Jock Tamson's Bairns,
(Greentrax, 2005)

The Bairns retired back in 1983 and stayed away for 12 years. Then, in 1995, they re-emerged and in subsequent years produced some more great music. On the return the fans got a bargain of two earlier albums on one CD and then, in 2001, they produced a new album. Not ones to rush into things, they have left us waiting four years for this CD -- but the wait is worth it.

Again we get a mixture of top-class instrumentals combined with some beautiful songs. In the main, their output is traditional but this is Jock Tamson's Bairns traditional. That is, they give us a new take on songs and tunes that may have grown familiar.

Their version of that old old song "The Fause Knicht on the Road" -- false knight for all non-Scots -- is one of the best of the modern renditions.

We all are familiar with the song "The Bonnie Earl of Moray," but listen to it on this CD and expect a revelation. The notes inform us that the new air is from a traditional Swedish ballad. It may upset the purist but it produces a great song and shows again the appellation world music, when attached to folk, can be true.

My favourite track on the album is a set that opens with the fantastic "The Grave of the Unknown Clansman," a wonderful slow air. Another good song is the marvelously titled "The Soor Milk Cart." It is said to be a true tale of romance from the 1880s.

This album is certainly well titled. It is a rare treat of excellent songs and tunes to delight Scots and everyone else.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 30 April 2005