Robert Burns

The Robert Burns Love Song Project

What defines how successful a song will be? While a good melody, coupled with poor lyrics, or a poor melody with good lyrics may be sung at times, it would seem that the combination of good lyrics and a strong melodic line will always win the day.

Sheet MusicAll of this explains the spectacular success of “My Love is Like a Red Red Rose”, “Ae Fond Kiss”, “Ca’ the Yowes”, “John Anderson my Jo” and “Ye Banks and Braes” and in vocal terms, the lack of success of “Logan Braes”, “There’ll Never Be Peace Till Jamie Comes Hame” and “Thou Hast Left Me Ever Jamie” Certainly, the lyrics of these three songs/poems are as poignant and meaningful as the lyrics of the more popular songs, so why should they not have an equal chance of displaying Burn’s prowess?

It was with this in mind that seventeen years ago, I embarked on a quest to produce “new, haunting tunes” to some of these less well known works of Burns. Now, of course, this may be seen as an act of heresy rather than a heartfelt tribute to Burns’ memory. However, if we consider the fact that the version of “My Love is Like a Red Red Rose” was never actually heard by Burns, (a different tune was added years after his death,) I am led to believe and hope that he would be thrilled to have the opportunity to have his words opened up to a greater audience.

Therefore, new music was produced by me, for five love songs - “Logan Braes”, “There’ll Never Be Peace Till Jamie Comes Hame” “Thou Hast Left Me Ever Jamie”, “My Heart’s in the Highlands” and “Robin Adair” which at the time of writing was attributed to Burns, in some music books, in my posession. In 1997 my wife and I, to celebrate our slver wedding anniversary, recorded ten love songs on a CD, which was distributed mainly to relatives and friends.

However, recently, as a result of positive feedback from the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, in Alloway, the ten tracks has become available for download on Itunes, Amazon and Google Play Music. A short promotional video, featuring extracts from the songs is available at

And if my original intention of bringing some of Burns’ lesser known songs to a wider audience is realised, I’ll have succeeded in what I set out to do...

Ian Rae


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