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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Songs And Ballads From Perthshire: Field Recordings of the 1950`s

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Songs And Ballads From Perthshire: Field Recordings of the 1950`s
Greentrax CDTRAX9024

"Get in amongst the travellers", was the sage advice given to Maurice Fleming of Blairgowrie by Hamish Henderson (1919-2002).  Hamish was to become a life-long friend.  This highly varied and entertaining selection, recorded by Maurice for the archives of The School of Scottish Studies, is part of the harvest.

The Scottish Traveller community have been, and are, amongst our finest oral tradition bearers. We have a clear demonstration of this here, since 22 of the 25 tracks are from members of this community.  The album commemorates and celebrates the 60th anniversary of “The School" who have, rightly, acknowledged the quantity and quality of traveller contribution to its archives.  We have inputs from a wide roll-call: Higgins, Kelbie, McDonald, McPhee, Reid, Townsley, Stewart and White!

The performances are excellent and the digital remastering of top quality.  We have a poignant Banks O Red Roses from Ruby Kelbie, an impassioned Tifty’s Annie from Jock White, a spirited (and rare) bothy ballad Falkirk Fair from Martha Reid, a well sung Golden Vanity from the then 10 year old, John McDonald, a fine Jamie Foyers from Willie McPhee, the rare Hatton Woods from Sheila Stewart and a compelling Bogies Bonnie Belle from her mother Belle.  This, and much more, to savour.

These singers don’t just sing the songs they inhabit them!

The booklet is erudite and comprehensive.  It is edited by Maurice Fleming: with song notes, singer profiles, full texts, photos, glossary and bibliography.  Indeed, "a proper job".

Geordie McIntyre

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This album was reviewed in Issue 89 of The Living Tradition magazine.