Dick Gaughan Biography

Richard Peter Gaughan, 17 May 1948, Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, Scotland. A veteran of Scotland’s thriving folk circuit, Gaughan rose to national prominence in the 70s as a member of the Boys Of The Lough. From there, he became a founder member of Five Hand Reel, an electric folk group that enjoyed considerable critical acclaim. Gaughan left them in 1978 following the release of their third album, Earl O’ Moray, having already embarked on a concurrent solo career. His early releases, No More Forever and Kist O’ Gold, concentrated on traditional material, while Coppers And Brass showcased guitar interpretations of Scottish and Irish dance music. However, it was the release of 1981’s Handful Of Earth that established Gaughan as a major force in contemporary folk. This politically charged album included the beautifully vitriolic ‘Worker’s Song’ and ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ while at the same time scotched notions of nationalism with the reconciliatory ‘Both Sides The Tweed’. This exceptional set is rightly regarded as a landmark in British traditional music, but its ever-restless creator surprised many commentators with 1983’s A Different Kind Of Love Song, which included a cover version of Joe South’s 60s protest song, ‘Games People Play’. Gaughan was part of the folk ‘supergroup’ Clan Alba in the mid-90s, alongside veteran artists Mary MacMaster, Brian McNeill, Fred Morrison, Patsy Seddon, Davy Steele, Mike Travis and Dave Tulloch. He made a return to solo work with 1996’s Sail On, a typically inspired album featuring a superb cover version of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Ruby Tuesday’.

Gaughan has enjoyed a fervent popularity both at home and abroad while continuing to pursue his uncompromising, idiosyncratic musical path. Gaughan calls himself a ‘hard-nosed Communist’ and is a passionate lover and supporter of Scotland, while not tolerating any anti-English feeling. Both his playing and singing come from the heart and by the new millennium he was being lauded as arguably Scotland’s greatest living troubadour.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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