Foot Stompin’ 4th February 2010 Newsletter

Breabach - the Desperate Battle of the Birds

Breabach - the Desperate Battle of the Birds

Listen to the latest Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast

On Sunday we celebrated the 10th BBC Radio Scotland Young Tradition Award. The very first winner was Gillian Frame back in 2001 and with her band Back of the Moon she made this great album Fortune’s Road. We’re offering it to you for £3.99! 60% OFF normal price. This offer is valid for One Week Only! Radio producer Steve Dieterich said of the album “Received this new album yesterday, and have already been through it 3 times! WOW!! I listen to 10+ new albums a week an “Fortune’s Road” got my attention right away. Very appealing.”

1. New Releases – includes Breabach, Stringjammer, Ronald Anderson Band
2. Legendary Scottish Bands: Ossian
3. The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musican 2010 – The results
4. Snippets – Dick Gaughan Lifetime Achievement, Barbara Dickson, Valentine’s Cards
5. Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast – includes Breabach
6. Reviews – includes Alasdair Fraser and Jim Reid
7. Best Sellers: includes The Chair, Blair Douglas
8. Foot Stompin’ Scotch Whisky – Campbelltown Whisky
9. Discussion forum
10. Testimonials
11. Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter

1. New Releases (remember if you’ve bought from us before you get our loyalty 10% discount off everything)

A GREAT BAND!! The Desperate Battle Of The Birds – Breabach: Breabach with their dual bagpipes, fiddle, whistles  guitar and song are one of the most inventive and diverse bands to have emerged from the Scottish folk scene in recent years. From their foot-stomping reels to their heart-warming songs, there can be no doubt why this acclaimed quartet have become a household name for many in the folk and roots music scene. Their second CD underlines their award-winning credentials with superb individual and ensemble playing coupled with skilful arrangements. What a fab CD! The album title comes from a legendary pibroch of the same name, Scotland’s oldest form of pipe music. £11.70 (£12.99 for first time customers)

WAY OOT WEST!! A Far Away Place: Folk ‘n’ Roll:  High energy exuberant acoustic music from the Isle of Lewis in a folk-rock style played by three young and very talented musicians. Fiddle, guitar and even djembe blast out tunes and songs that you can’t help but dance to. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

HI THE ROAD!! Long Road Home (EP) – Stringjammer: An interesting six track EP of attractive yet quirky songs featuring ex Shooglenifty bassist Conrad Ivitsky on lead vocals. Not afraid of mixing up styles and genres, the band fuse Latin rhythms, with occasional twists of the Blues, but always staying close to the origin of their Scottish roots, working together toform a unique and refreshingly heady blend of tunes and songs. Conrad Ivitsky – vocals and strings;  Diane de Carabus – song, guitar; Jenny Gardner – fiddle; Pete Garnett – melodica; Willy Molleson – percussion; Mike Molleson – percussion, vocal. £5.39 (£5.99 for first time customers)

HIGHLAND REFLECTIONS!! Ma Sgaoil – Bi Beo: A second CD from the Gaelic band forging unique styles to self-penned folk/pop/rock songs. The songs are a reflection of island and Highland life, from dancing to the beauty of love, nature, the elements and the harshness of isolation and abandonment. Many songs carry a messages of love, youthful joy and reflections of childhood memories of growing up in the Hebrides £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

WATER MUSIC!! Scapa Flow – Ronald Anderson Band: A great mix of dance tunes, mostly from Orkney & Shetland and all played with style and confidence by Ronald and his excellent band of fine musicians. Ronald Anderson (accordion), Erika Shearer (fiddle), Colin Wilson (drums), Margaret Scollay (piano), and Jim Halcrow (2nd accordion). Great variation and tempo. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

Remember you can also buy from Foot Stompin’ by phone – +44 (0)131 441 3135. We take all credit cards. If you like a friendly voice at the end of your phone we’re here!

