T In the Park, the Tennents le0 Festival
nam- Pop (Do we t like that?)
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Oh. the catalogue of injustices that conspire to keep a good band down. Right now there could be dozens of great undiscovered groups fastidiously playing their local tiny venues. denied the chance to branch out because no one with tuned-in ears and an ample cheque book ever passes their way.
But it‘s worse when the band are over the initial hurdles. They‘ve got their I wondrous musical statement down on vinyl. it’s there on a silver platter waiting for consumption and you lucky. lucky punters somehow overlook it. Let us ponder the inexplicable non- appearance of Dodgy in record and CD collections across the nation.
Think of the most tuneful group you‘ve heard. Multiply it by ten. That's The Dodgy Album. that is — an ironically-named classic. largely unsung. largely unbought. fair bursting out of its sleeve with bright melodies, dexterous harmonies and the ability to lodge its songs in your head after 0 ie play. And they say pop is dead (although no one seems to remember who ‘they‘ are).
‘There's no actual perceived idea of what pop is anymore,‘ say .singii.._' bassist Nigel Clark. helpfully. But that still doesn‘t exonerate anyone buying a Roxette album.
It‘s not that Dodgy are neglected; the injustice is that their success story is a modest. not massive one. The Dodgy Club. their monthly enterprise visiting various venues in London for an evening of musical mayhem. continues to grow in popularity. This year‘s Phoenix Festival will open on the Thursday night with a special Dodgy Club roadshow.
Now that Dodgy are well beyond the teething stage. they plan to make their upcoming tour a more open. celebratory affair.
‘We‘re going to make a point of playing for a long time [Yol]. so there's lots of songs going down. We wanted to make this second album a real playing album. We were going for the performance of the songs, so it's come out with a lot more colour.‘
Something for every palette. you could say. (Fiona Shepherd)
Dodgy play King Tut's. Glasgow on Fri 22.
1' in the Park, July 30th and 31 st at Strathclyde Prk
: really understand. The Loyaliser was
indignity, just to get it over with.’
! thematic territory, then. Doesn’t he
carried on a superb acoustic guitar 3 technique that can easily tear off a
3 performer, a one-man representation
The barbed bard
After a slot on the Zoo TV tour which nearly put them out of financial commission, Cathal Coughlan and Fatima Mansions are gigging again under the topical soubriqbet of The Australian Fatima Mansions, and are about to release a new single entitled ‘The loyallser’. The what?
‘lleally,’ explains Coughlan, ‘it’s any kind of instrument that exists to make people swallow a way of living that they find unpalatable. It’s a kind of phenomenon that l have to swallow quite a lot in my working life and my life as a normal citizen of this country, where if people don’t like something they’re allowed to stew in their own juices for as long as it takes for them to be grateful to hear any response at all out of the quagmire. We’re told that the status quo is not an option in every aspect of our lives at the moment and why this should be I don’t
really the ultimate indignity and the awareness of the fact that that’s on the way is what makes people almost glad to be finally subjected to the
Degradation and indignity: familiar
ever write any love songs?
‘Yeah, but none good enough to use, unfortunately. That's one of those things that could change at any time. Some of the stuff I’m working on at the moment might be in that vein.’ But would anyone take it seriously?
‘That’s a good question. There’s a tendency from people who’ve followed what I’ve done in the past just to view everything I write as being barbed and ironic, and much of the time it is, but I’ve come to regard that tendency of mine as something of a weakness, and you have to nail your colours to the mast sometime. It just has to be convincing, really, that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day.’ (Alastair Mabbott)
Fatima Mansions play Wilkie House, Edinburgh on Fri 22.
The Clan system
Radical songwriter, and the staunchest socialist in Scottish folk I song, Dick Gaughan is also one of our j finest interpreters of traditional ; material, perfonnlng not only the l urban songs of mining disaster and the l litany of industrial poverty, but the love songs of the season and the landscape, the ancient ballads and the poetry of Robert Burns.
With a singing style derived in part from his Irish antecedents’ method of decorating the melody line, fuelled by i the passion of the protest singer and
set of complex and fingerbusting reels, Gaughan is the complete sole
of the Scottish folk revival.
But he has always hankered to play in a band. In the 705 he created his Five Hand lleel, a species of the big folk/rock outfit and touring lifestyle typical of the times, and they recorded a few albums before careering to ultimate burnout.
Clan Alba is his latest approach. Although put together initially by Gaughan, this 90s band is much more of a democratic institution, with more of a contemporary acoustic-orientated
sound borne on the twin
drum/percussion talents of Mike Travis and Dave Tulloch, and a concerted vocal attack with Davey Steele, fiddler Brian Maclleill, and harpists Patsy Seddon and Mary MacMaster all singing. ‘Hed’ Fred
' Morrison brings to the band his
remarkable authority on both the Highland bagpipe and the smaller bellows-blown version, replacing original member Gary West, now a lecturer at the School of Scottish Studies.
Clan Alba’s long-awaited first album is due for release soon. Recorded in the main last year, it is only now finding its way to the pressing plant. The band is set to play the Cambridge Folk Festival in a couple of weeks, and has just returned from a sold-out festival at Ffostrasol in Cardigan where they took the concert over from De Dannan, and the place by storm.
So take your pick: solo voice and guitar, or one in the eight of Clan Alba. You can’t lose. (Norman Chalmers) Dick Gaughan plays the Big Fun Concert Tent, Glasgow Green on Thurs 21, Paisley Arts Centre on Sat 23 and with Clan Alba at the Boss Theatre, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh on Sun 24.
Showing yet another facet of its already acclaimed versatility, the Edinburgh Festival Theatre hosts the brilliant piano duo. Katia and Marielle Labeque. Born to a young ltalian piano teacher then living on the Basque coast of France, their story captures the hearts and imagination of all who hear it — and that’s before they begin to play.
At the age of three. Katia, older than Marielle by two years and ﬁve days. showed the gifted skill of improvising at the piano from songs she had heard on the radio. Her sister. on the other hand, had no interest in the piano at all. But minds change. and by the time the sisters were thirteen and eleven their mother knew that there was no more she could teach her startineg talented daughters and study began at the Paris Conservatoire. Twenty-ﬁve years on. their power to thrill and astonish audiences throughout the world is greater than ever. The decision made after graduating — two of only ﬁve from 75 to do so with distinction — to stay together has remained ﬁrmly in place with their commitment to perform the music of contemporary composers.
‘We had no choice,‘ they said. ‘lfwe had arrived. two little girls. cute and charming. offering to play Mozart and Schubert. no one would have listened to us.’ A major factor in their success at that time was Messiaen, who invited them to record his mammoth Visions de l'Amen. thereby helping to establish their reputation as contemporary specialists. Their recording of Gershwin‘s Rhapsody In Blue. in its original two-piano version. went gold in just three months and has now sold 600,000 copies.
The Edinburgh date features Songs from West Side Story by Bernstein
I and compositions by two ' noted jazz musicians.
John McLaughlin and Michel Camilo. (Carol Main)
Katia and Marielle Labéque play Edinburgh Festival Theatre on Wed 27.
The List l5—28 July I994 37