Despite the package's claims that this is the perfect introduction to Burns's work, listeners might well find themselves playing the tape twice, once for the music, the second time to try to pick out the words. Ideally, they would hear the tape while looking at the poems on the page, but the producer did not choose to include the text. Actor John Cairney, who has been performing Burns's poems since 1959, does a more than credible reading, but unfortunately being enthusiastic about the recording and true to the 18th-century Scottish dialect does little to enhance the American listener's appreciation. The 20 poems presented here include longer works, such as "The Cotter's Saturday Night" and "Tam O'Shanter," along with "Holy Willie's Prayer," "Epistle to a Young Friend," "A Red, Red Rose," and "Auld Lang Syne." With longer poems, it's difficult to tell when the selection ends, while shorter poems run into one another. This is currently the only tape of Burns's work available, so interested fans will have to make do. Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 7 Up-Scottish actor John Cairney gives voice to 20 of the poet's works, some standards and others slightly more obscure. Cairney portrayed Burns in a solo stage show from 1965 to 1981. He not only performs on this cassette, but also selected and arranged the poems and musical elements. Lilting tunes often introduce a piece, and the familiar melody of "Auld Lang Syne" plays throughout that reading. "Tam o'Shanter," "To a Mouse," "To a Louse," and "A Red, Red Rose" are here, as well as the less well known "Mary Morison," "Of a' the Airts," and "The Banks of Doon." Language arts instructors who teach Burns and want to convey a sense of what he intended will especially appreciate this collection and Cairney's performance. The dramatic and occasional special effects will help to capture students' imaginations. The romantic pieces provide a leisurely pace for neophytes to familiarize themselves with the accent.-Diana Dickerson, White Pigeon Community Schools, MI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.