Monday, 31 January 2011


With talent massively outweighed by arrogance and ignorance Calum takes his leave for the last time.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Music in the Morning – Saturday – No. 220

Let’s go to Largo again this morning.

Bach: Double Violin Concerto in D minor BWV 1043 
                                                   Mvt II, Largo Ma Non Tanto

Friday, 28 January 2011

Deceit of the Eyes: Revealed

The top picture was posted with the title “Sailors’ Retreat”.  Then I posted on Tuesday suggesting that the readers’ eyes had been deceived.

Today I reveal all!

Sailors’ Retreat (immediately below) and below that the original photo.


Sailors' Retreat2

Sailors' Retreat Original


For all the world we see lights in homes but we have only white rocks very close to the water line.  Darkening leaves visible only the brightest parts of the rocks which then appear as specks of light. The title, “Sailors’ Retreat” may have reinforced the view that we saw lights from homes.

The lights set the scale.  We appear distant from the shore because we have decided the specks show houses but  actually we are very close to the uninhabited shore.

I didn’t think that this manipulation was working until I saw the lights and then ….

Thus is a picture transformed and our eyes deceived.

Music in the Morning – Friday – No. 219

An incredibly popular piece but that’s because it is brilliant …. and many, many years ago it was played at my Dad’s funeral.

Handel:  Largo (from Xerxes)

London Symphony Orchestra

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Black Line Language ?

Yesterday I was led, by septicisle – great blogger by the way – to the published record of Sir Richard Dearlove’s evidence to the Chilcott Enquiry (here for the full 93 pages).

Most of his evidence was given in a language I can’t read – Black Line.  Look at four successive pages below (pp70 – 73 of 93).

You will notice a couple of lines in English about having a short break – for tea, no doubt – and if you look carefully you’ll see that Black Line has no equivalent for names, uses question marks but no other punctuation. 





Clearly the participants can speak and read Black Line fluently but I am clueless.

Can you translate this for me? 

I put it into Google Translate but it was helpless: never recognised Black Line as a language.

Someone must be able to help!

Music in the Morning – Thursday - No. 218

Let’s have a roll this morning!

Dice                                                                     Finley Quaye

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Deceit of the Eyes

How easily we are deceived!

We see what we expect to see.

Yesterday I posted this picture which purports to show ‘Sailors’ Retreat’.

Sailors' Retreat2

The boat is real but what else is real?

What do you see that isn’t really there?

This is only one shot with only basic manipulation but with nothing added.

Music in the Morning – Wednesday – No. 217

Get your warm clothes on we’re off to Greenland.

Greenland Whale Fisheries  
                                                 Judy Collins & Theodore Bikel


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Sailors’ Retreat


Sailors' Retreat

Clumsy’s Art: Seaside Rock Original

Knatolee loved Clumsy’s picture – Seaside Rock - below

Seaside Rock


I thought Knatolee and others might be interested to see the original from summer 2008 which has my two on the outcrop.

Seaside Rock Original

This was taken from the ferry jetty on Iona looking towards Mull.

Cropping and simple manipulation was all that Clumsy needed to produce his masterpiece.

Sunday Morning Coffee – Invitation

Most of you will be familiar with my weekly ‘Sunday Morning Coffee’ music show.  If not you can read either them here or view / listen to the individual  YouTube playlists I’ve created.

My musical tastes are quite wide but I’m sure I have many blind-spots.  I am very aware that I may simply end up exploring within my current boundaries: that would be detrimental to the on-going success of the shows

You can help!

I invite you to suggest artists or genres you’d like to appear. 

Your suggestions will ensure that I look outside myself.

I can make no guarantee that your suggestions will be taken up but I guarantee to follow up on them all.  I will give each every chance to reach me but I retain the one key criterion which runs through all the shows: I must love the music.

I have already a long list of potential artists/genres but don’t let that put you off.  The history of the shows has seen many artists appear as new to me but be featured in a couple of weeks. 

Your help can ensure the shows continue to bring enjoyment and surprise.

Music in the Morning – Tuesday – No. 216

Ossian bring you Burns on this day of Burns.

Corn Rigs                                                                      Ossian

Monday, 24 January 2011

Clumsy’s Art: Seaside Rock


Seaside Rock

UPDATE: I should have labelled this a Clumsy creation.

Music in the Morning - Monday – No. 215

A light-hearted romp for you this morning!

Johann Strauss II                                          Bandit’s Gallop

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Sailing in the Black Sea


Sailing Black Sea

Sunday Morning Coffee with Ennio Morricone

Another week gone – where does the time go? – and Sunday has come round.  Am I ready?   YES!  And what a show is waiting for you: one of the greats of movie music.


Before we start you need a large coffee, a comfy chair.  Sit down and relax and the music will visit you.


The Mission:                               On Earth as it is in Heaven

Unsurprisingly this carries a spiritual air but you don’t need me to say any more.

The music starts after 10 secs.



Ennio was born in Rome in late 1928 to Mario – a jazz trumpeter - and Lobera Morricone [Source].  He must have shown great talent very young because, when 12, he studied music at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome



Cinema Paradiso:                                            Final Theme

One of my favourite films and this music brings the story back.

This couldn’t be anything but a film a score with its large sweeping strings but this is so much more ….


Morricone was a classmate of Sergio Leone with whom he would collaborate on spaghetti Westerns.



Maddelena / Le Professionel:                                  Chi Mai

I knew this piece but had no idea of its origins.  This was used first in Maddelena and later in Le Professionel.



At the Music conservatory he was urged to focus on composition: great advice.



Once upon a Time in the West:         Jill’s America

The beautiful Claudia Cardinale is ‘Jill’.

Again the strings’ sound could only mean a film but what a wonderful sound.  The music gives me a picture of openness, as though of the vastness of the ‘Wild West’.


Coming up next is one of his most famous pieces and remember you can have a break after this, our fifth, track.




