Link to Living Tradition Homepage






WOW Records

Lanarkshire-based Peter’s latest (fifth) CD, released after an uncharacteristically brief interval (a mere three years since Hug), is so named because he turned that age last year, and also because the year 1966 was when he started writing songs. And, coincidentally, it also clocks in at almost exactly 66 minutes’ playing-time! This brand-new 14-song set is also very much a celebration of the continuing prolixity of Peter’s songwriting muse. This may seem surprising for a man whose songwriting stature is very much fostered by a determined cult following (his main claim to fame being as a painter), and even more surprising considering the strong individuality of his writing, for Peter’s the defiant and proud possessor of a typically Scottish, skewed vision of life that’s also full of perceptive insights into the behaviour of his fellow human beings.

Reviewing earlier albums by Peter, I couldn’t avoid commenting on the decidedly Dylanesque edge to Peter’s vocal style, fairly locked in the cusp-of-electric era of the mid-60s (no bad thing, still) – which is if anything even more pronounced and unyieldingly consistent on this new album. The surface Dylan referentials even extend to the borrowing of a line from Tomorrow Is A Long Time (OK, it was written around three years prior to 66, but who’s countin’?) on disc opener Just A Dream Away, and the cheeky Rolling-Stone-organ intro to Red Moon (which, however, soon develops its own brand of wistful 80s-indie aura). And Glowing raps its scattergun homesick blues to Gloria, the pretty woman across the street. But hey, nobody’s ever accusing Peter of plagiarism here, for closer scrutiny of his intelligent, knowing lyrics is more than repaid. It’s those moody Glaswegian reminiscences that become Peter’s personal stock-in-trade, and love minus zero proves to have no limit when you’re out for the count in that environment. In other words, nostalgia may not be what it used to be, since Peter can trade in memories with impunity, and without resorting to cryptic, enigmatic or overtly allusive poetry. Peter’s is a richly distinctive talent: probably still rather in the best-kept-secret category but richly deserving of greater acclaim.

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 109 of The Living Tradition magazine.