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NEIL THOMSON - Gandiegow

NEIL THOMSON - Gandiegow
Ardura Music 452004

Mellow and relaxing, Gandiegow is the first CD from singer-songwriter Neil Thomson for 12 years. At times, reminiscent of Eric Bogle, his songs cover a wide range of topics, namely, the Clydebank blitz (I had not realised the area was known as the “Holy City”), the blight of sectarianism, clipper ships, migration, relationships and hedgehogs! The opening number, Pray These Wings Will Carry Me, perhaps best exemplifies his gentle style.

The 13 tracks include three instrumentals, two of these being versions of album songs, where Neil’s low whistle is beautifully prominent. He himself wrote the music and lyrics for 10 of the compositions, the exceptions being the anonymous Hedgehog Song, and a couple which are more intriguing. Wood For Burning puts Lady Celia Congreve’s famous poem to music, while The Tryst, in Scots dialect, comes from the pen of the Perth poet, William Soutar, who died tragically, aged only 45.

All the pieces are delivered at a subtle laid-backed pace, the words being sung clearly, and the accompaniment always discreet. Neil plays guitar, keyboards, banjo (particularly notable on Thrill Of The Dance), and low whistle. Gerry Cambridge contributes harmonica on one track, while Kathy Whittaker plays fiddle on four.

The CD comes in a beautifully designed sleeve, with a booklet containing full lyrics and some song notes.

Neil’s voice is warm and his careful and intimate lyrics offer food for thought amidst the peaceful atmosphere. Calm and smooth, Gandiegow is an album to feel at ease with.

Jim McCourt

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This album was reviewed in Issue 116 of The Living Tradition magazine.