The Good, The Bad, The Ugly:   Theme

What can one say about this – a collaboration with Sergio Leone.

This is so evocative.  The music describes the film.

“The spaghetti Westerns only comprised a phase of Morricone's career, but for many his work in this field remains his best and most innovative. Morricone amplified the film's plots and drama through ingenious use of diverse arrangements and instrumentation. Jew's harps, dissonant harmonicas, dancing piccolos, bombastic church organs, eerie whistling, thundering trumpets, oddly sung gunfighter ballads, and ghostly vocal choruses -- all became trademarks of the Morricone-Leone productions, then of the spaghetti Western genre as a whole.” [Source]


Half-time.  I’m having a short break if you are.  Stretch your legs, top up your coffee and then relax once more before we get the second half under way.

That’s my quick snack finished – cheese roll, always a cheese roll.  Let’s go.



Malena:                                                               Titon Di Coda

I had never heard the music before; in fact, the film itself was new to me.

This is a very moving piece.  Unlike many of the other pieces which are expansive this, in the main, is tight and close.  I love this.


“Ennio Morricone is probably the most famous film composer of the 20th century. He is also one of the most prolific composers working in any medium. No exact figure is available, but he's scored several hundred films over the past several decades, perhaps as many as 500.” [Source]



The Mission:  Gabriel’s Oboe; The Falls              Yo Yo Ma

Two tracks here: the first the very famous Gabriel’s Oboe and the other, ‘The Falls’  both with Yo Yo Ma’s cello to the fore.

O! The soaring cello in ‘oboe’.

‘The Falls’ start so heavily and threateningly and then at 3m 25s, the music tip-toes slowly and securely as though  one was afraid of what was lurking.  At 4m 15s the music changes again to be confident and then the ‘oboe’ theme comes in once more.  I don’t know why I’ve been able to write this detail about only this piece.


“Morricone's palette is extraordinarily diverse, drawing from classical, jazz, pop, rock, electronic, avant-garde, and Italian music, among other styles. Esteemed by such important figures in modern music as John Zorn (not to mention contemporary directors like Martin Scorsese), he is increasingly placed among not just the finest soundtrack composers, but the most important contemporary composers of any sort.” [Source]



The Legend of 1900:                                               The Crisis

This creates the feeling of crisis with its repeated dissonant chord.  This chord assumes greater and greater importance as the piece progresses.

Despite the subject matter this touches me.  No!  Batters me!


I have read somewhere that Sergio Leone got Morricone to write the scores before filming and that he played the music to the actors during scenes.


The Mercenary

Another film whose subject matter is held up for us to hear in this vey clever and lovely piece.  Gunshots and the loneliness of the mercenary made plain for us through the solo whistler and trumpet.

A very powerful composition.


IMDb said this:

“It's been felt by some that he was deprived of a possible Academy Award when the U.S. distributor of Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America (1984) failed to file the paperwork so the score could be considered for nomination. This score is still regarded as one of his best.”



Once upon a Time in the West:                                  Finale

I didn’t know the above when I chose this as the last track.  Clearly I’m in good company!

There is a spiritual air to this.  Excuse me while I fly on this magic carpet to a place I’ve never seen.  Close your eyes and fly with me.

Wonderful, don’t you think?


The show is over but those who have heard Morricone’s music will never forget it. 

A master has written and we have listened.  Many thanks, Ennio


If you have enjoyed this week please pop over again next Sunday. Each week’s Sunday Morning Coffee is available on  my YouTube channel.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Dorries: Misrepresentation on Abortion AGAIN!

Dorries has once again misrepresented the risk of mental health problems to women having abortions.

Yesterday on her blog, Dorries linked to an interview she gave to the Catholic Herald.

In this article Dorries is quoted as saying,

“Women don’t know that they have a 30 per cent chance of experiencing mental health problems after having an abortion”.


There is a massive difference between:

30% of women having had an abortion have mental health problems [Dorries’ claim]


the risk of their suffering mental health problems is increased by 30% [research finding – see background information]


When will Dorries start to tell the truth on this matter?


Background Information

During November last year I posted twice (here and here)about Nadine Dorries misrepresenting data about the likelihood of mental health problems in women who had had abortions.

Although at one point in a speech to parliament she described the research accurately at another point she greatly exaggerated the risk.

I wrote, initially quoting Dorries,

“A major longitudinal 30-year survey published in The British Journal of Psychiatry in 2008 showed clearly-after adjustment for confounding variables-that women who had had abortions had rates of mental disorder 30% higher than women who had not.”

to which I said,

‘This accurately reflects the position of the authors.  Woman who had had abortions were 30% more likely to suffer from a mental disorder than women who had not had an abortion.’

However in the same speech she said,

“Given the disregard that we have for women seeking this procedure, I am surprised that that figure stands at only 30%. We push vulnerable women through a clinical procedure at great speed to end a life-or, as I said, a potential life-that is growing within them, and we wonder why only 30% have problems in later life [my underlining].”

to which I wrote,

“You have claimed incorrectly that 30% of women having had an abortion have mental health problems rather than the risk of their suffering mental health problems is increased by 30%.  Your error suggests that the likelihood of suffering mental health issues as a result of an abortion is much greater than it actually is.”

I wrote pointing out this error to Dorries but I received no reply.


Sparkly Turquoise Sandwich



Music in the Morning – Saturday – No. 214

Whistle your way through the day with Breda Smyth.

Bachelor’s Walk / The Congress                   Breda Smyth

Jerry Douglas – dobro; Russ Barenberg – guitar; percussion – unknown

Friday, 21 January 2011




Music in the Morning – Friday – No. 213

Go on, have a Brandi first thing in the morning.

Cannonball                  Brandi Carlile with the Indigo Girls

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Soil Association and Carter-Ruck: More

I’m a plonker!

I have just posted a third time about the threat to sue the Soil Association for libel if it didn’t withdraw its objection to a 25, 000 pig factory.

