Happy Daze

Happy Daze

by The Battlefield BandThe Battlefield Band

CD

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Overview

Happy Daze offers something completely different for Battlefield Band fans: the presence of a talented female. Karine Polwart joins John McCusker, Alan Reid, and Mike Katz for a lively and immediately likable album. In "The Devil's Courtship" Reid invites the young lass to "gang along wi' me" while Polwart politely demurs, at least until the price is right. Polwart sings lead on the lovely "The Banks of Red Roses," accompanied by whistles, keyboards, and exquisite fiddle. The addition of her voice adds an emotional warmth to the proceedings, expanding the overall sound and offering a perfect counterpoint to Reid's vocals. The album isn't just a vocal affair. "Tini Wee Vin/The Road to the Aisle" and a number of lively jigs filled with whistles, fiddle, guitar, and pipes sit happily between the vocal tracks. While it has sometimes been noted that the Battlefield Band uses non-traditional instruments like synthesizers, their music carries the spirit of old Scotland. The arrangements are simple and straightforward, tastefully supporting each tune. Other notable songs include the story of the modest "Sheppard Lad" who loses the lady fair because he behaves as a gentleman when he finds her skinny-dipping at the local swimming hole. She admonishes him, singing "had you done as you desired/I'd never have left you there," adding an interesting -- if non-politically correct -- twist to this tale. The title track is a slow, moving piece, with pipes and fiddle painting a peaceful, if melancholy, landscape. Happy Daze succeeds on a number of levels, and will be welcomed by the group's fans and lovers of traditional Scottish music.

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