2. Legendary Scottish Bands: Ossian

Groundbreaking band Ossian were one of Scotland’s best folk groups ever. They were a unique and very special band.  Their instruments included harp, fiddle, smallpipes, whistles, cittern, mandolin, guitar, piano, bodhran, vocals. Ossian -named after the legendary 3rd century Celtic Bard and folk hero, was formed in 1976 and fast became a popular focus for a whole generation of up and coming traditional musicians.
Mae McKenna (sister of Hugh McKenna of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band) was introduced to a band formed by Billy Jackson, George Jackson and John Martin who at that time called themselves Contraband The band recorded one album on the Transatlantic label in 1974 but when shortly after Mae left to start a solo career Contraband disbanded in the Spring of 1975. Within a couple of years, Billy, George and John had joined forces with guitarist/singer Billy Ross to become Ossian. They recorded two famous albums Ossian (1977) and St Kilda Wedding (1978). More changes when Billy Ross left for a solo career but singer/guitarst Tony Cuffe stepped  and the band took on their most distinctive sound to date. Ossian went on to record some very fine albums and achieve wide international acclaim. To celebrate 20 years since the group was formed, a memorable Ossian reunion took place at Celtic Connections in 1996 and featured the line-up Billy Jackson, George Jackson, Billy Ross, John Martin, Tony Cuffe and Iain MacDonald. Tony Cuffe died in 2001 and George Jackson in July 1998.
Billy Jackson continues a hugely sucessful solo career both as a composer and performer. John Martin went on to join Easy Club and latterly is enjoying international acclaim playing fiddle with the Tannahill Weavers.

Ossian’s CDs are fast becoming hard to find. Check out the two albums available at Foot Stompin’:
Ossian (first album from 1977) £11.69 (£12.99 for first time customers)
The Carrying Stream (1997) £11.69 (£12.99 for first time customers)

3. The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musican 2010 – The Results

Six of Scotland’s finest young musicians battled it out on Sunday 31st January in the grand final of BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician Of The Year awards 2010 at Glasgow’s City Halls. Presented by Mary Ann Kennedy and broadcast live on BBC Radio Scotland as part of the Celtic Connections festival, the winner was announced as Daniel Thorpe from Inverurie who won the coveted title with fiddling performance.

Daniel was delighted with his musical accolade: “I am absolutely delighted and surprised. I’m still coming to terms with winning, I’ve got a permanent smile on my face and I think it’ll be there for the next three weeks!”

Read more about it…

If you are in the UK you can listen to the finals concert:
Watch video of the finals concert:

4. Snippets
Once in a lifetime!
Congratulations to Scots singer Dick Gaughan who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ceremony on Monday evening. Well deserved!

Another successful festival!
For the third year running,attendances at Celtic Connections Festival topped 100,000 with gross ticket sales reaching over £1 million.

Barbara Dickson Signs to Greentrax
We hear that Barbara Dickson OBE, the Dunfermline-born singer and actress has signed a contract for the Greentrax label and will record a new album for release in the autumn….

Great Photos!
Take a look at the pictyures taken by photographer Louis de Carlo of the Young Trads Birthday Bash at Celtic Connections Festival.

Alistair Hulett RIP
A talented singer, songwriter and internationalist, Alistair sadly passed away on 28th January.

Valentine Cards
Don’t forget to buy a Valentine’s Day card! Make your loved one feel even more special with a Foot Stompin’ card in Scots or Gaelic. £2.25 (£2.50 for first time customers)

Fancy learning some Gaelic song?
Glasgow fiddle workshop has started a Gaelic Song class, which runs every Monday night from 7.30 – 9.30 at Stow College. If you are a learner of the language, songs can be a great way of learning new vocabulary, increasing your proficiency in pronunciation and your confidence in using the language.

Breabach and Le Vent du Nord
Still a few chances to catch these two great bands on their current Scottish tour ..check where you can see them here

Hands up for Young Trad Ambassadors
A motion presented to the Scottish Parliament states that “the Parliament recognises the worth of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition’s finalists for musical excellence, as ambassadors for their nation’s culture and heritage and contributors to the wellbeing, both economic and social, of Scotland…” Excellent!

5. Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast
Here’s our February 2010 Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast. This podcast features all new releases. We start with the new CD from Breabach –  The Desperate Battle Of The Birds which is followed by Mairearad and Anna. Next is Conrad Ivitsky’s Stringjammer and then Ma Sgaoil (Unleashed) by Bi Beo. Then it’s Scapa Flow by Ronald Anderson Band and we finish off the programme with Folk ‘n’ Reel.

6. Reviews

CD: Cora: Skalder Customer Review 5 Stars
This debut CD is amazing, some fantastic compositions played beautifully. A nice variety of tunes,I find it very difficult to choose a favourite but would say listen out for Esson’s Croft…Elaine

CD: I Saw the Wild Geese Flee -Jim Reid. Customer Review 5 stars
One of my all time favorite CDs (I wore out my original cassette!) to sing along with…….NY Scot

CD: Portrait of a Fiddler – Alasdair Fraser. Customer Review 5 stars
Sweet, sweet music..What a player!…. Erin MacRae
7. Best Sellers

CD: Huinka – The Chair: What a fab band! The 8-strong ‘The Chair’ from Scotland’s Orkney Islands set the floor alight with their superb brand of high energy “stomp” music.

CD: Maidean Dubh’ an Donais (The Black Stick of the Devil): Dr Angus MacDonald is one of the famous piping MacDonald brothers of Glenuig and this CD comes 19 years after his acclaimed album A’ Sireadh Spòrs. It is great!

CD: Mairearad & Anna. The girls are both excellent and inventive players and this their debut as a duo is a demonstration of their abundant talents.

CD: Air Chall :Lost. Rachel Walker. This is the third release from the talented Gaelic singer and again one is struck by the beauty of her voice.

Book: Manran (Blair Douglas):  The first published collection of Blair’s compositions has so many of his brilliant tunes.

CD: A Shirt Of Silk Or Snow: Wendy Weatherby’s album of songs and cello is proving very popular.. and quite rightly so, it’s lovely!

8. Foot Stompin’ Scotch Whisky

With our partners Masters of Malt we’ve got two more fabulous whiskies for you to peruse. We’re going to feature Campbeltown. Campbeltown whiskies are a curious mix. Characteristics include a defined dryness with a pungency, smoke and a solid salinity. Imagine a cross between the Lowlands and the Western Highlands with a pinch of salt thrown in for good measure.

There was a time when Campbeltown was the most prolific of all of Scotland’s whisky regions. Around a century ago there were as many as twenty-eight distilleries in the geographically smallest of Scottish appellations. Today there are but three: the newly founded Mitchell’s Glengyle, though it will be a few more years ‘til any Glengyle single malt whisky is bottled, Glen Scotia and Springbank, a distillery which produces three very different whiskies using different levels of peat and still combination. Campbeltown sits on the Mull of Kintyre peninsula protruding from the western coast, ‘mist rolling in from the sea’. It is the proximity to the coast that gives the whisky its salty tang. Campbeltown single malts are often superb aperitifs.

Springbank 10 Year Old: The 10 year old from the Springbank distillery in Campbeltown, a mixture of both bourbon and sherry matured whisky. The peat is present and quite pungent with an earthen rootiness. Notes of exotic fruits and a hint of salinity. £28.95

Longrow 100 Proof: A 10 year old from the Springbank distillery, matured in bourbon casks before bottling at 100 proof, or 57% abv to you or I. The nose is of good body with a spirity sweetness and there are notes of marmalade and orange peel, hints of cut flowers and a vague iodine note. £40.95

9. Foot Stompin’ Discussion Forum
Our forum is a busy place! Feel free to join in.
Celtic Connections Highlights on BBC Two (Sunday)

Gaelic concert for Haiti

10. Testimonials

Wow! what speedy service!  the CDs arrived with today’s post.  Many thanks…..Kirsten

