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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Auld Lang Syne" Linn Records CKD088

With the Holyrood Parliament just around the corner, it's particularly reassuring to see that the newly discovered confidence in things Scottish has spread to our own record companies. In particular the marketing departments are doing their bit for the sales drive because here we have a prime example of finding a new niche in the customer market.

Hogmanay comes along and the Burns Month follows - a time for casual buyers of the Bard's work. They're probably unaware of the five superb volumes of his Collected Songs issued already on Linn Records. So how to draw their attention? Easy - assemble over an hour of his most popular songs on a mid-price sampler and Bingo!

Let's hope Linn are correct because this enterprise deserves success. Readers familiar with the previous volumes will know of the exceptionally high standard both vocally and instrumentally and all I really need to do is list some of the songs - A Red, Red Rose; Sweet Afton; Ca the Yowes; A Man's a Man; Scots Wha Hae and, of course, the title track - and some of the singers - Davy Steele; Ian Bruce; Gordeanna McCulloch; Rod Paterson; Ronnie Browne - and you'll have a fair idea of what to expect.

It's an excellent album and should give anyone a taste for more. By the way, don't we get a bit blas, about Burns? As the Greatest Hits unfold one after another it certainly did this reviewer good to be reminded of both the quality and quantity of the man's work.

Excellent all round. Buy them in bulk for presents - they'll keep longer than shortbread.

Alan McIntosh Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 31 of The Living Tradition magazine.