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Thursday, 21 October 2010

Jack Armstrong – Celebrated Minstrel

(Saydisc, SDL 252, 1974)

This album, released 4 years before Jack Armstrong’s death, provides a wide-ranging retrospective of Armstrong’s career as a Northumbrian piper, composer/arranger of tunes, fiddler, and as the leader of the Barnstormers country dance group. Advisors on the compilation included such luminaries as Alan Lomax and Peter Kennedy. The recordings, from the BBC and other sources, are from a range of dates between around 1944 and 1954. They include solo pipe tunes such as Whittingham Green Lane, Noble Squire Dacre, The Wild Hills o’Wannie, and Derwentwater’s Farewell, as well as rousing country dance sets featuring tunes like the Keel Row, Durham Rangers, and Keep Your Feet Still, Geordie Hinney. A very good overview of one of the players who really brought Northumbrian pipes back to prominence and paved the way for stars such as Kathryn Tickell.

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