More (Mostly) Folk Music

Dick Gaughan   •   Handful Of Earth

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  • Handful Of Earth
    • 1981 - Advent 3602 LP (USA)
  • Side One
    1. Erin-Go-Bragh
    2. Now Westlin Winds
    3. Craigie Hill
    4. World Turned Upside Down (Leon Rosselson)
    5. The Snows They Melt the Soonest
  • Side Two
    1. Lough Erne & First Kiss at Parting
    2. Scojun Waltz & Randers Hopsa
    3. Song for Ireland (Phil Colclough)
    4. Workers' Song (Ed Pickford)
    5. Both Sides of The Tweed

  • Musicians
    • Dick Gaughan: Vocals, Guitar
    • Brian McNeill: Fiddle (Tracks: 1, 7), Bass (Track: 10)
    • Phil Cunningham: Whistle (Track: 1), Keyboards (Track: 10)
    • Stewart Isbister: Bass (Track: 10)
  • Credits
    • Recorded by Robin Morton at Temple Studios
    • Front Sleeve Photograph: Mick Campbell
    • Back Sleeve Photograph: Ian McCalman
    • Design: Tony Russell
    • All Tracks: Trad. Arr. Dick Gaughan, unless otherwise noted.
    • First Published by Topic, 1981

Sleeve Notes

Nothing I do is really all that original; I can only interpret my influences. Therefore, to all the musicians and singers from whom I've learned and stolen, consciously and unconsciously, go my gratitude and credit, especially to the many fine singers of Northern Ireland — it took me years of listening to understand and fully appreciate your skills, and to be aware of how much you have influenced me: much more than I suspected.

Thanks to Robin, Brian, Phil and Stewart, without whose friendship and cooperation it would probably never have been done. Also to the lads at Side Street Music, Edinburgh. Thanks too to Mick & Mhaiii and to Lea for their support and assistance.

Dick Gaughan, 1981

Advent Records is proud to present the first U.S. release by Scotland's finest and most respected interpreter of traditional songs and tunes DICK GAUGHAN. A rich singer with an awesomely powerful voice and a consummate guitar player, Dick brings a rare understanding and sensitivity to his performances of the 9 traditional and 3 contemporary pieces presented here.

ERIN-GO-BRAGH — I can't remember where I learned this — I've heard so many people sing it, notably Enoch Kent. Auld Reekie is an insulting, slightly affectionate name for Edinburgh. Being brought up with Irish grandparents and a Highland Scots mother, I find the irony of the song the best antidote to racism.

NOW WESTLIN WINDS — Learned over a period of years, a verse at a time, from Geordie Hamilton — a man who tantalises other singers by singing them a verse or two of a gem, then saying, 'Ah, you don't really want to hear that', and singing something else. A song learned from Geordie is a testimony to patience; a great man and a giant of a singer. Burns is often regarded as a poet of little significance by those ignorant of his finest work. It is sad that his greatness and insight are better appreciated in other places and in other cultures.

CRAIGIE HILL — Paddy Tunney sings this on The Irish Edge (Topic 12T165). I appear to have altered the tune considerably in the singing of it. The great social blight of emigration has robbed both Ireland and Scotland of our greatest resource — our young people, both in the past and, even worse, in the present.

WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN — The mark of a great song is its ability to speak universals about specific happenings and to be relevant to all times. Sometimes we (Scots and Irish) forget that the first colony of the British Empire was in fact England. Written by Leon Rosselson, for whose songwriting I have enormous respect.

THE SNOWS THEY MELT THE SOONEST — Learned by osmosis from Archie Fisher (then osmosis taught me it). I wasn't aware that I actually knew it until I found myself singing it one night.

LOUGH ERNE & FIRST KISS AT PARTING — Like The Snows They Melt the Soonest, I didn't know that I knew this until I thought that the tune might sound nice after it. I learned it from Cathal McConnell; he used to sing it when we were in Boys of the Lough together (quite a long time ago now!). The tune, First Kiss at Parting, was inspired by a short poem of Burns by the same name.

SCOJUN WALTZ & RANDER HOPSA — The first was an attempt to prove that cajun music originated in Leith. The second is Danish and I learned it from Danish-based group McEwan's Export.

SONG FOR IRELAND — Written by Phil Colclough. I love this, and love singing it. Thanks, Phil.

WORKERS'S SONG — Ed Pickford always says what I want to say, but better than I could. This speaks for itself, and for me.

BOTH SIDES THE TWEED — This was originally a comment on the Act of Union of 1707, an act of political and economic expediency which it is an understatement to say was unpopular at the time in Scotland. I didn't like the original tune (Hogg's Jacobite Relics) and rewrote the words to make it of more contemporary relevance. The only way forward is by mutual respect and understanding.