Link to Living Tradition Homepage





Sleeve not available
HAMISH HENDERSON "The Tribute Album" Greentraxe CDTRAX244.

Tribute albums are sometimes ill-advised ventures which end up pleasing very few because it is for the spirit of the person, at whom the tribute is aimed, remain elusive. Even worse is the possibility of less than acceptable renderings of the person's work, and where a tribute is concerned, to have any meaning, the standard set must by the very nature of the venture be high. Happily, none of those criticisms apply here, and producer Fred Freeman has done an exemplary job of bringing together a range of artistes who were admirers of the late Hamish Henderson to record new tracks, which sit beside previously outstanding versions of his work.

The most notable amongst these is the younger and subtler Gaughan's version of 'Gillie More', (1978) and the exhilarating 'John MacLean March' by The Laggan. (1972). One very unusual track is included, and was found among Hamish's personal possessions where it had lain for many years. It's the Corrie Folk Trio's version of 'Rivonia', made in 1968 and it still has impact. Of the newer recordings, Rod Paterson is on fine form (as always) with 'D Day Dodgers' and a fine version of 'Freedom-Come-All-Ye' from Jim Reid, avoids the pitfall of becoming overwrought - which some singers succumb to with this one. Although the standard is high throughout, it absolutely peaks with the performance of Gordeanna McCulloch. Her version of 'The Speaking Heart' is awesome. At a storytelling level she immediately captures, then holds your attention in a vice like grip, such is her ability to put over a story in song. It is only after repeated plays that you begin to think about how good her voice is, because it sounds as natural as breathing, and as far as a ballad like this goes that is how it should be. On 'Auld Reekie's Roses', much of the song's strength lies in the precision of the detail created by its writer, and here he shows his genius in painting the small picture as much as in dealing with larger themes. Gordeanna's interpretation of Henderson's lyrics (yes the producer has given her two songs - wise man) in collaboration with the Euridyce Choir weaves an atmosphere that propels the listener straight into the mood of the song.

To round off the tribute Jeannie Robertson is fittingly included, and rounds off a pretty outstanding work with a pretty outstanding 'My Son David'. A fine tribute indeed.

Hector Christie

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 54 of The Living Tradition magazine.