The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that Paul Haig is just about the most important Scottish musician of my generation. He’s really proved to be our equivalent of Bowie, with his constant shifting of musical genres over a career that stretches back more than 40 years, albeit with a very small minuscule of commercial success in comparison.

I really enjoyed writing-up the 20-part series a while back looking back on the various solo singles, and I was delighted that so many of them were received with some enthusiasm. I thought today would be best served by having three versions of one of his compositions.

mp3: Haig/Mackenzie – Listen To Me
mp3: Paul Haig – Listen To Me (2009 version)
mp3: Paul Haig – Listen To Me (2005 version)

The first, which I have featured on the blog before, can be found on Memory Palace, a collection of songs recorded by two long time friends at various times between 1993-95. Paul takes the lead while Billy provides the most perfect backing vocal. As I said, I’ve always felt Paul penned the lyric as a tribute to his pal in the hope he would take heed of what he was saying and, perhaps, look after himself a bit better.

The second was Paul’s fresh take on the song as recorded for the album Relive, released in 2009. It’s quite different, a bit more raw sounding with no backing vocal from Billy but instead we get treated to some of Paul’s always impressively understated guitar work.

The third was a version I only learned of two years ago when it was included on Goosebumps, a 40-track, 2xLP issued to celebrate 25 years of the Hamburg-based Marina Records. It is tucked away as the second-to-last song on the record, and the only info given in the accompanying booklet is that it was previously unreleased and dates from 2005. It is a stunning version, with David Scott of The Pearlfishers bringing his skills to the table, adding a string arrangement that takes the song to a whole new and very moving level.

I really must get round to finishing that long-delayed Paul Haig ICA.



  1. When I saw Paul Haig was our Scotttish Star today, I was thinking, good opportunity to stir things and say how I feel he is singularly the most important living Scottish artist. Well JC, you did me one better by leaving out living! Good on ya! He can croon with the best of them, get gritty and Rock and Roll, lay down a perfect Pop song and pull at your heart strings with his lyrics.
    As for Memory Palace, it is an album that invokes so many different emotions in me. Billy, vamping behind Paul’s very intentional lyrics, is one of the most beautiful and somewhat tragic songs I know.
    He whips up the dance floor with the Funky Rocker Chained from ’89s Chain album.
    But to bring this back to your Bowie comparison, I offer up a b-side – On This Night Of Decision. The Dame would have killed for that track.

  2. Memory Palace is an excellent album that may have passed me by, had it not been for an Uncut magazine cover mount CD featuring Thunderstorm. I love the album and these versions are a welcome addition.

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