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Robert Burns - The Complete Songs.Compiled by Dr Fred Freeman.

12 Volumes planned, 9 so far available [January 2002].

Individual CDs £13. Cassettes £6.50 each. Whole set £10 per CD or £5 per cassette if ordered together from

LINN Records, Floors Road, Eaglesham, by Glasgow G76 OEP tel:0141-303-5029.

Fred gave The Immortal Memory at the LBPS Burns Supper in Edinburgh on 19 January 2002, illustrated by excerpts from the series. [See elsewhere in this issue for a description of that evening. Ed] I bought the CD of Volume 1, the printed insert to which has Fred’s introduction to the series. I recommend it.

It has 23 tracks, each with one Burns song. Most have an instrumental accompaniment. The Cittern is used, bagpipes are not (on this disc) but pipers may still learn or improve tunes by listening.

Songs include expected ones from standard editions of Burns (Duncan Gray). More sexu- ally explicit ones not usually found in standard editions (Wha’ll mow me noo?) and ones which we may know better as tunes than as songs (Brose and Butter). A variety of singers and musicians perform.

This is a very worthwhile enterprise and I hope Fred and Linn Records do well out of it. David Stevenson


Hanka Joova & The Bandshees (& Hoste Obdobi)”, The Bandshees (Gaelachas CD001,


Those who attended this years competition will already be familiar with the fine Border Piping of Chip Doehring & Scott Riley who treated us to a brilliantly harmonious duet set of Irish Polkas. Whilst working in the Czech Republic, Chip & Scott play their pipes in a local Celtic Folk group, ‘The Bandshees’, who have just released their first self-titled al- bum.

The disc features 9 tracks altogether, including 5 tracks of instrumental Irish & Scottish folk music, including the magnificent Polka set with pipes to the fore, supported by Rene Star- hon on Bouzouki & Percussion. The other 4 tracks are Celtic-inspired compositions by Hanka Joova - the titles of these are admittedly a little cheesy; ‘Celtic Winter’ takes the prize there I think...

However the pieces are very listenable & original, and the standard of playing high through- out. I particularly liked ‘Freedom’, which is based around a very elegant whistle theme, built up with accordion, military-style drums & cello.

From the names given in the inlay, all the musicians appear to be Czech except for Chip, Scott and the harpist Sean Barry, and throughout both the traditional & the original music, there is a strong thread of Eastern European folk style & technique running parallel to the Celtic. The Accordion particularly has a very Eastern tone, and the use of the fujara (remember the whistle that Bolasz played a couple of years back at the Collogue?) in some places reinforces the effect.


This Celtic-Slavic fusion is very attractive where it comes through strongest, but isn’t really developed, which is disappointing as it could be the basis of a unique sound the band could take a lot further.

Overall I found this a very enjoyable, well produced & professional recording, although the band need to play more to their strengths and develop a sound more their own - they cer- tainly have a lot of talent and imagination to work with. More pipes too, of course!

You can obtain a copy of the album by contacting The Bandshees at : Donald Lindsay



Voyage by the Eel Grinders on Sargasso sounds EELCD02

David Faulkner - Border pipes, whistle and trumpet Lawrence Morgan-Anstee - Border pipes and whistle Helena Torpy - fiddle and voice

Steve Turner - accordion

This is not an in-your-face-bagpipe-led-foot-stomping CD, but rather a more carefully crafted innovative and improvisational ensemble approach that draws on the skills and talents of the whole group.

It is crafted in that you can clearly see where the chords, melodies, riffs and the specific instruments all fit together. It is innovative in that they could have stuck to the old and fa- miliar and there would be little complaints. Instead they have boldly gone where no one has gone before and they have gone and done it. And it is improvisational in the sense - and I mean this in a positive way - that you get the impression that the tape was left on running until they exhausted all their ideas and damn the costs.

This CD is about as close to the cutting-edge (without going electronic) as you will ever find without leaving the realms of what is known today as folk music. The Beatles had Sgt Pepper. With Voyage the Eel Grinders are pushing the envelope.

The tracks speak for themselves. Track one (upwards), for instance, can quickly blindside you and imbed in frontal lobes - a sure sign of a catchy tune. With its bouncy casual laid- back fiddle and tight sprightly accordion playing it builds up a groove preparing the listener for the equally laid-back entry of the Border pipes.

Track two (Boxing Hares), is my personal favourite. The haunting whistle theme is superb and the pipes add a unique joyous feel to the variations and melodies.

Track three (starburst), opens with a sombre toned accordion riff juxtaposed with discordant pipes and fiddle and is probably the most modern track on the CD.

Track nine (Attingham Waltz), is excellent and is a good example of how soulful the Border pipes can be with the right tune in the right pair of hands.

I don’t know where the Eel Grinders will voyage to next. In many ways it does not matter as they have shown what they are capable of, and they now have nothing to prove. The only minor criticism I have is that a CD will never catch the excitement and energy of the Eel Grinders as they perform live.

Nevertheless, this is a bloody good CD, and deserves to be sat alongside any serious piper’s collection.

Jim Fraser