Ian Croft of RnR
reviews Gleanings by Hector GilchristScottish 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.