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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Music & Song Of Scotland 

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Music & Song Of Scotland 
Greentrax Recordings CDGMP8017 

This is a compilation CD that was first released in 1989, and has now been re-issued as part of Greentrax’s 35th anniversary celebrations. As I played through it, I felt as if I was back in my first days here in Scotland, attending concerts, clubs, singarounds and festivals. I found myself lustily singing along with many of these familiar songs, including the Freedom Come All Ye anthem, which I appear to have learned by osmosis at some point!

The song on this CD that left the strongest impression on me was the traditional My Bonnie Moorhen, sung by Heather Heywood. She deftly conveys the longing which would have been experienced by those who put their lives on the line for Bonnie Prince Charlie, and who were left to mourn the departure of their ‘bonnie moorhen,’ and cling to the forlorn hope that ‘she’ might return.

So much great music to experience here. The inimitable Adam McNaughtan, singing The Glasgow That I Used To Know; Robin Laing’s Burke & Hare (a terrible pair!); Rod Paterson’s ‘sailor’s return’ song with its specific setting and follow-through ending, where The Bleacher Lass O’Kelvinhaugh marries her long-lost sailor - after she recognises him again - and now they own a pub together. Eric Bogle’s If Wishes Were Fishes brings back memories, as it was a favourite at singarounds. I also remember The Carls O’Dysart and The Deil’s Awa Wi’ The Exciseman, although not in clever combination, as they are offered here by Janet Russell and Christine Kydd. I remember loving Iain MacKintosh, seeing him in performance often, and being touched by his version of The Farm Auction. Archie Fisher’s Shipyard Apprentice made a deep impression on me while I was still a Yank, living in the USA. I saw Lewis singer/songwriter Iain MacDonald many times, and certainly remember The Maid Of Islay. And I spent many a happy hour, sitting at the Ceilidh Place in Ullapool, hearing the recordings of my favourite Gaelic singer, Cathie-Ann MacPhee, played over the sound system there - including her Canan Nan Gaidheal.

There are so many other wonderful songs and tunes on this CD, but I’ve run out of review space! I’d say, if you haven’t got it already, do treat yourself to this one.

Jan Foley


This review appeared in Issue 140 of The Living Tradition magazine