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Various Artists- "Scots Women" Double CD - Greentrax CDTrax 213d

There's a lovely story going round that Cathy-Ann McPhee, performing at the Greentrax's "Gaelic Women" concert, informed the surprised audience that "If it wasn't for Ian Green there would be no Gaelic Women". Not content with creating Gaelic women singlehandedly, Ian Green has now manufactured the Scots counterpart (not!). Seriously - what Ian has done is to assemble for a concert and this CD almost every major female singer that is still alive in what is a truly astounding collection of voices, songs and combinations. Masterminded musically by the Mighty McNeill (Brian), this double CD has no highlights - it's simply one huge highlight of perfection. It would be invidious to pick out favourites, but I'll mention a few tracks just to give you a flavour of the diversity therein. Heather Heywood and massed forces issue the CD's calling card of "The Sands O' the Shore", Sheena Wellington gets "A Man's a Man" on record for the first time, Cilla Fisher is welcome back from Kettleland with a stunning "Sodger Laddie" and Sheila Stewart and Karine Polwart bring seasoned campaigner and fresh blood together seamlessly in "Halloween". It's also a great joy to hear Corinna Hewat's subtly different take on the Nic Jones epic "Anachie Gordon".

I realise that I'm dribbling a bit here - but this is very, very good indeed ... setting the standards in honest-to-goodness, crafted-with-love- and-care folk on CD. Pretty much life as normal for Greentrax, then!

Alan Murray

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This album was reviewed in Issue 46 of The Living Tradition magazine.