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Mike Wild of Folk Monthly

reviews Days O' Grace by Hector Gilchrist

This is Hector's fourth album on WildGoose and contains mainly Scottish material. He is joined by multitalented instrumentalists Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer. Moira Craig provides lovely close harmonies on some tracks.

Hector grew up on an Ayrshire farm and came to work in England in 1961 but never lost his feeling for his heritage. I have seen and heard Hector and his guitar a number of times in the 50 years that he has been performing, as he must be around my own age, and have always admired his baritone/tenor voice and his range and particularly his renditions of Burns' songs; on this CD he sings the randy bard's tribute to The Gowden Locks o'Anna. There are 15 tracks and some will be familiar to English audiences and some not so well known. The sleeve notes are very informative and they list the writers which is always helpful.

The first track is The Trysting Fair at Falkirk by Brian McNeill and sets the scene for rural life when animals were brought down the drove roads and farm workers were 'fee'd'. There are quite a number of other recent compositions about the old days on the album and this seems to be a feature of the second and even third folk revivals where gaps in our history are filled in. The Shian Road, The Menzies Tree and Lang Road Hame (from which the album title is taken) are in the same vein. To balance these there are traditional songs Lay the Bent tae the Bonny Broom and Willie's Drooned in Yarrow, also the moving Faraway Tom by Dave Goulder and TraivellersJoy by Helen Fullerton set to a traditional tune .

I half expected at least one on The Referendum and the parcel of rogues' etc. but no. Hector does however show the colour o' his plaidy on Strong and Faithful and his love of his native land shines through! The final track is Scotland a poem of praise by Sir Alexander Grey the economist. The verse selected as a chorus is now etched on the wall of the Scottish Parliament.