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ALASDAIR FRASER, MURIEL JOHNSTONE, NATALIE HAAS - Legacy of the Scottish Fiddle Vol 2 (Tunes from the life and land of Robert Burns) Culburnie CUL120

One of these days, Alasdair Fraser's going to make a below-average CD. This isn't it.

This is clearly aimed at the folkie/tourist "crossover" market, within which it will provide a welcome antidote to Tommy Scott and the egregious McCountry and Western hogwash (masquerading as Scottish music) that he spews out of listening posts in a woollen mill near you! From the atmospheric "Edinburgh by twilight" cover, with Burns' mugshot in the sky, to the little twist of tartan, this new offering from Allie Fraser and Co is aimed firmly at attracting the eye of the tourist, who will not be drawn in by the conventional folkie image. I applaud this thoroughly, as the music inside is 24-carat folk, with no compromises made. Most of the tunes are well-known as Burns' songs and they have seldom sounded better. Alasdair's ever-lyrical fiddle is supported by tasteful piano and 'cello - giving the whole thing a slightly classical feel. In fact, just about the only thing this CD doesn't do is to get down and dirty. It's almost all fairly genteel, tuneful and tasteful, so it won't frighten the horses, or unwary tourists!

I like this a lot. It's nice to hear the tunes Burns chose for his songs in this form, even if it does remind us why some of Burns' songs are quite hard work for the singer. I commend it both to you, dear folkie, and also as another example of "the acceptable face of folk" to educate folk-free friends and family.

Alan Murray

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This album was reviewed in Issue 59 of The Living Tradition magazine.