..You guys deserve any customer service awards going – you’re certainly doing it right…Many thanks again. AlyFinlayson

11 . Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter

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Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 41

Listen to the Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 41

A Good Suit of Clothes by Fiona J Mackenzie

A Good Suit of Clothes by Fiona J Mackenzie

We’re back again with the podcast. I took a couple of weeks out there to be at Hands Up for Trad’s 10th Tinto Summer School. It was a great success with our highest roll ever at 61 young people. It was held at Wiston Lodge in South Lanarkshire and the young folks learnt lots of trad music, played football and rounders and sang campfire songs. You can find out more at Here’s a link to the 2009 tinto summer school video

I’ve also just released my latest album / video art entitled Self Portrait 2009. It’s the first ever UK album to be released on YouTube and is a series of videos documenting my life and music in 2009. Some of it is Scottish music some of it isn’t… Here’s an article in The Herald about it and you can view it here Tell me what you think (it’s meant to be radical…)

Nae Sleep Tae Regent Street by The Dangleberries
Track – The Screamin’ Yab Dabs
I don’t know much about this band but they make a lot of noise! They seem to be a heavy metal version of the Red Hot Chili Pipers (they also say that they were first!). It’s a lof of fun anyhows and we sell a lot of them at Foot Stompin’.

A Good Suit of Clothes (Deagh Dheis Aodaich) by Fiona J Mackenzie
Track – Òran a’ Chianalais
Fiona is a Gaelic singer resident in Inverness who won the Mod Gold Medal in 2005. She has been working for Highland Council directing the Màiri Mhòr Gaelic Song Fellowship from 2002 -2009. We play a great track which struck not only because of the great singing but the excellent supporting musician ship

Double Take by Ian Robertson & Rob Alderton
Track – Jigs
I put this track on and instantly started tapping foot. This real dance music and proves that you don’t have to play at 10,000 miles an hour to swing

I Saw the Wild Geese Flee by Jim Reid
Track – The Wild Geese/Norland Wind
We heard last week of the death of Jim Reid last week. Jim was a songwriter and tradition bearer of high renoun. He was presented a few years back with the Scots Singer of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards and accepted the Award by saying ‘Aboot time tae’. A perfect acceptance. Norland Wind is Jim’s version of the Violet Jacob poem The Wild Geese which he recites first on this track.

Tribute – Dougie MacLean
Track – Ca’ the Yowes
Dougie MacLean is appearing on the 25/26th at The Gathering in Edinburgh. This looks like a great event and features lots of Scottish bands including Capercaillie, Julie Fowlis, Battlefield Band, Daimh, Breabach and much more. Check it out here

Huinka by The Chair
Track – The Folky Gibbon
This is a great band from Orkney. This record has been out for a while now but always comes out in our house when it is time for dancing. Look out for them at a festival near you.

Listen to the Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast.

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 30

Listen to the Foot Stompin\' Free Scottish Music Podcast No 30

Salsa Celtica - El Camino

Salsa Celtica - El Camino

In preparing this podcast I had two things in my mind – Celtic Connections and Robert Burns 250th birthday. I started of by choosing Salsa Celtica who play the Old Fruitmarket on the 24th January. I’ve always loved the bands fusion of latin and celtic. Their stage show really works and their energy filters through to the audience. They’re accompanied on the night by the Long Notes, a band featuring Glasgow’s Jamie Smith who was a finalist in the 2002 final of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award. The 2009 event is in the City Halls at 5pm on Sunday 1st February. If you can’t make it along it is also going out live on BBC Radio Scotland.

Next up is Rod Paterson. I’ve loved Rod’s singing since hearing him first in the Easy Club. As an aside I first heard the Easy Club on Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk in the eighties. I remember sitting listening to the radio ‘taping’ the tracks I liked and the Easy Club came on with the title track of their first album. I was bowled over by their swing, arrangements and tunes and from that minute I was set apon the musical path I still foraging today. Amazing. Anyway I love Rod’s singing – he has such a rich smooth voice and his treatment of Burns is tops.

