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Tere's life in the Old Blind Dogs yet

A few weeks ago the 'new’ Old Blind Dogs opened the main stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival, sounding - to those who'd already heard the dynamic Scots band's albums, or seen them in action - like business as usual. 'It was a smooth transition.‘ admits bassist and founder member Buzby MacMillan, 'T he old Dogs just sort of petered out. The excitement level had been going downhill. When Ian (Benzie, singer) finally left it seemed we might stop altogether - but then Jonny (Hardie, fiddler) and myself decided to try and bring the band back to life.’ And they decidedly have, reigning in two of the most distinctive sounds on the Scottish folk scene. Jim Malcolm's assured, burnished vocals complement Rory Campbell's beautifully executed, highly musical expression on bagpipes and whistle: while in young Paul Jennings, they've also found the perfect replacement for original percussionist Davey Cattanach. Buzby enthuses 'We're very lucky. Paul plays in such a similar way; same style, same rhythmic feel. So we've still got that trademark Dogs sound, and we’re moving on.’ (Norman Chalmers)

3 Old Blind Dogs (Fringe), Spiegeltent, Scott Monument, Princes Street (Venue 87) 558 8070, 29 Aug, 77pm. £7 (£5); Tinto Folk Festival, Wiston, Biggar, 07899 850

228, 4 Sep, 8pm. £6 (£5), children £2.

wide range of musical tastes catered to, why not get to the Point? (Hannah McGilI)

Check rock listings for line-up details. Tickets available from Cas Rock and Ripping Records.

MUSIC REVIEW Orient Express Moving Schnorers

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With the momentum of an out-of- control express train, this French eight- piece takes the audience on a fast- paced musical journey somewhere very special. Blending Eastern and Western influences with their brand of Jewish instrumental music, their sound is big, brassy and very jazzy.

Onstage they are colourfully theatrical, swapping instruments with dexterity and ease, with humorous verbal interludes placing the music in its cultural and historical context. Historically, Schnorers were professional beggar-philosophers who circulated jokes and gossip around Jewish villages. These Schnorers are an oddball and unique modern day equivalent, who bring the tradition up to date whilst maintaining the circus-like feel of their predecessors. Their instrumentation ranges from the piano side-stage, to the brass section (which changes in size with each song) to woodwind and percussion in a cacophony of harmonies.

Perfectly matched to the kitsch grandeur of the Spiegeltent, they make a helluva fun night out.

(Tracy Griffen)

a Orient Express Moving Schnorers (Fringe) Spiegeltent (Venue 87) 558 8070, 27-28 Aug, 5pm; 29 Aug, 7.30pm; 30 Aug, 77pm, E 7 (£5).


Polly Phillips

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’The evening continues with one sexual fantasy after another,’ Polly Phillips informs us, after taking our breath away with an incredible opening demonstration of her vocal abilities. On ’Greek God’, her wailing vocals are accompanied by discordant staccato guitar and thumping bass drum creating an hypnotic effect. Her voice leaps and falls between a jazzy- style falsetto and deep southern blues tones.

'Most of my inspiration comes from Jerry Springer,’ Phillips confesses to the packed venue. With tongue securely lodged in her cheek, she launches into ’The Caterpillar’, a song about forbidden love; follow-up ’Still Blue’ is a poignant love song with a backing of moody bongos and bass guitar.

With Phillips's fearless voice, Haswell’s brooding guitar and Pillay’s versatile percussion, the threesome complement each other excellently. Although at times the melodies can be derivative, this is compensated for by

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STAR RATINGS *ttii Unmzssabie

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As seen on Tl!

26 Aug-9 Sep 1999 THE LIST 55