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Dick Gaughan - Lucky for Some

Lucky For Some
Greentrax CDTRAX290

No one could ever accuse Dick Gaughan of being too deferential. There's something to offend wishy-washy liberals and the powers that be, alike on this his first studio album in five years, as he tackles greed, racism, and the corporate world alike. Naturally that's what makes him musically thrilling and there's some robust writing on these ten songs, eight of them own compositions, demonstrating that things which once concerned him, concern him still.

There are echoes of earlier works; - 'Handful Of Earth' is a quarter of a century ago and he's still thankfully banging on about injustice and hypocrisy. By the time you get to the final cut -'We Got The Rock 'n' Roll' - an affecting, realistic paean to 'the road' dedicated to the late, wonderful Bobby Eaglesham it's clear that he has a sensitive side but to hear him spit out the lyric to 'Anna Mae' - a leader of the American Indian movement, murdered in 1976 with a fearsome bile and anger, is almost unbearably poignant. He can of course, sing traditional material too, with a hairs-on-back-of-neck facility and his sensitive treatment of 'Bleacher Lassie Of Kelvinhaugh' is a pleasure. There's much life and spirit here and more than the odd flash of his time-honoured magic on such as 'Different Drum' ("world in chaos, run by fools. No real values, money rules") where the thinly-veiled menace is palpable.

There isn't a lightweight piece anywhere and this is a work of sizeable ambition. On the evidence of this album, Dick Gaughan isn't ready to play safe - and aren't you just glad of it!?

Clive Pownceby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 68 of The Living Tradition magazine.