The next track is neither Robert Burns or Celtic Connections but a track I was set on programming in our last podcast. It features Shetland fiddler Debbie Scott and legend Peerie Willie Johnston and The Selkie’s Song is a re-release from 1985. It is amazing to hear Willie playing with his much vaunted style. It’s a swinging track and it’s great to hear both musicians in tandem with each other.

Our next Burns track is from Sheena Wellington. This is Sheena’s version of Ae Fond Kiss from her Hamely Fare album. This was the CD that was released with Sheena’s version of A Man’s A Man (For A’ That) that she sang at the opening ofthe Scottish Parliament in 1999.

The next track is from Luke Plumb and James Mackintosh’s new CD A Splendid Notion. I was listening to some of the new releases the other day and this one jumped out at me. I really like ‘raw’ albums where musicians do what they do without much else and this is one of them. The whole album is simply mandolin and percussion. I think this is a risk worth taking for musicians as it really bares the soul with no room to hide. Well done to Luke and James.

Our final track is from the Battlefield Band’s Home is Where the Van Is. This is one of the most exciting concerts for me at Celtic Connections. It is part of the festivals ‘Classic Album’ series and they bring together the original band lineup to perform. This was the first piece of music I ever bought myself. I got the cassette from the old Rae Macintosh music shop in Edinburgh. We had Silly Wizard and Jimmy Shand in the house but this was the first endeavour with my pocket money. I didn’t really like it a first. It was very different to the Silly Wizard LPs in the house. I grew to love it though and still listen to it frequently.

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast – Highlands and Islands Feature

Listen to the Foot Stompin Free Scottish Music Podcast

Foot Stompin Free Scottish Music Podcast

Foot Stompin' Free Scottish Music Podcast

All of the bands/singers on this podcast come from the Highlands and Islands. I’ve started of the programme with the energetic The Chair from Orkney. Their win in Folk Band of the Year category of the Scots Trad Music Awards 2008 topped and amazing year for the band. They had folks up dancing everywhere they played. They also feature one of Scotland’s top fiddlers Douglas Montgomery who plays with Saltfishforty. Definitely worth a listen. 2009 can only get better for the band.

Talking of top fiddlers the next CD is Bryan Gear and Violet Tulloch. He has great technique and clarity in his playing. Ofcourse it helps to be accompanied by piano legend Violet Tulloch. I first met Violet on the Aly Bain and the Young Champions tour of 1990. We travelled all over Scotland in a tour organised by the TMSA. We had some great parties and made some excellent new cocktails.

I love this next track by Catriona Watt. When she won the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award in 2007 she was a unanimous choice by the judges. Her album Cadal Cuain is beautiful. Hopefully we’re hear a lot more of her singing live in 2009.

I don’t know much about Niall Matheson but I loved his playing when listening to the CD. As a double gold medallist he has established himself as one of our foremost pibroch players, as well as being a noted exponent of the lighter music of the ceòl beag tradition. The last tune in his set is called Barbara’s Jig, a tune that we have played for years in Keep it Up.

Lots has been written about the next musician Kris Drever. He just won Instrumentalist of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards. He is more noted for his singing nowadays but he is one of Scotland’s top guitarists. He really swings and folks should always look out for opportunities to have a tune with him.

We finish up the podcast with a track from the new Skipinnish Deluxe Blend of Highland Music Vol 3 CD. It’s a great title with lots of great music. I’m always drawn to the music of Deoch n Dorus. I think it is because their accordion sound reminds of Silly Wizard. They also swing like Silly Wizard! Check them out.

See you in two weeks.

