various artists,
Music & Song of Scotland
(Greentrax, 1989)

This CD is billed as a Greentrax Showcase, but it could also be called a showcase of Scottish music and as such would pass the Trades Descriptions Act. Here in 18 excellent tracks you can immerse yourself in the heather, lochs, whiskey and joy of the Highlands and Lowlands.

Opening with a rousing medley of heart-lifting tunes by the Lothian & Borders Police Band, you find yourself thinking with a Scots accent. Among the tunes are "Scotland the Brave" and "Highland Laddie." The McCalmans take us on a musical tramp through the "Rolling Hills of the Borders," which is a great advertisement for the Scottish Tourist Board.

But Scotland is not just music and scenery. It has a dark side. One of the best-known criminal pairs in its history are "Burke & Hare," the body snatchers. Robin Laing gives a succinct and very musical short history of the pair on the track of that name. "Bonnie Moorhen" is one of the most haunting of Scottish folk tunes and it gets a fantastic rendition by Heather Heywood.

The CD takes you through a number of beautiful tunes and styles of singing. Each is a joy in its own way.

No Scottish or Greentrax album would be complete without the Australian-based Scot Eric Bogle, represented here by his fabulous composition "If Wishes were Fishes." It ends with Lindsay Porteous and Andy Hunter giving full vent to a lovely "Freedom Come All Ye."

Although this CD is now 14 years old it sounds as fresh as when first released. If you are a novice at Scottish music it is a great introduction. If you already have a collection this could be a missing piece in your jigsaw. Seek it out, listen and enjoy.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 14 June 2003

Buy it from