various artists,
Wooed & Married & Aa
(Greentrax, 2008)

The subtitle on this collection of 41 tracks is "Songs, tunes & customs." It may never be up there in the "hit parade" or "number three with a bullet," but it is certainly a must-have for anyone remotely interested in Scottish music and/or history.

The recordings on Wooed & Married & Aa are from the archives of the School of Scottish Studies -- No. 23 in an ongoing series of collections -- and draw together tunes, songs and customs relating to marriage.

Here you can experience the traditional sounds from weddings of fishermen, farmers and factory workers. These show that there is a lot more to it than the piper preceding the couple to the reception. In addition to the music and songs, we get stories about various sorts of "pre-nuptial agreements" and traditions of the islanders.

And, apart from learning about the past, many performers may pick up new material from the album to be arranged and adapted. Maybe the "wedding singers" of the world will listen to this CD and add a bit more to the tradition of post-wedding celebrations.

The accompanying booklet is beautifully illustrated with old photos and contains the lyrics of the songs featured. All in all it is a wonderful production as a historical research tool or an album of music and fun to dip into.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

13 December 2008

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