Mick West & Muldoon's Picnic
A Scots Chorus
When Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek joined forces with a vocal group in the shape of the Hilliard Ensemble, it gained him a whole new and very wide audience. It would be a fine thing indeed if the same fate befell Glasgow-born traditional singer Mick West, who, like Garbarek, is one of his country's most distinctive voices. West's meeting with the five voices of Muldoon's Picnic puts his wonderfully rich singing in settings of traditional songs that are, variously, beautifully artful, harmonically adventurous and, as on Fisherrow and Tatties And Herring, closer in spirit to informal sessions. Producers Stewart Hardy and Frank McLaughlin add their own fiddle and guitar respectively, as well as Angus Lyon's accordion and piano and Penny Callow's cello, in arrangements that enhance the singing with the deftest of touches. Just occasionally, as on Mary Mack, things get a tad busy, but more typical examples such as Time Wears Awa, with West's relaxed clarity gliding over the chorus, are simply magnificent.