2022 has been a really decent year for new music, so much so that I’m having real difficulty picking out a favourite above all others….and with some absolute belters scheduled to come out over the remaining months, such a task will become an impossibility.

It’s not helped by the fact that one of my favourite releases from 2021, Catastrophe Hits, the latest album from Broken Chanter, also qualifies for consideration in 2022, all as a result of the vinyl version only becoming available back in January, a full four months after the CD.

My previous piece reviewing the album needs updated to say that it has proven to be a record that gets better and better with each listen.

David MacGregor should be a bona-fide pop star, topping the bills on outdoor festivals, or at the very least, selling out stadia in his home city during the summer months.

There’s something really unfair about the world when Gerry Cinnamon can play Hampden Park for successive nights (attracting The Charlatans and Travis as his main support acts), and Broken Chanter bring the latest tour to a close at a small venue in a New Town some 15 miles outside the city.

It was just last Friday that I found myself at the Cumbernauld Theatre watching another outstanding live show, with one absolute gem of a song following on from the next, interspersed with chat and anecdotes from a very fine and charismatic frontman.  I came away thinking it would have been the perfect night out for the festival crowd, but sadly they all seem far too pre-occupied with lesser talents whose profiles appear in all sorts of places, thanks to well-oiled and well-resourced PR machines.

The show, and thus the tour, ended with what has now become my own favourite from the album, and saw me break out into a bit of a dance:-

mp3: Broken Chanter – Allow Yourself

I really can’t recommend Catastrophe Hits highly enough.  You can get a taster for everything by heading over to the bandcamp page.

Where, incidentally, you can find the answer to a question I’m posing today which, if you leave behind correctly in the comments, will entitle you to be entered into a draw for a vinyl or CD copy of the album, signed by David.

“Which two record labels jointly issued Catastrophe Hits?’

Closing date for entries is 11.59pm (UK time) on Tuesday 9 August.  I’m sorry to say that the costs of shipping the vinyl to anyone overseas means I have to restrict the competition to UK residents only.

I’m so very very very sorry…..blame Brexit.

PS : The winner of the ticket for the Glas-Goes Pop festival this coming weekend was Sarah.  Thanks to flimflamfan for providing that partricular prize.




I never imagined that The Delgados would get together again.  But, at the beginning of last month, it emerged that a five-date tour across the UK has been pulled together for January 2023.

Here’s the thing…..some eight or so months ago, I happened to be in the kitchen area that partly doubles up as the offices of the studios of Chemikal Underground, helping with the packing and posting of a Mogwai re-release on which there had been a larger than anticipated mail order.  Emma Pollock and Paul Savage were working next door in the recording area, laying down some vocals for what is intended to be Emma’s next solo album, and when they took a break and came in for a coffee, I took the opportunity to cheekily ask what I always ask when I bump into them, or indeed anyone associated with the band.

“Any chance of you doing the same as Arab Strap and getting back together for some live shows?”

The answer was the same as always.  A polite but firm ‘No’, with the added reminder that Alun Woodward and Stewart Henderson were now pursuing post-music careers and professions that wouldn’t enable them to find the time to devote to playing and performing again.  The four friends had loved their time as a band, but the decision to break-up in April 2005 was never going to be revisited.

Except…….it now has emerged that as far back as 2019, the four of them had started to talk about the possibilities of reforming for some gigs.  It may well have been that the pandemic put a spoke in the wheels in terms of how and when such a thing might happen, but it also led to a situation where this reformation was one of the best kept secrets within the Scottish music scene.  Nobody seemed to have an inkling until that recent social media announcement about the tickets going on sale later in the same week.

A lot of music fans of a certain age in Scotland were genuinely giddy with excitement.  The Delgados are one of those bands who never got the recognition they truly deserved over the ten years they were active, but who have become appreciated more greatly since they stopped recording and performing.  Part of this is down to the ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ cliche, but there’s also been an acknowledgement that many Scottish musicians who have made a name for themselves in the 21st century owe a debt of some form or other to The Delgados.  The Barrowlands show promises to be quite an emotional homecoming.

All of which lead to the Monday Wednesday hi-quality vinyl rip.  The first track on the second side of The Great Eastern, the album nominated for The Mercury Prize in 2000, losing out to Badly Drawn Boy‘s The Hour of Bewliderbeast.

It is six-and-a-half minutes long. It is a complex song which changes shape and tempo on more than one occasion.  It is a quiet-loud-quiet-loud type of song, but to reduce it to that would be to overly-simplify things.  It begins as a haunting and fragile ballad and comes to an end as a frantic piece of indie-rock, all the while offering strings, woodwind and hints of brass tucked away subtly in the background.

