The Harper's Gallery
Temple Records TP003, 1980
Secondhand LP record, good condition, £20
enquire for availability and postage costs
This LP was Alison's second, released a few years after her first, "The Harp Key" (which is still available on CD). It was never to my knowledge re-released on cassette or CD and is not listed on the Temple Records web site. The LP is very interesting and pleasant and contains some important Gaelic harp repertory. Although it is all played on a 20th century gut-strung lever harp instead of a historical Gaelic harp, the music is interesting and Alison deserves respect and recognition for having discovered and performed this music. On this record Alison is joined by Lucy Carolan (harpsichord), Brian MacNeill (fiddle) and other musicians. As well as tunes that are now standards in the Gaelic harp scene, such as Lude's Supper, Cumh Peathair Ruaidhri, and Carrill's Lament, there are some excellent songs performed by Alison with her own clarsach accompaniment - a very evocative version of the ballad of Thomas the Rymer, and a beautiful and moving performance of the well known Gaelic song Cumha do Uilleam Siosal (Lament for William Chisholm): O Young Charles Stuart, it is your cause that has ruined me. You took everything from me in the war in your cause. I am not lamenting for my cattle or my sheep, but for my husband. Since the day you left me alone, with nothing in the world but my shirt. O my young bright love.