I posted and went back to the Soil Association’s website and I found a list of more relevant information here.

For ease I reproduce that information below:

Soil Association Submission to the Planning Consultation
Carter-Ruck's letter
Soil Association's Lawyer's response to Carter-Ruck
Soil Association's scientific evidence
Guardian Article

You can also read about the Soil Association’s “Not in My Banger” campaign here.


Soil Association: Carter-Ruck Letter

Yesterday I posted twice (1 and 2) about the threat to sue the Soil Association “if it doesn’t withdraw its objection to a 25,000 pig factory on the basis that points within their objection are both irrelevant to the plans and are defamatory to MPP.”  [MPP is Midlands Pig Producers who are part of the Leavesley Group.]

In the second post I linked to the Soil Association’s reply –read here - to key points in the Carter-Ruck letter.

Today I found the full Carter-Ruck letter – of 16th September 2010 -  on the Soil Association’s website here.  The letter states that it is not for publication or broadcast but since the letter is already published by the Soil Association I feel safe to reproduce a small part below. There are 8 pages and so you’ll have to be keen to read it but, at least, you know it is available.  

In its original article the Guardian said,

“In a paragraph seen as particularly vicious by the association, Boyd [Calum’s comment: Magnus Boyd of Carter-Ruck] also included a veiled threat that its share in a £16.9m Big Lottery Fund grant for improving school food could be jeopardised.”

This refers to the following passage on page 7 of Carter-Ruck’s letter.

CarterRuck Big Lottery2


The Guardian also quoted Lord Melchett, Policy Director of the Soil Association,

“It had a chilling effect. Your first thought is, these are incredibly rich and powerful people; we have no assets, we will have to back down, not because we think we are wrong but because we don't have the resources. It's taken a lot of time to feel we can risk standing up to them."

I hope that I am never pressured to this degree.

Leaves Crying





Music in the Morning – Thursday – No. 212

Classical music fills your room this morning too.

Alberti:  Pavana and Gallarda

Hespèrion XXI conducted by Jordi Savall

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Carter-Ruck’s Pigs and the Soil Association

The title is slightly misleading because it associates pigs with Carter-Ruck when, in reality, the pigs belong to Midlands Pig Producers (MPP) who are clients of Carter-Ruck.

I hope that is clear: there are no pigs at Carter-Ruck!

Anyway the story.

This morning I posted as follows:

“The Soil Association has been threatened with libel if it doesn’t withdraw its objection to a 25,000 pig factory on the basis that points within their objection are both irrelevant to the plans and are defamatory to MPP.

Carter-Ruck and MPP deny they are trying to silence opposition.”

Also posted was a link to an article in today’s Guardian.

The Soil Association has on its website as article entitled,

“Soil Association response to allegations in Carter Ruck letter of 16 September 2010 re Foston Pig Farm  January 2011”

It’s worth a read to see what are some of Carter-Ruck’s objections. Just click on the title above.

I have asked the Soil Association for permission to but the article online … just in case.

Carter-Ruck and Pigs Stench

Many of you will have seen this story already but it is worth pushing further out.

The Soil Association has been threatened with libel if it doesn’t withdraw its objection to a 25,000 pig factory on the basis that points within their objection are both irrelevant to the plans and are defamatory to MPP.

Carter-Ruck and MPP deny they are trying to silence opposition.

Rather than rely on that view, read the Guardian’s report and make your own mind up.

Music in the Morning – Wednesday - No.211

More breathless oboes pop in this morning.

Vivaldi:  Concerto for 2 Oboes in A minor, RV 536
                                                                 Mvt 1 (of 3)  Allegro

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Trafigura: ‘The Stinking Ship’ Once More

In September and then November last year I mentioned a documentary about the Probo Koala its waste and the alleged effects on health.

The film-maker, Bagassi Koura, has very kindly sent me a copy of the entire film.  Unfortunately for you, I told Bagassi that I would not make a copies available elsewhere: the film is his to promote as he sees fit.  I have urged him to make it available publically as soon as possible.  I will update if/when I have more information.

The film is a very welcome addition to the information already available.

Bagassi, thanks and well done.


If you haven’t seen the trailers  I attach one again.

THE STINKING SHIP  (Trailer)                    BAGASSI KOURA



Once again I need to say that the opinions expressed in the trailer and film are entirely those of the film-maker and contributors.

Music Extra

The wonderful one-man-blues-band, Mike Whellans, but today stripped of most of his instruments.

I first encountered Mike in about 1974 when the University Chemical Society booked him and his then partner, Aly Bain.  For some reason Aly wasn’t able to appear and for a totally different reason I didn’t go along.

But I’ve caught up with him now!

Blues Harmonica and Beatboxing with Mike Whellans

Music in the Morning – Tuesday - No. 210

The beautiful queen appears only for you.

Violet Tulloch, Queen of Lerwick          Aly Bain & Friends

Friends:  Jerry Douglas - dobro; Donald Shaw -accordion;
Russ Barenberg - guitar

Violet Tulloch:               Queen of piano accompanists to Shetland fiddlers

Monday, 17 January 2011

Tim Ireland and Nadine Dorries

Tim writes another long piece today entitled,

Proof: Nadine Dorries lies about police investigations

You may need no more than the title: it’s a long, but incredibly detailed, read and damning too.

Clumsy’s Art: Wanderings in Blue



Music in the Morning – Monday – No. 209

An oboe whispers beautifully.

Albinoni: Concerto for oboe in D major (Op. 7 n. 6)
                                    I. Allegro; II. Adagio; III. Allegro 

Stefan Schilli (oboe)
Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra / Nicol Matt (conductor)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Street Light and Stars



Sunday Morning Coffee with Sarah McLachlan

Hello again.  I’m glad you’ve dropped by for another show and we have a Canadian songbird for you today.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy the songs of Sarah McLachlan.


Remember your coffee, relax in a comfy chair and I’ll start.


