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Eclectic collection of music with Scottish links
on 29 March 2009
The title of this compilation is loosely interpreted, with many songs by Scottish artists augmented by other artists performing music with a Scottish theme. So you have Gerry Rafferty, a Scotsman, performing Baker Street, a song about a part of London, but you also have Paul McCartney, an Englishman, performing Mull of Kintyre, a song about a part of Scotland. Yet somehow, both of those songs belong in a compilation of this nature. Furthermore, the tracks cover a time span of nearly a century, ranging from early 20th century music by Harry Lauder to contemporary artists such as KT Tunstall. Listeners may have more problems with the way the tracks have been sequenced, since all the styles are jumbled up. It might have been better if the traditional music had been separated from the contemporary music, but that's a minor quibble.
The selection of artists and tracks leaves plenty of room for debate, but I suspect that the selection was dictated at least in part by licensing restrictions. It appears from the credits (reinforced by the booklet notes proclaiming their rich heritage of Scottish music) that EMI made no attempt to license tracks from Sony/BMG or Universal, and judging by the quality of the music here, that would have been an unnecessary extra expense. Maybe those other labels will release their own compilations if they haven't already done so. So if your favorite Scottish artist isn't here, it may be that they never recorded for an EMI label, although my instinct tells me that maybe one or two big names who did have been omitted for whatever reason.
Forgetting about what might have been included but isn't, there is plenty of great music here. Apart from Baker Street and Mull of Kintyre, other famous oldies include Amazing grace (the bagpipe instrumental version by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards), Darlin' (the Frankie Miller hit version - this song was originally written by the English country group Poacher and has also been recorded by Tom Jones as well as some American country singers including Barbara Mandrell), When I'm dead and gone (McGuiness Flint), Living in the past (Jethro Tull), If I was (Midge Ure) and January (Pilot).
More traditional Scottish fare is well represented. Appropriately for a compilation of Scottish music released to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, there's a version of his classic song My love is like a red red rose, here performed by Robert Wilson, as well as A man`s a man for a` that, here performed by The lone piper, plus a trilogy performed by Celtic Spirit and (of course) Auld lang syne, here performed by the Glasgow Phoenix Choir.
Those looking for songs with a Scottish theme will find plenty here including Loch Lomond, A Scottish soldier, Northern lights of Aberdeen, Road to the isles, Roamin' in the gloamin', I belong to Glasgow, Skye boat song, I love a lassie, Scotland the brave, Bonnie Dundee, Flower of Scotland, Bluebells of Scotland, Campbelltown loch and Caledonia.
Given the diverse range of material featured here, you may not like every track, but with a total of 101 tracks spread over five CD's, anybody with an interest in Scottish music should find plenty to enjoy.