This (Beats of the Heart) is a re-release on a single CD of two previous albums by Ian, “Flying High” (1987), and “Shadows in Time” (1989). The second album was a good’un, and it’s nice to hear again Ian Bruce’s “Blodwen’s Dream”.
However, it’s “Flying High” that brings the real glow of meeting again, an old friend you haven’t seen or heard for far too long. You know the feeling where you realise you’ve been starved of their company, and are incredulous that you’ve actually managed to get by without them for so long? You’ll deduce from this that I more than liked the album first time around, and you’ll deduce it correctly - I loved it, and out of its 12 tracks how do you pick the absolute best, when for example the opening tracks are (in running order) “Roses in December”, “Sing Me A Song Mr Bloom” and “Beats of the Heart”, all of which are astoundingly good, as are others such as “Hawks and Eagles” and “Some Hae Meat”. Is it all coming back now? For those not familiar with the original, many of the material has been covered by other singers, whilst some commented on controversies of the time, yet still remain thoroughly relevant today, and yet others are sung in schools, “Some Hae Meat” for example being widely sung around Robert Burn’s birthday.
Ian sings with such straightforwardness and honesty, the themes are diverse and interesting, the tunes strong, and, and and - ach I just love it! A great record, which richly deserved its win as the outright favourite of The Music Retailers Association in 1988. Welcome back.
The Living Tradition Magazine, Issue 54 - January/February 2004