Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jim Malcolm: Fields of Angus



Fields of Angus
(Jim Malcolm MCPS PRS; pub Malcolm)

Of all the mills that fill Dundee
There¹s no¹ a loom could harness me
The mill keeps clacking it¹s rare that it stills
But I¹ll soon be traipsing through the Sidlaw Hills

Come leave these dark mills and tramp wi me
Through the fields of Angus and roon by the Tay
We¹ll seek good loanins and work when we¹re keen
And we¹ll while summer evenings
fishing pearls frae the stream

Of all the birds that fill the sky
The cheerful lark is the hardest to spy
But the mill keeps clacking, I¹m choked wi the stoor
And I wish that we were camped by Kirriemuir

Come leave these dark mills and tramp wi me
Through the fields of Angus and roon by the Tay
We¹ll seek good loanins and work when we¹re keen
And we¹ll while summer evenings
fishing pearls frae the stream

Of all the months that fill the year
The cruel November fills my fear,
But the mill keeps clackin and winter¹s aroun¹
And we¹ll hae to find a job in Dundee toon.

Come leave these dark mills and tramp wi me
Through the fields of Angus and roon by the Tay
We¹ll seek good loanins and work when we¹re keen
And we¹ll while summer evenings
fishing pearls frae the stream

Repeat chorus

http://www.jimmalcolm.com/music/

Jim Malcolm: Fields of Angus


Despite the fact that Jim Malcolm relentlessly tours as the singer with the much-celebrated Scottish folk band, the Old Blind Dogs, he continues to perform and record as a solo singer/guitarist. On Home, his fourth solo CD, Malcolm mixes arrangements of traditional Scottish tunes with his own songs and one original instrumental. His playing is melodic throughout the record, his vocals confident and soothing, and the recording itself clean and well-balanced.

The CD opens with “Fields of Angus”, a trad-sounding original about freshwater pearl fishing that is authentic right down to its vernacular lyrics. Malcolm croons convincingly about tramping “roon by the Tay” and fishing pearls “frae the stream.” The tune features nice guitar picking and beautiful pipes by Simon McKerrell. Malcolm’s brogue is unmistakably Scottish, but unlike other Scottish folk recordings — including those by the great Dick Gaughan — non-Scots actually can understand what he’s on about!

The best songs on Home are the most traditional-sounding. One highlight is Malcolm’s simple, fingerpicked arrangement of Robert Burns’ “The Lea-Rig”, an ode to trout fishing whose inclusion on this collection seemingly was inspired by Malcolm’s own attraction to Scotland’s fields and streams (there he is in the liner notes in rubber wading boots). “Bonny Glenshee”, another traditional tune, highlights his clean picking and smooth vocals and incorporates nice harmony vocals by his wife, Susie Malcolm.

“Coldrochie” tells the story of Scottish tenant farmers of yore eking out a living off the land on crofts, or small farms. And “Sir Patrick Spens” is a traditional epic that Malcolm put to music with propulsive backup fiddle by Gregor Borland and great percussive bouzouki by Steve Byrne.

The CD’s one instrumental is “Train to Killin”, a lovely tune that highlights Malcolm’s guitar playing on a Taylor XX-RS and Borland’s fiddle, and is driven by Paul Jennings’ vaguely Indian percussion lines. (There actually is no train to Killin, Malcolm explains in the liner notes.) The last track is “Freedom Come All Ye”, an ode to Scottish poet and songwriter Hamish Henderson, who died in 2002. It’s a fitting closer for Malcolm, a talented contemporary artist who deeply respects the history, and the music, of his people.

— Simone Solondz

http://www.jimmalcolm.com/music/

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