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VARIOUS ARTISTS - 101 Scottish Songs: The Wee Rd Book 3 DVD 

VARIOUS ARTISTS - 101 Scottish Songs: The Wee Rd Book 3 DVD 

Filmed at Celtic Connections in 2018, this was the third sell out concert hosted by the Traditional Song and Music Association of Scotland (TMSA) celebrating the relaunch of Norman Buchan’s 101 Scottish Songs. Originally published in 1963, the Wee Red Book, as it was always known, was the key song book of the folk movement of the 1960s and its re-publication by Harper Collins has been widely welcomed by traditional singers and folk musicians generally.

This DVD set draws from the 2018 concert and is an excellent and well-produced DVD featuring 19 singers and compered by the redoubtable Glasgow singer and folk stalwart, Arthur Johnstone. His compering style is gentle and self-deprecating - he even manages to lose his glasses halfway through the evening, much to his and everyone’s amusement!

There is a strong contingent of North East Scotland singers and Jim Taylor from Garlogie kicks off strongly with There Was A Lad and reminds the audience that Burns’ father was born in the Mearns. Jim’s wife, Kate Taylor, puts in a strong rendition of the Collier Laddie and Arthur Watson of the Gaugers is in fine fettle with The Gypsy Laddie. The North East tradition continues with fine bothy ballad singer Geordie Murison with Drumdelgie and Iona Fyfe offering up a quality Johnie O’ Braidiesley. Annie Reid, Maggie Spiers and daughter Emma Spiers turn in first rate numbers respectively, and what a fine singer Ellen Birt has turned out to be with wonderful and sublime singing on The Lowlands Of Holland.

Other fine contributors include Ellie Baton, Alan Knox, Ken McNaughton (with a very fine Farewell To Sicily), Arthur Johnstone, Kathy Hobkirk, Kevin Mitchell, Terry Dey, John Moran, Ellen Mitchell and Scott Murray). This is an excellent DVD resource, worth having, and featuring singing from many of Scotland’s tradition bearers.

John Carnie


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine