Gleanings

by Hector Gilchrist

Since my original introduction into the world of folk clubs and festivals getting on for 55 years now, I would have listened to hundreds of wonderful songs covering a range of genres. There is always another good song which should have been learned and incorporated into the repertoire but for various and not always good reasons, they are left out or forgotten. To date, I have recorded approximately 70 tracks on vinyl, cassette and C.D. and this selection adds a few more, although I make no apology for re-recording a couple of my favourites. The others I have gleaned and placed into the basket of memories. My grateful thanks are due to the support and encouragement of family and special friends. To Wildgoose Studio and the Baileys for this my fifth C.D on their label and to all these excellent musicians appearing on this recording who can always add more than a little bit of magic to a performance.

Carol Anderson. Fiddle

Moira Craig. All backing vocals.

Vicki Swan. Double Bass, Flute, Nyckelharpa

Jonny Dyer. Guitar, Piano, Accordion

Bob Wood. Guitar

Hector Gilchrist Lead vocals on all tracks, Guitar



1 Baltic Street. 
Violet Jacob / Carole Prior. 

I have recorded a number of Violet Jacob's poems but on this occasion with a tune by friend and former regular singer at The Ram Club, Carole Prior. The tale is that of a pretty, young English lass who has been rejected by a lad from Montrose. Despite having her “tocher” (dowry) ready ! Although fond of the girl, he recognises that she might not be happy in the East Coast fishing town particularly in winter. Having played in a rugby match there in the teeth of a North East gale and following a Burns supper in Greenock the night before, I can totally agree. 

2 How Many Rivers 
Mike Silver. Faymusic Publishing. 

Mike encouraged me to record this song, probably his most popular or best known from his long catalogue of crafted compositions. Of course there was no way I could emulate his jazzy style and subtle changes of the melody in the original, so in the end I sang it pretty straight and hopefully haven't done too much damage to his reputation 

3 A Rosebud By My Early Walk. 
Burns/Trad. arr. 

Burns wrote this poem as a thank you to the young daughter of a friend who had helped him set some of his words to music by playing on her harpsichord. Burns of course wrote no music, but had a keen ear for a tune which would fit his lyrics. These were frequently fiddle tunes sometimes not too easy for a singer. 

4 Exile. 
Steve Knightly 

Steve composed this haunting song some years ago at a time when he was teaching guitar to a group of North African refugees in London. It has been covered by Show of Hands, obviously, Polly Bolton on my first hearing and also Rusby/Roberts. 

5 A Waukrife Minnie 
Burns/arr. 

A lively tale of a young man clandestinely “night visiting” a young lassie but being caught out by her Minnie (mother) who wakened early (waukrife) disturbed by the dawn crowing of the farmyard cock. The girl duly received her punishment, and as usual the lad gets away Scot free ! Carol plays the fiddle tune “Drummond Castle” at the end 

6 My Ain Countrie 
Trad/arr. 

This song was written by Allan Cunningham (1784-1842) and was one of a genre of songs written post the 1745 “rebellion” describing the exile of a Jacobite soldier in France and his longing for home. It is set to a traditional Gaelic air. 

7 The Stag. 
Angelo Brandwaurdie 

My Selkie partner Liz, sent me this song on cassette some years ago, suggesting that I learn it but of course, it has taken me an inordinately long time. However, the message is still relevant today as there are many big game hunters who sadly, have not yet experienced a similar epiphany as did the subject in this song. The composer is apparently, an Italian rock musician! 

8 Sir Patrick Spens. 
Trad. Arr. 

There are many versions of this well known Scottish ballad, some much longer than others, combining as it does in true tabloid fashion two tales relating to an original fated sea journey and the later voyage, which was sent to bring to Scotland the young “ Maid of Norway”, to be betrothed to a son of the Scottish King . It is a bit “economical” with the true facts but makes a good story. However no surprise that a group of Scots Lords out for a party are accused of drinking their hosts dry! 

9 The Gallowa' Hills 
Trad./arr. 

This is a variation of the song written by a travelling musician Willie Nicholson who roamed around the area in the early 19th Century. Recorded by Hamish Henderson in 1958 it was made popular by the singing of Jeannie Robertson and later Ray Fisher. Both ladies sing the line “wi heather bells and Bonnie Doon” Perhaps mis-heard at some point in Jeanie's version, as Loch Doon and its river lie firmly in the Ayrshire hills. Hence it should I think be, “wi heather bells in bonny bloom” 

10 When Angels Cry 
Janis Ian 

Not the cheeriest of songs I know, being written at a time when it was feared that AIDS might become a pandemic. Janis has never held back from tackling difficult subjects. 

11 The Trooper and the Maid. 
Trad./arr. 

This traditional song has been performed by many Scottish Groups and solo artists over the years. It is to be found in several versions both North and South of the Border with the recurring theme of the lass being left pregnant and the soldier unlikely to return. In this case, “When heather cowes grow owsen bows” i.e. when heather brooms grow oxen yokes. Carol and Jonny add an instrumental break with the tune “The Ale is Dear” I'll drink to that, especially here in Surrey ! 

12 The Man In The Moon. 
Andy M Stewart. 

A mysterious and fascinating song from the pen of this late, great singer songwriter. This one, a little reminiscent of the songs by Jimmy McCarthy. 

13 Andersons Coast. 
John Warren 

Australian Folk Historian John Warren wrote and recorded this song based on a true tale of a group of escaped convicts whose stolen vessel had been wrecked on a remote South Australian stretch of coast, claimed by a settler called Anderson. Apparently, some time later, a party of lost explorers stumbled upon their stockade and the convicts provided food and led them to Anderson's ranch which saved them. The convicts were, it seems, pardoned because of their good deed. Recorded by several artists, notably, Cockersdale, and Kerr/Fagan 

14 My Lagan Love. 
Trad/arr. 

This is a poem by a Joseph Campbell, which was set to a traditional air perhaps from Galway, by Herbert Hughes. There has been some dispute concerning the location but clearly the Lagan river runs South of Belfast and one of the original verses mentions Lambeg near Belfast. Lagan or Laggan is from the Gaelic for a low place by a river and similar place names can be found in Ireland and Scotland. The song has been recorded by Margaret Barry and many others since. I have sung this for many years from some date in the 60's and recorded it previously on a cassette, produced by Richard Digance in 1985 . 

15 Bonnie Gallowa. 
George Sproat/arr. 

This was the favourite song of an old friend of mine Jimmy Crawley, one time Manager of Stranraer Creamery where I would visit on business. He declared no love for the modern music of the day convinced that he had “Heard mair music oot o' the wheel o' a dung barrow” Those who like me, have experienced farm work may well understand. 

16 Where Ravens Feed. 
Graeme Miles. 

Martyn Wyndham Reid, did us all a great favour when he approached Graeme asking for permission to collaborate and record a volume of his songs which resulted in The Fellside production “Where Ravens Feed” The song has become a favourite classic amongst the Folk Community and a continuing tribute to the talent of the late Graeme and his many wonderful songs. 
Baltic Street.
I have recorded a number of Violet Jacob's poems but on this occasion with a tune by friend and former regular singer at The Ram Club
How Many Rivers
Mike encouraged me to record this song
A Rosebud By My Early Walk.
Burns wrote this poem as a thank you to the young daughter of a friend who had helped him set some of his words to music by playing on her harpsichord. Burns of course wrote no music
Sample not available
Exile.
Steve composed this haunting song some years ago at a time when he was teaching guitar to a group of North African refugees in London. It has been covered by Show of Hands
Sample not available
A Waukrife Minnie
A lively tale of a young man clandestinely “night visiting” a young lassie but being caught out by her Minnie (mother) who wakened early (waukrife) disturbed by the dawn crowing of the farmyard cock. The girl duly received her punishment
Sample not available
My Ain Countrie
This song was written by Allan Cunningham (1784-1842) and was one of a genre of songs written post the 1745 “rebellion” describing the exile of a Jacobite soldier in France and his longing for home. It is set to a traditional Gaelic air.
Sample not available
The Stag.
My Selkie partner Liz
Sample not available
Sir Patrick Spens.
There are many versions of this well known Scottish ballad
Sample not available
The Gallowa' Hills
This is a variation of the song written by a travelling musician Willie Nicholson who roamed around the area in the early 19th Century. Recorded by Hamish Henderson in 1958 it was made popular by the singing of Jeannie Robertson and later Ray Fisher. Both ladies sing the line “wi heather bells and Bonnie Doon” Perhaps mis-heard at some point in Jeanie's version
Sample not available
When Angels Cry
Not the cheeriest of songs I know
Sample not available
The Trooper and the Maid.
This traditional song has been performed by many Scottish Groups and solo artists over the years. It is to be found in several versions both North and South of the Border with the recurring theme of the lass being left pregnant and the soldier unlikely to return. In this case
The Man In The Moon.
A mysterious and fascinating song from the pen of this late
Sample not available
Andersons Coast.
Australian Folk Historian John Warren wrote and recorded this song based on a true tale of a group of escaped convicts whose stolen vessel had been wrecked on a remote South Australian stretch of coast
Sample not available
My Lagan Love.
This is a poem by a Joseph Campbell
Sample not available
Bonnie Gallowa.
This was the favourite song of an old friend of mine Jimmy Crawley
Where Ravens Feed.
Martyn Wyndham Reid

