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Derek Gifford of Folk North West

reviews Days O' Grace by Hector Gilchrist

Hector Gilchrist is a very seasoned performer having over 50 years of experience singing in folk venues all over the country with occasional forays abroad. He is one of those much overlooked artists who should be better known than he is due to his exceptional singing qualities. He has a rich, wide ranging tenor voice that is a delight to listen to. This is Hector's fourth album with Wild Goose.

He opens with Bryan McNeil's well known The Trysting Fair at Falkirk his fine vocals enhanced by lovely close harmonies from Moira Craig and superb musical accompaniments from the talented Vicki Swan (flute, pipes, nycalharpas, double bass and harmony vocals) and Jonny Dyer (guitar, accordion, piano and harmony vocals) all of which add a great deal to the overall production. This sets the scene for most of what is to follow which is mainly Scottish material as one might expect.

There are a number of other fairly well known songs on the album such as Lay The Bent Tae The Bonny Broom, Ian McCalman's wistful The Shian Road, the braw Scot's Border song Willie's Drooned In Yarrow and Dave Goulder's Faraway Tom which has a lovely piano part accompaniment from Jonny.
Not being one to hide his writing talents, Hector also includes his own lyrics to Strong and Faithful a forceful Scottish song written for a special gathering of the Clan Maclachan, Lang Road Home which he originally wrote as a poem before setting the music to it and the tune to Scotland to accompany Sir Alexander Grey's poem.

Of the songs I've not heard before that stand out on this album are the sad lament to John Condon an Irish soldier killed in the First World War which is a very appropriate song at this time of remembrance and the fascinating Glassmaker's Hand written by Colum Sands which is a rather esoteric subject to use for a song but which builds nicely in both lyric and musical accompaniment. Alan Reid's song, Just A Boy is another memorable 'new' song.

Overall this is another classic album from Hector and the Wild Goose team. Well worth having!