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Gaelic Songs of Scotland: Women At Work In the Western Isles

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Album Review

Alan Lomax's journey to Scotland in 1951 yielded some of his most earthy and genuinely folkloric material. When he wasn't hitting the cities chronicling street musicians and festivals, he was trudging through the Hebrides and propping his microphone against a horse trough to record peasants singing odes to the working life. On the sprawling 38-track Gaelic Songs of Scotland: Women at Work in the Western Isles, the subjects are the callused hands and melodious throats of weavers, sheep shearers, and farmers going about their business with equal parts joy, humor, and despair — it doesn't get any more rustic than hearing an a cappella lament sung against the rhythmic squirt of raw milk from the teats of a cow against the base of a metal pail. As usual, the peerless liner notes make the whole package akin to a valuable textbook, and the music contained within its faded leather cover is as pure, untouched, and otherworldly as the country itself.

Gaelic Songs of Scotland: Women At Work In the Western Isles, Alan Lomax Collection
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