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Dick Gaughan

Born Richard Peter Gaughan, 17 May 1948, Glasgow in Scotland, DICK GAUGHAN has harvested both sides of the contemporary and traditional folk scenes, from his halcyon days of the early 70s.
Raised in Leith, Edinburgh since he was a toddler, the teenage GAUGHAN was influenced by local heroes of the folk revival such as BERT JANSCH, HAMISH IMLACH and ARCHIE FISHER. His own recording career began in 1972 with the truly traditional Bill Leader-produced set, NO MORE FOREVER {*8}; that same year Dick was to become a member of Scots-Irish troupe The BOYS OF THE LOUGH. His tenure was brief, however, as he subsequently helped form folk-rock group 5 HAND REEL, featuring on albums such as: `5 Hand Reel’ (1976), `For A’ That’ (1977) and `Earl O’ Moray (1978). Having already recorded a follow-up solo set with 1976’s KIST O’ GOLD {*7}, GAUGHAN struck out on his own once more with COPPERS AND BRASS (1977) {*5}, a record featuring guitar interpretations of traditional Scots/Irish jigs and reels.
1981’s HANDFUL OF EARTH {*9} album finally established him as a voice on the modern folk scene, the man’s staunch socialist views espoused in the likes of `The Workers’ Song’. Indeed, 1978’s SONGS OF EWAN MacCOLL {*5} – a collaboration with DAVE BURLAND and TONY CAPSTICK – had been a tribute to one of GAUGHAN’s equally hard-line political antecedents. 1982’s PARALLEL LINES {*5} was a collaboration with London-Irish folk veteran ANDY IRVINE, while GAUGHAN was to work with none other than BERT JANSCH – as well as RAB NOAKES and Rory McLeod – on 1988’s `Woody Lives’, a one-off tribute to another legendary musical/political agitator, WOODY GUTHRIE.
Although GAUGHAN wasn’t quite so prolific in the 90s, he continued to interpret traditional Scottish music in his own unique, striking and often innovative style, cutting a handful of albums for the nativeland Greentrax label. One of the best of these, the reflective REDWOOD CATHEDRAL (1998) {*7}, featured interesting renditions of TOWNES VAN ZANDT’s `Pancho & Lefty’ and PETE SEEGER’s `Turn! Turn! Turn!’ (also check out SI KAHN’s `Gonna Rise Again’, RON KAVANA’s `Reconciliation’, ADAM McNAUGHTAN’s `Thomas Muir Of Huntershill’, ROBIN WILLIAMSON’s `October Song’ and LAL WATERSON’s `Fine Horseman’), all demonstrating GAUGHAN’s original approach to contemporary folk.
Dick’s session work has included DAVY SPILLANE’s `Summerlee’ set and BILLY BRAGG’s `The Internationale’; he also guested on `The Back O’ The North Wind’ by BRIAN McNEILL. In November 2001, GAUGHAN issued the hushed and beautiful OUTLAWS & DREAMERS {*6}, a part folksy/part contemporary collection of tracks with minimal production values, and virtually just himself strumming his guitar. Accompaniment came from former BATTLEFIELD BAND fiddler BRIAN McNEILL (who joined GAUGHAN after working with him on the aforementioned `…North Wind’ set), adding a melancholic tenderness that was sometimes missing from his earlier work. The set, overall, produced an earthy, Celtic atmosphere that did justice to GAUGHAN’s dreamy and gentle songwriting; LUCKY FOR SOME (2006) {*6} and GAUGHAN LIVE! AT THE TRADES CLUB (2008) {*6} have been his most recent to date.
© MC Strong 2002-2010/GSM-GFD // rev-up MCS Aug2015

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