We start with a song about loss of friendship for reasons which seemed to be important but were actually trivial.  There were other live performances but I liked the simplicity of Sarah with her voice and piano.


Wikipedia says this of Sarah,

“Sarah ….. is a Canadian musician, singer and songwriter.  Known for her emotional ballads and mezzo-soprano vocal range, as of 2006, she has sold over 40 million albums worldwide.”




Whatever happens I will be there for you, however long you take I will be there for you.  I will always love you but I won’t fight.  It’s your decision.

This seems to be the message of this gorgeous song.

Aaaaaaaahhhhh ……………………………………….


1968, the year my beloved Dunfermline Athletic won the Scottish Cup for the second and last time – imagine getting that into a music post!, was Sarah’s birth year.  I don’t know where she was born but she was adopted and brought up in Halifax, Nova Scotia.



I Love You

How many have loved but not been able to say so?  Here’s a song about you.



In common with many who have featured in this series, Sarah had music lessons as a child – voice, classical piano

“Her high school yearbook predicted that she was ‘destined to become a famous rock star.and guitar.’ “  [Wikipedia] 



I Will Remember You

The first Sarah McLachlan song I heard – loved it.  Sarah introduces and describes the fabulous song.

This song takes me to a beautiful and peaceful place.  What about you?


She was offered a recording contract when she was 17 on the basis of the first concert of her school group.  Her parents insisted that she continue with her education for a period but in 1987 she moved to Vancouver to pursue a musical career. [Wikipedia]


We reach the halfway point with a song from the film, ‘Charlotte’s Web’.

Ordinary Miracle

If only we are open we will see ordinary miracles wherever we look!


You can have a short break now if you wish or carry straight on.  Whichever you wish I’ll be there for you.  Some I know have a coffee top up and stretch their legs.

Ready?  Then let’s go again.



One Dream

Sarah was commissioned to write the Olympic song for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics … and this is it.  I have read that this doesn’t sound like a normal Olympic song – lacking the power and the energy one expects.

I think that Sarah has written a very insightful song and, therefore, more subtle than a ‘crash, bag, wallop, compete, enjoy, and meet the world’ song.

See what you think?



For a few songs I’ll just let you listen to Sarah’s music without my putting in snippets of her biography.





Seventh up is a song about the ending of a relationship; needing as Sarah said in an interview, ‘drawing a line in the sand, this is not good for me’.




World on Fire




Do What You Have to Do

One YouTube visitor said, ‘Quite simply one of the most hauntingly beautiful sad songs ever!’  There may be exaggeration here but certainly this is hauntingly beautiful and sad.

Yes!  So sad!  So beautiful!




Sarah sings this as the encore at the concert and it’s easy to see why: this is a most gorgeous song.

This is sublime.


Unfortunately that’s another show ended.  Sarah writes beautiful lyrics and melodies and tops that with a perfect voice.  She can do no wrong!


I feel that 2011 is really on its way as our third show of the year finishes.  I hope you enjoyed today and, if you manage to pop over next week, I’ll be delighted to share my love of music with you.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Simplicity in the Snow


Simplicity in the Snow

Music in the Morning – Saturday – No. 208

A smooth and artful start to the day.

Tenderly                                                                   Art Tatum

Friday, 14 January 2011

Total Darkness ?

How dare I post this?

Black Plus

You tell me!

Music in the Morning – Friday – No. 207

Johann and Glenn combine to bring you a glorious morning.

Bach: Fugue of Praeludium No.22 in B flat minor (BWV 891)                                                                       Glenn Gould

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Music in the Morning – Thursday – No. 206

Perhaps we shall meet ….

Somewhere in Time                                              John Barry

…. but not for a while.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Aren’t You Lucky?

…. if you live in Wales and England!

The Telegraph states,

Any licensed venue can stay open late on both Friday April 29 – the day Prince William and Kate Middleton marry – and the Saturday after, without having to apply to extend their license conditions.

It has already been designated a Bank Holiday weekend and ministers hope the blanket relaxation of the regime will encourage more venues to stage parties and celebration to mark the event.

James Brokenshire, the Home Office minister, plans to implement a rarely-used power in the Licensing Act that allows a temporary relaxation to mark an occasion of "exceptional international, national or local significance".

You don’t, of course, have to celebrate the Royal wedding: you might drink to the coming of the republic.

Music in the Morning – Wednesday – No. 205

No hearts broken today despite …..

Free Fallin’                   Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Oldham “Really Close” Says Clegg

So says the headline in Google News.

Oldham Clegg

What can Clegg be referring to? 

Certainly not Thursday’s by-election where the LibDems are going to get their arses tanned.

Perhaps he’s telling another of his lies!

Perhaps a journalist asked Clegg,

“How far away is Oldham?”

when he was in Middleton.

Oldham Clegg 2

How can Oldham be close?

Aaaaah ………………

Schools back today, house to myself, time to put the house into intensive care.

Aaaaah ….. coffee in hand …. and peace in mind in a (slowly reducing) mess.

What more could a poor man want?

Music in the Morning – Tuesday – No. 204

A magical roll today!

Unknown Drum Solo                                           Joe Morello

Monday, 10 January 2011

Dull, Dingy and Dreich Day

I was going to keep the alliteration going by saying ‘in Dunkeld’ but that would be unfair because the description fits everywhere I was today.

There are no photos to confirm my description: you’ll just have to take my word for that.


Do you think the description of the day can be applied to me?

A better alliteration might be ‘still (as in doesn’t move), stingy and stroppy.


You can only comment if you leave a three word alliterative description of yourself.

Any comments without that description will be deleted.

Music in the Morning – Monday – No. 203

You need to do nothing this morning other than letting the music transport you.

