Dick Gaughan, Handful Of Earth

Steve Hochman

By Steve Hochman

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Handful Of Earth

Dick Gaughan
A fantastic mix of traditional material and worthy originals.

His forthright voice and foursquare guitar prowess made Scotsman Gaughan a stalwart standout in the ’70s and ’80s, arguably the successor to Ewan MacColl in the way he combined traditional material with worthy originals. Having well-established himself as a member of the progressive-folk bands Boys of the Lough and Five Hand Reel as well as with solo albums, he hit a peak with this 1981 set, notable for the range of material — from Robert Burns'idyllic "Now Westlin Winds" to Leon Rosselson's social criticism "World Turned Upside Down" to the solo guitar turn "Scojun Waltz/Randers Hopsa" — and for the ace backing by Lough-mate Phil Cunningham, Brian McNeill and Stewart Isbister. Bookending are two distinctive highlights: The traditional "Erin Go Bragh" would appeal to fans of Jethro Tull's "Songs from the Wood," while the simmering original "Both Sides the Tweed" favors Cunningham's keyboards and a mordant, spare electric guitar solo.