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Hagman Review: Dick Gaughan Live from 1982 - new CD (1) Review: Dick Gaughan Live from 1982 - new CD 26 Jul 19


"New Dick Gaughan Live Album: The Harvard Tapes (1982)
by Alex Gallacher 26 July, 2019

In 2008 Greentrax Records released a Dick Gaughan live album – Gaughan Live! At The Trades Club. Anyone familiar with Dick Gaughan will know that he used to do an annual tour of England and Wales every November/December and he always ended the tour at The Trades Club, one of his favourite places to play. He put this affection down to it still being a solidly working-class venue. On the back of the album, he writes that it is “one of the few venues where the idea of a performer having to explain why their work contains commentary on political and social issues would be absurd – it is not only taken for granted, but expected, that working-class art and politics are inseparable.” This is just one of the many reasons I love his music and what he stands for.

In October 2016, an MRI scan confirmed Dick had suffered a stroke several months previously, from which he is now gradually recovering but which has sadly prevented him from touring. Having said that, he bravely joined the cast of the ‘Far, Far From Ypres’ stage presentation in several concerts, plus an extensive tour in 2018 which we shared a video on here.

With all this in mind, news of a live album and his seventh album for Greentrax came as a great surprise. It seems we have Brian O’Donovan, of Cambridge, Massachusetts to thank for this new live album recorded in 1982 which also includes a duet with the late great Johnny Cunningham…talk about a treat!

Brian sent to Greentrax records, tapes of a recording he had made of Dick in a concert in The Old Cambridge Baptist Church, near the Harvard University Campus. Ian McCalman and Ian Green heard the tapes and agreed this was ‘Vintage Gaughan’ and Dick himself approved wholeheartedly. It was a concert shared with the late great Johnny Cunningham and the recording included a version of them together in The Freedom Come All Ye, quite unique. The Harvard tapes were a bit short in time so three ‘Bonus’ tracks were added.

Some of Dick’s all-time greats are on the Harvard tapes: Erin Go Bragh, Now Westlin Winds, Song For Ireland, Your Daughters and Your Sons, The Worker’s Song and a three-reel instrumental plus more, all from these tapes. Previously unrecorded by Dick are Leemings and a second instrumental, Sliabh na mBan, from the Milngavie concerts and Connolly Was There from the Greentrax archive.

Both Brian O’Donovan and Jason Smith are providing the tracks free of any charge or royalty and production costs are being met by Ian McCalman and Ian Green with help from John Slavin. This will allow a large royalty to go to Dick in his enforced ‘rest’ from touring.

Dick Gaughan has been at the cutting edge of Scottish folk music for almost five decades – a guitarist, singer, songwriter, actor, musical director, arranger, record producer, engineer and goodness knows what else but he has been there and done it all. He is a brilliant singer with a passion in his wonderfully expressive voice which is allied to an amazing guitar technique which can leave you mesmerised. In December 2009, Dick was honoured by being included in the Scottish Trad Music Hall of Fame and within a year he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC 2’s ceremony in London. We understand that this dual honour is quite unique. Dick has received many other accolades but too many to mention here.

Dick has been a professional musician and singer since 1970. He has recorded extensively and his album ‘Handful of Earth’ on Topic Records was chosen by a critics’ poll in fRoots as the ‘Best Album of the 1980’s’. As well as a successful solo career, Dick was an early member of The Boys of The Lough, the legendary Five Hand Reel and the founder member of the short-lived but quite extraordinary Clan Alba.

The “Harvard” Tapes – Definitive Gaughan Concert From 1982 is released on August 2nd via Greentrax.

Pre-Order via Greentrax."

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