Link to Living Tradition Homepage





DAVE GOULDER & FRIENDS - A Gathering Of Stones

DAVE GOULDER & FRIENDS - A Gathering Of Stones
Private Label DRYSTONE5

This isn’t actually a new Dave Goulder recording, but an anthology of “words and music of drystone walling”: concerning all aspects of that time-honoured profession of dyker, in which Dave’s proud to be classed a master craftsman. It’s been lovingly assembled by Dave himself, and falls naturally into three sections (sequences): Building The Wall, Living With Walls, and Broken & Remade.

It needs to be stated at the outset that the purely musical content of the disc is in a minority – only five of the 35 individual tracks being songs, and a further four being instrumental pieces. The former category (mostly recordings licensed from existing releases) include Dave’s own special odes to the craft: Stone On Stone (taken from his Harbourtown disc Stone, Steam & Starlings), and Gordon Bok’s fine rendition of These Dry Stone Walls. These are supplemented by Derek Gifford’s setting of Keith Scowcroft’s insightful classic Walling Song, Pete Coe’s pertinent tribute to the waller None So Steady, and Alan Brown’s competition-winning ballad of The Seamstress And The Dyker. The instrumentals bring two pieces from Dave’s dance project on the theme of drystone walling (a fiddle tune played by Alistair Macrae and its principal theme played by Dave’s Rosehall Ceilidh Band), a performance of the Humpty Dumpty tune by Dave himself on the jew’s harp, and a sprightly set of tunes composed by Donald McNeill for Dave’s 70th birthday.

The remainder of the disc is taken up with readings of relevant verse and prose, which ranges far and wide from within Dave’s extensive 25-year collection of “stone poetry and song”. There are pieces by Dave himself, including the evocative Summit Ridge Of Suilven; Gordon Allen North’s portrait of The Old Waller is also read by Dave, but other readers are involved too: his wife Mary, Frank & Jean Bechhofer and Irvine Hunt. Gordon Bok reads Robert Frost, while Brian Miller contributes other highlights in the form of David McMurray’s The 1914 Dyke and Alasadair MacLean’s Stone; there’s also a priceless vintage recording of Lakes poet Norman Nicholson intoning his poem Wall. One could offer the analogy that each of the individual audio stones making up this disc is placed so that the entire sequence is attractive to the ear: the work of a master craftsman indeed.

David Kidman

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 89 of The Living Tradition magazine.