Robert Burns was born at Alloway, near Ayr, on January 25, 1759. His father William was a gardener to the Provost of Ayr. Robert was educated briefly at John Murdoch's school in Alloway and later in Ayr.
Family financial worries forced Burns to work as a farm labourer, and it was while thus occupied that he met his first love, Nelly Kirkpatrick. She inspired him to try his hand at poetry, a song entitled O, once I lov'd a bonnie lass, set to the tune of a traditional reel.
The first published work of poetry by Robert Burns was "Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect" which saw the light of day on 31 July 1786. This collection of verse contained many of Burn's best works, including To a Mouse, and The Holy Fair.
The success of "Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect" convinced Burns to abandon plans to emigrate to Jamaica. Buoyed by his burgeoning reputation as an unschooled ‘ploughman poet', Burns moved to Edinburgh and became part of the thriving cultural scene there.
He was unable to find a patron to support his writing, but publisher James Johnson gave him work editing a collection of Scottish folk songs. This work, titled "The Scots Musical Museum", was published in 5 volumes over sixteen years. Burns himself contributed over 150 songs, including Auld Lang Syne, a reworking of an earlier folk song of unknown origin.
Burns and his wife Jean moved to Mauchline, where in 1790 he produced "Tam o' Shanter", which was first published merely as an accompaniment to an illustration of Alloway Kirk, in a volume of "Antiquities of Scotland". The growing Burns family moved again, this time to Dumfries.
Burns contributed 114 songs to "A Select Collection Of Scottish Airs" by George Thomson, but he received very little payment for his efforts. In 1795, Burns was inspired by the events of the French Revolution to write A Man's A Man For a' that, his cry for human equality.
One year later, on July 21, 1796, Burns was dead of rheumatic fever.
Read an essay on "The Complete Songs of Robert Burns" by Producer Dr Fred Freeman.
a marvellous tributemore >>Soundstage website
A rare gem to cherish for its own inherent beauty.more >>The Edinburgh Guide
it's not only Burns to be celebrated but also every single person involved in this must-have Burns collectionmore >>Inverness Courier
'For anyone with the kind of interest in the Scottish tradition or Robert Burns, this is an essential purchase.'more >>Scot Magazine
an event of stunning significance for Scottish traditional musicmore >>The Scotsman
Is there a better, warmer, more soulful version anywhere of My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose? I doubt it.The Standard
the definitive collectionmore >>Northern Echo (Darlington)
A marvellous collectionmore >>The List
very effective settingsmore >>BBC Music Magazine
A delightful cornucopia of excellent, often hauntingly authentic performances.Folk On
A fine piece of work and most definitely not to be missed.Philadelphia Inquirer
the singers find spirit in all of themmore >>Dirty Linen
The calibre of the performers and of the material makes this disc shine.Yorkshire Evening Press
the beauty shine[s] throughmore >>Musical Opinion
A refreshing surprise.Albuquerque Journal
Add this to your collection of Celtic recordings.The Scotsman
Magnificent projectWashington Post
This is music of great varietymore >>The Scotsman
some great songsmore >>The Kilt and Harp
Burns would have liked this.Sunday Herald
Burns sung and played as you have never heard him beforemore >>Froots
a landmark piece of workmore >>Folk Roots
An absolute gem from Linn Records.more >>Irish Post
The simple but powerful arrangements on this volume breathe life into the poetry.The Folk Diary
this one stands head and shoulders above the othersmore >>The Living Tradition
A delightful album. Unreservedly recommended.The Herald
Robust, rugged, feisty, gentle and warmmore >>Folk Roots
A superb albumRock'n'Reel
Auld Lang Syne restores Robert Burns' work to its rightful importancemore >>Traditional Music Maker
a wonderful selection of songs, sung by a variety of great voicesmore >>Rock & Reel
A valuable addition to any collection.more >>Mail on Sunday
'Listening to these recordings has been a revelation.'more >>BBC Music Magazine
...hauntingly authentic...more >>