album cover Outlaws & Dreamers (2001)

[Greentrax CDTRAX 222]

Engineer Oliver Knight
Producer Dick Gaughan

Artist : Dick Gaughan

Track Notes

songtext The Yew Tree (Brian McNeill)

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Guitar

Florence in Florence (Dick Gaughan)

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Guitar

songtext Dowie Dens o Yarrow (Trad arr. Gaughan)

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Keyboard drone

songtext Tom Joad (Woody Guthrie)

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Guitar

songtext Outlaws and Dreamers (Dick Gaughan)

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Guitar

songtext When I'm Gone (Phil Ochs)

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Guitar

songtext John Harrison's Hands (McNeill / Gaughan)

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Guitar
Brian McNeill : Fiddle, concertina

songtext What You Do With What You've Got (Si Kahn)

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Guitar

songtext Tom Paine's Bones (Graham Moore)

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Guitar

songtext Strong Women Rule Us All (Brian McNeill)

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Guitar

Wild Roses (Kimmie Rhodes)

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Guitar
Brian McNeill : Fiddle

Historical Footnote

Recorded at Panda Sound, Robin Hood's Bay

celtic knotwork

In early 2001, I was involved in a discussion on the Usenet newsgroup,, concerning the difficulties involved in live recording and in creating a "live" feel in studio recording.

I have done a live album and have made many studio albums and the feel is different. After the discussion was over, I kept thinking about the subject and began to wonder how close I would be able to get to the feel of a live performance in the studio.

Live and studio recording are two completely different beasts. In a live performance, there are several factors which create the live feel - for example, the presence of an audience and the pressure of having to get it right first time, the acoustic properties of the venue etc - and these do not exist in a recording studio, particularly when the performer is solo. Yes, it is possible to reproduce the acoustics of a concert hall but it seemed to me that the problem was less a technical one than a perceptual one on the performer's part.

The essential factor in a live concert is the pressure on the performer - there are people listening and watching as the performance is taking place and it would generally be unacceptable for the performer to stop in the middle of a piece and say, "Sorry, but I think I can do this better" and start again. The level of concentration required is very high and is, in large measure, generated by the various pressures. The kind of concentration generated under studio conditions is very different as the pressures are very different.

The priority in live performance is to get as good as possible in one playing of the piece; the priority in the studio is to get as close to perfect in as many playings as it takes.

It seemed to me that perhaps one method of creating a comparable pressure to that of a live performance might be to give myself a much tighter deadline than I usually set.

celtic knotwork

I do not go into a recording studio with a fixed plan. I rarely do arrangements in advance, sometimes I don't even have a complete list of songs. I believe a recording studio is a creative tool and so I leave plenty scope for accidents, for serendipity to open new doors, for the creative energy to take me down roads I might otherwise have missed. And I thought that using my normal approach to recording, but compressing the entire process into a very tight time limit, might be the key.

Normally, I would allow around 21 days actual recording and approximately one day per track, plus a couple of days, for final refining, mixing and mastering. With this album, the entire arranging, recording. mixing and mastering were done in 40 hours. Four of the songs were established in my repertoire, another I hadn't sung in 30 years, two more I had sung only a handful of times and had no fixed arrangement for, the instrumental piece I had never played in public, and the other three I had never sung - in fact, two of them still didn't have tunes when I started recording.

celtic knotwork

This was the result, warts and all. I didn't allow myself time to think about anything other than the emotional content of the music and so, yes, there are technical things which normally I would have tried to eliminate. It is completely raw and therefore, I believe, as honest as anything I've ever done.

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