Album Review
Sail On

"Surrey Advertiser" 6 Sep 1996

Gaughan has long possessed one of the more passionate, outspoken voices on the British folk scene, but it has been some years since it has been heard on record.

The wait, though, is finally over and yes, it has been well worthwhile, the new album finding the Scot in impressive form on an eclectic set of songs which range from the acoustic to the full-blooded electric.

Very much a political animal, Gaughan tackles head-on some of his more nationalistic countrymen with Brian MacNeill & Hamish Henderson's No Gods and Precious Few Heroes, while elsewhere he dusts off Pete Seeger's anti-Vietnam War song Waist Deep in the Big Muddy and makes it relevant again.

For anybody prepared to write off the Left, he serves up the almost jaunty, anthemic No Cause for Alarm, and he draws a parallel between the Highland Clearances and the fate of the North American Indian by reprising Michael J Murphy's superb Geronimo's Cadillac.

There are a few surprises too - a gorgeously tender acoustic reading of Ruby Tuesday and a first class cover of Richard Thompson's 1952 Vincent Black Lightning.

At the heart of the album, though, is Gaughan's remarkable epic version of Hamish Henderson's 51st (Highland) Division's Farewell to Sicily, a song he admits has obsessed him for years.

It says a lot for the power of his performance that it appears to be over in a fraction of its near 12 minute length. Magnificent

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