I’m a lowland Scot, brought up in Dunbar and Edinburgh. When I went to Edinburgh College of Art in the 60s I met Mike Travis, and I was the singer in a group called The Seventh Sons. Mike was the drummer. We did Mose Allison, Georgie Fame, Little Milton songs. I also sang (again with Mike) in the Rod Manton jazz band – trumpet, tenor sax, piano, bass, drums, and me on vocals. Folk music passed me by.
In the 80s I heard Jim Reid and Rod Paterson on the radio one afternoon and my life changed. ‘Shy Geordie’ sung by Jim Reid, and ‘My Nanie O’ sung by Rod Paterson. I met Anne Combe and Fiona Forbes, and we formed Sangsters. We made a couple of Greentrax CDs, sang all over Scotland at clubs and festivals, got to go to Germany and Canada.
I started tutoring with the Scots Music Group in the late 90s, and in 2010 started working on the Inspire project. We worked in partnership with support charities to offer vulnerable people the opportunity to take part in music. It was one of the highlights of my working life and led me to make a recording of my own songs, Evenin’s Fa, in 2012.
I had a notion to record songs and tunes composed since then, some since lockdown, and decided to acknowledge both the days before I became a folky and our step mother, who was a fine pianist. Someone asked if I’d given up folk for jazz, and I replied that I identify as bi-musical.
My new album, There Was A Love, was recorded a few days after my 75th birthday – a fine way to celebrate. And I hope there will be another.