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Your lolk editor once wagered that it was possible to take a group of lrlends, all adults who did not play music or had little experience on an instrument and, with weekly group tuition lrom yours truly, and the individuals practising hall an hour per day, perlorm as a ceilidh band at the end ot one year.
It worked. By the end ol the year the group had played, it somewhat tentatively the lirst time, at quite a low public events.
took up the idea and we arranged it as a successlui weekly evening class. Over the last lew years the ALP classes have grown to he the biggest traditional music tuition course in Scotland, with separate classes lor iiddle, tin whistle, llute, guitar, piano, song and mixed groups.
Organiser Stan Reeves reveals that ‘The classes are selt supporting. We had about a thousand pounds oi tundlng a law years ago, but since then we've made money to cover tutor's lees and all the other expenses trom lundralsing dances, concerts and the small amount charged tor tuition.
‘The demand is phenomenal, and increases every year. When the numbers got to about 180, we ran a questionnaire, and a large proportion admitted to getting involved to explore their Scottishness, their own culture. The social aspect is very strong too; the weekly inlonnal pub sessions are always busy.
‘The music is central though. We get quite a law who have had lonnal training, and otten ourjob becomes anxiety management, as they are weaned away trom the dots, and learn to play by ear. They’re always too worried about making mistakes without the written music. But everyone does, it’s the only way to learn.’
Stan is the accordion player in the Robert Fish [land which grew out ol ALP and, with the current unquenchable thirst tor cellldh dancing, is highly visible gigging around Edinburgh. For the rest oi this year the band, in conjunction with Edinburgh District Council are promoting a monthly series ol ceilidh dances at the Assembly Rooms. All prolits to ALP’s Scottish Music Group. (Norman Chalmers)
ﬂoating in the Assembly, 25th: ALP classes Mon and Thurs, booking essential 337 5442.
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Gorgie/Dalry’s Adult Learning Project
Strat ’n’ caster
Bob Mould is back, in another winning three-piece. Alastair Mabbott didn’t chat to him about Husker Dii.
‘There was no way in Hell,’ growls Bob Mould, ‘that I’d let an American company run me in Europe again, because I’d been through that with WEA, I’d been
through that with Virgin and it didn’t
work. So my premise was to split the world into four different territories and work with the companies that would be most excited with what we had to offer. It took a long time to get to that point. It ruled out all the majors who wanted to throw big money around.‘
I was kidding on. He didn‘t growl. The Man Who Could Have Named His Price is in a cheerful, positive mood, with good reason. Business-wise, he’s pretty self-sufficient now, and he’s back in a band — Sugar - with two guys called David Barbe and Malcolm Travis, which has just released one of 1992’s most outstanding rock albums in Copper Blue.
Their upcoming gigs will be the first time Mould’s been in Scotland since he played acoustically in Glasgow last year, a packed, heaving show where you might have caught a glimpse ofthe top of the great man’s head ifyou were lucky. It was a splendid gig. and doubly triumphant considering the tepid response for his moody album Black Sheets Of Rain only months before.
‘That one’s a distant memory now. It’s a shame, because I played those songs on the acoustic tour and they had the right feel. I mean. the songs
were very uplifting and they were liberating— but, man, on that Black Sheets record, it all got so dark. It’s very one-dimensional. the songs aren‘t showcased as much as. . . the drummer, perhaps. Copper Blue is a whole different deal. The songs are a lot more outgoing, they‘re not as personal, which is a good change, for me at least. The whole temperament of Sugar is quite different from what I was doing with the two solo records.‘
On Black Sheets 0fRain and its excellent predecessor Workbook, he‘d been accompanied by Golden Palominos drummer Anton Pier and Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone, the ‘group‘ disintegrating when Mould laid it on the line to them after a gig in Nashville.
‘At the time, I was really striving to make it feel like a band, and I was met with a lot of resistance. Y’know, Anton and Tony are still great friends and they‘re great players, but the working arrangement that was set up, I think they wanted it to be on a session basis. In a band, everybody gets the credit and everybody has to take the blame. When you’re working with people who don’t want to take the blame. then it never
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really becomes a band. With Sugar, everyone‘s on equal ground; they‘ve got as much input as they want into what goes on. Obviously. at the moment. everyone wants to talk to me about it, and that‘s understandable. but we hope to change that when people see the band?
Indeed, David Barbe is making inroads into Sugar’s singing and songwriting duties. with a track on the next single and ‘a bunch ofstuff’ for the second album. So enthused is Mould by the band ethic that he‘s forsaking his former isolationism to start co-writing with Barbe. with no idea what to expect. (‘Yeah, well, if he takes over, that’s cool with me. I like to play guitar,’ he laughs.)
‘Thc next LP will be a completely different style to Copper Blue, a lot heavier, a lot less pop-oriented. Sonically and lyrically, it’s going to be more challenging. They’re the kind of lyrics you’re going to have to read several times. They’re not add-milk-and-boil-for-ten-minutes like some of these are!‘
Sugarplay The Venue, Edinburgh on Sun 4 and The Mayfair, Glasgow on Mon 5.
um:- Club fever
in the wake ol the launch oi the Edinburgh Jan Project last issue, there now follows two lurther developments aimed at encouraging the progress ol young Scottish jazz musicians, and giving a decent plationn to better established ones.
In Glasgow, the relurbished iormer bar area oi the City Hall in Candleriggs will be the locus ol two new developments, one local and one national. Iain Copeland, who ran the Basement Club around the corner at Blacktriars, has received an Arts Council award to help fund a new jazz club along similar lines, which will run atthis venue almost every Thursday night, opening with guitarist Jim Mullen on Thurs 1.
i say almost every Thursday, because a number at those are already taken up by Assembly Direct’s new The Jazz Club project, opening with singer Craig McMurdo on Thurs 8. His new show is
Craig McMurdo: more intimate setting designed to locus on his abilities as a singer, and will be more intimate in mood than the boisterous jump-jive ol That Swing Thang.
The projectwill be repeated in live Scottish towns and cities: the Music Box in Edinburgh, The Lemon Tree in
Aberdeen, the Mcilobert Centre in Stirling, and the Volunteer Hall in Galashiels. There will be six more tours over the winter, featuring Nigel Clark, Chick Lyall, Tam White, Tommy Smith, Kevin Mackenzie and Melanie O’Rellly.
In welcoming the new project at a launch in Glasgow, Bob Palmer ot the city's Pertorming Arts oltice noted that jazz was ‘bucklng the trend’ by increasing audiences over the past lew years, and tell that it would bring, together with Assembly Direct’s intemationai concert season in the main hall ol this venue (and in Edinburgh and Aberdeen), a much needed continuity ol eltort in presenting the music to both existing and potential new audiences. That view can be echoed in all live centres. See Listings for details, or phone Assembly Direct on 031 557 4446 tor lull programme. (Kenny Mathieson)
28 The List 25 September — 8 October 1992