NORRIE MACIVER AND THE GLASGOW BARONS - Songs Of Govan Old
Originally from the Isle of Lewis, Norrie MacIver is an award-winning singer who has been the lead vocalist with bands like Bodega and Manran and (currently) Skipinnish. On this release, he is singing the tapestry of an area – Govan (a former shipbuilding powerhouse that is now a part of the City of Glasgow). Govan’s orchestra, The Glasgow Barons, commissioned a set of songs to celebrate the area. Over the course of two years, with the help of the Govan Reminiscence Group, MacIver wove local stories into songs. He wrote 10 pieces and set three old poems by Govan writers to music. The songs celebrate shipbuilding champions, rent strike activists, philanthropists, soldiers and more, all from Govan. The pieces were recorded with a small group of The Glasgow Barons - due to COVID conditions. MacIver does all the singing, and plays acoustic guitar.
The singing is confident and clear – he is fully at ease with the material - and the string arrangements are very tasteful. Songs like The Pride Of The Clyde and Govan Boys are stirring anthems of the tradition of shipbuilding. There is the lush Lady Elder and the light A Flea in the Lug (from an old poem about the nocturnal emergency removal of a flea). I especially liked the Gaelic pieces, such as the driving Lathan A Fèille, about the Govan Fair (which has an outstanding orchestral arrangement), and the rather catchy Cha Tig An Latha (about the nobility of shipbuilding). At the same time as this CD puts Govan back on the map, it also marks another star beside MacIver’s own substantial career accomplishments.
This review appeared in Issue 137 of The Living Tradition magazine