Various Artists - Whaur the Pig Gaed On The Spree (5 stars)

Alasdair Roberts-curated compilation of Scottish song recordings from 1950s

Various Artists - Whaur the Pig Gaed On The Spree

(Drag City)

In the summer of 1951 Alan Lomax made his first song collecting tour of Scotland, aided by the great Scottish poet and folklorist Hamish Henderson. Drawn from those recordings, this Alasdair Roberts-curated compilation does a superb job of capturing what he describes as ‘the passion, rawness, command, depth of understanding … and uniqueness of style’ of great singers like Jeannie Robertson, Jimmy McBeath and Mary Cosgrove. In their hands, ‘The Deadly Wars are Blast and Blawn’ and ‘The Collier Lad’ are stark and deeply moving. Elsewhere, there are magnificent fiddle and pipe tunes, bawdy ballads, and the unfettered joy of some Aberdeen schoolchildren’s playground rhymes. None of these recordings sound like museum pieces: they are full of life, a testament to the human spirit.

Jimmy MacBeath: Hey Barra Gadgie (1953)

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