Health warning: This blog will interest old guys of a certain age and most likely repel young, intelligent women. This will only happen in print and never on the radio. I promise. This picture should provide sufficient forewarning……..



I’m just browsing. I don’t need any help thanks. It’s something we had lots of practice at in the early seventies. I was a pupil at Dundee High School which sits at the top of Reform Street. The lunch bell went around 12.45 and it was our practice to head straight into town. Food first: Wallace’s on Crichton Street for a pie and a yum-yum, or to the Golden Fry on Union Street where any number of items could be deep-dipped in hot boiling fat. It was simple stuff. But after that? After the chip wrappers had been binned and the nonsense talked. Then it was Boots or Largs or later on Bruce’s; all record shops or record departments where the albums were racked alphabetically and where we would flick through them endlessly with (at best) only the slightest clue about the contents of the music. Frank Zappa worried us as much as we were intrigued by Emerson, Lake and Palmer and there was always more to see on the front of Sergeant Pepper from when you’d looked the last time. What was certain was that most had only heard the record if a big brother or sister or some cool cousin had bought it. Who could afford ‘All Things Must Pass?’ (a guy in 5th year apparently whose name escapes me but is remembered as that guy…)

I’m thinking of all this on the first really cold day of autumn as the dark gathers round the house early and I’m glad to be home, locked in from the cold and sitting looking at new album sleeves. It’s funny how the sleeve still offers hope or scares you off until, very often, it’s the only thing left on the pile. I’ve been lucky this week. I found an album that had a good sleeve (it didn’t have a guy in a stetson, rather an arty drawing of a wolf). How often your hopes get raised only to be hopelessly dashed when you distictly feel you’re listening to an album you’ve heard 100 times before. As I write this I’m now doing the opposite thing. Choosing the record with the worst sleeve and a band with a bad name…and what do you know, it’s not bad at all.

This Friday we’ll celebrate these records and lots more besides as we’ve got two hours without extended conversations and sessions. It’s records all the way. Music from……………and that wolf, that bad sleeve? Step forward Jadea Kelly whose fine album Clover we’ll share with you. And do you think this sleeve looks good ?


.. I didn’t but hey it sounds great and quite original. I think you might find it’s quite a keeper. And if you think that picture’s a little…well, bland. You can’t accuse this band of the same thing.


I’m not sure what I’d have made of Those Darlins if I’d only encountered them on the new album for the first time. Courageous, provocative – but actually a little off-putting over breakfast. The good news is there’s plenty inside to provide appropriate pleasure.We will also be playing Porter Wagoner, Hem, Grizzly Bear, Howe Gelb with KT Tunstall and a rather exciting new band from Glasgow called Honeyblood. Just don’t judge us by our front cover.

It all starts Friday at five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland.