Drinkers Drought
with Davy Steele,
A Tribute
(Greentrax, 2001)

I love the name of this band. The connotation of "drought" in this sense is, of course, thirst. I often recall my mother saying on a hot day, "I'm dying of the drought."

The band in question was formed originally in the heady folk days of the 1970s and enjoyed relative success. They met Davy Steele in 1981 and they clicked, so he soon became a fifth wheel in the band. The current album is a tribute to Steele, who died in recent years, and is a fitting memorial to a great singer.

With 19 tracks this is top value. The majority of tracks are traditional and are sung in close harmony with true feeling for the spirit and lyrics. Nowhere is this more compelling than on "Dream Angus."

Steele's songwriting ability is showcased on a number of tracks. The first of these, "Heave Ya Ho," has a beautifully traditional feel and makes you feel the wind in your hair and the rolling boards beneath your feet.

My favourite track is another traditional piece, that excellent story-song "The Prickly Bush," pronounced like "prickle eye." I dare you to listen to this song without feeling at least a tiny prick of emotion. A song that has appeared on a million great albums is "Bonny Light Horseman." Drinkers Drought gives it a lovely rendition with minimal backing.

As with all good Scottish albums, this one has a Ewan McColl song. It is so long since I heard "The Exile Song" that it almost sounded new. This again is a story of loss of family that will touch the heart of anyone who has ever had to be parted from children and spouse.

This is a brilliant collection of new and traditional songs and tunes. The performances are top class and will enhance any CD collection. An added bonus for those using this CD to build their cache of great music is that part of the proceeds is going to Marie Curie Cancer Care. This means you get great music and cancer victims get special care.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 31 May 2003