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short players (Scottish) Single review

Chris Connelly

Chris Connelly took off to the USA in the early 90s to join industrial noise merchants Ministry and Revolting Cocks, ending up as vocalist on a number of tracks and basing himself in Chicago. He first came to attention as part of the Edinburgh collective Finitribe in the late 80s but has been plying his trade ever since, although not that much noticed in his native land.

This is the first track from an album he has recorded along with Monica Queen as an homage, or tribute maybe, to the Scottish poet George Mackay Brown, and his relationship with Stella Cartwright.

At first listen it comes across as a kind of reportage of the Edinburgh literary scene in, Christ, the 1960s, or thereabouts? The music recalls The Waterboys in its Celtic chords and whoops, but there are also shades of The Proclaimers, however BM reckons the musical backing is operating mainly as a way of getting some of the words across, in the way that songs from musicals work – after all, this is the first release from what is promised to be a “concept album”, or maybe a song cycle… Despite all this, the guitar and piano work is great and could raise any room, poets or not!

There are mentions of The Abbotsford Bar, various other characters are mentioned – this appears to be from GMB’s point of view, mentioning McCaig and Tom Scott – in a broad Edinburgh brogue (not sure what GMB’s accent was, he was originally from Orkney though…).

During the song it appears that GMB was accepted into this crowd with a love of language – so this is GMB’s tribute “Tae The Poets” – poetry as rock and roll, and rebellion, as it probably was way back then.

It’s a very rousing (“we write because we have to”, “we walk the hills together”) and incredibly interesting track, and BM can’t wait to hear the rest of the album… (more at www.thebirthdaypoems.com).

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