The Cut & Dry Band – The Wind In The Reeds – The Northumbrian Small Pipes


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The Northumbrian Small Pipes have existed since at least the 17th Century, if not earlier - an instrument unique to the North East of England with its own special sound. This record traces the history of the instrument's music. In time the instrument developed, enabling more complex tunes with greater range to pass into the tradition. This CD features the whole range of sound & repertoire from solos to full band arrangements, from some of the finest players.

Track Listing:
1. All Night I Lay with Jockey / The Peacock Followed the Hen - 2:50   2. Jacky Layton - 3:01   3. Green Breckons / Bob and Joan / Kiss Her Under the Coverlet - 3:12   4. Cuckold Came Out of the Amrey - 2:29   5. Cuddy Clawed Her - 3:02   6. Holme's Fancy / Stagshaw Bank Fair / Lasses Pass the Brandy - 3:25   7. Cut and Dry Dolly - 2:50   8. Over the Border - 2:10   9. Pheasant's Dance / Rusty Gully - 3:20   10. Keelman Over the Land - 2:25   11. I Saw My Love Come Passing by Me - 2:58   12. The Barrington Hornpipe / The Glen Aln - 3:46   13. The Wild Hills O'Wannies / The Swallow's Tail - 2:54   14. Jim Hall's Fancy - 3:53   15. Breamish / Random Jig - 2:28   16. Archie's Fancy / Little Hennie - 3:05   17. The Lea Rigges - 4:40   18. Sir Sidney Smith's March - 3:07   19. Mrs. Elder - 2:17   20. Nae Gud Luck Aboot the Hoose - 4:16   21. Oh Dear What Can the Matter Be? - 3:40   22. The East Neuk of Fife - 2:45   23. The Locomotive / The South Shore - 3:06

Alistair Anderson (English concertina, small pipes) , Jim Hall (small pipes, piano) , Anthony Robb (small pipes) , Carole Robb (small pipes, flute) , Colin Ross (small pipes, fiddle, viola)


1. Rambles – Jenny Ivor - 20 July 2002
This CD is a definitive history of the development of the Northumbrian Smallpipes, providing the listener with a technically competent and musically interesting progression of folk tunes from the pipes of the 17th century to present day. For the aficionados of folk music, whether players of traditional instruments or those with a keen interest in the history and sound, this should be prescribed listening! For those people who merely like the sound of these mellow pipes or folk music in general, this is a pleasant and educative album -- though perhaps slightly daunting in its entirety and more readily enjoyed complemented by other CDs on a shuffle and random-play machine.
The CD is a compilation from the two seminal recordings of the Cut & Dry Band's releases on vinyl in 1976 and 1980 -- Cut & Dry Dolly and Cut & Dry #2. Alistair Anderson, Jim Hall, Carole Robb, Colin Ross and Anthony Robb are each accomplished smallpipes players, enhancing these recordings with English concertina, piano, flute, fiddle and viola, respectively. The album is a balanced repertoire of jigs, reels, hornpipes and airs, and even to the uninitiated, the charting of the musical history of the pipes is obvious as it unfolds from the simple, one-octave small pipe chanter to the fully chromatic 17-keyed chanter with the extra drone. The tunes start simply, within the scope of the original instrument, and progress to more complex pieces as the range is extended and the additional pitches allow for more sophistication and variety.
An undoubtedly enjoyable listening experience, the album still showed signs of age. Instead of remixing 25-year-old original tracks, wouldn't it have been great if these musicians could have reunited to record a fresh set? The clarity and sparkle of newer recording technology would have further enhanced an already exceptional standard of playing. Recorded sound cannot yet fully match the emotional intensity of live music, and any advantage should be utilized to imbue recording with something of the freshness of the live experience.
This is an intriguing series of glimpses into the musical expansion of the Northumbrian smallpipes; for the folk bystander, a quality album covering many familiar tunes, lovingly played by the Cut & Dry Band, but for the musician or folk historian, so much more. This is both an example of what may be achieved and what should be recognised; I would consider it an invaluable and eminently practical research device, providing pointers and goals in expertise and excellence for the musician -- not only the smallpipes player, but other disciplines as well. While not wishing to detract in any way from the entertainment value of this selection, I would consider it essential listening for students of folk and in particular, those who appreciate the pipes.

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