It is grandiose.

It is epic.

It is majestic.

mp3: The Delgados – No Danger



Under Canvas Under Wraps was the third single to be released by The Delgados, back in June 1996, on their own Chemikal Underground label. But it was the first to have a promo video made:-

There’s a superb description of the video, courtesy of the band:-

As rare as hen’s teeth, this is the first video The Delgados ever filmed, for the Evening Session favourite “Under Canvas Under Wraps”. Cobbled together with ridiculously little money, the idea was to recreate a Lynchian dystopia and although we tried our best, it came out as us dressing up in a hotel and acting like tits.

Nothing wrong with that though, and trivia fans may want to know that the room Alun and Emma are in was the same room used for the ‘London drug deal’ location in Trainspotting…

I finally got my hands on a second hand copy of the 7″ vinyl and here’s all the tracks for your enjoyment:-

mp3 : The Delgados – Under Canvas Under Wraps
mp3 : The Delgados – Een Telf
mp3 : The Delgados – Bear Cub
mp3 : The Delgados – Strathcona

The last of these is a very short acoustic track, recorded in Alun Woodward‘s living room, and about as lo-fi a song as I’ve ever heard.

Again, I’ll leave it to the band to review the single:-

The first Delgados single to make any kind of impact on national radio, Under Canvas Under Wraps was to become Single Of The Week on Steve Lamacq & Jo Whiley’s Evening Session on Radio 1 which in turn led to the band being offered a high profile support slot with Elastica. The origins of the track are relatively hazy except for the fact that we wanted the song to start at a really breakneck pace and then get progressively faster. Problem was that after we released it as a single, we went into the rehearsal room to practice it and discovered that we were shit at playing it – it survived the early tours (out of necessity) and then got dumped from the sets, never to reappear again until towards the end of our career.

The song was backed by a song called Bearcub, which we felt was a real progression for the band – we were right too as it still stands up now as a really interesting song with what for us then was a rather peculiar arrangement. The other B-Side Een Telf (or Teen Elf if you’re feeling slightly less obtuse) was another shouty number – the type of song we would write and record less and less as the band’s career developed.

Crayon artwork by the talented Mr Woodward…

Pointless piece of trivia: The shouting at the start of the song was recorded by Stewart who basically stood in the middle of the live room and screamed gibberish for 10 seconds. Nothing new there then…..

I do so wish they had reformed at some point…..but they didn’t and they never will.

Pointless piece of trivia: Stewart is now a fully fledged fire fighter, having passed all the tests and qualified some two years ago. I wonder if his colleagues have ever seen the above video?




JC writes…..I had vowed to keep the ICAs down to one per week on the basis that they tend to be labours of love and lengthy pieces which require a great deal of time and energy to be enjoyed fully. But, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of guest ICAs in recent weeks and I really don’t want anyone having to wait what could be a couple of months before seeing their work make an appearance.

I also think the quality of what has been offered up will lead to what we will, in due course, all agree is a particularly golden period for the series as the band selections and the writing which accompanies the chosen songs are outstanding.

So, I’m going with a near full week of guest offerings (Wednesday is a pre-prepared post for what will become an obvious reason)….and I’m kicking off with something from a long-time reader and friend who I’m pleased is bailing me out as I’ve been too cowardly to take on the task of compressing the career of Alun Woodward (vocals, guitar), Emma Pollock (vocals, guitar), Stewart Henderson (bass), and Paul Savage (drums) into a 10-track ICA. Over to CC….

All You Need is The Delgados

“Quite simply, the most important group to ever have come out of Scotland whose legacy has brought so much joy to so many people over the years”

Not my words but those of our illustrious host JC. And who am I to argue?

I’ve checked and double checked and unless I am very much mistaken an ICA extolling their virtues has yet to grace these pages.

There are others more far qualified than me to carry out this task but I’ll give it a go and hopefully will do them justice.

A band that only released five studio albums between 1996 and 2004. I was pretty late to the party only coming on board around the time of Hate which was album #4. I’ve since got round to filling in the blanks.

There are so many excellent tracks to choose from but I have decided to feature tracks from the five studio albums in chronological order on both sides to show the band’s evolution.

Here goes

Side 1

Track 1 – Under Canvas Under Wraps (from Domestiques, Chemikal Underground 1996)

When they were loud and thrashy. A splendid racket with a brilliantly abrupt ending The Chemikal Records website ( mentions that the front cover of the album is of a cinema in Muirhead , Glasgow now converted to luxury flats.