The Passenger                                                          Iggy Pop

The movie clips are:

The Great Escape
Sunset Boulevard
The Prince and the Pauper
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Flying Leathernecks
Black Angel
Pickup on South Street
Fallen Angel
From Here to Eternity
His Girl Friday
Lawrence of Arabia
The Great Escape
Big Jake
Rififi (this is the movie of the bleeding guy driving with the kid in the backseat. It's a French film noir and it's awesome.)
Fallen Angel
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The Prince and the Pauper
From Here to Eternity
The Bad and the Beautiful
Pickup on South Street
Duel in the Sun
Top Hat
Stalag 17
Singin' In the Rain
Fallen Angel
The Wild Bunch
It Happened One Night
Black Angel
His Girl Friday
Murder My Sweet
Trouble In Paradise
Duel in the Sun
The Shop Around the Corner
Murder My Sweet
Top Hat
From Here to Eternity
It Happened One Night
My Man Godfrey
The Fighting Seabees
Yankee Doodle Dandy
Some Like It Hot
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Stalag 17
Citizen Kane
Destry Rides Again
Citizen Kane
Singin' In the Rain
Citizen Kane
Destry Rides Again
Duel in the Sun
The Thin Man
Force of Evil
Rio Bravo
Lawrence of Arabia
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Take Me Out To the Ballgame
The Searchers
In the Navy
East of Eden
Robin and the Seven Hoods
The High and Mighty
In Old California
The Godfather
There's No Business Like Show Business
Top Hat
Rio Bravo
The Searchers


Sunday, 9 January 2011

Sunday Morning Coffee with Dick Gaughan

[UPDATE @ 9 JAN 08.00 UK TIME: Apologies to those who visited before this time.  Two videos were left on ‘private’ and could not be viewed.  I have corrected that error.  Also the playlist is now active]

Sunday again and so another show waits for you and the show today is very special, if I may say so – and I do say.


The following two paragraphs by The Scotsman’s music reviewer, Alistair Clark, (over many years I have found his taste to be impeccable) summarise Dick far, far better than ever I could do.

“Dick Gaughan has never been easy. The songs he delivers ask questions that some listeners may have thought never existed - so they may not, instantly at least, know the answers. When the answers duly come, delivered in a voice that throbs with a unique kind of controlled, vibrating passion, he can shake the most complacent mind-set out of its skull.

You go home from a Dick Gaughan session feeling exhilarated, not just at the wonderful skills of the most potent singer ever to emerge from the Scottish folk-music revival, not just at the astonishingly fluent and explosively eloquent guitar playing, but by the sense of the stark exposition of wrong and the tremulously argued legitimacy of right. Even those who disagree profoundly with his view of life recognise the conviction and the supreme artistry.”

I never found Dick Gaughan easy, I shied away from the difficulty and so I missed out …. until now.

I mention this here because you too may find his music to be difficult.  I’ll not be insulted if you step away from the programme before the end but if you are able to immerse yourself you will be rewarded.  [I’ve written a bit more about this after the first video.]   If you can’t be bothered with all my words then you can listen to the music only at my YouTube playlist for the show.

With those caveats you may wonder if it is worth your while listening at all! 

Yes!  A thousand times yes! 

Dick Gaughan suffuses his songs with such intensity, sensitivity, feeling and understanding.  Ally this with a voice to die for and with guitar-playing skills of the highest order and we have an artist who deserves to sit at the top table of musical troubadours.

One last thing before we get some music: don’t forget some key actions!  Get a coffee, a comfy seat, sit down, prepare to listen to a master.


Now Westlin’ Winds

In the intro Dick says, “I often say this is the perfect song. It says everything it is conceivably possible to say about anything …. and it does it in 5 verses.”

There is a great analysis of this song on the blog, ‘Just a Song’.

Now westlin winds and slaughtering guns
Bring autumn's pleasant weather
The moorcock springs on whirring wings
Among the blooming heather
Now waving grain, wild o'er the plain
Delights the weary farmer
And the moon shines bright as I rove at night
To muse upon my charmer

The partridge loves the fruitful fells
The plover loves the mountain
The woodcock haunts the lonely dells
The soaring heron the fountain
Through lofty groves the cushat roves
The path of man to shun it
The hazel bush o'erhangs the thrush
The spreading thorn the linnet

Thus every kind their pleasure find
The savage and the tender
Some social join and leagues combine
Some solitary wander
Avaunt! Away! the cruel sway,
Tyrannic man's dominion
The sportsman's joy, the murdering cry
The fluttering, gory pinion

But Peggy dear the evening's clear
Thick flies the skimming swallow
The sky is blue, the fields in view
All fading green and yellow
Come let us stray our gladsome way
And view the charms of nature
The rustling corn, the fruited thorn
And every happy creature

We'll gently walk and sweetly talk
Till the silent moon shines clearly
I'll grasp thy waist and, fondly pressed,
Swear how I love thee dearly
Not vernal showers to budding flowers
Not autumn to the farmer
So dear can be as thou to me
My fair, my lovely charmer


Through much of the preparation I was unsure if Dick’s music would make a show: hard as I tried I couldn’t ‘get’ some of his music.  If this had continued the show would not have gone on because I would have had to break the key criterion: I must love the music.

Fortunately, the more I listened the more I heard and the more I heard the more I liked.  Soon I found myself entranced.  His sincerity of song won me over.  I had to upload a couple of tracks to get the songs I felt were necessary for today.

Also, I’ve appended lyrics to all the tracks in the show.  Such is the intensity with which Dick performs that I felt the need to be able to read the lyrics.  Perhaps you’ll appreciate them too.



Flooers o’ the Forest

The second song is a lament for the thousands of Scots killed at the Battle of Flodden.  There is a very painful beauty about both words and the music.

The lyrics below are not those published for the song but they are, as far as I can make out, the words sung by Dick.

I've heard them liltin', at our ewe milkin,'
Lasses at the liltin' before dawn o' day.
Noo there's a moanin', on ilka green loanin'.
The flooers o' the forest are a' wede away.