Fatea

Emma Marshall

While I was waiting to review this album, I did a bit of YouTube digging in preparation. The first thing I found was a Gilchrist's restyle of Janis Ian's heart-breaking ballad 'Getting over you', which made the hairs on my arms tingle and want to learn the song. Always a good sign. The second was a beautiful take on the song 'Every time' with singer Sue Graves with the sweetest close harmonies I've heard in a good long while. And so, it went on until it was way too late, with every clip I watched inspiring and inspired, very much looking forward to hearing more.

And so, the album arrived, and I headed out over Dartmoor when I live with it on loud in the car to have a listen. I immediately relaxed into a real treat of an album, causing me to drive a lot slower than I might as I savoured Gichrist's rich, tender tones, and spacious, well-judged arrangements.

The beautiful yellow gorse was out with the sun over the moors, but I don't think it was that that led me to embrace the emotion I these songs. Hector sings like he means it. There are many good singers out there, but it takes a master craftsperson to take a song, imbibe and metabolise it, hold it in their heart and live it with every note. These 'Gleanings' are clearly the product of many, many heartfelt hours and years of loving music, being with music and musicians and working bloody hard. You don't get to places like this without that. He sings with such a mellow and melodic richness that carries easily over from traditional arrangements in rich Ayrshire vernacular to contempory smooth arrangements a tonal quality that is grand old oprey style worthy; I'm surprised I haven't heard his name before and glad I have now.

It's on songs such as 'My Lagan Love' that Gilchrist's seasoned and mellifluous voice is allowed the freedom to do its thing, and these are the highlights for me on album. Some of the more contemporary tracks I feel are less so- they're good songs - no question about that - but Gilchrist isn't just good, he's exceptional.

Alongside Gilchrist the accompanying musicians only ever add to each piece, and do so with such well-timed, thoughtful and harmonious delivery that its symbiosis is just delightful.

Guitarist Bob Woods intricate, thoughtful and beautifully delivered guitar accompaniment and counter melodies open the album with the track Baltic Street- a romantically nostalgic piece that sets the tone of the album well- a fireside sentimentality to the song without being cloying, the intricacy of guitar work managing to be solo worthy without stepping on Gilchrist's toes, a real art!

Carol Anderson's presence throughout is invaluable and consistently stunning. Well known as one of Scotland's finest fiddle players, she delivers her accompaniment with considered and flawless timing and emotion, joining Gilchrist particularly strongly on tracks 'A Waukrife Minnie' and 'The Trooper and the Maid'.

The fabulous Jonny Dyer, who plays with such seemingly effortless fluidity, expertly adds guitar piano and accordion, creating timeless parlour style collaboration on tracks such as 'A Rosebud by my early walk' and the intriguing and emotive 'The Stag'.

'My Aine Country' sees the vocal debut on the album by Moira Craig, who sings with a beautiful clear tone on this anthemic track, an arrangement of the traditional song by Allan Cunningham. Throughout 'Gleanings' her harmonies are felt with a fabulous combination of strength and subtlety and combine very well harmonically with that of Gilchrest's.

Multi-instrumentalist Vicki Swan completes this 'dream team' collaboration and displays her talents beautifully with equal thoughtful delivery, the inclusion of the Scandinavian Nyckelharpa (which I must admit was a new one on me!) is particularly stunning on the track Sir Patrick Spens, which adds a hauntingly mellow depth.

After 52 years spent in the dairy industry, I'm romantically imagining singing to the lucky cows in between folk club gigs and festival appearances, Gilchrist says the time is now for gigging and recording. For my part, I can say it certainly is- I'll be enjoying this album on many a moorland jaunt and more, look forward to the next and to catching him live on the circuit soon.

fRoots

Bob Walton

Hector Gilchrist has been singing and performing folk songs around the British Isles for 55

years at last count, and he has come across a lot of songs in that time! His slightly refined

tenor voice and Ayrshire accent make an excellent vehicle for another eclectic mix of songs �

Burns to Janis Ian (a particularly fine When Angels Cry), Steve Knightley's Exile to traditional

ballads (including a short Sir Patrick Spens!), Mike Silver to Graham Miles.

