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Derek Gifford of Folk Northwest

reviews Gleanings by Hector Gilchrist

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.