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.
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.