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Folk often struggle with the equation between books and movies, but a good screenplay and gifted direction will allow the slightest or most complex piece of writing to work on screen. The analogy is apt for this collection of songs by Dougie MacLean (and Robert Burns), given the widescreen treatment by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
MacLean writes straightforward and direct songs, using popular structures that are part of the the language of the Scots tradition and the more recent models of American singer-songwriters. To the ones he has selected for this project, which cover the whole gamut of his career, orchestral arranger and conductor John Logan - whose work can be heard on all but two of the tracks, including the best of the Burns one, Green Grow The Rashes - adds the cinematic ingredients that a symphony orchestra can provide.
There is some lovely string writing of course, but it is detail for oboe, brass and Logan's own instrument, French horn, that really distinguish his scores, all beautifully captured by producers Philip Hobbs and Jamie MacLean. Of course Caledonia is here, in what may well be its definitive version - and alongside the title track, it is one of the highlights of an excellent disc.