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Handful of Earth


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Vinyl, May 18, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Scottish musician Dick Gaughan has a long career that first manifested itself in recorded form in 1971. He was an early member of the band Boys of the Lough and is on their first album and was with the now-legendary Scottish Folk-Rock band Five Hand Reel, making 3 albums with them. In the 90s he founded and produced the short-lived but quite extraordinary ensemble Clan Alba. Handful of Earth was the first of his solo albums recorded in Scotland. It seemed to strike a chord with people and it is the most successful recording he has made in terms of both acclaim and sales. It was Melody Maker's Album of the Year in 1981 and in 1989 it was voted in the Folk Roots Critics' Poll, and more important, the Readers' Poll in Folk Roots as Album of the Decade.

1. Erin-go-bragh
2. Now Westlin Winds
3. Craigie Hill
4. World Turned Upside down
5. The Snows They Melt the Soonest
6. Lough Enre / First Kiss at Parting
7. Scojun Waltz / Randers Hopsa
8. Song for Ireland
9. Workers' Song
10. Both Sides the Tweed

Product Details

  • Vinyl (May 18, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Music & Words/6 Spices
  • ASIN: B002X66S1Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,243 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
93%
4 star
7%
3 star
0%
2 star
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See all 14 customer reviews
His voice is deep and lined and the guitar playing is lovely.
Secret Squirrel
I highly recommend this cd: I am sure anybody who likes folk music (specially british folk) will love it.
"alba1148"
If that all sounds good to you, it isn't a tough choice - own this album.
L. Barstow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the greatest recordings of traditional British folksong ever made (and even the newly minted songs here become traditional in Gaughan's hands). His guitar playing is innovative, sensitive, expressive, beautiful; his voice is by turns tender, harsh, angry, passionate, lamenting. The scope of emotion between songs like "World Turned Upside Down" and "Now Westlin Winds" is breathtakingly large. I have to say, this is what music is all about: the utter honesty and transparency of an artist's heart, shining through masterful technique, in a total faithfulness to the spirit of tradition, but without excluding creative and innovative artistic contribution. Am I sounding a little superlative here? Look, here's the bottom line: if you have ANY LIKING for traditional or acoustic music, you simply MUST BUY this album. Not having it would be like a lover of Romantic music not owning a recording of Beethoven's late quartets. ***This CD is in print in the UK, and you can order it easily from Amazon.co.uk!***
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Although "Lads o' the Fair" from Parallel Lines is my favorite song by Gaughan (and one of my all-time favorites), this whole album is nothing short of exquisite. Dick Gaughan's unique voice and guitar style give an added dimension to some of the finest Celtic tunes around. I rate this my favorite complete Celtic album; not a bum song on it (sort of like Carole King's Tapestry). If you could only have one Celtic album (and that would be a shame), this should be it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Berkeley Boy on February 10, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is Dick Gaughan's finest solo album, full of wonderful songs, performed beautifully. I have seen him several times, and have most of his albums, including Kist o'Gold and the first two Five Hand Reel albums (all of which I strongly recommend, if you can find them, as they are out of print). However, this is the album I come back to of his, and the one I buy for and recommend to others.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 7, 1998
Format: Audio CD
I first heard Dick Gaughan in an upper room in a tiny North London pub in 1985. It was hot and dark in that little room, packed full of a hushed crowd. All those people were in on a secret: Dick Gaughan. I've never forgotten the spare beauty of that night. Worker's songs, like colliary bands, are an acquired taste for Americans. I can't think of a better introduction not only to traditional agit-prop music, but to the astonishing beauty of the celtic music sensibility than Dick Gaughan, and this album in particular. He can do things with a guitar that stretch the instrument immensely. In his hands, it's a fiddle, sometimes a pipe, but always sparklingly clear. His voice is stern and honest. This is beautiful work, his Now Westlin Winds and Workers Song in particular. A good introduction to the often difficult celtic ear.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "alba1148" on June 16, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I decided to buy this cd just for listening to "World Turned Upside Down" (full of passion song with incredible lyrics) but after listening to all the songs I can say I have become a great fan of Gaughan! I highly recommend this cd: I am sure anybody who likes folk music (specially british folk) will love it. Buy it and enjoy it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I'm a big fan of folk and folk-rock and I've never heard a better album than this one. Its blend of time-tested tradtional material and stunning contemporary songs is seamless and breathtaking. Dick's version of "Song for Ireland" outshines Mary Black's and her version is great. The other songs are all equally powerful and the whole collection hangs together beautifully. If you prefer the traditional stuff, "No More Forever" and "True and Bold" are right up with this album in terms of consistent excellence. Unfortunately, they're also a little hard to find these days.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Erik Kingston on July 16, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Dick Gaughan is one of Scotland's greatest treasures, with a voice and delivery that always ring true and a brilliant sense of musicianship. I first saw him in concert in the '80s in Salt Lake City, UT. "Handful of Earth" should be required listening for any working person with half an ear; these are timeless and earthy songs of workers everywhere. As a former professional musician and concert promoter, I put Dick Gaughan on my top ten list of all-time favorite musicians.
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