ALASDAIR ROBERTSON Confessions Of A Justified Singer

Justifiedsinger JS001CD
This is different and interesting – a fusion of two of Scotland’s most talented and experienced musicians. Alasdair Robertson, acclaimed songwriter and folk musician, of Ideal Band, Zydeco Ceilidh Band, solo artist and collaborator with Liz Lochhead and many more; Blair Cowan, keyboardman/musician extraordinaire, formerly of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. They are ably backed up by multi-instrumentalist Stevie Lawrence ex Iron Horse, and Orkadian newcomer Polly Cheer. Here we have a showcase of Robertson’s songs arranged by Cowan in his contemporary style, in a robust mix of acoustic and electric instrumentation. Six of the songs are brand new to me, four are reworkings of the best of Robertson’s previous songs. Of the new songs, the lead track “Beat of a Nation’s Heart” is particularly outstanding, both as a song for Scotland and instrumentally. Equally, track ten – Vagabonds – is a cracker. I can see those two songs being “lifted” and developing a life of their own in the traditional manner. Of the older songs born again “The Star” is excellent, and the new arrangement presents it sensitively. I also really liked the new version of “Kelvingrove” which stood out big time. All the other tracks have individual messages and textures, blending together to create a really fine body of work. One small point personally; I would have welcomed brief sleeve notes to make each song a bit more accessible, but that’s just me being me. The production is subtle, multi-layered but tasty, and all the tracks settle into a complimentary contemporary house style. Specific mention should also be made of Stevie Lawrence and Polly Cheer’s contributions, which float in and out enhancing the album throughout. Polly’s vocals are fantastic, and I hope we hear more from her before long. A classy CD with outstanding production and strong songs, a number of which must take wings in their own right.

Ken Campbell

The Living Tradition

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