There’s no fool like an old fool, they say, so what happens when a bunch of oul’ coots gather together to make music? The next batch of posts may enlighten you as to the question just posed and may also, perhaps, enrage or entertain. Anything’s better than a yawn, I guess. And everything that is not that bloody virus is a plus. At the moment we can’t meet as a group, as we are in lockdown, so I have set out a version of songs that are in our repertoire but which have not yet been recorded. With any luck (and, as three of us are north of 70, we’ll need it!) we will be able to resume our normal practice of meeting weekly and playing tunes, singing songs and generally enjoying the crack.
I first heard this song from the singing of Eddie Furey and piping by Finbar, from, their Transatlantic LP The Dawning of the Day, released in 1972. Written by Gerry Rafferty (he wrote 1978s smash hit Baker Street from his LP City to City and Stuck in the Middle with You, later used in the film Reservoir Dogs.)
Rafferty was born on 16 April 1947 into a working-class family of Irish Catholic origin in Paisley, Scotland. He was a member of a folk-pop group, The Humblebums, along with comedian Billy Connolly who has often recalled this period, telling how Rafferty made him laugh and describing the crazy things they did while on tour. Once Rafferty decided to look in the Berlin telephone directory to see if any Hitlers were listed.
Rafferty went on to have a career that encompassed Britain, Europe, and America. He was widely admired with many friends in the music industry. He died in 2011 after a varied and jam-packed career and, as happens to so many talented musos, after a long struggle with alcohol.
Speaking after the funeral, Charlie Reid of The Proclaimers said: “I think Gerry Rafferty was one of the few people who really successfully straddled the worlds of both folk and popular music. He did it really well and he was respected in both camps.” Barbara Dickson also paid tribute to her friend, whom she described as a “luminous, glorious Scottish musician”.
Finbar Furey, who knew Rafferty for over 40 years, said he “was in a different league completely. He didn’t know how good he was. He was one of the most talented musicians and singers I ever knew but he completely underestimated his own talent. He was a very humble man.” I include the above, gleaned from Wikipedia as a tribute to a truly great talent. I have long sung this song as part of my repertoire.