Largely eschewing his own guitar playing, Vicki Swan, Jonny Dyer, Carol Anderson and Bob Wood

contribute some excellently appropriate plucking and bowing and stuff, and Moira Craig harmony vocals. Some fine gleanings indeed, ear-catching while still firmly rooted in the tradition, and well worth seeking out.

Folk Northwest

Derek Gifford

This is Hector's fifth album on the Wild Goose label and features songs which he has 'gleaned and placed into the basket of memories' according to his sleeve notes. Apart from previously unrecorded material he has also recorded a few songs that are very well known as well as a couple of songs he has recorded before and replenished here.

As to be expected the CD has a predominantly Scottish flavour including a couple of Burns poems, which have been set to music, and songs from the Scottish tradition including My Ain Countrie written by Alan Cunningham in the early 19th century, the classic Sir Patrick Spens the well known The Gallowa' Hills and The Trooper and the Maid as well as Joseph Campbell's My Lagan Love.

However, Hector has also cast his net a little wider to include contemporary songs from well known performers such as Mike Silver with How Many Rivers and Steve Knightly's hard hitting Exile. He has also included Anderson's Coast which unfortunately is wrongly credited to John 'Warren' and not John Warner who wrote it. Maybe this was a typo that, unusually, no-one at Wild Goose picked up on. He finishes the album strongly with Graeme Miles's Where Raven's Feed which is one of my favourite tracks because of the empathy with the sentiment in the arrangement.

Hector has an appealing and gentle tenor voice which Doug Bailey has captured well. He is accompanied on various tracks by Carol Anderson from Aberdeen on fiddle, Vicki Swan on double bass, flute and the 'trademark' nyckelharpa and Jonny Dyer on guitar, accordion and with some very nice piano arrangements. Bob Wood originally from Ayrshire also plays guitar particularly well on a few tracks. Backing vocals are provided by Moira Craig who has the knack of finding some lovely harmonies that enhance the songs even further. These fine musicians make the whole package a very pleasant listening experience.

Folking.com

Dai Jeffries

GleaningsHector Gilchrist, as you will quickly discover, comes from Ayrshire but is much travelled. To misuse a common phrase, however: you can take the man out of Scotland but you can't take Scotland out of the man. There is someone like Hector in just about every folk club: always welcome, able to produce a set at a moment's notice. They may not be stars but some can elevate themselves above their apparently humble status. Gleanings is a collection of traditional and contemporary songs that might seem typical except for Hector's skill in finding a previously unconsidered piece.

He begins with the lovely 'Baltic Street'. It's a tale of love and self-sacrifice with words by Violet Jacob and a melody by Carole Prior and I guess it's unique to Hector. It slips easily into 'How Many Rivers', Robert Burns' 'A Rosebud By My Early Walk' and Steve Knightly's 'Exile'. By now, the album is feeling rather downbeat and I'm hoping for something rather more lively. Although a guitarist himself, Hector only plays on one track, 'Sir Patrick Spens', and leaves most of the work to Bob Wood. Also supporting him are Carol Anderson on fiddle and the myriad talents of Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer. Moira Craig takes the second vocal lines � I'm not going to belittle her contribution by referring to �backing vocals�. You'll note that all of them are regular visitors to WildGoose studios.

The liveliness begins with 'A Waukrife Minnie' � a night visiting song of the sexual encounter not the supernatural sort � with Carol throwing in a fiddle tune at the end. 'My Ain Countrie' is a wistful song of exile and then comes the first of those unconsidered pieces. 'The Stag' was written by Angelo Brandaurdie, an Italian composer, songwriter and Renaissance music specialist. It's an oddly philosophical piece in which the titular beast urges the writer, a hunter, to use every part of his body instead of just taking a trophy. Whether the hunter actually kills the animal is not recorded. After 'Sir Patrick Spens' things cheer up again with 'The Gallowa' Hills' and then comes the second unexpected gem. Janis Ian's 'When Angel Cry' is a real downer, written at the height of the AIDS crisis. Vicki and Jonny provide the accompaniment with all the delicacy you'd expect.