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No. 25 Scottish Fiddle feature

Foot Stompin Scottish Music - Filska

Foot Stompin' Scottish Music - Filska

Listen to the Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast

The first 2 weeks of October have just rushed by! It’s been a busy time with the semi-finals of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician. We had a great time a an excellent concert. Our curry party afterwards was good as well. The six finalists are:

Adam Holmes – guitar, song (Edinburgh)
Lorne MacDougall – pipes, whistle (Carradale, Argyll)
Ruairidh Macmillan – fiddle (Nairn)
Kenneth Nicolson – Gaelic song (Lochs, Isle of Lewis)
Jack Smedley – fiddle (Buckie, Banffshire)
Daniel Thorpe – fiddle (Inverurie)

These guys (and yes they are all male!) will go through to the finals on the 1st February at the prestigeous Celtic Connections festival. They will play a very different music stage to the one they played in Coulter. It is much larger and will sound completely different to play. Also the fact of it being a final will make them have to think about it differently.

I was also in Cardiff last week in an exciting development for our Distil project. Dave Francis and I have been funded to develop our Distil project for Welsh traditional musicians. Our first residential event happens in Snowdonia in February. I’ll keep the blog addressed with developments.

I’ve also managed to update our Foot Stompin’ YouTube page with three new videos. I bought a Flip video camera after a great discussion on the Foot Stompin’ forum. I’m using to film as many Scottish musicians as I can get to. I started off with a new film of myself playing The Bee’s Wing Hornpipe. I felt like going a bit mad at the end and tried to emulate this in the video editing. Some like it – some screw there face up! I’ve also filmed some brilliant fiddling from Glasgow’s Katie Boyle and great pianoing from Shetland’s Harris Playfair.

Back to the podcast. I wanted to do a fiddle feature for this edition as I just love the instrument. I started off with Jenna Reid’s band Filska. Their A Thousand Miles Away CD came out a few years back on Foot Stompin’ This track show off the amazing Shetland technique.

I followed this with a track of Shona Mooney’s brilliant album Heartsease. This is easily for me the most original fiddle album to come out in years. Her material selection is great and features many reels and slower pieces from the Scottish Borders. The thing that made this album stand out is the thought that goes into the arrangements and Shona’s skill to try out new ideas.

No fiddle podcast would be complete without the music of Perthshire’s Neil Gow. Neil Gow is one of the classic tune writers of all time. He lived in the 18th century and published many tune books. The track is played by Pete Clark, a beautiful fiddler whose has concentrated on this particular style of playing.

We next interview Jenny Wrigley. I’ve known Jennifer (and her sister Hazel) for years as we used to play together in Edinburgh. Jennifer is an amazing player with great tone and technique. She is also an excellent tune writer and has added many new tunes to her Orkney tradition. In the interview she explains the Orkney style. I follow this with a track from her last album Skyran.

I finish the podcast with a track from Allan Henderson. Estb. 1976 CD came out a few years back and I’ve always loved it. I really like Allan’s highland style solo and with Blazin’ Fiddles. I remember travelling to Canada with Allan and his younger sister Ingrid Henderson. Ingrid had just won the Radio 2 Young Trad Award in 1990 and part of her prize was to go to Vancouver Folk Festival. They were great players even then but most of all I remember the whole family (including Mum and Dad) all dressed in blue shell suits for the trip. Oh memories…

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 24

Listen to Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 24

The Curer - Deoch n DorusI’ve enjoyed putting together the Foot Stompin’ October podcast. I’ve started the show with Wolfstone, a folk rock band who have been around for a few years now. I first met them properly when my band Keep it up toured Canadian festivals at the same time as them. I used to think we were mental until I met them. They rocked the festival circuit and had everybody up dancing. This new album Terra Firma is great.

The next band Malinky is full of young musicians but they are definitely one of the older bands on the scene. Since their Danny Award winning performance and excellent debut album Last Leaves they have gone through a few lineups but consistently deliver very stong albums and performances. The new album Flowers & Iron sounds like it’s going to do well.

Our next record is from Deoch ‘n’ Dorus. I don’t know too much about this band although the accordion player Stuart Cameron was in the very first BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award in 2000. They’re all great players and I love the sound they make.