I’m thinking it my actually be the Toledo in Muirend, which I frequented as a youth, but am happy to be proved wrong.

Track 2 – Everything Goes Round the Water (from Peloton, Chemikal Underground 1998)

Peloton is a recent acquisition and the last piece in my Delgado’s jigsaw. One I’m still exploring but again the opening track seems to be one of the standouts. Others clearly agree as it reached number 9 in the Peel Festive Fifty of 1998

Where the strings begin to kick in.

Track 3 – Accused of Stealing (from The Great Eastern, Chemikal Underground 2000)

Considered by many to be their greatest album it was shortlisted for the Mercury Music prize losing out to Badly Drawn Boy for fuck sake!

Lovely vocals and a relentless beat

Tell me all your confessions. Let me be the ears to all your sins

Track 4 – All You Need is Hate (from Hate, Mantra 2002)

The only album not to be released on their own Chemikal Underground album and the one where I come in.

For a song about Hate it is absolutely beautiful and it’s simplicity is it’s strength

Hate is everywhere
Look inside your heart and you will find it there

Track 5 – I Fought The Angels (from Universal Audio, Chemikal Underground 2004)

Back to Chemikal Underground for their final studio album and another really strong opening track but one I feel that is equally fitting to end side 1

Side 2

Track 1 – Big Business in Europe (from Domestiques)

Emma’s voice seems to be at odds with the music but somehow it works. Magnificently

Track 2 – Pull the Wires From the Wall (from Peloton)

Their first hit single peaking at number 69!

But more importantly number 1 in the Festive Fifty and rightly so.

It’s easy to see why Peel was such a huge fan.

Starts slowly and builds brilliantly

Track 3 – No Danger (from The Great Eastern)

Quite possibly my favourite Delgados track and Alun is quite definitely not singing out of tune!

Track 4 – Coming In From The Cold (from Hate)

If No Danger is the best then this one is the best with Emma on lead vocals

Track 5 Is This All That I Came For? (from Universal Audio)

Apparently so

It was a toss up between this and Everybody Come Down but this seemed more fitting.

Over to you to tell me what I missed out and which ones you would replace


JC adds…..given how CC has gone about his task with two tracks from each album there’s some songs I’d have included that are missing, but overall this really is a superb collection he’s pulled together.

I have, however, been shamed enough by CC to have a go at my own. It’ll appear in due course.  In the meantime, please come back every day this week for some very special bits of work.




Quite simply, the most important group to ever have come out of Scotland whose legacy has brought so much joy to so many people over the years.

The Delgados were more than a band. They were, and remain, an institution thanks to the establishment of Chemikal Underground.

Five studio LPs, sixteen singles, one live CD and a Peel Sessions collection is what they left behind on their own account.

Arab Strap (and solo careers for Moffat and Middleton), Mogwai, The Phantom Band, Bis, Aereogramme and RM Hubbert are just a small sample of those singers and groups who owe just about everything to Alun Woodward, Emma Pollock, Paul Savage and Stewart Henderson.

I’ve tried and failed miserably at least four times to come up with an ICA. Maybe I just need to feature them in depth at some point in the future.

mp3 : The Delgados – Accused of Stealing

From The Great Eastern LP, released in 2000. One of THE great Scottish albums of all time.



The past few weeks have been a celebration of some of the best blogs and bloggers out there but I wanted to extend the concept by one more day in an effort to persuade someone to return to his keyboard.

This is the bloke who almost single-handedly got me started on this adventure all those years ago.  I had just been removed from what was regarded by quite a few folk as a high-pressure and high-profile job – at the time I was incredibly bitter but looking back it was one of the best things to ever happen to me as it led to so many unexpected and new opportunities coming my way.  One of the first was having a bit more free time and I found myself scouring the internet searching out what was at the time a huge explosion of music blogs.

One of these was the work of someone who lived and worked in Glasgow. It was called Let’s Kiss and Make Up and it was a combination of quality writing, photography and tunes.  After a few weeks of stalking the author, I plucked up the courage to send him an e-mail asking for advice on how best to set up a blog. A few weeks later, as a bit of a thank you, I left a 12″ single for him at his place of work, but without warning him I was going to do so. The e-mail exchanges increased but then out of the blue his blog disappeared.

