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Album: Greentrax 30th Anniversary: The Special Projects
Label: Greentrax
Tracks: 15+15

2016 was the 30th anniversary of Greentrax Recordings; to mark the occasion the label released this fantastic-value (£8.99) double-disc set containing 30 representative tracks from its various "special projects". These range from the prestigious "Tapestry" companion albums to the acclaimed WW1-themed Far, Far From Ypres which spawned a number of sell-out concert performances.

The Gaelic Women anthology and its successor Scots Women are represented by Catherine-Ann McPhee and Heather Heywood respectively, and there's a delectable Burns song from Jean Redpath. Other essential choices for this celebratory set include two contrasting Eric Bogle tracks (reflecting his prolific songwriting), a then-previously unreleased McCalmans track, a spirited 1988 live tune-set recorded at Sandy Bell's Ceilidh (Bell's Bar), and another exceedingly lively set from the Aly Bain & Friends Channel 4 TV soundtrack disc. Hamish Henderson sings his arguably most famous composition (…Farewell To Sicily). Dick Gaughan's majestic account of The Last Trip Home, sourced from the Davy Steele tribute album, is complemented by Robin Laing's tribute to the Heavy Horses (from the Gentle Giants project), and Siobhan Miller turns in a gorgeous Moon River from the disc paying tribute to painter John Bellany.

Other typically intelligently themed collections sampled here concern Bannockburn, Flodden, the Jacobite Rising, the New Parliament, and People & Songs Of The Sea. An exception to the themed projects scenario is a brilliant example of Tony McManus' clear-sighted guitar wizardry.

Greentrax subsidiary labels are also represented: Culburnie (inevitably) by the wonderful Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas partnership, and the extensive Scottish Tradition archive series by a Lizzie Higgins track. Even the most avid collectors of Scottish music won't have all these tracks, so you really can't go wrong with this superlative, well-annotated collection

David Kidman