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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
This is possibly the best of a superb series. Unlike the Series 1 DVD which suffers from poor audio quality, this DVD has great audio and the video quality is as good as you could expect.

For me, the mix of artists is great, and I think the higher proportion of vocal tracks in this series is one reason why this series shines. There's a great blend of Scottish and Irish folk and Country in this series with the added bonus of Michael Doucet's Cajun contributions. It's hard to pinpoint what the best tracks are - there are just so many great performances from brilliant artists.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2011
I too agree the sound quality is at a peak and the artistes too! For me the lack of a drum kit but just simple percussion keeps the gentle flavour. Having a second fiddle player as good as Aly Bain works even better than on the 1st Sessions. Sadly though they managed to leave Michael Doucet's classic 'Jolie Blond' off the DVD that I received, although the printed sleeve notes list it (in the correct place in the second programme, which I checked on my CD version). Also they forgot to mention on the credits that Ricky Skaggs plays mandolin ... and boy, doesn't he just! His condition for coming - that his wife Sharon White had to come too: spot on. An underrated simple beautiful country voice that had me playing 'Mansion on the Hill' on repeat until I was told to turn it down. Is she related to the White Family? As well as all Russ Barenberg's tasty fills on guitar and Paul Brady's classic ballad 'Arthur McBride' with him still in quite good voice (though not as good as a 1977 rendition on Youtube), the flowing gentle lilting version of Nanci Griffith 'Boots of Spanish Leather' is a favourite of Bob Dylan's (who wrote the song) and you can see why. Well worth the long wait to get the politics and copyright sorted out.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 December 2011
Having previously been slightly disappointed by an audio-only CD (series forgotten), and then dazzled by parts of Series 5 that someone kindly put on YouTube (it includes the extraordinary Alison Krauss, so that promptly went on order), I thought I'd try this. I'm glad I did. It's marvellous. The amount of talent on display here is extraordinary, all playing and fitting in together and clearly having a good time. It's nicely (and atmospherically) filmed and the audio is excellent - and most importantly the music is great. Naturally there are items that to my ears don't work so well as others, but the overall level is high and the best items are truly dazzling. Jerry Douglas's "Tribute to Peadar O'Donnell" is well known from his solo Union Station performances, but here he gets just about the best backing band in the business. And I still don't believe what Breda Smyth does with a tin whistle in one episode.

As a result, I shall be revisiting the abovementioned CD in its video version. The visual element certainly does add to the pleasure of the whole thing.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2011
It seems a bit daft reviewing a DVD more than two weeks before its release, but I've had four of the shows in this series on my PVR since the BBC last repeated it in May 2008. I couldn't count how many times I've watched them. There are some cracking performances, but the whole thing is magnificent. Amongst the stand-outs from those that I've seen there's Michael Doucet (of Beausoleil) singing Jolie Blonde, with Aly Bain and Ricky Skaggs making it three fiddles; Russ Barenburg and Sharon Shannon leading on Magic Foot; Nanci Griffith on Sandy Denny's Who Knows Where The Time Goes, backed by Karen Matheson and Maura O'Connell; Paul Brady excelling on The World Is What You Make It, with Karen Matheson (again) and Fiona Kennedy really enjoying themselves; Bachelor's Walk, a breathtaking whistle piece by Breda Smyth; Sanseptique sung by Fioma Kennedy and Karen Matheson; Hummingbird by Eddi Reader with Boo Hewerdine and a stirring rendition on the pipes of Puirt A Beul by Iain MacDonald, with Ricky Skaggs and Jerry Douglas. Even more magnificent than those is the late and much missed John Martyn performing the best rendition of Ben Harper's Excuse Me Mister, accompanied by the great Danny Thompson, Paul Brady on Piano, John Levanthal on guitar and Jerry Douglas on slide (not dobro for once). But all the others are still excellent. I can't wait.

I hope the quality doesn't suffer by squeezing 210 minutes on to one disc. It's PAL, but other sites describe it as Region 0, not 2, and if so it will play on some machines outside Europe. Amazon say the Series 2 CDs are to follow. The original releases are currently being advertised at ludicrous prices, even for used, so it will be great to have something pristine at reasonable cost.

Series 5 promises, for the first time, Jerry Douglas's long time friends and band mates Alison Krauss, Sam Bush and Bela Fleck, along with Eric Bibb and Sarah Jarosz, and Eddi Reader and Sharon Shannon returning. It just gets better. I think these series are the best music programmes that the BBC (or anybody else) has ever broadcast. I can't understand why they hide it on BBC4; it's a great channel but the best deserves the best exposure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 2011
Been looking forward to this for soooooo long. Arrived today...and WOW! Excellent sound, great quality video and of course stunning performances. The singing is particularly good, with some amazing harmonies on many of the tracks. Michael Doucet is a real revelation to me. Can't stop smiling when I listen to him singing. This is the best for me. The first was brilliant but a little too casual. The third and forth a touch over produced. This is a superb middle ground. Having said that, I would recommend that you buy the lot. Now!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2011
Coming from Canada, and having played this music for many years, all I really need to say is "I love this music DVD".

This was the series that took a long time "birthing", but what a session!

Aly Bain & Jerry Douglas blend the traditional and contemporary sounds seamlessly. The Scottish and Irish traditional music is one of the main roots of North American music - on both sides of the Canada-US border.Pick a region on the east coast of North America from Newfoundland to Texas, and you'll find Scottish and Irish traditions woven into the sound of people's voices and playing.

This DVD is an excellent example of that. The performers play what they grew up with, and then turn to learning new versions of older ideas.

Radney Foster's "Godspeed" is one favourite for me, alongside Jerry's "Tribute to Paedar O'Donnel/Takarasaka", next to Paul Brady's "Arthur McBride and the Sergeant" and many, many more stunning examples of musical genius at play.

Worth every penny, you won't stop enjoying it even after many plays.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2012
This series is absolutely stunning to say the least. It re affirms the fact that real music is still alive and well. The sad thing, that its taken me so long to find these gems.Never made it to TV here in New Zealand.
Just being a fly on the wall(which is the feeling the non intrusive filming gives) watching these musicians play together, for the joy of music alone is a fantastic treat.Its like sitting in there.The big question is " how does Jerry Douglas keep coming up with all those fresh and interesting breaks at the drop of a hat decade after decade".Just watching the expressions on the musicians faces when they just get "that moment" is worth a million dollars.
If you enjoy acoustic music, this is for you.If you are in NZ it will be on your DVD player in 6 days.
Oh the little scenic interlink shots of the Scottish countryside are great. I must put a trip on my bucket list.
Thank you Aly and Jerry, more please
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2011
One of the finest things ever commissioned from the BBC. The list of people appearing in the DVD is very impressive. Rosanne Cash, Nanci Griffith and Eddi Reader being particular favourites of mine.

Long may it continue to get re commissioned!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2012
i believe this is the best format to have complete enjoyment
supurbe music, great quallity
would recomendto anyone, and have
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2011
HAvin got TS volumes 3 and 4 and Highland Sessions, this is every bit as good. It is inteeresting to see the players looking much younger. The music is great but shows how, in later series, it has evolved to become even more professionsl. Wonderful scottish scenery. Well worth the money.
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