Joe Gordon recently made his record debut for H.M.V. with "The Barnyards o' Delgaty" and "Bonnie Wee Jeannie McColl", and this EP of four Scottish Folk Songs is the sequel to that success. His charming personality is already well-known in Scotland through appearances on B.B.C. TV in "White Heather Club" and many radio programmes. He has also a large following south of the Tweed by his performances in "Saturday Club".
A Glasgow boy, his interest in folk music was kindled at a very early age. He made a keen study of American Folk Song, and has a repertoire of over three hundred items from this field. A few years ago he decided to explore Scottish Folk Song, and realised that there was a tremendous amount of dormant material that could well stand being revived and brought up-to-date in his own distinctive style. His vitality and freshness of approach to this music made an immediate impression.
The Joe Gordon Folk Four was formed in 1957, and for this group Joe recruited George Hill, electric guitar, and Dick Campbell, bass — two of the best musicians at present resident in Scotland. The fourth member of the group is Callum Sinclair, a Glasgow Art teacher, who is also a jazz enthusiast and folk song collector. Joe himself does not confine his artistry to folk songs, as his profession is that of a commercial artist. This combination of musicianship and art is the keynote of the group's success.
The impact of Joe Gordon on the entertainment world in Scotland has been tremendous, and he has won great respect for the quality of his performance, and the great enjoyment that he gives to young and old alike. Without doubt another great Scottish entertainer has arrived on the scene.
The four songs on this EP are perfect examples of his versatility. Johnnie Lad was originally a nursery song, and in its time has seen many changes. It is now the most famous and popular of all the Glasgow street songs, and is often sung by children while playing skipping games. The version on this disc is more adult, and refers to many well-known Glasgow characters of the twenties.
Lassie Wi' The Yellow Coatie is from the north-cast of Scotland, and is one of the loveliest of Scottish love songs. The Folk Four sing it in its original form.
Coulter's Candy is another children's song, which has been adopted by "grown-ups". This one is from the south of Scotland, and it tells the story of a child who wanted to buy some candy from Mr. Coulter, who used to peddle in the streets of Kelso towards the end of the nineteenth century.
Ridin' Doon Tae Glesca Wi' Ma Soor Milk Cairt is another song from the Glasgow area. This one of the many versions of this fine old humorous ballad, and it tells of the meeting between a "lass" and a "laddie" in rather unusual circumstances, and of their journey down to Glasgow from the nearby village of Eaglesham.