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VARIOUS ARTISTS - 101 Scottish Songs: The Wee Red Book DVD

VARIOUS ARTISTS - 101 Scottish Songs: The Wee Red Book DVD

The Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA), whose aim is the promotion, presentation and preservation of the traditional music and song of Scotland, has reached its half-century. In commemoration, Norman Buchan’s famous “Wee Red Book” of 101 Scottish songs was republished. This DVD, recorded live at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre, features a ‘who’s who’ of Scotland’s most prominent traditional singers in concert, performing a selection of songs from the book, to celebrate the TMSA’s success.

Lasting almost two hours, 22 folk standards are included, all but three being unaccompanied. The format sees a series of individual singers (men and women equally represented) standing on stage at a microphone, with the other performers sitting behind them. With good sound quality, the live performances, which also show the audience joining in, bring the songs to life, demonstrating how they were meant to be sung, and the sense of community they inspire. Allan Taylor is the convivial compere, keeping the sequence flowing.

There are lullabies and singalongs, ballads and bothy ballads, songs of love and comedy, songs about work and the countryside. Amidst such high-quality material it is difficult to single out individual tracks. However, young Jodie Christie tugs at the heart-strings with her delightful version of Mormond Braes. The event ends with the entire company singing The Barnyards O’ Delgaty and then, following the TMSA tradition, Freedom Come All Ye.

101 Scottish Songs is inspirational and instructive, enjoyable and entertaining, providing excellent examples of traditional compositions and their continuing attraction and significance.

Jim McCourt

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This album was reviewed in Issue 116 of The Living Tradition magazine.