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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
37
Transatlantic Sessions [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£30.41+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 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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on 3 September 2016
if you love folk/country/fiddles and all then you need to get this,my husband introduced me to transatlantic sessions a few years ago, I have to admit, I wasn't interested at first but after watching the first series I was hooked, especially as it is filmed on the edge of a Scottish loch and has american and English performers all getting together to sing and play in what looks like an informal 'jamming' session, listening to this music isn't the same as watching it in these session, brilliant and I have fallen in love with an american called Teddy Thompson, who I had never heard of until I watch him perform
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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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on 31 December 2015
I am sorry to be a slightly dissenting voice, when all other reviewers have unanimously awarded this dvd the maximum 5 stars so far. It is mainly in comparison with some of the other series that l have awarded Series 2 of Transatlantic sessions only 4 stars.
Personally I find the overall quality, and the number of stand out performances, to be better in the Transatlantic Series 1, 3 and 4 (despite series 1 admittedly suffering from video and sound quality on the whole inferior to the later series)
I think it is probably stellar performances from the likes of Darrell Scott, Emmylou Harris, Mary Black, The McGarrigles, Guy Clark, Dougie McLean, Davey Spillane, Tim O'Brien, Cara Dillon, Paul Brady, Julie Fowlis, Joan Osborne, James Taylor, Dan Tyminski, Allison Moorer, Roseanne Cash, Karan Casey, John Martyn etc in 1, 3 and 4 which lift those series slightly above series 2, 5 and 6 in overall quality.
I know some featured artistes performed in both sets of series, but for me the songs and the level of performance are superior in series 1, 3 & 4.
For instance, John Martyn seems to be in a more collaborative mood in Series 1. Here in Series 2 he is performing almost as a soloist with his exaggerated slurred vocals, and with the accompanying musicians seemingly having to play an arrangement around him. The exception to this is the duet of 'Solid Air' with his old time collaborator Danny Thompson on bass with whom he appears to have an intuitive empathetic connection.
Many of my favourite parts of Series 2 are actually the mainly instrumental numbers featuring the house band, and those musicians who have since become series regulars. It has to be said that Michael Doucet with his cajun style fiddle, and Sharon Shannon on accordion often add some welcome enthusiasm, and the house band generally seem to be having a good time.
Paul Brady l prefer doing traditional tunes to his own mainly 'rockabilly' style compositions. I loved his 'Lakes of Pontchartrain' and 'Streets of Derry' duet with Cara Dillon in Series 3. Here in 2, he does add reasonable vocal accompaniments to Karen Matheson, and to Roseanne Cash when performing one of her father's songs. Roseanne herself doesnt quite reach the heights of the gorgeous 'Secret Life of Roses' from Season 4. Paul Brady however in this series 2 does also provide a tour de force (solo) highlight in the form of the roustabout 'Arthur McBride', a traditional recruiting sergeant song. Delivered quite seriously with superb accompaniment on guitar, Paul breaks into laughter at the end of the song perhaps to break the tension? when his fellow musicians start to applaud him.
' Arthur McBride' does admittedly have some violent anti-military overtones, probably connected to the army's recruitment practises and the political situation at the time the song was written.
I was also impressed with Sharon White's easy delivery of melodic country songs, and Radney Fosters well delivered songs on which he commendably uses different female backing vocalists each time.
As a featured artist l was less impressed with Ricky Skaggs rather bland performances, other than on 'Talk About Suffering' which is very good. I did not either particularly enjoy Nanci Griffiths versions of the songs she plays here, mainly because her enunciation and phrasing don't seem to suit the songs very well. Nancy did sound much better to my ears as a backing vocalist on 'Trouble In The Fields' an excellent duet version with Maura O'Connell. Maura has a fine powerful voice, but l found her habit of looking into camera a bit irritating and contrary to the ethos of Transatlantic Sessions which is all about the music rather than performing to camera.
Similarly with Eddie Reader, nice vocals on her version of 'Hummingbird' aside, she is apt to gyrate rather oddly whilst performing her songs in this series. She seems to have quelled her performance eccentricities a bit by series 3, l am glad to say.
Jerry Douglas, as a new addition to the houseband musicians overseeing the musical arrangements with Aly Bain, does add a lot of virtuoso dobro and lapsteel performances throughout. On his 'Paedar O'Donnell' medley and also on 'Passing The Bar' Jerry plays superbly impressive dobro/ lap steel.Aly is as usual solidly reliable on fiddle.
Ronan Browne and lain MacDonald produce enjoyable performances on pipes and the same can be said for Breda Smyth on the whistle.
This series was shot in a hotel set between The Cairngorms and the Aberdeen coast, so there are many superb scenic clips of mountains, hilly countryside, inland waterways and coastal areas interspersed throughout the programmes. As ever the beautiful Scottish countryside is a star of the series.
There is also one magical photographic sequence taken from the air of porpoises/dolphins? surfacing from the sea below. Crashing waves and babbling streams are other impressive visual additions to the music on offer.
There is probably enough quality music on offer here to make it worthwhile purchasing this dvd for anyone who likes Celtic and/or American country based folk music, but if new to the Transatlantic programmes my own personal recommendation would be to start with Series 3 or 4 first.
Series 1 would probably be my favourite for the music alone, but the video quality might not make it the best place to start unless like me you favour the superb assemblage of vintage musicians in that series.
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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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on 30 September 2011
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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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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on 19 May 2017
After having seen some episode on the web, I finally bought the whole series (1 to 6).
Astounding bunch of musicians laying heart and skill bare for our pleasure !
Parcel received in perfect time, as usual.
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on 19 January 2015
Brilliant as always - if they produced a hundred of these I could see myself buying them (funds permitting !!) I'm definitely a fan. Hope they retain the same core - house band, etc
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on 17 November 2014
One of the best series to be broadcast on tv. Musicians coming together who, you can tell, love what they do. Now I can watch as many times as I want, Brilliant!
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