Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dick Gaughan - Sail On (Scotland 1996) @320

Long considered one of the great folk voices of our time, Dick Gaughan is acknowledged as one of Scotland’s most outstanding musicians – his vocal prowess, instrumental virtuosity and intelligence as a composer are legendary. This collection reflects all these skills.

An early member of Boys Of The Lough, he was also a founding member of the legendary Scottish folk rock group Five Hand Reel. His classic album Handful Of Earth was named as Album Of The Decade for the 1980s by Folk Roots magazine.

He lists his influences as everything ranging from Davy Graham to Big Bill Broonzy, Bertolt Brecht to Robert Burns and Karl Marx to Groucho Marx.

Dick draws his material from a variety of sources, so, while traditional material provides much of this repertoire, great songwriters are also represented. The common thread running through all his work is Dick’s passion in social justice and telling it like it is.

"Passion, honesty, they're all there ... Buy it." (The Living Tradition)

01 - Land Of The North Wind
02 - Son Of Man
03 - Ruby Tuesday
04 - Waist Deep In The Big Muddy
05 - No Cause For Alarm
06 - The 51st (Highland) Division's Farewell To Sicily
07 - No Gods & Precious Few Heroes
08 - Geronimo's Cadillac
09 - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
10 - Sail On
11 - The Freedom Come-All-Ye

Dick Gaughan: Vocal, Guitars
Mary MacMaster: Harp
Mike Travis: Drums
Stuart Smith: Bass
Rab Handleigh: Keyboard
Alan Thomson: Bass
John Henderson: Drums
Patsy Seddon: Harp
Fred Morrison: Highland Pipes
Kathy Stewart, Tich Frier, Bobby Eaglesham: Backing Vocal

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dick Gaughan - Handful of Earth (Scotland 1981) @320

This was the first album I had recorded in Scotland. For some reason, it seemed to strike a chord with people and it is the most succesful recording I have made in terms of acclaim and sales.

It was Melody Maker's Album of the Year in 1981 and in 1989 it was voted in the Critics' Poll, and more important to me, the Readers' Poll, in Folk Roots as Album of the Decade. I have had hundreds of reviews, good and bad, and I pay little attention to them. But when the actual people you're playing to confer an honour like that upon you, you shed the odd tear of thanks that you've been privileged to be able to do something which means something to them.

Why they voted it such was a complete mystery to me then and still is today. As a friend of mine says, "Never ask one of the actors what they thought of the play".

01 - Erin-Go-Bragh
02 - Now Westlin Winds
03 - Craigie Hill
04 - World Turned Upside Down (Rosselson M-S)
05 - The Snows They Melt the Soonest
06 - Lough Erne-First Kiss at Parting
07 - Scojun Waltz-Randers Hopsa
08 - Song for Ireland (Colclough)
09 - Workers' Song
10 - Both Sides the Tweed (Pickford M-S)

Dick Gaughan: Vocal, Guitars
Brian McNeill: Fiddle, acoustic bass
Stuart Isbister: Bass
Phil Cunningham: Keyboard, Whistle

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dick Gaughan - Call it Freedom (Scotland 1988) @VBR


One of Scotland's greatest trad artists, guitarist Dick Gaughan is known as a diehard Socialist leftie, as well as one of the world's greatest guitar flatpickers. His career has ranged from straight trad to a brief fling at Celtic rock, and then into a near-complete submersion into politcal song during the Thatcher-Reagan years of the 1980s. His records have softened ever so slightly since those days, although his political commitment remains strong. A powerful and charming live performer, Gaughan is sure to bring a tear to your eyes, either because of some sad tale of woe, a particularly beautiful melody, or perhaps a particularly daft joke.

01 - Bulmer's fancy-The silver spire
02 - Shipwreck
03 - What you do with what you've got
04 - Ludlow massacre
05 - That's the way the river runs
06 - Amandla!-Call it freedom
07 - When I'm gone
08 - Seven good soldiers
09 - Fifty years from now-Yardheads

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Guitars
Elaine C. Smith : Vocal
Fos Patterson : Keyboards
Tomas Lynch : Uillean pipes, Whistle
Brian McNeill : Fiddle
Allan Tall : Saxophone
Mike Travis : Drums, Percussion
Dave Bulmer : Accordeon

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Värttinä - Utu (2012 Finland) @320

I've said and written plenty about the Finnish musical ensemble Värttinä over the past two decades. I still haven't heard any artist or band from the 90s whose music I would rank ahead of theirs, and the band continued strongly into the 00s as well.  The story of Värttinä is one of constant change, though, as members have joined and exited the group at a fairly steady clip.  The band took a very long hiatus after their 2006 release Miero and the subsequent tour, and for a while it did not appear certain that they would return.  But singers Mari Kaasinen, Susan Aho, and Johanna Virtanen have recently regrouped with a mostly reconstituted supporting cast.  Their new album Utu lacks some of the ferocity of previous Värttinä albums, but it is still a fine effort.

01. Ruhverikko (Dark Girl) 3:04    
02. Tuuterin Tyttäret (The Girls From Tuuteri) 3:32    
03. Kaihon Kantaja (The Bearer Of Yearning) 3:52    
04. Vietäviä (For The Taking) 3:03    
05. Utuneito (The Mist Maiden) 3:22    
06. Iloni (My Joy) 3:54    
07. Helleleo 3:06    
08. Vaeltaja (The Wanderer) 3:13    
09. Suruni Suuri (My Great Sorrow) 0:58    
10. Manattu (Conjured By A Seer) 4:17    
11. Kutsu (The Call) 1:27    
12. Haltija (The Elf) 3:17    
13. Tantsu (Dance) 3:05    
14. Haltijan Hallussa (Under The Elf's Spell) 3:41    
15. Uinu (Sleep) 2:22

Mari Kaasinen - Vocals
Susan Aho - Vocals
Johanna Virtanen - Vocals
Hannu Rantanen - Double bass
Matti Kallio - Accordion, keyboards, tin whistles, bansuri
Wimme Saari: Vocals (10)
Sakari Kukko: Tenor sax (3), gopi yantra (4). bansuri (5), duduk (8), soprano sax (13)
Kukka Letho: Fiddle
Matti Laitinen: Guitars, bazouk, mandolin, mandocello
Jaska Lukkarinen: Percussion and drum kit

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