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VARIOUS ARTISTS - "Complete Songs of Robert Burns - Vol 1"
Linn Records CKD047

The opening strains of this album are unmistakable, it must be a new Ossian album. No, it is Tony Cuffe launching into Burns' "When Rosy May Comes in Wi' Flowers" with Tony's distinctive guitar style accompanied on fiddle this time by John McCusker. This sets the scene for a delightful album, a generous twenty-three tracks from singers and musicians from the heart of the Scottish folk scene, including Tony, Rod Paterson, Billy Ross, Christine Kydd, Janet Russell, Ian Benzie, Alan Reid, Jack Evans, Norman Chalmers, Billy Jackson and John McCusker.

For the singers this is no last minute conversion to Burns for the benefit of the Bicentenary but songs from their normal repertoire.

The man behind the whole project, Dr Fred Freeman, can be rightfully proud of the outcome of his labours. Linn Records have also played their part with a generous thirty-six page booklet containing the song texts and background notes. This release is Volume One of a promised twelve CD series of the complete songs of Burns. To quote from Fred's sleeve notes "The performance is both a lasting tribute to the man and to the contemporary folk movement in Scotland"!

That is no exaggeration. This is a landmark recording of Burns' songs. Unreservedly recommended.

Pete Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 15 of The Living Tradition magazine.