on 14 October 2011
Folklorist Reg Hall's words about Leo Rowsome are a masterclass in damning with faint praise:
`A master musician, reliable, prolific in repertory, faultless in execution, his playing was four-square and predictable and somewhat relentless in his regulator work.'
Rowsome certainly does overdo it with the regulators - when the uillean pipes are compared to the organ, it's his playing that is being thought of. In mitigation, he's much better at it than the many who imitated his style; and there can be no doubting the quality of his chanter playing. However, there's always a certain genteel feel to his music; he consistently misses the darker, more interesting shades brought out by the Johnny Doran school. Or maybe, as the sleevenotes suggest, he needed a live audience to bring out the best in him. Still, this is a good listen. As it currently seems to be the only easily available album of old-time piping, you might be interested in hearing it while waiting for `King of the Travelling Pipers' to turn up again.