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Robert Burns - The Complete Songs "Volume 8
Green grow the rashes,O"
Linn Records - CKD 143

It was so long between Volume 7 of this epic partwork, and Volume 8 being published, that there were fears that Linn had given up on completing the marathon of new recordings of all three hundred and sixty eight Burn's Songs.

However the wait was more than worth it! This latest volume is the best yet! It seemed unlikely that the Producer, Fred Freeman, and Engineer, Peter Haigh, would be able to beat the best of the previous volumes for mix and content - but the latest is quite superb. All of the nine featured performers deserve great credit for their interpretations - but they could not have made music and verse so convincingly without the instrumentalists, arrangements, production and editing that Linn placed at their disposal.

The arrangements of 25 tracks on this Volume vary from Mae McKenna's delightful unaccompanied 'Ae fond kiss'; to Bobby Eaglesham's aggressive attack, with full instrumental army, on 'The groves of sweet myrtle'. What would Rabbie have made of a samba beat behind Karine Polwart's 'Wae is my heart: The Banks of the Devon'? However, he surely would have loved the ethereal clarsach/penny whistle backing to 'Behold my Love', accentuating Mairi Campbell's vocal range and clear diction?

Congratulations to all concerned - but to Linn in particular for continuing to develop this astonishing contribution to our Scottish heritage - and folk-song's "Living Tradition".

Is there no venue where these talented performers, and their sensational presentation of the Complete Songs, can be presented live to Scotland's visitors?

David S Anderson

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This album was reviewed in Issue 44 of The Living Tradition magazine.