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VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Complete Songs Of Robert Tannahill Volume III

VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Complete Songs Of Robert Tannahill Volume III
Brechin All Records CDBAR017

Seven of the finest exponents of traditional Scots song sing 20 of Robert Tannahill’s compositions (plus a poem) in this beautifully produced and carefully crafted CD. Themes of love, loss, grief, humour, melancholy, heroism and daily life are covered, in a range of tempos and styles, with and without choruses.

Although the original nature of the material is retained, a balance is struck between authenticity and a contemporary presentation. No piece sounds antiquated or irrelevant.

Vocal performances are of a high quality throughout, delivered with feeling and clear diction. The sometimes harsh tones of the Scots tongue are counterbalanced by varied and subtly tailored arrangements, which unfailingly support and complement the melodies without ever detracting from them or taking centre stage. A particular strength lies in the melodies themselves – many “constructed” by Fred Freeman. Their lilts and rhythms hold the attention and interest.

An attractive booklet accompanying the CD contains pen-portraits of the singers, a brief biography of Robert Tannahill, listings of the performers on each track, and the lyrics for every song - these being easily readable, and including translations of dialect words.

For the singer, each track is a lesson, as well as an idea to copy! For the listener, this CD offers laid-back but stimulating enjoyment. For the historian it provides further insight into the life, times and talent of this still under-rated man and his musical world. As an example of traditional Scots song, presented by highly experienced singers and musicians, this tasteful CD excels.

Jim McCourt


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This album was reviewed in Issue 96 of The Living Tradition magazine.