At e'en in the gloamin', nae swank lads are roamin',
Lasses are lanely and dowie and wae.
Ilk ane is drearie, lamentin' her dearie,
Ilk ane lifts her leglin, and hies her away.

Doon wae the order sent our lads tae the Border,
The English wur yince by guile wan the day.
The flooers o' the forest, that fought aye the foremost,
The prime o' our land lie cauld in the clay.

We'll hae nae mair liltin', at the ewe milkin',
Women and bairnies are dowie and wae.
Sighin' and moanin' on ilka green loanin',
The flooers o' the forest are all wede away.

ilka - each, every
loaning - road to a grazing
wede - withered
dowie - sad
leglin - milking pail

I wondered if I should include this song – and one other - not because I had any doubts but because I wasn’t sure how you would receive them.  I had to put the two songs into the show: to omit them would have broken my promise to myself – to play music I love – and would have denied part of the essence of what makes Dick Gaughan great.


Dunfermline’s local paper said this,

“It would be easy for any performer to be upstaged by the majestic surroundings of Dunfermline Abbey Nave but that was never going to happen with Scots folk legend Dick Gaughan.  ……. But whether the gig is in a historic place of worship or is a strike benefit concert in a working men's club, Gaughan's radical message of social justice and anti-imperialism is unswerving.”

This message I’m sure you’ll find throughout the show.



Worker’s Song                             (aka Handful o’ Earth)

To our eternal shame, the lyrics of our next song, written by Ed Pickford, continue to describe our world!

Come all of you workers who toil night and day
By hand and by brain to earn your pay
Who for centuries long past for no more than your bread
Have bled for your countries and counted your dead

In the factories and mills, in the shipyards and mines
We've often been told to keep up wi’ the times
For our skills are not needed, they've streamlined the job
And with slide-rule and stopwatch our pride they have robbed

But when the sky darkens and the prospect is war
Who's given a gun and then pushed tae the fore
And expected to die for the land of our birth
No,  we've never owned one handful of earth?

We're the first ones to starve the first ones to die
We’re the first ones in line for that pie-in-the-sky
And we’re always the last when the cream is shared out
For the worker is working when the fat cat's about

Aye and all of these things the worker has done
From tilling the fields to carrying the gun
We've been yoked to the plough since time first began
Aye and always expected to carry the can


Richard Peter Gaughan is a Leither despite being born in Glasgow (1948) and living there until he was 18 months old.  His father was working temporarily in Glasgow – hence the Glasgow birth – but he was brought up in Leith which is the port for Edinburgh and is subsumed into Scotland’s capital city.

He had Highland and Irish musical roots and, therefore, Gaughan was brought up immersed in the musical traditions and culture of the Gaels, both Scots and Irish [source].



Beauty comes upon us now with our third song.

Wild Mountain Thyme

[with Emmylou Harris, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright, Jerry Douglas, Ally Bain and Jay Ungar – prob at the first Transatlantic Sessions]

Oh the Summer time has come
The trees are sweetly blooming
And the wild mountain thyme
All the flowers are perfuming
Will ye go lassie go ......

And we'll all go together
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather
Will ye go lassie go
I will build my love a bower
By yon clear crystal fountain
And on it I will pile
All the flowers of the mountain
Will ye go lassie go ......

And we'll all go together
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather
Will ye go lassie go ......
I will roam the mountain wild
And the dark glen say dreary
And I'll bring all I find
To the arms of my dearie
Will you go lassie go ......

If my true love she won't come
I will surely find another
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather
Will ye go lassie go ......

And we'll all go together
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather
Will ye go lassie go



Wikipedia states,

“Gaughan took up the guitar at the age of seven. Although he later sang in Scottish Gaelic he is not fluent in that language; however, he has a powerful command of Scots. He sang in Edinburgh folk clubs and became a professional musician in 1970. Gaughan began playing mainly traditional songs on an acoustic guitar. ….. Although his approach to performing concentrates strongly on the song itself, Gaughan is known as being a master of the acoustic guitar.”


No Gods and Precious Few Heroes

Dick takes no prisoners with his version of a brilliant song written by Brian McNeill – formerly of The Battlefield Band.  The title is from a line in the first elegy in 'Elegies for the Dead of Cyrenaika', a famous work of second world war poems by Hamish Henderson.

Brian McNeill describes the song thus, “It talks about Scotland, talks about the fact that it's got to change. If it doesn't change soon there's gonna be stupid things happening. But it's not going to change without us all getting off our backsides and doing it!”


I was listening to the news the other day
I heard a fat politician who had the nerve to say
He was proud to be Scottish, by the way
With the glories of our past to remember
"Here's tae us, wha's like us", listen to the cry
No surrender to the truth and here's the reason why
The power and the glory's just another bloody lie
They use to keep us all in line

For there's no gods and there's precious few heroes
But there's plenty on the dole in the land o the leal
And it's time now to sweep the future clear
Of the lies of a past that we know was never real

So farewell to the heather in the glen
They cleared us off once and they'd do it all again
For they still prefer sheep to thinking men
Ah, but men who think like sheep are even better
There's nothing much to choose between the old laird and the new
They still don't give a damn for the likes of me and you
Just mind you pay your rent to the factor when it's due
And mind your bloody manners when you pay!

For there's no gods and there's precious few heroes
But there's plenty on the dole in the land o the leal
And it's time now to sweep the future clear
Of the lies of a past that we know was never real

And tell me will we never hear the end
Of puir bluidy Charlie at Culloden yet again?
Though he ran like a rabbit down the glen
Leavin better folk than him to be butchered
Or are you sittin in your Council house, dreamin o your clan?
Waiting for the Jacobites to come and free the land?
Try going down the broo with your claymore in your hand
And count all the Princes in the queue!

