A Review of the Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer CD
(WildGoose Studios WGS324CD)
by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer
This review is written by Dai Woosnam, firstname.lastname@example.org, 7/05
These two free spirits are two-thirds of the group
“Serious Kitchen” who produced a serious album that I had the pleasure
to review a couple of years ago. So when this album came my way, I
naturally inserted the album into the CD player with greater alacrity
And so dear Reader, you will want to know if I found it a rewarding
experience. Well before I answer that question, let me first detail
some of the content.
It's a mix of the traditional and the contemporary (mainly self-penned
instrumentals by Jonny), and a similar mix between song and
instrumental (with the emphasis more on the latter).
The voices blend together pretty well: the instruments however blend
together SUBLIMELY. Vicki's Scottish smallpipes are so persuasive that
they almost make me want to dash out and buy a set! Jonny's guitar
always gives her room to express herself: not just on her pipes but on
her mesmeric flute also.
This is a very pleasant album on the ear. (“Pleasant? Isn't that
damning with faint praise?”) No, it is emphatically not. Trust me, it
is not easy to find an album to fit every mood, but I reckon this is
As I say, their voices harmonise well. As befits WildGoose, the sound
quality is top-notch: every breath and every nuance in the melody and
lyric comes through in vivid Technicolor. And this duo makes the most
of the songs, even though they are missing the more distinctive voice
of their Serious Kitchen colleague, Nick Hennessey. Indeed, the songs
probably lend themselves to their “Folk mainstream” voices more than
they would to a singer with the somewhat special vocal DNA of a Nick
If I am honest, I regret there is no song here that is the equal of
“The Silkie of Sulle Skerrie” which proved the standout cut of the
album of two years ago. But then, that was made for Nick. And these
songs are made for Jonny and Vicki. So there.
No question which is the best cut here. Vicki's pipes and Jonny's
accordion really deliver on a number penned by Jonny. And what is the
Well, let me give you a clue. If two tunes could ever know each other
biblically - Jay Ungar's “Ashokan Farewell” and Phil Cunningham's
“Quendale Bay” then the offspring would be called “The Willows”.
Am I saying Jonny's number is “derivative”? Well, er…yes.
But is being “derivative” a bad thing? When it sounds as good as this, certainly NOT.
An album for lazy summer afternoons, or winter evenings by the fire.
Buy it in Europe from www.musikfolk.com or in North America from www.elderly.com and, for other points of the compass, get details from Doug Bailey at WildGoose, e-mail: email@example.com, website: www.wildgoose.co.uk.
- Donald MacLeod's Reel/Stornoway Castle/Sandy Duff (4.43)
- The Willows/The Three Ashes (5.01)
- The Hare's Lament (6.32)
- The Broken Drone/Chasing the Butterfly/Scatter Pipes (8.34)
- Hector The Hero (5.00)
- Hemligheten (3.44)
- The Trooper and the Maid (6.19)
- Cartmel Fell/Tigers Eye (5.59)
- Lament for the Lone Piper/Bulgarian Bandit (7.44)
- The Blue Man (3.40)
- Seven Little Gipsies (7.08)
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