I’ve known our next artist Ishbel McCaskill for years but I had never heard this track before tonight. An Teid Thu Leam A Mhairi (Will You Go With Me Mary?) is a really beautiful song. The performance and vocal harmonies make it for me.

As i say in the broadcast I chose the next piece of music because of the tune – The Dawning of the Day. Of course St Laurence O’Tool are an amazing band with lots of championships to their name but in this case they happen to be playing a tune that my little boy Charlie is learning on the whistle. We’re having a great time with him and my wife and I are enjoying our evenings listening to him practice and playing along with him.

I finish up this broadcast with a track from my youth. Anthem for Common Man came out in the eighties and received a bit of a slagging for its use of a drum machine but I loved it at the time and still do. The band are still going strong touring the world but I still hark back to this album and also Home is Where the Van Is. I love the intro to ‘The Four Minute Warning’, I’ve played all the tunes in the set at some point.

I hope you enjoy it. Subscribe to our newsletter for more information.

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 22



Play Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast 22
I can’t believe it – September is here! How many days to Christmas???????????? Anyway on with the podcast.

The first track I play is Nusa by Nusa on an album called – you’ve guessed it Nusa! I think this is one of the most orginial tracks of the last few years. Nusa are made up of Rory Campbell (pipes) and Malcolm Stitt (bouzouki, guitar) and on this album they featured DJ Extra. On this track DJ Extra takes one of Rory’s favourite Tannahill Weavers LPs and uses it in a scratch kind of way (I don’t know what this is called). It is an amazing sound though and makes for a very original recording. I don’t think the band fulfilled their potential in the end but in many ways this music is still not to be beaten.

The next track is by Fiona MacKenzie from her Elevate CD. This is a lovely album full of great songs with lots of singable hooks. I think they were aiming more at the pop world with this CD and I hope they succeed. Fiona sang in the premier of my Music for a New Scottish Parliament way back in 1999. She made a lovely job of “And Freedom Be Our Guide” which was written by me and Aonghas MacNeacail. She couldn’t make the next performance unfortunately which was recorded.

After this we play a new compilation CD by Aly Bain entitled The Best of Aly Bain. This is a lovely compilation although I would rather hear a new Aly Bain CD. I’ve alway’s loved Aly’s playing – his tone is my favourite fiddle tone especially on slow airs. I spent a bit of time with Aly over the years firstly on the TMSA Young Champions Tour way back in 1990. It was fun times and also included musicians Martyn Bennett, Scott Gardener, Bruce Lindsay and others. The accompanist was the legendary Violet Tulloch. He has also been very good to me over the years and in the ninties he let his manager Liz Wright try to get me gigs while he paid for the running of the office. It was also his influence that would have got me onto the Shetland Sessions and Transatlantic Sessions TV programmes.

Another compendium now from fiddler John McCusker. He has put together his last two CDs Yella Hoose and Goodnight Ginger onto one disk. Again like Aly’s CD I would rather see something new but it is still great to listen to John’s music. I play on both of these CDs and I smile when I remember the recording process. I’m very much a go for it kind of musician and never play the same thing twice but John kept giving me a row when I deviated or made a little mistake! John’s been very busy this year touring with Mark Knofler all over the world. He’s great fun and always makes me laugh!

Alyth McCormack’s CD An Iomall was like Nusa a bit of landmark for me. She and Jim Sutherland (the producer) really modernised Gaelic music on this CD. I believe there was a second CD made for her recent support tour with The Chieftains in the USA but it as not been released over here yet. Alyth was the singer who took over from Fiona MacKenzie in my Parliament piece and did a fine job which you can hear on the CD.

We finish up with a track from a new album called Experience Scotland – a CD which is all about that. The company that made it licensed tracks from lots of different record labels including Foot Stompin and have come out with a very varied and interesting CD. I chose the track from Scottish Women singing Hey Donal. I’ve alway’s loved this song and it brings back memories of Karine Polwart teaching it to kids at Tinto Summer School. The harmonies in this recording are brilliant.