Bill Haiselden of Surrey Folk News
reviews Ingleneuk by Hector GilchristHector Gilchrist has been in the folk scene since the mid-sixties when he was a resident at the Sing Out Club in Crewe, Cheshire. His first recording was on the Liverpool Festival record of 1966 and in this, his new solo album, is his third CD on the Wildgoose Records label.
On the fourteen tracks, he is ably abetted by other fine musicians: Vicki Swan on small pipes, bass and flute; Jonny Dyer on guitar, piano and accordion; Steve Poole on guitar and Paul Sartin on fiddle and oboe. This provides a variety of tones and textures to the tracks, making the CD one of those you can leave on for its entirety - if thats how you listen.
Gilchrist's Ayrshire origins are a real boon as a folk singer - his diction alone has a lyrical quality which, when combined with his gentle light baritone singing voice, means he passes the test for a solo album. What is more, he sings with sincerity, conveying years of experience and understanding. My favourite is 'Lallans Love', his own composition; a translation is available, but the lilting sound of the words is sufficient. The track which follows is exquisite, too, steeped in nostalgia for the days of working farm horses - 'Last Trip Home', music and lyrics by the sorely missed Davey Steele. Jonny Dyer's accordion adds to Gilchrists double tracking.
The words which will stay in you're your mind will be from 'The Valley of Strathmore' (context and origin annoyingly not mentioned on the sleeve notes). It is classic folk song material - a man's longing for his homeland and the sweetheart he left behind and regret that economic necessity tore him away from his roots: 'But if time was a thing I could buy o' the money that I have in store, I would give for one day by her side, in the Valley o' Strathmore'. Vicki Swan's plays along on the small pipes to complete the Celtic picture. Finally, not to be missed either this CD is 'Corn Rigs' from the pen of Robbie Burns: devotees of Scotland's bard will be glad to know that Gilchrist included eighteen Burns songs on an earlier CD.
The quality of the recording is excellent as is the production values of the colourful and mainly helpful sleeve notes.