A Review of the CD
"Telfer's Cows - Folk Ballads From Scotland"
by Andrew Calhoun

"Telfer's Cows - Folk Ballands From Scotland"
by Andro' Colququon aka Andrew Calhoun

Copyright 2004
Waterbug Records
P.O. Box 12736
Portland, OR 97212

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 1/04
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Hold your horses and all other farm animals, domesticated and otherwise. This is not Andrew Calhoun, fired up over the spread of enraged bovine illness, unloading on the cattle industry.

No, this is actually him taking a very divergent path from the offerings of his previous releases, including last year's excellent "Tiger Tattoo." And it really, really works.

Singer-songwriter turned musicologist Calhoun, with assistance from a bevy of others, has researched and "channelled" 12 Scottish ballads, resulting in what will be considered one of the best CDs of 2004. He has provided a lengthy assortment here, with the longest song, the title cut "Telfer's Cows," running 7:55. Most of the remaining offerings run five or six plus minutes.

Why does it work so well? This is a great selection of songs, many are very melodic, with interesting stories, and Calhoun's vocals and the instrumental backing blend together well. Simply, he beautifully resuscitates these traditional tunes, giving them yet another life.

The storyline of "Eppie Morrie," with a nice hurdy-gurdy touch, brings to mind in some ways of the late Dave Carter's "Cat Eyed Willie Claims His Lover." The thrust of "Jeannie o'Bethelnie" is captured best in the liner notes: "When men threaten to die for love in folksongs, the women let them."

"Kinmont Willie" is described as a Hollywood Western prototype and "Telfair's Cows" similarly qualifies, as this morality tale builds and builds to a climatic battle, with some similarities to "High Noon," although the aggrieved here does not have to go it alone.

Love (and necessity) is the mother of invention in "A Shake In The basket," a cut that visually conjures up scenes and images reminiscent of a Marx Brothers film.

A couple of the songs are compelling a cappella renditions: "The Battle Of Harlaw" and "Hughie Grime." Don't you just love the name of that last one?

Renaissance music man Calhoun, also the writer of the best Dave Carter tribute song, "I Shall Not Look Away," has triumphed again with this release. It is that good.

Calhoun, on vocals and guitar, is assisted by Elizabeth Nicholson on harp and vocals, Bob Soper on fiddle, mandola and vocals; Tracy Grammer on violin and vocals; Kate McGinn on vocals; Rob Stroup on vocals; Felicia Dale on hurdy-gurdy, bodhran and vocals; William Pint on octave mandolin and vocals; Joe Root on accordion and Donny Wright on bass.

Track List:

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