FIRST there were two, then three but Scocha are now a four piece band, with a growing reputation.
The band's founder members Iain Scott and David Chapman were joined by Phil Clayton almost five years ago, but within the last few years Alan Brydon has completed the line-up.
The band are currently in the middle of their launch tour of their new CD 'Gie'd Sum Wellie', and having watched them at the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh, and enjoyed listening to their CD in the car on the way up to the concert, I can thoroughly recommend the CD as part of your Christmas shopping list.
The album is a follow up to their CD Single 'The Borders', and their first two albums 'Bordering on' and 'The Land We Love'.
Over the last few years the band have clearly developed. They now have three people who can take the lead vocals, Scotty, Chappy and Al. While their musical repertoire has also grown. This is evident throughout the album with each band member turning his hand to a number of instruments.
Scotty plays the acoustic guitar, whistle, bodhran and bouzouki. Chappy plays the acoustic guitar, bodhran and bottles. Phil is active on the Bass/ acoustic and electric guitar. While Alan plays both the acoustic and electric guitars along with the low whistle, harmonica, bodhran, bagpipes and the piano.
The quartet have chosen a fine mixture for their 13-track album. Many are weel kent Scottish folk tracks, while others are guaranteed to grow on you. It is hard to pick a personal favourite, but there are a number of stand-out tracks. From the great launch pad of MacPherson's Rant to the fabulous finale with the jazzed up Common-Riding favourite Kinly Stick. However, the beautiful but emotional Calling Doon the Line (The pipers call) is a track of real quality and one which touched me deeply.
The album is launched in fine style with MacPherson's Rant, the rattle of the guitar strings gives way to the sound of Iain Scott's voice, and feet stomping - or is it wellies? But the boys are off in full voice, and you can't help yourself from not only wanting to sing along, but also stamp your feet - a great start.
Scocha then do their bit to break down the cultural divide that exists between Hawick and Gala. Putting Hawick voices to a Gala song Braes O' Gala Hill, and doing it in style. This is also the song where the group gained the inspiration for the album title 'Gie'd Sum Wellie' and they are not afraid to do just that throughout the track. The third track Roses Of Prince Charlie is the Scocha adaptation of the Corries classic written by Ronnie Browne. It is certainly up there with the highlight tunes, I love the start to the song, the lyrics, so brilliantly descriptive, allowing you to conjure up the images within your mind.
Turning the Tide is a ballad where the group demonstrate their drive to shake up their repertoire and show they aren't afraid to try new styles and sounds. It is quite a dark song, but brilliantly performed.
Scocha have always shown their patriotic side, and Scots Wha Hae is as patriotic a song as they come. It is a Robert Burns' song depicting Robert The Bruce's address before the Battle of Bannockburn. It is often seen as being a contender for a National Anthem, but it sits well as part of the album.
Scotty is at his vocal best during Saltires in the Sky while the rest of the boys provide a lovely vocal harmony. The song came about when the boys were heading south on a journey one day and spotted a Saltire in the sky, formed by the trail of two jets.
Calling Doon the Line (The pipers call) is a song that caught me by surprise, I must confess to having listened to this a number of times. It is extremely thought provoking, and at a time when the country still has active servicemen in various theatres of conflict around the world. It may be a song dealing with the Great War, but it is very relevant today. For me this is a song which takes Scocha to a new level.
The haunting start to The reivers sent a shiver up my spine. This is very much a song about the Borders, and a song which many people will be able to relate to. Caledonia is a classic, and Dougie McLean would no doubt enjoy the Scocha spin on this classic tune, which was brought back to life a few years ago by Frankie Miller as he helped advertise lager on TV.
Another song which was played over and over again is bottles at dawn but being a true blooded Teri I found myself helpless. This is one of those tunes that could be played at anytime of the year, and take you on a journey to those magical days in June. The Common-Riding influence, is unmistakable, and quite majestic. I defy people to try to stop their feet from tapping along to the beat.
Another strong aspect of this album, is that there are no fillers. Each song is in the album, and I can imagine there are a few songs still waiting in the wings for future compilations. The recent success of Scocha in New York is clearly reflected in Boat to America the musical waves throughout this song are a joy to the ears.
The penultimate song is very clever. So Cool (Only to live and never die) is another different sound introduced to the album. But one which celebrates Scotland throughout each chorus.
Kinly Stick is a rocking good way to round off a totally enjoyable album. Kinly stick is of course another Common-Riding favourite. But Scocha decided to give it some wellie, and give it wellie they did in fine fashion. Another song to put on repeat as you let your hair down. This is Scottish Folk n roll at its finest.
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