18 tracks: The Condolences Set * Jamie Come Try Me * The Heron * Strong Women Rule Us All With Their Tears * Master Crowley’s Reel / Bobby Casey’s Reel * Molly’s Roses / Hamish Henderson’s Refusal * Mrs Crotty’s Reel Set * Beautiful Dreamer / Traveller’s Moon * Miss Hamilton * The Heroes’ Reel * Ewan and The Gold * Miss Michison Regrets * The Sidewalk Reels * Sunday on The Jar * The Dallas-Domestic-Fort-Worth-Nothin’-Texas-High-Terminal-Two-Step * The Boy’s Lament For His Dragon Set * Charlie is My Darling / These Boots Were Made for Walkinshaw.
This is a compilation of tracks from Brian McNeill’s prolific output of solo and duo albums he released during his time with the Battlefield Band and since moving on. Brian found selecting the tracks for this album somewhat difficult but it was a labour of love at the same time – not least because of the memories involved in making each of the albums.
Brian’s ‘Monksgate’ was his first solo effort and will always be special to him because of the people he gathered around him, including Neil Evans, Angus McGregor and Nan Trench. Next came ‘Unstrung Hero’, on which Brian played every single instrument. Then, shortly after the publication of Brian’s first novel, ‘The Busker’, came the ‘Busker and The Devil’s Only Daughter’ album. Brian thinks this was an attempt to bridge what he was beginning to see as two very different careers. New horizons were looming large and the prospect of being a soloist was exciting and yet terrifying at the same time.
The result of Brian’s new solo direction was an album about the Scots in North America, ‘The Back O’ The North Wind’ (CDTRAX047), his first with Greentrax Recordings in 1991. This was followed in 1995 with ‘No Gods’, also on Greentrax, (CDTRAX098) which had a huge sound and even included a brass section. It also included contributions from his close buddy Dick Gaughan. In between times, Brian teamed up and recorded a duo album, ‘Horses For Courses’ with Tom McDonagh, one of Ireland’s finest bouzouki players. They toured Germany together.
In 1995, already touring with Iain MacKintosh, the two recorded a studio album for Greentrax, ‘Stage By Stage’ (CDTRAX101) and recorded a tune, with one of the longest titles ever: ‘The Dallas-Domestic-Fort-Worth-Nothin’-Texas-High-Heel-Terminal-Two- Step’! In 2000 the duo recorded a ‘live’ double album, ‘Live and Kicking’, in front of an amazing German audience. This was to be the final album by the duo, when a terminal illness finally caught up with Iain and we lost a remarkable talent.
Brian was later to become the Head of Scottish Music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where he produced an album, ‘No. 1 Scottish’ (CDTRAX310) from the cream of Scotland’s young traditional players. On one track Brian joined the very talented Lori Watson, Jennifer Port, Rosie Morton and Calum MacCrimmon, which was a must for ‘The Best of Brian McNeill – Vol. 1’.