Fraser & Ian Bruce,
Best of Mrs Bruce's Boys
(Greentrax, 2015)

For those in the UK and Ireland, this is not a play on a well-known comedy series. The Bruce boys already used the title Mrs Bruce's Boys decades ago. That gives us an idea of the retro value of this CD. The duo was packing in audiences as far back as the 1980s, when the publicity tells us they appeared on the main stage of no less than 14 music festivals in a single year.

Back in those now far-off days, the brothers went their separate ways, with Ian continuing in music and having a great career while Fraser decided to go into business.

Now to the delight of older fans and to bring the younger generation a taste of some great folk songs, the brothers have reunited to produce a compilation of music including 10 remastered tracks with five re-recorded and a brand new previously unreleased song. Yes, that gives us an album of 16 tracks and, although it seemed to start a bit slowly, by the third track I was hooked.

A number of the tracks are live recordings and as such pack a great deal of atmosphere into the songs -- such as the perennial "A Man You Don't Meet Everyday" and "The Hills of Isle Au Haut."

The duo brings us that wonderful mix of the sad and the humorous in a well-produced album. Who could ignore a track like "Can Ye Sew Cushions?" I will leave you to find out the answer when you buy this CD.

It was great hearing Richard Thompson's "Down Where the Drunkards Roll" and a blast from the past in Cyril Tawney's "The Grey Funnel Line" that I first enjoyed some decades ago.

The album closes with the new release "White Flower," but I bet that any who listen to this CD will be seeking out the earlier albums of the brothers as well as Ian's solo works.

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

19 September 2015

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