Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Roots men make rebel connection in Glasgow

Much has been written about the links between British folk music and American roots music, much less so between British folk and Jamaican reggae. But that is the area that  Scottish Canadian musician Jason Wilson, and his band have been exploring in the last few years, with the help of English fiddle player Dave Swarbrick, and Scottish troubadour, Dick Gaughan. Last night's Rebel Musics concert at Oran Mor, as part of Glasgow's Celtic Connections festival showcased the results of that work, and previewed (it was designed to launch!) the collaborative album Lion Rampant, that Wilson's Band have recorded along with a multinational galaxy of guests

Dave Swarbrick
The links between the music are certainly more evident now than they were two years ago, when I last saw them - Swarbrick's Spanish Ladies dance tune works suprisingly well with a heavy reggae bass beat behind the fiddle! And Gaughan was clearly 'dancing in the oldest boots he owned' as he delivered Tom Paine's Bones! I hope it isn't heresy to suggest however that sometimes the link looks too contrived? I'm not sure adding Marley's No Woman, No Cry, on to the end of Burns' My luve is like a red, red rose adds much to our appreciation of either, despite Gaughan's inimitable delivery.

To add to the international mix, Pee Wee Ellis, past member of both the James Brown and Van Morrison bands, provided an excellent example of funk sax playing on a version of And it Stoned Me.

Earlier, singer-songwriter, Fraser Anderson (think early John Martyn meets a quiet Loudon Wainwright) played a laid-back set mixing his own material with Bob Dylan, Peter Sarstedt and an interesting Woody Guthrie poem, Sweetest Angel, that Anderson had set to music.

Dick Gaughan
Links between national musical traditions, as this concert showed, can come up with excellent new takes on old standards. They also demonstrate that links between peoples, are often much more important than national divisions. Gaughan's traditional finish of Hamish Henderson's international anthem, the Freedom Come-All Ye,  demonstrated that.

This is my Morning Star review of the Celtic Connections concert, Rebel Musics, starring Jason Wilson, Dick Gaughan, Dave Swarbrick and Pee Wee Ellis.  It took place at Oran Mor on Thursday 23 January 2014. It is as written, as I think the para on Pee Wee Ellis, works better linked to the set in which he played. I've appropriated the Star's headline however, as it is much better than mine! The piece as published is here.

1 comment:

  1. It's just a shame that Celtic Connections has not seen fit to pay the performers for this gig. I hope they take it to the MU.