Sings the Songs of Robert Burns

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Sings the songs of Robert Burns
Studio album by Eddi Reader
Released United Kingdom 12 May 2003
United States 3 February 2004
Recorded By Robert Rankin at CaVa Studios, Glasgow
Genre Folk
Length 45:34
Label Rough Trade
Producer Boo Hewerdine
Eddi Reader chronology
Sings the songs of Robert Burns
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link
PopMatters not rated link
Daily Telegraph CD of the year
BBC not rated link

Sings the Songs of Robert Burns is the seventh studio album by Eddi Reader. It was released in the UK on 12 May 2003.

The album was premiered at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall as part of the Celtic Connections Festival in January 2003 and on release garnered Reader some of the best reviews of her career.

Reader explained how the album came about in the extensive liner notes:

I want to tell you about the beauty of the Ayrshire countryside (Burns's birthplace) and the people who I met there when my family were relocated to the town of Irvine, Scotland in 1976. It saved my life to be introduced to an alternative Scottish beauty and language.

I discovered that my adopted town, two hundred years before me, had adopted Robert Burns. It was 1781. He was twenty-two years old. His father had sent the young poet ploughman here to learn the more lucrative trade of flax dressing. At that time Irvine was a thriving and wealthy port, bigger than even Glasgow or Greenock, therefore full of sailors. Robert was enchanted by their tales and experience. He became a man in Irvine, learning about women, drinking and life.

Two hundred years later at school I learned some of his poetry but I often thought Robert Burns was for the highbrow and not the likes of me, the hardly educated, council estate, overspill girl. Now I see that I was wrong and that I am precisely the person Burns wrote for. As I read more and more about him, I get the sense that he was the same as the rest of us, a spokesman for the glorious in the ordinary, the sublime in the mundane. I have met many, I guess, who might be like him, in that county of Ayrshire, and in the rest of Scotland. We are all Robert's babies.

Reader says she has discovered in Robert Burns something she believes has been overlooked in the approach to his work, and she believes that her interpretations of his poetry will reach more ears than have previously heard him.

She explains: "I sang My Love's Like a Red, Red Rose to a bunch of 'worse for the drink' people in a bar in Glasgow one cold January night and I felt something happening between me and the words and the people listening, something profoundly moving. After all my travels singing songs to people, I recognised this as being a vein of emotional gold as yet unmined ... I began to be spooked by him and started on a journey to find him, Robert, the guy from Ayrshire that I would have drunk with, walked with and probably got into trouble with. I wanted to show him off to everyone, sit folk down and say 'no! no! listen, listen, really listen, listen to this...'"

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Jamie Come Try Me" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader/Carr/Cunningham/Hanson/Hewerdine/McCusker/Reid/Vernal) - 4:41
  2. "My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader) - 3:50
  3. "Willie Stewart/Molly Rankin" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader/Carr/Cunningham/Hewerdine/McCusker/Vernal/Rankin) - 4:18
  4. "Ae Fond Kiss" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader/Carr/Cunningham/Hewerdine/McCusker/Vernal) - 6:35
  5. "Brose and Butter" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader/Carr/Cunningham/Hewerdine/McCusker/Vernal/McGoldrick) - 4:02
  6. "Ye Jacobites" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader/Reid) - 4:03
  7. "Wild Mountainside" (John Douglas) - 3:54
  8. "Charlie Is My Darling (song)" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader/Carr/Cunningham/Hewerdine/McCusker/Vernal) - 3:22
  9. "John Anderson My Jo" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader) - 1:52
  10. "Winter it is past" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader) - 4:15
  11. "Auld Lang Syne" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader) - 4:36

Deluxe edition[edit]

The songs of Robert Burns Deluxe Edition
Studio album by Eddi Reader
Released 12 January 2009
Recorded By Robert Rankin at CaVa Studios, Glasgow
Genre Folk
Length 75:28
Label Rough Trade
Producer Boo Hewerdine, Eddi Reader
Eddi Reader chronology
The Songs of Robert Burns - Deluxe Edition
Love is the Way
Deluxe Edition
Review scores
Source Rating
Sunday Mail 4/5 stars Avril Cadden
The Big Issue 4/5 stars[1]
The List 4/5 stars Donald Reid
thelondonpaper 4/5 stars Link
The Sun 4/5 stars Link

A new edition of the album, with seven extra tracks, was released in the UK on 12 January 2009. The album was re-released to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.

Of the seven additional songs, two were from the original 2003 sessions ("Green Grow the Rashes O", "Of A' the Airts"), three were previously available on 2007's Peacetime ("Ye Banks and Braes", "Aye Waukin-O" and "Leezie Lindsay") "Dainty Davie", also from that session was previously unreleased, and "Comin' Thro the Rye/Dram Behind the Curtain" was a brand new recording. "Dram Behind the Curtain" was written by the Scottish Highlands composer and accordionist Mairearad Green.

The album was promoted, like its original release, with two sold out shows at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. The deluxe edition is dedicated to Kevin McCrae, the Scottish composer, arranger, conductor and cellist, who died in April 2005. McCrae conducted and arranged the strings on the original album. The additional tracks are:

12. "Green Grow the Rashes O" – 4:36
13. "Comin' Through the Rye / Dram Behind the Curtain (Maireard Green)" – 2:34
14. "Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader, McCusker, Hewerdine, Dodds, Kelly, Reid, McGuire) – 3:37
15. "Aye Waukin-O" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader, McCusker, Hewerdine, Carr) – 4:04
16. "Dainty Davie" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader, McCusker) – 5:27
17. "Leezie Lindsay" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader, chorus written by Burns, verses by Reader, Hewerdine) – 4:49
18. "Of A' the Airts" (Robert Burns, arr. Reader, Hanson) – 4:45



  1. ^ Steinberg, Lianne. "Review: EDDI READER - The Songs of Robert Burns (Rough Trade)". The Big Issue In The North (The Big Life Company) (753, 23 December-4 January 2009): 25.