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Just Like Eddi

I’ve just read that Lord David Steel found it necessary, in the independence debate in the House of Lords, to refer to Eddi Reader ‘Murdering Burns songs’.

Now let me say that I rather like some of Eddi’s Burns interpretations and don’t care too much for others. However it can’t be denied that she has, perhaps more than any other contemporary singer/musician, done her bit to bring the Bard’s work to a new audience. She is to be commended for that at least.

There are Burns snobs out there who think that his work should be preserved in formaldehyde. Some comments I have heard from fellow attendees at Burns Suppers illustrate my point. Last year I heard a great ‘Tam o’ Shanter’ at the Howff Club in Dumfries, delivered by one of the members who had obviously taken great care to learn the poem (story) and put in his own wee bit of humour (just brief gestures and looks). I thought it was terrific and it was generally well received. He didn’t need any prompts in the lengthy recitation, his clarity, timing and delivery were almost perfect. Afterwards I remarked to one of the other attendees how much I had enjoyed it. His answer? ‘Too long. Tam o’ Shanter should be nineteen minutes. His version was twenty minutes and fourteen seconds!’.

My jaw nearly hit the floor. It was as if this guy had been sitting in judgement with a fucking stopwatch! I wondered, as we sat it the hostelry where Rabbie stayed when he first moved to Dumfries and a few miles from where he wrote Tam o’ Shanter, what he would have thought of this piece of criticism of delivery of his work.

Now don’t get me wrong, some criticisms can be valid. I saw one guy last year delivering the poem the Twa Dugs with the aid of two dog puppets. Despite the fact that he knew the poem well, I didn’t think the puppets or the voices that the man affected added anything to his performance or to the poem.

Anyhoo, back to Lord Steel and Eddi Reader.

Here is Lord Steel commenting on his own brief foray into the world of popular music:


And here is Eddi Reader in the political fray:


Which may bring one to the view that one is sometimes better to stick to what one knows.

Here is Ms Reader’s spirited comeback to Lord Steel, delivered via social media (cut and pasted).

‘My name is Eddi Reader I’m a singer musician. Like my great grandfather did, I sung and enjoyed Robert Burns songs. He also felt bad enough about the elite lording it over and treating unfairly, the ordinary citizen, to want to help.
Tonight, I have learned that during the HOUSE OF LORDS debate on Scottish independence, the ‘Honourable’ ‘Lord’ David Steele (a real grown up experienced politician) chose to personally attack my take on Robert Burns songs.
“We have to endure Eddi Reader murdering Robert Burns songs”
Now .. I don’t mind him having a personal opinion on my work, badger him, he’s not my audience, so what? But, to choose to… attack my work in music, because I have the AUDACITY as a citizen, to question the status quo, I feel is unnerving…
I just had to scrabble around to find the money to pay an enormous personal Tax bill this month… Some of that goes into that guys pocket. He is MY servant, a servant of the people…
If anything has solidified my HELL YEAH!! Vote that dis-honourable birkie called a lord, who struts and preens and all that, COOF has made sure I will.
I couldn’t care if scots were scratching themselves after Indy.. That self regulating ignorant elite system that insults the electorate can bugger off.’

The verse to which she refers, in A Man’s a Man For a’ That, is as follows:

Ye see yon birkie, ca’d a lord,
Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof for a’ that:
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
His ribband, star, an’ a’ that:
The man o’ independent mind
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.

I couldn’t remember if Steel had an ‘e’ at the end because much of the online debate on this had it spelled that way. Google auto complete came to the rescue…


Sutch a useful resource……



And that is an understatement.

Sometimes one wonders.

One looks around at the talentless eejits who carve out a glittering career in music, selling out huge stadia and concert venues, to be blindly (and deafly) followed by millions of fans. (can’t deny I’m thinking U2 here)

Then there’s the Trashcan Sinatras

Last night amidst the rain and howling gales, along with about 60 other folk I went along to Bar Brel in Ashton Lane Glasgow to witness their unplugged show. The gig was in a conservatory area which was being lashed by driving wind and rain.

The Trashcans in action last night.

The band has been together for 23 years and despite widespread critical acclaim and well supported tours they retain that homespun ethic. I wondered as I watched three guys on acoustic guitars, one on a keyboard and one with brushes and percussion if there was something almost Calvinist about their approach.

This band could have undoubtedly sold out a larger venue in Glasgow and played their full set after all. For example they had played Oran Mor recently.

However they are it seems destined to play venues like the Tait Hall in Kelso rather than the Carnegie Hall in New York.

I don’t mean to damn with faint praise at all. They have worked with many of the top names in the business and I would think that respect for them in the music business is at a similar stratospheric level to those other Scottish enigmas The Blue Nile (see TBLFP passim)

Wordplay, pathos and self deprecation are the band’s stock in trade. They’re from Irvine and reminded us that Robert Burns had his poetic epiphany in the town as a young man before singing a song about the occasion.

Eddi Reader was in the audience.This is perhaps not surprising as her brother Frank Reader is the band’s front man and her husband (partner?) John Douglas is also in the band.

Eddi joined them on stage for a number and I caught it on my digicam.

This is the wonderful dreamy “Weightlifting”

A highlight was a song called “I wish you’d met her” which was prequeled as a song about finding love later in life. It was a plaintive cry to a departed relative.

There were memory sticks available with a recording of the gig ten minutes after the finale.

Anyone who wants one, or a similar stick containing any of the other gigs from their tour, should go to the Trashcan Sinatras website.

Anyone ever tried Leffe Belgian beer?

Awfy nice.

One Giant Leap

I’m sure Stu won’t mind my spreading the word further on this. I saw this clip at his blog. This is the result of a collaboration of Jamie Catto (Faithless) and Duncan Bridgeman.

They travelled the world and in each location they added bits and pieces (drums here, bassline there) from local musicians. The theme for the project is “Unity Through Diversity”.

As if to illustrate the point there are contributions from Michael Stipe, Robbie Williams, Eddi Reader (did I ever tell you Eddi was once in my shop?) and Denis Hopper amongst others.

The scoop is here

If you watch the following and don’t start at least some rhythmic movement, I have some bad news.

You’re probably dead.