Battlefield Band’s Time & Tide

cover art for Time & TideOne of the longest running Scottish folk bands, Battlefield Band celebrates three decades of music touring and recording. Time & Tide, their latest album, again sees a change in the lineup with the departures of Karine Polward and John McCusker. Pat Kilbride has returned after a 25 year absence. Young Shetland fiddler Alistair White from the Isle of Lewis takes up the fiddle baton on McCusker’s departure. Founding member Alan Reid and piper Mike Katz stay put.

As far as Battlefield Band lineups go it’s perhaps early in the day yet to guess their staying power and compare them to any previous grouping. What’s obvious is that the Battlefield Band is a functional working unit on the move. Time & Tide harks back to their 1980 album Home is Where the Van Is, when Ged Foley came in. This album has a similar transitional feel to it and a sense of regrouping and reshuffling the deck is evident.

Pat Kilbride’s return is an interesting situation. The migrant Irishman has experimented with John Martyn-like jazz rock on his solo album Devil May Care Dreamer and reinvented himself as an Irish semi-traditional singer/songwriter in New York, forming the Kips Bay Ceili Band and releasing two fine solo albums in the interim. His vocal contributions – here the lilting Andy Irvine-esque ‘Camden Town’ and ‘Whiskey from The Field’ – feature his warm voice and his stirring guitar and cittern work, and admirably suit the ensemble sound. Alastair White’s fiddle work blends in nicely too, and no mean tunesmith, he contributes the title track and the intriguingly titled ‘If Cadillac Made Tractors’. Alan Reid’s songwriting yields ‘The Bonny Jeannie Deans’ complete with a contagious hookline, and Mike Katz even gets to show off his dancing shoes on ‘The Earl of Space’.

Time & Tide has enough of the familiar Battlefield Band hallmarks to slot easily within their recorded catalogue. They’re a sight mellower than before but the energy ante is well in place, and neither long term fans nor new ears should claim disappointment with this excellent collection. This is a hearty reaffirmation of the Battlefield Band’s lasting stature on the Celtic music scene.

(Temple Records, 2002)

John O'Regan

John O'Regan, Senior Writer, is a broadcaster and freelance journalist from Limerick, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines such as Irish Music, Folk Roots, Rock 'N'Reel, The Living Tradition and Hot Press. He has also had articles and reviews published in the USA, Canada, Germany, Norway and Australia. John is one of the contributors to Clancy's Irish Music Radio.Com an internet Web site and Radio service devoted to Irish music. He contributed to The Companion to Irish Traditional Music (Cork University Press 1999). Through his broadcasting and journalistic work, John O'Regan has achieved a reputation as an authority on both Traditional and Contemporary music. He presents "Regan's Rambles" with Radio Galtee on Sundays from 7.30-9.30pm. John has appeared as a guest contributor on RTE Radio One, 2FM, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Radio Derby, Downtown Radio (Northern Ireland), 98FM (Dublin), and Radio Kerry. He appeared as a guest contributor on the BBC Radio 4 Arts Show "Kaleidoscope" in October 1997 and on "De Groote Boodschaap" on VRT Radio 1in Brussels in September 1998. John O'Regan has written liner notes for albums by Irish and International artists. He wrote the liner notes for The Celtic Heartbeat Collection and A Winter's Tale released by Celtic Heartbeat. His most recent compilation album projects include A Magical Gathering -The Clannad Anthology for which he compiled the tracks and wrote both the liner notes and track notes featured in the 46 page colour booklet attached with the 34 track double CD compilation released in the US on April 16th 2002. John has also lectured on Music Journalism and Media Analysis to City &Guilds and N.C.V.A. Sound Technology /Sound Engineering students in Pulse Studios Dublin and Carrick On Shannon V.E.C. During July/August 2002 John led workshops on ‘developments in Irish Traditional Music’ at Cleveland Irish Festival in Cleveland Ohio and Peoria -‘Erin Feis’ in Peoria ,Illinois USA. For John, music is life and spreading its good vibes his vocation.

More Posts