Gleanings is an album reminiscent of a time when singers didn't overthink things. It's a collection of songs that Hector likes and enjoys performing which is where we all came in. That's not a veiled criticism; I'd not heard ten of these sixteen songs before proving that there is always something new to discover.

Living Tradition

David Kidman

Hector's been singing in folk clubs and at festivals for over 50 years, a CV reflected in his accomplished, affable fifth CD for WildGoose. Anyone with an ear for a fine song will appreciate Hector's unfailing good taste, while Hector's melodious tenor voice, attractive and consistent in tone, is well suited to the range of material he tackles here. Hector can invariably be relied upon to glean quality songs that will be new to even the seasoned listener � into this category will certainly fall The Stag (by Italian rock musician Angelo Brandwaurdie) and very probably Janis Ian's AIDS-themed When Angels Cry. More within my own preference-zone, though, are Anderson's Coast (John Warner), Exile (Steve Knightley), The Man In The Moon (Andy M. Stewart) and Graeme Miles' Where Ravens Feed, all sung with affection and understanding.

For accompaniment, Hector's fortunate to have secured the services of superlative fellow-singer Moira Craig, fiddler Carol Anderson, guitarist Bob Wood and multi-instrumentalists Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer. If I'm honest, I might say that the choice of piano rather than guitar as base instrument on several tracks lends them something of an air of the parlour-song. But as compensation there's a stirring Sir Patrick Spens ballad and the sprightly Gallowa' Hills (as popularised by Jeannie Robertson and Ray Fisher), and the standout (for me) of Hector's a cappella re-visit of My Lagan Love. However, such matters of personal preference cannot in the end seriously detract from the old-fashioned charm and unfussy appeal of this album.

www.hectorgilchrist.co.uk


Folk London

Gavin Atkin

Hector Gilchrist is a fine, silver toned singer with excellent phrasing; likewise the studio team of fiddler Carol Anderson (fiddle), Moira Craig (harmonies and choruses), Johnny Dyer (guitar, piano and accordion), Vicki Swan (double bass, flute and nyckelharpa) and Bob Wood (guitar) is cracking good and the arrangements are to die for.

Hector has made many albums in the past (five for Wild Goose), so apart from being beautifully made, what's this one about?

Gleanings is a collection of songs Hector felt he somehow missed along the way (the 'gleanings' of the title), together with a few old favourites here given new settings and new performances. As his notes say, 'there's always another good song', and it's true though sometimes you have to look hard for them.

The album is also roughly half traditional and historic Scots songs, and about half modern songs from all sorts of sources. In a way, it's almost two different albums in one, with recognisably different approaches to singing, with the more recent songs it often seems as if he's crooning to the second row in a folk club, while the older and more Scottish songs get a more gutsy treatment.

As with the instruments and arrangements, no doubt these differences will lend variety that many listeners will appreciate.

Among the modern songs my favourites are Baltic Street, Carole Prior's setting of the Violet Jacob poem about the challenges for couples getting together from different social backgrounds, and Italian Angelo Brandaurdie's The Stag, with its striking and original angle on hunting.

Among the older songs, I loved the Trooper and the Maid (Carol Anderson's playing is magnificent) and My Lagan Love   in this performance I feel Hector has taken on a well known song and nevertheless made it very much his own, as befits such a seasoned and confident singer.

RnR

Ian Croft

Scottish singer Hector  Gilchrist has been  plying his trade for  over fifty years, and  this collection of  songs old and new

has been picked up along the way. He retains a delightfully gentle voice that can still hit the high notes, and uses Carol Anderson, Moira Craig, Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer, and Bob Wood to provide totally sympathetic backing.

Some of the songs are less than familiar. A couple by Burns, 'A Rosebud By My Early Walk' and 'A Waukrife Minnie', are not among his greatest hits, and 'The Stag' by Italian folk rock musician Angelo Branduardi is another that I'd not heard before. Better known covers include Mike Silver's 'How Many Rivers', Steve Knightley's 'Exile', and 'Where Ravens Feed' from the late Graeme Miles. A personal favourite is 'Anderson's Coast', written by John Warren and once sung by Kerr & Fagan. A rather surprising inclusion is 'When Angels Cry', Janis Ian's song about AIDS, but Hector applies his trademark sensitive treatment, as he does to all the material here.

Traditional songs get an airing on Gleanings too. Of particular note is an unaccompanied version of 'My Lagan Love' that

emphasises how Hector's vocal talents are not dimmed by longevity.

It all makes for a relaxing and very enjoyable hour in the presence of an understated craftsman.