Dave Goulder is an excellent scottish songwriter, having assured a solid legacy in the traditional repertoire thanks to his song ‘January Man’, included in this album, which has been played and recorded afterwards by artists like Bert Jansch, Martin Carthy, Tony Rose… Goulder is definitively a very influential scottish musicians’ musician. We should also recall the wonderful voice of Liz Dyer who graced the album and wrote the vivacious liner notes.
A1 – The Cuckoo
A2 – Pigs Can See The Wind
A3 – The Wind On The Door
A4 – The January Man
A5 – When I Was A Little Boy
A6 – Requiem
A7 – Queen Of Hearts
B1 – Faraway Tom
B2 – Sandwood Down To Kyle
B3 – The Calico Printer’s Clerk
B4 – Field Of The Willows
B5 – The Bedlam Maid
B6 – In A Cold Unfriendly Way
B7 – Black Is The Colour Of My True Love’s Hair
Written by – Dave Goulder
(except for A1, A5, A7, B3, B5, B7, Written by: Traditional)
Engineer – Kevin Daly
Mastered by – Ted Burkett
Photography by – Tom Paley, Valerie Wilmer
Producer – Frederick Woods
Sleeve Notes – Liz Dyer
Released by – Argo
Original Liner Notes and Tracks Comments wrote by Liz Dyer:
“In 1964, a bedraggled cyclist was turned away from the Achnashellach Youth Hostel in N. W. Scotland. “No room, said the warden.The following summer I returned to see who this heartless specimen was. It was Dave Goulder… and this rime he let me in.
Dave had previously spent five years as a loco’ fireman in his home town of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottingham, but the change-over to diesel locomotives did not promise him a future in railways so he left the service. After a few months exploring Europe, he came to Scotland on a climbing holiday and decided to stay. Later he was appointed warden at Achnashellach where he began composing songs, looking back at first to the railways until his new environment provided fresh ideas.
By comparison, my history of assorted office jobs in Colchester makes dull reading. The songs I learned from my father and mother were, I felt, strictly for singing in the bath! Dave persuaded me otherwise and that winter I left Colchester. We toured the folk-song clubs in England and Scotland and soon decided to make the partnership permanent.
Running a hostel is a way of life that dies hard, and when Achnashellach closed, we moved over the hill to the Torridon mountains where we divide our time between singing and running our own independent hostel. We have collected many songs from visitors, one of whom, John Churcher, plays flute on this album.”
THE CUCKOO – Taken from Cecil Sharpe’s collection, this is a slower and more lyrical version than the one so often taught in schools. Variants are found in Britain and America, either as a simple ‘nature’ song or more usually dealing with ‘lost love’.
PIGS CAN SEE THE WIND – it’s said that ‘only witches and pigs can see the wind’. This song has no magical significance, however, but satirises a few futile occupations.
THE WIND ON THE DOOR – Dave wrote this lullaby while living in a corrugated iron hut at Achnashellach. The winter storms shrieking at his metal cabin made him think of a child lying in bed when the howling of the wind penetrated even the sturdiest stone walls.
THE JANUARY MAN – and his eleven brothers are mystical characters who travel through the year in this contemporary ‘seasons round’ song.
WHEN I WAS A LITTLE BOY – ‘The Derby Ram’, ‘The Crocodile’ and culinary miracles like ‘The Great Meat Pie’ are among tales of incredible exaggeration common in folk-song. This one is unusual in that it deals with a number of things…boxes, bulls, sheep, money, an impossible feat of gymnastics and a metamorphosis defyng all the laws of genetics !
REQUIEM – Written to complete an album of railway songs ‘Requiem’ contains words familiar to Dave during his time as a fireman. ‘Water·crane’, ‘coal hopper’, ‘steam raiser’, these words have gone, with the Flying Scotsman, into the museums.
QUEEN OF HEARTS – Little is known of the history of this beautiful song, but fragments have been traced back as far as the 16th century.
FARAWAY TOM – Dave wrote this for Louise, a very linle girl who thought he lived in a tent with his guitar and ate nothing but porridge.
SANDWOOD DOWN TO KYLE – is about another gentleman of the road. The fascination these characters have always held for Dave shows in his sympathetic treatment of them in this song. written for Gus Langlands, a Scouish singer, who gives encouragement when ever we need it.
THE CALICO PRINTER’S CLERK – seemed to hold more attraction for Dorothy Drew than the young man who lavished so much time and money on her, and learned the hard way that it was a bad investment. This old broadside ballad was learned from Sheila Douglas of Perth.
FIELD OF THE WILLOWS – is a rough translation of the gaelic name Achnashellach. All characters are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental!
THE BEDLAM MAID – Bethlem Royal Hospital is today a leading psychiatric hospital, but two centuries ago it was ‘Bedlam’, an insane asylum where the inmates were kept like animals. Usually manacled they lay on straw and it was common for people to go to watch the ‘poor mad creatures’, simply for entertainment.
IN A COLD UNFRIENDLY WAY – An urban love-song of a shy young man trying daily to make conversation with a factory lass as she passes on her way to work, umil in true defeatist fashion he persuades himself that he has no chance of success anyway.
BLACK IS THE COLOUR OF MY TRUE LOVE’S HAIR – Like ‘The Cuckoo’ this song is common in both Britain and America and contains ‘floating’ phrases that occur in other, quite different, songs.