June 30, 2002

The son also rises

My Father’s Son
Bruce Gandy
Maddog Productions

Reviewer's rating: 3.5 gracenotes out of a possible 5

Reviewed by Andrew Wright

It is always a great pleasure to listen to the playing of Bruce Gandy, and My Father’s Son gives him the opportunity to display his talent over the full range of the Highland bagpipe repertory. His style is clear, clean and uncomplicated and he does not seek to show off or impress, but anyone listening to this CD will surely be impressed with his strong technique and steady rhythms played on a bagpipe that holds perfect tuning over each of the twelve tracks.

A number of these tracks are backed up by additional instrumentation from various combinations of musicians. These are on the whole well done and are not intrusive and will appeal to many listeners, but it must be stated that the playing on the bagpipe on this occasion is well capable of standing on its own.

Some 24 of Bruce’s own compositions are included, and while posterity will always be the judge of these, the initial impression is favourable, and the attention of the first time listener is captured. Also included are a number of tunes composed or arranged by Donald MacLeod, acknowledged by Bruce as one of his major inspirations.

The content of the CD has something to suit all tastes. The competition repertoire is not neglected, and on track 11 the performer plays a selection of competition strathspeys and reels that he has performed during his competitive career, and which have brought his name to the attention of the piping public. These are played with all of the rhythm and control we would expect.

Competition marches are catered for with the little heard but difficult “William Macdonald,” gleaned from Donald MacLeod, and the classic “Leaving Lunga” by James Gordon and refined some say by the great march composer John MacColl. These are played with stronger down beats than I seem to remember from Bruce in the past but, again, the rhythm is rock steady.

Piobaireachd devotees will enjoy “Lachlan MacNeill Campbell of Kintarbet’s Fancy,” which is introduced by the first line of the ground played on the practice chanter with other instrumental back up.

Small pipe players will enjoy track 12 where Walsh A-2000 smallpipes are used to good effect with an air and a selection of jigs.

The production, sound recording and presentation of the CD are of top quality. Those who buy it will not be disappointed.

President of the Piobaireachd Society and in great demand as a teacher, Andrew Wright is world famous for his knowledge and interpretation of ceol mor.


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