Link to Living Tradition Homepage





VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Songs of Sandy Wright

VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Songs of Sandy Wright
Navigator Records  NAVIGATOR23

Sandy Wright has long been a preciously coveted secret in his home town of Edinburgh. In his sixties now this is his first solo album, although one with a twist. It’s a 2-set CD, the first of which features Sandy and the Toxic Cowboys delivering versions of some of his own many compositions. The second comprises covers by a rich mix of such champions and fans as Kris Drever, Eddi Reader, Chris Wood and Roddy Woomble amongst many others. Each provides their own twist to Sandy’s work which proves just how malleable and vital Sandy’s song writing is.

Really though, it’s Sandy’s show all the way. His voice, reminiscent of Michael Marra or Tom Waits and full of the crackle and timbre of a life well spent, is perfectly suited to the material and adds a level of poignancy to his lyrics. Beads And Feathers is delivered with a sadness and clemency which is achingly palpable. My Shining Star, complete with harmonium, feels like a hymn lifted straight from the Victorian street. It’s a beautifully simple little track, full of melancholic, yet life affirming, hope. Black humour characterises Happy Pills, a cheerful, toe tapping affair, on the need for medicinal aid to deal with the vagaries of modern life, whilst Whores And Bitches is a bluesy diatribe full of unresolved frustration and anger, roared with uncharacteristic venom by Sandy.

Soaked in the music of Appalachia, blue-grass and gospel, the album is filled with sweeps of folk-tinged country too. The themes of Sandy’s work are unpretentious yet universal and all the more affecting for that. As a final treat, included in the set is a music sheet of every track on CD1, a welcome little touch which encourages further interpretations and adaptations of Sandy’s work. I’m sure many of the tracks will find their way, quite rightly too, into every aspiring folkies set list pretty soon.

Billy Rough

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 88 of The Living Tradition magazine.