Dick Gaughan,
Live at the Trades Club
(Greentrax, 2008)

Melodic he is not, nor does he ever claim to be. But when you can produce work like his that will make the listener stop and think, who needs dulcet tones?

Dick Gaughan's songs are those of the old bard or the itinerant broadsheet seller or the protest singers when songs really were protesting something.

This live recording at the Trades Club in North Yorkshire appears to be an annual event, and again this mirrors his roots in an old tradition of traveling the land entertaining folk but also giving them news of the world and more than a little food for thought.

The album captures the atmosphere very well and makes for a lovely period of imagining you are there among the smoke (oops, no smoking anymore) and the smell of real ale and the true people of the land let their hair down and appreciate a great entertainer. Through the 13 tracks on here he gives us old favourites, some new works and a few lovely instrumentals.

He opens with the nicely titled "What You do with What You've Got," setting the tone for the evening. I'm not a great fan of instrumental tracks -- no matter who is playing -- but I was intrigued by his first nonvocal set that ends with "The Wexford Assembly." This is his own composition about a gathering in my home county over two centuries ago.

I thought "Tom Paine's Bones" would retell the story of a recent book but no, it was a different song altogether. Gaughan's own composition, "Outlaws & Dreamers," is one of my favourites on the album. It is closely followed by "The Hunter Dunne," a cautionary tale for those who might choose his trade.

Gaughan does not confine his songs to the UK, and he gives us a fine rendition of "Geronimo's Cadillac." He closes proceeding with what else but "Both Sides the Tweed." This is a signature tune that gets better the more you hear it.

If you want a good night out while staying in, check out this CD.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

25 October 2008

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new