Thistle & Roses - Wind On The Moor

Wind On The Moor

Thistle & Roses

SBM 96-01 CD

Southern Branch Music
1026 Raleigh Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23507

A review written for Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jamie O'Brien

On the one hand, Wind on the Moor is a fine collection of tunes and songs, well arranged and well played by Thistle & Roses. But I am left with a dissatisfied feeling.

An atmospheric start with the song Culloden's Harvest, sung by Paul Brockman with such lonely sadness, is full of promise. The psaltery that accompanies him, however, does a lot to distract from his efforts. The song ends with a flute which continues the feeling he has built up. But then the tune changes to a rollicking Athol Highlanders, which sadly fails to rollick.

After much thought, I have come to the conclusion that what the band lacks is depth in overall sound. Psalteries, lap dulcimers, whistles and the like provide a wonderful coloring to the tunes, but in assuming the prominent role they perform on this album, the effect becomes irritating. Even the fiddle and flute are high pitched, leaving me crying out for something more solid.

One tune which bursts into life comes midway through a set. Blarney Pilgrim, a tremendous jig, oozes drive, melody and more - but here, fiddle and flute combine to lead the melody against a simple bodhran and guitar accompaniment. The lower tones add so much.

There is no doubt in my mind that these are excellent musicians who play well. Perhaps they should consider expanding to a quartet, bringing in someone at the lower end to provide more depth and contrast in sound.

Track List:

  • Culloden's Harvest/Athol Highlanders (Alistair MacDonald/Traditional)
  • Pipe on the Hob/Blarney Pilgrim (Traditional)
  • Farewell to Whiskey/Banks of Spey/Miss Abercrombie of Birkenbog (Neil Gow/William Marshall/William Marshall)
  • Give Me Your Hand (Rory O'Cathan)
  • Frosty Morning/Staten Island/St. Anne's Reel (Traditional)
  • Loch Lomond Revisited (Traditional)
  • The Butterfly/Morrison's Jig (Traditional)
  • The Blackbird (Traditional)
  • Scarce o' Tatties/The Lyndhurst (Norman McLean/Traditional)
  • The Pretty Maid Milking a Cow/The Cat Who Rambled to the Child's Saucepan/Kesh Jig (Traditional)
  • Celtic Society's Quickstep/Mason's Apron (Traditional)

Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz (

Copyright 1999, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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