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Colleen Eccleston
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Colleen Eccleston In Essence

Colleen is 1/3 of the celtic trio "The Ecclestons". In Essence is a collection of Colleen Eccleston songs to provide listeners with a representative cross-section of Colleen's work, which had been either unreleased or in limited production, up to 1997. Recorded and mixed primarily in-house by musician/producer/ husband Hugh McMillan, the styles range from almost prog-rock through to nearly country and on to acoustic folk, and features guest appearances by James Keelaghan (harmony vocal), Oscar Lopez (nylonstring guitar), Vince Ditrich (drums and percussion), Brent Gubbells (acoustic bass), Eugene Oschadsky ('cello and arrangement), and Louise Rose (piano).

Ecclestons the home fires

Ecclestons Fir n Mna

This disc contains 13 powerful tracks, of which nine are traditional. Colleen shows us her abilities at song writing with the second track, and one which quickly became a favorite of mine. "Last Rose of Summer" is a passionate song and reaches deep to strike corresponding chords within the soul. A song of nature, a song of dreams, a song of love, it is one of those songs that will linger on and on in the memory. One which you will find yourself humming quite unintentionally.

The third track is another original, this one written by Greg. "The Sixteen Men of Tain" is a great drinking song! "Oh, the sixteen men of Tain/they're at it once again/distilling single malt scotch whiskey/ in the hills above the glen/and the angels take their share/ for it's always been that way/here's to the whisky that they brew/ in Scotland far away."

There was a hit song back in the 70's, a little ditty by the Bee Gees which was an important part of the movie "Saturday Night Fever," and popular soundtrack. The song was entitled "Stayin' Alive," and was one of the most popular of its era. I've heard this performed live by the Ecclestons and am happy to say they've also included it on their disc. The arrangement turned it from disco to Celtic, and their reasoning was explained at the show. "Most inhabitants of Australia originally came from Scotland and Ireland, thus it must be a Celtic tune." Never a fan of the disco era, I can really appreciate the song in this form, and you have to admit the reasoning is quite sound!

Each and every track pulls at you, as if wanting you to join in, capturing some of the group's stage presence. They had a lot of fun recording these songs, and the gaiety and energy which they put forth is passed along as an undercurrent in the music. This disc is definitely a must for those who like Celtic music!

[Naomi de Bruyn]

Ecclestons imbolic to beltane