January 25, 2011

Happy "Rabbie Burns" Day!

Today, Scots and poetry lovers alike are celebrating the birthday of Robert (a.k.a. Robbie/Rabbie) Burns, considered to be the greatest Scottish poet (and even the greatest Scottish person) of all time.

Admittedly, this album has nothing to do with Robert Burns, except for being made by Andy Stewart, another Scot. But who cares, right? Robbie Burns Day is often a celebration of Scottish culture as much as it is a celebration of the famed poet.

Andy Stewart was a musician from Glasgow who had a number of international hit singles in the 1960s. Since this LP seems to have two front covers (pictured) rather than a definite front and back cover, it's possible that this is actually two albums in one, or perhaps a compilation of his biggest hits.

The track "Scottish Soldier", written by Stewart, is known by many fans of old-school professional wrestling as the entrance theme for "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (who is actually Canadian, but used his Scottish heritage as inspiration for his wrestling persona). The lyrics for "other" title track, the tongue-in-cheek "Donald, Where's Your Troosers?", is said to have been written by Stewart in 10 minutes while sitting in a bathroom with his "troosers"'round his ankles. Kind of a comedy-crossover song, the song pauses about halfway through, and Stewart wonders aloud if the song needs more "international appeal". Then the first verse is repeated - Elvis Presley-style! (and what a great impersonation!) - before going back to the original Scottish version. It's a bonny LP! Pour yourself a wee dram and have a listen!

January 10, 2011

Gerry Rafferty, 1947-2011

On January 4, 2011, the music world said goodbye to Gerry Rafferty, a Scottish musician best known for two late-70s hit songs that continue to be radio staples to this day: "Baker Street", which is instantly recognizable for its saxophone solo, as well as the more laid-back "Right Down The Line". Before that, he was also a part of the early 70s group Stealers Wheel, the band behind the song "Stuck in the Middle With You" (a song that had a resurgence in popularity in the early 90s, after being used in the rather gruesome "ear cutting" scene in Quentin Tarantino's film Reservoir Dogs).

In honour of Rafferty's passing, this post features this self-titled compilation album from 1974, a collection of songs written by Rafferty and recorded by yet another band he was a part of, The Humblebums. Interestingly, this band also had Billy Connolly as a member, mostly known these days as a stand-up comedian and character actor who has appeared in a number of Hollywood movies.