recordings of robert burns

recordings of robert burns

I really like Jean Redpath’s cds of Burns which she made in US, lots of instrumental arrangements (Serge Hovey?). I also like cds by the Court of Equity. Any other favourites please?

Re: recordings of robert burns

The great virtue of the Redpath/Hovey recordings is that they have tried to encompass all of the songs written or adapted by Burns, and that they tried to use the original melodies to which he set them. For example, it is sad that Auld Lang Syne is nowadays mostly sung to a much inferior melody to the one Burns chose. Same with My Love’s Like a Red, Red Rose. Redpath and Hovey tried to rectify this. But I’m a bit disappointed that the accompiment is (as far as I can tell) only for piano. It might have been interesting to bring in fiddle and other traditional instruments.

Ossian did some really beautiful recordings of Burns in the 1970s. But my all-time favourite must be Dick Gaughan’s version of A Song in Autumn (Now Westlin Winds).

Re: recordings of robert burns

Hi Susan K

Eddi Reader, one time singer with Fairground Attraction, released, in my humble opinion, a beautiful album of Burns songs, about 2003 if memory serves me correctly.
Some great musicians accompany her, Phil Cunningham, Ían Carr spring to mind

All the best
Brian x

Re: recordings of robert burns

Aye, Marie Campbell made a few bob when Sex In The City used her recording of Auld Lang Syne (to the original tune, I think).

I would agree with the quality of Dick Gaughan’s Now Westlin Winds. On a par with that is John Morran’s take (with Deaf Shepherd) of The Gowden Locks o Anna. And of course, in a perhaps slightly different way, one cannot fail to be impressed by Kenneth McKellar singing My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose (I believe he did all his own orchestration as well).

Susan K, there’s also the Complete Songs of Robert Burns on Linn Records which was put together by Fred Freeman.

Re: recordings of robert burns

another vote for Dick Gaughan’s ‘Now Westlin Winds ’ - he also had a damn fine version of ‘Rattlin Roarin Willie’
on his first ever album No More Forever. Also Dougie McLean ‘A Man’s a Man for a’ That, sorry cant remember which cd its on

Re: recordings of robert burns

Yes, the Linn Records set is a mighty achievement, though sadly no longer available I think. But it will be in libraries.

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Re: recordings of robert burns

Sorry Calum, I think you are mistaken.
Most, if not all of the Linn records series ARE still available to purchase:
Direct from Linn Records, the only albums that seem to be missing are no 8 and no 12 out of 12 discs.
On Amazon, all are available except for no 3.
Not sure if you can still buy the whole boxed set as a one-off as I did, but you can buy individual albums or downloads.

MAIRI Campbell please. She has included other Burns’ songs on her albums too. And her version of "Auld Lang Syne" to the older tune is very fine.

Agree that Jean Redpath’s interpretations are very lovely (as is her album of Lady Nairne songs).

Other people who have done very good whole albums of Burns’ songs are Gill Bowman, Rod Paterson and Dougie Maclean (maybe it’s that album you were thinking of, Christy?) And plenty of others who have included some of his songs on their albums, e.g. Sangsters.

Kenneth McKellar - I was brought up listening to him! He does 2 versions of "Sweet Afton" (or Afton Water), to the original tune in the "Scots Musical Museum" and to the later one by Alexander Hume.
And the tune he sings to "My Love is like a Red, Red Rose" is now perhaps the best known, and also done beautifully by Davy Steele.
But if you want to hear it sung to the original tune of "Major Graham", listen to Sheena Wellington’s recording of it.

Re "Song Composed in August" - aka "Now Westlin’ Winds" - the tune that Dick Gaughan uses is IMHO much nicer than the original tune of "Port Gordon" - minor key and very wide pitch range - a challenge for any singer!

Re: recordings of robert burns

Apologies Trish for misspelling Mairi Campbell’s first name -tired after a long day working in the garden is my excuse (but it could be I’m thick also).
Agree about Gill Bowman and Rod Paterson as Burns interpreters - often overlooked in favour of "bigger" names for TV shows. Dougie Maclean’s "Tribute", which I have, also has songs by Robert Tannahill and a couple of Gow tunes so not strictly a whole album of Burns - nice but a bit one paced for my taste.

Re: recordings of robert burns

I had a lovely version of Heather Heywood singing Auld Lang Syne, to the original tune, but it was on a cassette and unfortunately its gone the way of all cassettes…………

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I’m sure you’re not thick, Donald, and bet your garden looks lovely now! "When Rosy May comes in wi’ Floo’ers": another favourite song.
And yes, that was the "Tribute" album I was thinking of, which I have as a cassette! Have not yet ditched mine, and haven’t the time to copy them all to digital,but still have something to play them on.
Worth saying as an aside that Fred Freeman (Linn Records) also has 4 volumes of Robert Tannahill songs on CD, since you mentioned another Robert. (And then there’s Robert Fergusson too….)

Re: recordings of robert burns

Another vote here for the Linn series. I have about 4 of the CDs, and I love them. Brilliant. For those you not familiar, the series features a number of different singers, most of them legends of Scottish traditional music, e.g. Tony Cuffe, Rod Patterson, Billy Ross, et. al.

As to the "original" tune for Auld Lang Syne. I’ve encountered at least four tunes, and my very favorite is perhaps the least known. I’m curious as to how we know which tune Burns employed? Is there authentication for that?

Re: recordings of robert burns

Here you are, from the Scots Musical Museum - the one that is said to be the original tune. Maybe still not absolute proof that this was the one he used.
https://digital.nls.uk/special-collections-of-printed-music/archive/87802958
The words came from at least one older poem/song (maybe bits of several) which Burns amended and added to. He said he had heard an old man singing it.

The William Shield tune (the best known tune that most people to sing it to), was added to the SMM in 1796 by Johnson after Burns had died. It is documented that Burns had heard it and thought it "mediocre".

Re: recordings of robert burns

Re: recordings of robert burns

And maybe a shorter link? ;-) (Though it does work! Thanks)

Re: recordings of robert burns

Terves and Tunes, the Tannies Studio version of "Auld Lang Syne" gives a much better and cleaner recording. This version, though all there, is obviously recorded on a audience held recording device, and as a result, the instrumentation is way out of balance, and the audiencr background noise a real distraction. Here’s a link to one of the studio versions on YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vznJKNpL30c

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Borderer : you aren’t right about piano acc. only for Serge Hovey’s arrangements for Jean Redpath. I’ve listened to the cds (at first on library cds) and you can hear a lovely fiddle player and other instruments too. Cheers.

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Trish : Burns knew a good tune when he heard one. One of my favourites is the mournful "Gloomy December" fantastic in its gloominess. I cldn’t possibly play it on the fiddle.

Re: recordings of robert burns

It is indeed a fine tune: another that’s not for the faint-hearted or narrow range singer, spanning an octave and a half, as do a number of tunes that Burns (himself a fiddle player) used.
It’s in the National Library of Scotland: https://digital.nls.uk/special-collections-of-printed-music/archive/91261274

My favourite "gloomy song" from Burns is "The Gloomy Night is Gathering Fast", set to the heart-rending tune "Roslin Castle". Again it has a very big range, and is rarely sung, tho I have tried it, and do enjoy playing the tune. The lyrics are pretty miserable too!

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@ Susan K
I stand corrected. I’ve only heard some of the Redpath/Hovey series, and only heard piano on them. Having a fiddle is undoubtedly a good thing, since Burns probably played himself.