Well, I don’t think any bagpiper or Scottish drummer would disagree that the 78th Frasers Live in Ireland CD from 1987 is an all-time classic.
The Frasers, under the direction of Pipe Major Bill Livingstone and Leading Drummer J. Reid Maxwell, set the tone for a new pipe band era – literally. Their sound, their music and their swagger where all one of a kind. Pipers and Drummers, the World over, were in musical awe – and in my opinion, still are to this day.
The music on the CD is magnificent – a powerful sound and very raw. The 78th Frasers really struck a fine balance between traditional tunes and innovative suites.
Some of my highlights include the swinging 6/8 March tracks with the Question and Answer drumming unisons. The style of pipe band drumming at that time was certainly a lot different to modern day pipe band drumming. However, it was extremely impressive and unique. The dynamic drive is so enjoyable to listen to and the forward movement is obvious throughout the CD.
A few pipe band classics such as the Masons Apron and the Clumsy Lover come to life on this album. The side drum settings are simple and effective for these tunes and provide such dynamic excitement. The reprise of Clumsy Lover and the rapturous applause from the Northern Irish pipe band audience makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck.
To be totally fair, the pinnacle of the CD is the “Journey to Skye” track. It starts off with a solo bagpiper, and then the full pipe corps joins in creating some beautiful harmony all at a very slow pace. It then gradually builds into a marching tempo in simple time, then developing into Compound time. From this point, the percussion joins with a subtle and simple rhythm to build the theme of what the pipers have established. As the suite builds, the side drummers take the lead, the pipers then take the lead, they share the drive, then meet in the middle. It’s a fantastic piece, and way ahead of its time. If you haven’t listened to it – you need to. The roto-toms are are killer! The wee early chanter squeak has to get a mention too !
The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band Live in Ireland is an epic pipe band album in every sense of the word.
Go to iTunes and add this Album to your Pipe Band collection!