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VARIOUS ARTISTS - 101 Scottish Songs: The Wee Red Book 2 DVD

VARIOUS ARTISTS - 101 Scottish Songs: The Wee Red Book 2 DVD

This second volume of songs from Norman Buchan’s famous collection retains the same format as last year’s successful DVD. Recorded at Celtic Connections in 2017, one by one a number of top Scots folk singers stand in front of their peers and a theatre audience to sing their selection from “The Wee Red Book”. Young and not so young, with women just outnumbering men, each singer briefly describes the history of their choice, and their reasons for picking it.

The songs, mostly sung a cappella but with occasional accompaniment from guitar and fiddle, cover a wide variety of topics and styles. In English and Scots, there are rousing songs like Gin I Were Where The Gaudie Rins and Haughs O’ Cromdale, slow airs such as Bleacher Lass O’ Kelvinhaugh, chorus songs (the audience is always keen to join in) including The Gallowa’ Hills, My Pittenweem Jo, Birnie Boozle and Old Maid In The Garrett. Ian Bruce sings the story of Johnny Ramensky, while humour is never far away. Adam McNaughton, in delivering a lively sing-along collection of childhood and playground rhythms and rhymes, pays fulsome tribute to Norman Buchan. The wonderful Ian Davidson is also lauded.

The concert finishes with cast renditions of Yellow On The Broom, and then, led by compere Janet Weatherston, In Freendship’s Name.

The Wee Red Book 2 exemplifies Scottish songs at their best, with accessible rhythmic melodies, sung naturally, in community. Highly enjoyable to watch, this is an excellent source and an inspiration for all singers.

Jim McCourt

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This album was reviewed in Issue 122 of The Living Tradition magazine.