A few weeks later I got an e-mail saying that he had ‘killed’ the blog for personal reasons but was starting again, this time calling it And Before The First Kiss.  We made tentative plans to hook up but before either of us knew it, I was off to Canada to work for a few months.  This delayed us meeting in the flesh until January 2008, a full 15 months after we had first been in contact by e-mail.  We hit it off immediately….to a level way beyond what either of us dare hoped for….and we are now the closest of friends having shared many a great night out at many a great venue in Glasgow.

He’s someone who claims he is only capable of writing at his best when he is unhappy or troubled….and as he sets very high standards and is currently very happy with his lot, then you’ll understand why his own blog has been on an extended vacation since June 2013.  But he has very kindly penned something for this blog, and I’m delighted to again offer the opportunity to enjoy the words and thoughts of Comrade Colin:-

“When our mutual friend asked me to come out of retirement, for a brief moment, and scribble a few words over at his place he said I had a ‘blank page’. Oh how he cruelly mocks me. You see, I used to keep a music blog (of sorts) but have been rather distant for some time now (I note that, indeed, June 2013 was the last update. Oh dear.). It’s the usual excuses of life, work and family; too many distractions and other things to attend to. It’s a familiar story. Also, I suppose, the 140 character ‘thing’ happened and I just got a bit lazy. For me, a post would always usually begin with a photograph I’d taken. At other times, it might be something I’d read in the newspaper, a conversation I’d had with a friend or an ‘encounter’ on public transport. Not usually the music, oddly enough. The words would come out of the ether and sometimes reflect upon what the photograph was presenting (to my mind, at least) or what the song was about, but not always. I wasn’t entirely sure to be honest. But, I enjoyed the challenge and made time for it. I built ‘blogging’ into my routine and would always be thinking ‘what comes next?’ Anyway, that was then. I don’t really have much else to say right now. I mean, the bottom line is I used to write a music blog but now I don’t. Motivation and enthusiasm are vital in keeping you going and I was found severely lacking. I lost the habit too easily, too quickly, with a few false endings and bumpy starts along the way. This is why the heroic day-to-day efforts of JC are to be applauded. It’s a tough gig, for sure. That’s what The Rolling Stones say at least.


This photograph was taken on February 11th, 2007 at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. It was a writing day for me. Back then, the Mitchell was one of my regular haunts (working, but away from the office). I noticed this adorable couple (or are they brother and sister?) and I was struck by how comfortable they seemed with each other, within themselves; cups of sweet tea and good books surrounding them. As soon as I took the photograph I immediately thought of this song. To this day I’m still not sure why but there you go. But one thing I do know: I miss The Delgados an awful lot.”

The Delgados – ‘Reasons for Silence (Ed’s Song)’

Thanks Comrade.   I hope you’re inspired enough to either get things going again over at your own place or else become a regular contributor here.

This post is dedicated to another dear mate of mine… who just never ever ‘got’ the type of music I enjoy so much….he was so mainstream it was scary.  RC would have been 50 years old today if leukaemia hadn’t cruelly claimed him a few years back….there’s rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of him.


Keeping It Peel - October 25th


and in particular:-

mp3 : Arab Strap – The First Big Peel Thing (Peel Session)
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Lover’s Town (Peel Session)
mp3 : Cinerama – Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) (Peel Session)
mp3 : The Delgados – No Danger (Peel Session)
mp3 : Half Man Half Biscuit – Mr Cave’s A Window Cleaner Now (Peel Session)
mp3 : Madness _ Bed & Breakfast Man (Peel Session)
mp3 : The Smiths – Rusholme Ruffians (Peel Session)
mp3 : T.Rex – Ride A White Swan (Peel Session)
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Hello Tiger (Peel Session)
mp3 : Wire – I Am The Fly (Peel Session)




Lots of bands used John Peel sessions to record cover versions.  Many of these would later appear on b-sides under license from the BBC but in recent years there’s been a trend towards some of the bands most frequently invited into the studio to release all such material on CD album or within boxsets – The Fall, The Wedding Present, PJ Harvey and Magazine all spring to mind.  As do this lot:-

mp3 : The Delgados – Mr Blue Sky

mp3 : The Delgados – California Uber Alles

mp3 : The Delgados – Matthew and Son

mp3 : The Delgados – Last Rose of Summer

Stewart Henderson used the sleeve notes of the CD release to explain:-

The next session was scheduled to coincide with the release of ‘Hate’ and was recorded on 15 September 2002. This on was going to be a departure from previous sessions because we had decided to do four cover versions – we would choose three and John would be allowed to pick the fourth. John’s choice was ‘Last Rose of Summer’ by a Jamaican vocal group called The Symbols (also known as The Masters). This was a really enjoyable session to do although we all had individual problems with the songs that were chosen – Alun hated’Mr Blue Sky’ from the beginning and it took us forever to work out the outro; Paul had a nightmare doing the drums on ‘California Uber Alles’ and ‘Matthew and Son’ was a pain in the arse for me to play but overall the versions came out really well (for Alun’s sins we ended all our ‘Hate’ shows with ‘Mr Blue Sky’)

Oh and I’m with Alun Woodward on this.  I really hate the song Mr Blue Sky…..ok, I hate the original ELP version…The Delgados make it more than listenable.  And it’s a really good take on the Dead Kennedys classis as well.