For there's no gods and there's precious few heroes
But there's plenty on the dole in the land o the leal
And it's time now to sweep the future clear
Of the lies of a past that we know was never real

So don't talk to me of Scotland the Brave
For if we don't fight soon there'll be nothing left to save
Or would you rather stand and watch them dig your grave
While you wait for the Tartan Messiah?
He'll lead us to the Promised Land with laughter in his eye
We'll all live on the oil and the whisky by and by
Free heavy beer! Pie suppers in the sky! -
Will we never have the sense to learn?

That there's no gods and there's precious few heroes
But there's plenty on the dole in the land o the leal
And I'm damned sure that there's plenty live in fear
Of the day we stand together with our shoulders at the wheel
Aye there's no Gods

I find it very hard to disagree with the sentiments.


We’re halfway through already and it’s time for a break.  I’m having another coffee and a couple of cheese rolls.  If you don’t want a break I’ll continue for you.

That’s my body stuffed with too many calories …. again but I’m ready now to roll.



Scots Wha Hae

The story behind this next song – one of Burns’ best known – always seemed very clear but Gaughan’s own website suggests that Wallace might have been an allegory for the real hero, Thomas Muir, who was an 18th century Scottish advocate and radical.  Read more here.

Oh!  I think the first 6 seconds of the video show Maya Angelou.MayaAngelou


Meanwhile the song stands as it has always done.

Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled
Scots wham Bruce has aften led
Walcome tae yer gory bed
Or tae victorie

Nou's the day an nou's the hour
See the front o battle lour
See approach proud Edward's pouer
Chains an' slaverie!

Wha wad be a traitor knave?
Wha wad fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Lat him turn an' flee

Wha for Scotlan's king an' law
Freedom's sword wad strangly draw
Freeman staun or freeman faa
Let him follow me!

By oppression's woes an' pains
By our sons in servile chains
We wad drain our dearest veins
But they shall be free

Lay the proud usurpers low
Tyrants faa in every foe
Libertie's in every blow
Let us dae or dee!


Alistair Clark had more to say about Gaughan,

“So when we find that Dick Gaughan picked up a guitar at the age of seven, we should not be surprised. As a teenager, growing up with guitar skills in an urban environment in the Sixties, he dabbled, as one would, with rock, country, blues. It was a fabulous time for music-making, when no holds were barred. But for him, increasingly the music and the politics began to come together. Rock may have been an angry outpouring of sound, but it was on the quieter folk scene, with the great Hamish Henderson and Ewan MacColl leading the protest march over here and the likes of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger doing it over there, that the most penetrating and persuasive statements were being made about war and peace, about the state of society. Dick was soon in the thick of the burgeoning folk revival, and at the age of 22 decided to hit the road as a solo singer and guitarist.”



Bonnie Jeannie o’ Bethelnie


There were four an twenty nobles sat in the king's haa
An bonnie Glenlogie wis the flooer o them aa
There wis six an six nobles rade thro Banchory fair
An bonnie Glenlogie wis the flooer o them there

There were six and six maidens sat in the king's haa
Bonnie Jeannie o Bethelnie wis the flooer o them aa
Doun cam Jeannie Gordon she cam trippin doun stairs
An she's chosen Glenlogie amung aa that wis thair

Glenlogie, O Glenlogie, gin ye'll prove kind
My luve is laid on ye an A've tellt ye my mind
Bit he's turnt him roun lichtlie, like the Gordons does aa
A thank ye, Jeannie Gordon, bit A'm promist awa

And she's caad tae her maidens fur tae mak her a bed
Wi ribbons and napkins fur tae tie up her head
And its oot spak her faither an a wey man wis he
A'll wad ye tae Dumfendrum, fur he's mair gowd than he

O, haud yer tongue, faither, for that maunnae be
Gin A get mae Glenlogie than for him will A dee
Bit her faither's ain chaplain, a man o great skill,
He's wrate a braid letter an indytet it weill

O A pox on ye, Logie, nou since it is so
There's a ladie's luve is on ye, maun she die in her woe?
An a pox on ye, Logie, nou since it is time
There's a ladie's luve is on ye, maun she die in her prime?

Whan Logie got the letter, he bein amang men
It's out spak Glenlogie, whit does young women mean?
Whan he lookit on the letter, then a licht lauch gied he
Bit ere he read owre it, the tear blint his ee

Gae saddle me the black horse, gae saddle me the broun
Bonnie Jeannie o Bethelnie will be deid ere A win
Bit the horses werenae saddled, nor lead on the green
Till bonnie Glenlogie wis three mile his lane

An sae pale an wan wis she whan Glenlogie he cam in
Bit it's reid an rosie grew she whan she kent it wis him
Whaur lies yer pain, ladie, does it lie in yer side?
Whaur lies yer pain, ladie, does it lie in yer heid?

O na, na, Glenlogie, ye're faur frae the pairt
For the pain that A lie under, it lies in my hert
Turn roun, Jeannie Gordon, turn roun on yer side
An A'll be the bridegroum an ye'll be the bride

Nou Jeannie's gotten mairriet an her tocher's doun tauld
Bonnie Jeannie o Bethelnie wis scarce sixteen year auld
O Bethelnie, o Bethelnie, ye shine whaur ye stand
An the heather bells aroun ye shine owre Fyvie's land


In the mid-1970’s Gaughan lived a hectic life - touring and hard drinking – but he was brought up short when his daughter was knocked down by a car while he was touring.  His daughter survived but his lifestyle did not. He re-appraised his life and decided to spend more time with his family.


51st (Highland) Division’s Farewell to Sicily

This is another poem by Hamish Henderson who served in this regiment.  Gaughan lifts the sadness from the page and let’s us feel it too.  I can’t imagine a sadder 10 minutes.

