Kevin And Ellen Mitchell
Have a Drop Mair
Once an occasional printed magazine, Musical Traditions is nowadays a thriving presence on the Net actively supporting traditional music’s maintenance through a series of CD releases. One of the latest in this line is a double album of more than two and a half hours of unaccompanied singing from Kevin and Ellen Mitchell. While Derry-born Kevin has developed a considerable reputation over the last thirty years, his Glaswegian wife, Ellen, will probably be less well-known (though undeservedly so on this showing).
Have A Drop Mair offers thirty-nine songs, eighteen from Kevin and the remainder from Ellen. Oddly, perhaps, there are no duets and some listeners may find the discs’ organisation somewhat perplexing. Alternation is the dominant pattern, so, for most of the two albums, tracks switch between the two singers. While Ellen sometimes has two songs in a row, this does not apply to Kevin. Perhaps the reason is to facilitate comparisons and links between the Irish and Scottish song traditions, but this is not always apparent from the various juxtapositions.
Nevertheless, this is an album of inestimable value. Kevin’s singing has lost none of the vitality he first displayed three decades ago on Free And Easy and Ellen often sings with a burning passion, especially the love song Queen Among The Heather.
In this age of microscopic liner notes, the addition of an A5 sized lyrics booklet is especially welcome, particularly as it includes comments from the singers and additional material on each song’s source.
This review by Geoff Wallis originally appeared in fRoots magazine – www.frootsmag.com.
The album is available from Musical Traditions at www.mustrad.org.uk/records.htm.