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O'er the Border, Gordon Mooney (Temple records) .

THOSE of us who have been aware of Gordon Mooney's activities in helping fuel the cauld-wind pipes revival, both with his playing and his energetic delving to            rediscover a distinctive Lowland and Border piping repertoire, been waiting a long time for this record, notwithstanding an earlier, none-too-well recorded cassette of his solo piping as well as the idiosyncratic "B and the Drones” collaboration. Having arrived at last, O'er the Border, with the help of Robin

Morton at Temple and some fine accompanying musicians, is unlikely to disappoint     anyone.

Accompanied by a highly informative booklet which not only comments on the tunes but evokes their whole historic and social background, this unique recording starts off with a quintessentially Border selection on Scottish small pipes, all three tunes being associated with the famous Allan family of pipers. They fairly stoat along too, giving an indication of the cracking pace set by some of the sets on the record.

Particular favourites of mine in the fast stakes are the two hypnotic jigs Seeking the         Galloway and Jock o the Side, and the       concluding set which includes Braw Lads o’ Jethart and Kelso Lasses, in which Gordon is joined for a last fling by the various other musicians who have supported him in the LP - Barbara Mooney on bassoon, Nigel       Richards on mandola, Brian Miller on     mandolin, Charlie Soane on fiddle and even producer Robin Morton coming in on bodhran.

If there’s much excitement to be had in the fast lane, there is also much that is rewarding here in the way of slower airs and song tunes, It is a pleasure to hear Jamie Telfer o the Fair Dodheid, a ‘riding ballad” known to Scott and with a fragment of which the late Willie Scott amazed folklorists in the Sixties, when they thought the tune long lost. On this as in several tunes, Gordon's wife Barbara makes a substantial contribution to the   arrangement and sound of the music, playing flute on Jamie Telfer and some beautiful double-tracked bassoon on Willie's Drowned in Yarrow. Jo Miller also makes a worthy contribution with her fine clear singing of Lord Randal and an old setting of The Twa Corbies .

My one carp is that the use of piano       accompaniment doesn't come off, for me at any rate, despite Alan Reid's spirited playing on Duns Dings A’. I think I said much the same thing in reviewing Hamish Moore's last LP, but there's something in piano accompaniment which is contrary to the whole flow of pipe music. For me Reid's contributions on synthesiser are far more effective, often darkening the mood, as in Lord Randal, with a deep bass drone (and I must say I found his piano accompaniment towards the end of this song seemed to work better), or chiming sonorously along with Nigel Richards’ mandola under Gordon Mooney's wild keening of Border pipes in the title track. And O'er the Border is probably the track on the LP most guaranteed to make pipers really sit up and take notice, with its evocation of a reiving, elaborating on a tantalising fragment of Border "pibroch", and featuring some highly effective vibrato and unorthodox fingering.

Jim Gilchrist.