[The music is ‘Farewell to the Creeks’]

The pipie is dozie, the pipie is fey
He wullnae come roun for his vino the day
The sky owre Messina is unco an gray
An aa the bricht chaumers are eerie

Fareweill ye banks o Sicily
Fare ye weill ye valley an shaw
There's nae Jock will murn the kyles o ye
Aa the bricht chaumers are eerie

Fareweill ye banks o Sicily
Fare ye weill ye valley an shaw
There's nae hame can smour the wiles o ye
Aa the bricht chaumers are eerie

Then doun the stair an line the watterside
Wait yer turn the ferry's awa
Then doun the stair an line the watterside
Aa the bricht chaumers are eerie

The drummie is polisht, the drummie is braw
He cannae be seen for his wabbin awa
He's beezed himsell up for a photie an aa
Tae leave wi his Lola, his dearie

Fareweill ye dives o Sicily
Fare ye weill ye sheilin an haa
We'll aa mind shebeens an bothies
Whaur kind signorinas were cheerie

Fareweill ye dives o Sicily
Fare ye weill ye sheilin an haa
We'll aa mind shebeens an bothies
Whaur Jock made a date wi his dearie

Then tune the pipes an drub the tenor drum
Leave yer kit this side o the waa
Then tune the pipes an drub the tenor drum
Puir bluidy squaddies are wearie

Sad, so sad, but beauty lies within.


More praise for Gaughan here.

“Gaughan has one of the finest voices on the planet, capable of capturing the heart with the most traditional of ballads in one moment and stirring the fire of the spirit with his uncompromising commentary on social injustices in the next. And as a guitar player since the age of seven, his mastery of the instrument – acoustic and electric – is astounding.” [source]



Outlaws and Dreamers

Dick sings his one of his own compositions.  I’m sure you’ll like it.

The days and the hours swiftly turn into seasons
The weeks and the months quickly turn into years
The present is coloured by memories of childhood
Of heartache and happiness laughter and tears

I've flown and I've driven long miles by the million
Through desert and forest and high mountain range
Through pastures of plenty and dark city byways
A life on the move in boat, car and train

Thirty five years of singing and playing
Thirty five years of life on the road
Laughing at tyrants and spitting at despots
I've danced in the footsteps of men like Tom Joad

They've called me an outlaw they've called me a dreamer
They said I would change as I aged and grew old
That the memory would fade of the things I had lived through
That the flash fire of youth would slowly turn cold

But I raise up my glass and drink deep of its flame
To those who have gone who were links in the chain
And I give my soul's promise I give my heart's pledge
To outlaws and dreamers and life at the edge

So here's to the vision that binds us together
That tears down the walls that would keep us apart
And here's to the future where dreams will be honoured
And the fierce flame of freedom that burns in our hearts

The fire is still burning the future's still calling
To follow the dream till the end of my days
Wishing's for fools but dreams are for outlaws
Laughter's for lovers and tears for the brave

I raise up my glass and drink deep of its flame
To those who have gone who were links in the chain
And I give my soul's promise I give my heart's pledge
To outlaws and dreamers and life at the edge

Dick is still one of life’s outlaws!


This snippet describes Dick’s outlook on life.

“Dick is deeply committed to fighting social injustice and standing up for the common man in the face of oppression. His unwavering belief in the strength of the human spirit to conquer seemingly unsurmountable obstacles has influenced his willingness to sing new songs and rework old ones to accentuate an essential optimism and belief in humanity’s ability to stand up and be free.” [source]


Freedom Come All Ye

We finish with one of my favourite songs, not just of Dick Gaughan or of Hamish Henderson - the composer, but of all time.  Gaughan writes this of the song:

This song is so rich in imagery and symbolism that it is impossible to give an adequate understanding of it without writing a major treatise. Basically, the main theme is anti-imperialism coupled with the recognition of the part that Scots have played in the conquest and subjugation of other peoples within the British Empire and the anticipation of the day when all peoples are truly free and can meet in peace and friendship.

Roch the wind in the clear day's dawnin
Blaws the clouds heilster-gowdie owre the bay
But thair's mair nor a roch wind blawin
Thro the Great Glen o the warl the day
It's a thocht that wad gar our rottans
Aa thae rogues that gang gallus fresh an gay
Tak the road an seek ither loanins
Wi thair ill-ploys tae sport an play

Nae mair will the bonnie callants
Merch tae war whan our braggarts crousely craw
Nor wee weans frae pitheid an clachan
Murn the ships sailin doun the Broomielaw
Broken faimilies in launs we've hairriet
Will curse 'Scotlan the Brave' nae mair, nae mair
Black an white ane-til-ither mairriet
Mak the vile barracks o thair maisters bare

Sae come aa ye at hame wi freedom
Never heed whit the houdies croak for Doom
In yer hous aa the bairns o Aidam
Will fin breid, barley-bree an paintit room
Whan MacLean meets wi's friens in Springburn
Aa thae roses an geeans will turn tae blume
An a black laud frae yont Nyanga
Dings the fell gallows o the burghers doun.


This is incredible!

An English translation is

Rough's the wind in the clear day's dawning
Blows the clouds head-oer-heel across the bay
But there's more than a rough wind blowing
Through the Great Glen of the world today
It's a thought that would make our vermin
All those rogues who strut and swagger without care
Take the road and seek other lodgings
With their vile schemes to sport and play

No more will our fine lads be commanded
to march to war at a braggarts call
Nor wee weans from pitheads and clachans
Mourn the ships sailing down the Broomielaw
Broken families in lands we've vanquished
Will curse "Scotland the Brave", nae mair, nae mair
Black and white to one another married
Will make the slums of their masters bare

So come all ye at home with freedom
Never heed those prophets of doom
In your house all the bairns of Adam
Will find bread, drink and painted rooms
When Maclean meets with friends in Springburn
All the rose and cherry trees will turn to bloom
And the black lad from Nyanga
Will break the powers of his masters doon


Yet another show is over but ….. it will never end for me.  Dick and his music have grabbed me, shaken me, won me over and now I’m glad to be able to call him a musical friend although we’ve never met …. or have we? 

Dick Gaughan IS a genius.



I’ll meet you again next week for another episode of ‘Sunday Morning Coffee’