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NORMAN BUCHAN & PETER HALL - Scottish Folk Songs 

NORMAN BUCHAN & PETER HALL - Scottish Folk Songs 
Collins ISBN: 9780008319786 

Edited by Norman Buchan and Peter Hall and first published in 1973 as The Scottish Folksinger, this is another of Collins’ Little Book series, and follows on from the reissue of 101 Scottish Songs in 2016. It was again produced in collaboration with the Traditional Music And Song Association of Scotland (TMSA) and with the assistance of several key Scottish song enthusiasts.

This book was originally issued ten years after 101 Scottish Songs was first published, at a time when the folksong revival in Scotland was well underway. It wasn’t originally aimed at the folk song enthusiast, but rather at the general reader. Nevertheless, it became part of most Scottish singers’ collections, and it is great to have this invaluable book widely available again.

The songs contained here vary widely from old traditional ballads to more recently written but widely accepted folk songs from the likes of Hamish Henderson, Matt McGinn and Adam McNaughtan; from bothy ballads to street songs; from the collections of Child and Greig; and from the singing of many of Scotland’s great tradition bearers. There’s a handy glossary, notes on the provenance of the songs, the melody lines and suggested accompanying chords and Buchan and Hall’s original introduction is included – itself an interesting read. There are a few songs that have been omitted from this reissue, though these are available elsewhere.

My only criticism is that, compared to the original, but in keeping with the pocket-sized Little Book series ethos, the texts, and especially the music, printed here are quite small and may be problematic for some. Otherwise, this is an excellent and inexpensive resource and a book worth having in your collection.

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 128 of The Living Tradition magazine.