10 tracks: One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three Eyes * Daughter Doris * The Three Feathers * The Humph at The Fit o’ The Glen and The Humph at The Head o’ The Glen * The Angel of Death * Silly Jack and The Factor * The Boy and The Bruni * Keeping Out The Sea Man * The Fiddler o’ Gord * The Greenbank Pony.
In most modern European cultures the longer types of wonder-tale, or fairy-tales as they are often called, are the aristocrats of traditional storytelling, as the older ballads are of singing. These stories share the atmosphere of mediaeval romance - timelessly vague, but with such material properties as must be described supplied from the wardrobe of the Middle Ages. They are the fireside dreams of ordinary people who overcome foes and misfortunes to live rich and happy ever after: escapism, in fact. Storytelling was a common evening entertainment for the whole community, and only increasing competition from printed books gradually restricted the wonder-tales to country people, and eventually led to the idea in some places that they were only fit for children.
On this double album nearly half the tales, including most of the longer ones, are from travellers: all of them have international parallels. The tales which the non-Gaelic-speaking travellers have kept alive represent a part of Scots tradition which has almost vanished among the settled population for lack of occasions for, or interest in, its performance. The remaining stories come from Shetland and Orkney, not because it would have been impossible to find examples of similar legends and anecdotes among the settled population of the mainland, but because in Shetland especially they are told with such enthusiasm and artistry that the islands inevitably attract the fieldworker.
Jeannie Robertson, the great ballad singer, was the first of the modern traveller storytellers to be recorded by the School of Scottish Studies, to be followed by fellow travellers Davie Stewart, Stanley Robertson, Andrew Stewart and Betsy Whyte. The Shetland and Orkney storytellers are represented here by Tom Tulloch (two stories), James Henderson and George Peterson.
This double CD collection is accompanied by a 68 page booklet of text which provides not only extensive background information on the stories and storytellers but also includes the text of the full stories to assist the listener.
The Scottish Tradition Series consists of a selection of material previously held in the archives of Edinburgh University’s School of Scottish Studies.