even better when the producers are able to find a bonus cut or two from the original sessions. Fans of Andy Irvine and Dick Gaughan are doubly blessed with this CD. Irvine and Gaughan, two of the top names in Celtic music, were a team briefly in the early 80s, and this 1981 album was their only record. The CD version contains the entirety of the LP, plus a bonus track, Thousands are Sailing to Amerikay. Granted, the version of the bonus song presented here is very similar to the one Planxty recorded (also with Irvine on main vocal and bouzouki), but hey, the folks at Appleseed aren't miracle-workers. What Appleseed did achieve was to get nine classic cuts of Celtic music back into circulation. Irvine's traditional Irish ballads The Creggan White Hare, Captain Coulston, and Captain Thunderbolt, and Gaughan's two Scottish selections, Flooer's o' the Forest and Lads o' the Fair, are all definitive performances. Even Lads o' the Fair which was written by Brian McNeill, is given a better treatment here by Gaughan's rich voice. The two covers of American songs, The Almanac Singers' Dodger Song and Bob Dylan's My Back Pages hold up a little less well, but are still fun to hear and compare with the originals. The greatest number on the disc is At Twenty-One, a heartbreaking song of unrequited love, which Irvine learned from Robert Cinnamond and which has not often been recorded. Irvine sings it beautifully. Throughout the album, Gaughan's crisp guitar and Irvine's sparkling bouzouki provide the backbones of lovely arrangements that also include Irvine on harmonica and several guests on fiddle, flute, saxophone and piano. It all adds up to a very attractive package.

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