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Songs Of Scotland / Jo Stafford

Songs Of Scotland / Jo Stafford

Honey-toned vocalist and former Pied Piper Jo Stafford illuminates a dozen Scottish folk and popular lyrics from the pen of 18th century Scots poet Robert Burns with scores by Alton Rinker and backed by her collaborator and husband, Paul Weston. The formidable confab offers up a unique listening experience that should not be missed by Stafford enthusiasts or lovers of Burns' verse. The ornate arrangements are unquestionably a product of the post-big-band era and very much in line with the sort of sound that jazz singers of the early '50s were evolving their performance style around. The collection suitably commences with the warm, endearing, and affective "My Heart's in the Highlands," setting the pace for the remainder of the contents. Overall, the selections could primarily be considered ballads, with the exception of the jaunty "Bonnie Lad That's Far Away." Stafford's remarkably expressive and supple intonations bring to life familiar titles such as the sweet and tuneful "Green Grow the Rashes, O," the stirringly intimate lament "My Jean," and a definitive reading of the classic "Auld Lang Syne." Removed from the pomp and circumstance of New Year's Eve, the song takes on a further sense of longing and melancholy. The palpably yearning sentiment in "John Anderson, My Jo" is the perfect vehicle for Stafford, as is "Comin' Through the Rye," one of only a handful of traditional melodies that Weston and Rinker astutely crafted to Stafford's rich tonality. The latter additionally stands out for the wispy strings that glide through the heart of the achingly beautiful refrain. For inclined parties, it doesn't get better than Jo Stafford, and Songs of Scotland is evidence of her capacious talents and equally impressive interpretive skills.

Review by Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide
  • Details

    My Heart's in the Highlands

    John Anderson, My Jo

    Flow Gently Sweet Afton

    Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon

    Molly's Meek, Molly's Sweet

    Comin' Through the Rye

    My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose

    Green Grow the Rashes, O

    Annie Laurie

    My Jean

    The Bonnie Lad That's Far Away

    Auld Lang Syne
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