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EWAN MacCOLL & PEGGY SEEGER "Classic Scots Ballads"
Tradition TCD1051

A welcome reissue from way back in 1959, although in many ways this could sound dated and drab, with the faltering accompaniments and plain, almost aloof, singing style. Yet on closer listening the same accoumpianiments and voice can also go right to the heart of the song, opening out the story, a verse, a line or even a word at a time.

Much of the material is drawn from the big songs and ballads, and includes grand versions of "The Gairdener Chyld", "Glasgow Peggy" and "Lord Thomas and Fair Annie" as well as the better known, "Banks of the Nile" and "The Trooper and the Maid". Simply told and direct but these were the foundations that many others, even still, build from.

Hind sight is a great thing and Peggy Seeger takes the opportunity to add to the sleeve notes, describing the reasonings and thoughts behind the song arrangements at the time of the original recording. Adding accompaniments to many of these songs was the breaking in of new ground. Even to-day this new ground is still being broken and rebroken. More often with heaver hands and less thought, understanding or success.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 23 of The Living Tradition magazine.