Dick Gaughan Tribute Concert at Celtic Connections 2018 – photography and review Pauline Keightley
Songs of Defiance and social conscience and an evening of contrast, quality, and sincerity
The Old Fruitmarket, Celtic Connections,January,2018
This concert was a celebration of the music that matters to Dick Gaughan. It was hosted by actress Elaine C Smith, who introduced an incomparable line up of Gaughan’s long time friends and collaborators. This included the dynamic vocals of The Wilson Family boys, the soothing harmonies of the Bevvy Sisters, Gaelic songs of Mary Macmaster, Patsy Seddon (who had sung with Dick in ‘Clan Alba’), the accomplished celtic music guitar of Tony McManus and the folk songcraft and voice tradition of Karine Polwart, Martin Simpson and Dougie MacLean.
The concert – Elaine C Smith sang Marrra’s ‘Mother Glasgae.’ The Wilson Family boys sang unaccompanied ‘Close the Coalhouse Door Lads’ and other songs with powerful harmonies. Karine Polwart sang ‘Craigie Hill’ and told the moving story of being given Dick’s album a ‘Handful of Earth’ the night before her grandfather’s funeral. The Bevvy Sisters sang Michael Marra’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone.’ While Martin Simpson sang Bob Dylan’s ‘Blind Willie MacTell’ and other songs.
Dougie MacLean closed this very special evening in a moving climax when Gaughan appeared on stage – with his song ‘Love Will Carry Us.’ Gaughan has been ill the past year and I was glad Elaine had persuaded him to appear for his devoted fans and he didn’t remain a ‘presence’ behind the curtain. The concert was a warm tribute to Gaughan’s authenticity – he is a breath of fresh air and honesty.
I first heard Gaughan back in the 80s at an Edinburgh folk club and I have met him a few times at Milngavie Folk Club where he was friendly and unassuming. Two guitarists there told me: ‘Gaughan is a Scottish legend’. He would open his set with the Si Kahn song, ‘What you Do With What You’ve got.’ And I will always remember sitting enthralled to his impassioned and definitive interpretation of the Robert Burn’s song ‘Westlin Winds’, when he would say, ‘one of the best songs ever written, it says all there is to say.’
Review and Photo Pauline Keightley – http://pkimage.co.uk/
Clan Alba, A folk supergroup, featured Dick Gaughan, Mary Macmaster, Brian MacNeill, Fred Morrison, Patsy Seddon, Davy Steele, Mike Travis and Dave Tulloch. With guitars, harps, pipes, fiddles and percussion, and distinctive collective harmonies. Their 1996 debut album – included ‘Bye Bye Big Blue’, a lament for the closure of the Ravenscraig Steel Works, and Gaughan’s evocative ‘Childhood’s End’.
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