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VARIOUS ARTISTS - "Complete Songs of Robert Burns - Vol 3" Linn Records

More of Fred Freeman's finest here as Linn Records bring forth another 26 of the Bard's Best, or Now That's What I Call the Muses Volume 3. Flippancy aside, it's nice to see that we in the folk world are learning a little about marketing as we rove out. For not only is this aimed at the serial or serious collector - and with the price of CDs you've got to be serious - but there's an appeal, too, to the uncommitted, my copy having a sticker on the front announcing "featuring Auld Lang Syne (original version) sung by Ronnie Browne of The Corries". And a fine version it is, but there are equally fine performances by the other singers on this album, namely Ian Bruce, Leslie Hale (lovely to hear that rich voice again), Gordeanna McCulloch, Mick West and the much under-rated Brian Miller and Wendy Weatherby.

The selection of tracks by Dr Fred Freeman repeats the mixture as before, combining better-known songs such as "Ca' the Yowes", "The Birks of Aberfeldy" and "Comin' Thro' the Rye" with ones that you definitely won't hear on a TV Burns Night (remember them?) such as "On a Bank of Flowers" and "Craigieburn Wood".

With backing musicians of the calibre of Billy Jackson, Ian Lowthian, Catriona MacDonald, John Martin, Tony McManus and Dougie Pincock, it's very much a quality production and with a running time of 66 minutes and all the words of all the songs printed out for you, there isn't a dull moment from beginning to end as it follows on admirably from the first two volumes. Not only one to collect, but one to actually listen to as well. Absolutely excellent.

Alan Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 22 of The Living Tradition magazine.