Since it’s Christmas. and the singles iront is unnaturally quiet, we asked our regular writers to put aside their usual high standards at objectivity and tell us which LPs they personally enjoyed the most this year.


Nick Cave The Good Son (Mute)

Sisters Di Mercy Vision Thing (East West)

The Shamen [in- fact (One Little Indian)

Edwyn Collins Hellbent on Compromise (Demon) The Pet Shop Boys Behaviour ( Parlophone) The Band oi Holy Joy Positively Spooked (Rough Trade)

The Cramps Stay Sick (Enigma)

The Soup Dragons [me God (Big Life)

The Cocteau Twins Heaven or Vegas (4AD) Sinead O’Connor I Do Not Want What I Haven 't Got (Ensign)


John Scolield Time on My Hands (Blue Note)

Carla Bley Big Band Fleur Carnivore (Watt)

David Murray Ballads (DIW)

Dave Holland Duartet Extensions ( EC M)

Paul Simon The Rhythm of the Saian (Warner) Benny Green Lineage (Blue Note)

Edward Vesala Ode to the Death ofJazz (ECM) Tommy Smith Peeping Tom (Blue Note)

Philip Glass Solo Piano (CBS)

Steve Williamson A Waltz for Grace (Verve)

NORMAN CHALMERS The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band Immigrant's Suite (Lismor) Patrick Street Irish Times (Special Delivery) The Guo Brothers and Shung Tiang Yuan (Real World/Virgin) Peader 0’ Blade. Coir Chuill-Aidha and Others Dord 2 (Wea Records Dublin) The Barely Works The Big Beat (Cooking Vinyl) Muzsicas Blues for Transylvania (Hannibal) Michael D Sullleabhean and Irish Chamber Orchestra Island/Oilean (Virgin Venture) Savouma Stevenson and Musicians Tweedlourney (Eclectic) The Whistlebinkies Whistlebinkies 5 (Claddagh) Ewan MBCCDII Black and White (Cooking Vinyl)



Spirea rismg

Jim Beattie

Jim Beattie’s Spirea x are a band-most-likely-to ii ever I heard one. Dreamy melodies and lloaty vocals buoyed up by some eliervescent geetar-iangling—totaily contemporary, but not surprisingly reminiscent oi a certain group he used to be part oi. Plundering their Byrds-ian back catalogue and diversifying it with some media-iriendly soul and iunk is all well and good, but isn't naming your new group alter an old Primal Scream B-side a calculated cash-in? ‘Yeah, but lthink I deserve it. I started Primal Scream, so why not use some oi it‘ll hope Primal Scream get another hit single because thatwill help us even

Nieves name


Such ruthless honesty. . . but why ignore such an obvious selling-point it it’s going to get you where you want taster? ‘We’ve got a lot oi attention, where most groups alter six gigs would still be playing pubs round Glasgow and wouldn’t even get a gig in Edinburgh.’

Even by current hectic standards, Spirea x are managing to move taster than most. With an appearance on ‘HB’ and a Mark Goodier session already under their belts, the band are heading ior the precipice in a jet-propelled hype machine. Batherthan succumb immediately to the tide oi AGB interest, they hope to curb the pressure by releasing a single on their own. This will not only give them a record they’re satisiied with, but will hopeiuily have the majors oiiering attractive distribution deals.

Jim could wish lor less premature attention. ‘We’re growing up in public, and it’s hard when things go so last tor a group to calm down on stage and think about the music instead oi thinking about who’s out there.’ Well, that’s just the price you pay ior currently being the AGB man’s best excuse ior a trip to Scotland. (Fiona Shepherd)

Spirea x play Floral Riot at the Network, Edinburgh on Fri 21 and the Cragburn Hotel, Gourock on Fri 28.

Elbow grease

John Martin, one oi the iew proiessional iiddlers in Scotland, is back home in Edinburgh, resting alter a six-month tour with The Tannahill Weavers to promote their “Cullen Bay’ album in Germany and the States. Although he loves his work, he regrets the amount at travelling it entails. ‘We’re in Germany again irom February to April,’ he says. ‘There’s a lot oi work over there now. And I’ll be back overthe Rhine again in early May

in the Easy Club.’

John learned the violin as a schoolboy in Cambuslang, his enthusiasm ior Scottish music iostered in the Glasgow Strathspey and Reel Society. He went straight irom school into the 70s iolk-rock band Contraband, belore joining Billy Boss and Glasgow’s George and Billy Jackson in the iirst incarnation oi Dssian. The original line-up, including Martin, reunited tor a gig at Glasgow Arts Centre recently.

‘lt’s great to be able to make a living by playing, but the only way is to play in diiierent hands. For instance, Billy Boss and I have just made an album. We play together when we can, and Pete Shepheard oi Springthyme decided to record us. It’s called “Bralghe Lochiall”, the Braes oi Locheii. The German printers had to callback and reprint the CD inserts,

though-they had the Battle oi .

Sherrilmuirtaking place in the 19703!’ But even taking a break means playing some iiddle. ‘l’m now in the middle oi doing some recording ior Robin Morton. He’s producing a composite album, the liddle equivalent oi his “Controversy oi Pipers”, with Scottish iiddlers oi diiierent schools. ‘Yes, ldothinkthat I’m a lucky. . . did Itell you we, the Tannahills, might be going out tor a week in Spain in January?’ (Norman Chalmers) Catch John’s ilnking elbow at the Edinburgh Folk Club when they pin down the Easy Club on Wed 9.

The whole Ho

Craig McLean, not a man to let auld fiascos be forgot, previews what will be the absolutely, utterly final event ofthe Year of Culture.

Hogmanay an old Scots word that derives its present-day meaning from its ancient linguistic roots: ‘hog‘. meaning to act like a drunken pig in a swill-strewn sty; ‘man’, indicating that it is invariably the male members of the human race who lower themselves to this alcohol-fuelled primitive state; ‘ay'. sounding exactly like ‘eh'.". as in ’what the flip are you talking about?‘.

30 The List 21 December 1990— 10 January 1991