Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
It is possible to yearn for the old days and not look as if you are missing the present day. For too many the slightest whiff of reminiscence or do you remember when? is enough to put them into a rage, to send them into a retort of get with the programme, stop musing over the past or the ill dispute and argument starter of what good did the past ever do you?
Whilst it is obvious that at times we find the past a mix of sepia tones and over coloured, illuminated in all the right places, series of disjointed memories, the present is often just a moment of boredom in which to congratulate the future on being available, we count down with the words of excitement stuck in our throat for I can’t wait till, oh how I wish I was 21, 30, retired, at this party, at that gathering, without realising it is the past that gives us the scope to really enjoy the possibilities coming.
We wear old hats whilst changing our minds and our outlook, we are the personification of the Auld Hat New Heids, the evoking of a spirit that has never gone away but to which many will have seen by-pass them as they pursue more extravagant and more prone to so called future cool quests.
Auld Hat New Heids is the homage to the days of the thriving Folk scene in Scotland in the 60s and 70s, the passion, the glory, the famed musical talent that so many now will have scratched their heads over should you mention their name, even the national poet of Robbie Burns will sometimes draw a blank beyond the obvious, and it is to that end that Fraser Bruce, Pete Clark, Ian Bruce and Gregor Lowrey have reproduced some of the finest folk songs in their album and given credence to the clear revival in full swing.
In tracks such as Shoals of Herrin’, Down In The Wee Room/ Gallowa’ Hills, The Jute Mills Song, the brilliant Silver Darlings, The John Maclean March, Jock O’ Hazeldean, the fantastic observation in Three Nights Running And A Sunday Double Time and Twa Recruitin’ Sergeants, the past and present collide with love, sweat and toil, with a passion to remember the past before it is lost to us in a membrane of fantasy and illusion.
Auld Hat New Heids is lively and thoughtful album that has one hand on the tiller of experience and the other marking down the reasons in which the future owes the past a debt a thanks; a crowning glory for the Scottish Folk memory.
Ian D. Hall