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THE HUMBLEBUMS - Please Sing A Song For Us: The Transatlantic Anthology

THE HUMBLEBUMS - Please Sing A Song For Us: The Transatlantic Anthology
Talking Elephant TECD400

Now there’s a name to conjure with... the Bumblehums were a training ground for one of our most-loved comedians, (Sir) Billy Connolly and one of the country’s most respected singer-songwriters - the late, lamented Gerry Rafferty. There’s even a rumour that Aly Bain was an unofficial Humblebum. This is a “complete Humblebums” – with material from the HBs albums – A Collection Of Merrie Melodies, The New Humblebums and Open Up The Door and some other bits and bobs. It is, however, two different bands. The original Humblebums (Billy C and Tam Harvey) were a decent bluegrass duo, but some of the songs on the first CD really haven’t worn well. Billy C has opined that “...I was a folksinger...and I was dreadful.” He was not, but he made the right decision in majoring in comedy. He’s one of the two people that have left me with sore stomach muscles from laughing (Les Barker’s the other).

When Gerry Rafferty kicks in (on albums two and three) the songwriting and music leaps to another level. Rick Rack and Shoeshine Boy are truly memorable – the latter could be released now and sound contemporary. Rafferty did not, happily, try his hand at comedy, so we got two geniuses from one small Glasgow-based band. Some of the music is only of historical interest, but there are some gems in here.

Alan Murray

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This album was reviewed in Issue 125 of The Living Tradition magazine.