Last Friday night I was lucky enough to find myself on the guest list for an event that was part of the 2013 Spree Festival in Paisley, some ten miles south-west of Glasgow.  It was a night put together by Chemikal Underground Records and featured a line-up of Emma Pollock, Miaoux Miaoux and RM Hubbert with all three acts being backed by the talented Cairn String Quartet.  It was an exceptional night in front of a hugely appreciative and attentive audience inside a Spiegeltent (nobody talked while the acts performed – a real rarity) and I’d be hard pushed to say which of the three I most enjoyed – if a gun was held to my head then I’d probably go for the incredibly danceable Miaoux Miaoux whose performance was the most surprising.

But it was great to see Emma Pollock back on a stage again and to hear some new material which hopefully means she will soon be coaxed back into a studio in the not too distant future.  For those of you not in the know, Emma was one-quarter of The Delgados and post break-up has released two excellent LPs full of pop, indie and folk influences as well as involving herself in a number of side-projects with all sorts of talented Scottish musicians.  In addition to her own short set last Friday we were treated to a duet with RM Hubbert, or Hubby as he is being increasingly better known in the music world.

Here’s some examples of Emma’s marvellous songs:-

mp3 : The Delgados – Pull The Wires From The Walls (Peel Session)

mp3 : Emma Pollock – Adrenaline

And while I’m here, there’s a song on which she collaborated with David Gedge:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Ears

But prepare to be blown away by the duet with Hubby which brought down the roof on the Spiegeltent:-

mp3 : RM Hubbert & Emma Pollock – Half Light (live at the Aberfeldy Distillery)


Back on 8 October 2011, I started a series called ‘Saturday’s Scottish Single’.  The aim was to feature one 45 or CD single by a Scottish singer or band with the proviso that the 45 or CD single was in the collection. I had got to Part 60-something and as far as Kid Canaveral when the rug was pulled out from under TVV.

I’ll catch up soon enough by featuring 5 or more at a time from the archives..


(36) Copy Haho – Bookshelf  b/w Desert Belle : I Fly Spitfire Records 7″ (2006)

 A four-piece outfit originally from the town of Stonehaven which is just a couple of train stops south of Aberdeen in the north-east of Scotland. I saw Copy Haho as a support act at King Tut’s a few years ago and was impressed enough to buy a bit of vinyl on the night. Turns out it was their debut 7″ limited run of 500 which came out in 2006. Since then I’ve picked up a further two singles that were released in 2008 and 2009 but not their debut LP which was released in 2011


(37) Danny Wilson – The Second Summer Of Love b/w Growing Emotional b/w I’ll Be Waiting : Virgin 12″ single (1989)

Read more about Danny Wilson here



(38) David Byrne – Big Blue Plymouth (Eyes Wide Open) (extended version)  b/w Leg Bells  b/w Light Bath : Sire Records 12″ single  (1981)

Read more about David Byrne here


(39) Deacon Blue – Real Gone Kid (extended version) b/w Little Lincoln b/w Real Gone Kid (7″ version) : CBS 12″  (1988)

It is very easy to forget just how massive Deacon Blue were in Glasgow at the tail end of the 80s. The city that had just. for the first time in a generation, re-gained a sense of pride in its very existence thanks to a series of arts and cultural events that had culminated in Glasgow, to the sheer disbelief of millions of folk who only associated it with crime and grime, having been declared European City of Culture 1990.  Many of the city’s inhabitants now swaggered around awash in self-belief and confidence, feelings which Deacon Blue more than any other locally based band captured and ran with.   


(40) The Delgados –  No Danger (kids choir) b/w The Choices You’ve Made: Chemikal Underground 7″(2000)

Read more about The Delgados here

2013 Update…..

I just want to add that The Delgados, thanks to them establishing and maintaining Chemikal Underground all that stems from that, are probably the most important and influential music act to have emerged from Scotland over the past 25 years

Parts 41-45 next Saturday…..