Slipcue.Com Celtic & UK Folk Guide

The McCalmans were one of Scotland's most popular trad groups of the 1970s (and beyond!), a family act that has spanned five decades... The core trio included Ian McCalman, Hamish Bayne and Derek Moffat, although many musicians joined them on record and on tour over the years. Here's a quick look at their work...


The McCalmans "All In One Mind" (EMI, 1968) (LP)

The McCalmans "Singers Three" (CBS, 1969) (LP)

The McCalmans "Turn Again" (CBS, 1970)

The McCalmans "No Strings Attached" (RCA, 1971) (LP)
(Produced by Pete Kerr)

A nice, straightforward set, basically "earnest folkie" stuff but coming from a Celtic trad background. The liner notes say the songs here are "90% Scottish," though they don't make it clear whether there are two non-Scottish songs, or the creeping influence of outside styles on multiple tracks. (Heh. Just kidding.) Anyway, this is a nice, low-key album, with pipering and strummy acoustic guitars galore. Maybe not earth-shaking, but authentic and rootsy, and easy on the ears. Definitely worth a spin.

The McCalmans "An Audience With The McCalmans" (RCA, 1973) (LP)*

The McCalmans "Smuggler" (Transatlantic, 1975)
Celtic trad from Edinburgh, recorded at a time when prog and anthemic AOR ruled the pubs. Although the material they chose was solidly authentic, and a lot of the lyrics are fascinating, the bouncy vocals and bouncy arrangements are a little too monochromatic. Similar to Irish bands such as the Wolf Tones, the Dubliners, or even the Irish Rovers -- energetic, but lacking the more subtle emotional range that bands such as Planxty and Clannad had tapped into.

The McCalmans "House Full" (Transatlantic, 1976) (LP)*
(Produced by John Whitehead & The McCalmans)

A live album, recorded March 30-31, 1976, at the Phoenix Theatre in Leicester, England...

The McCalmans "Side By Side By Side" (Transatlantic, 1977)

The McCalmans "Burn The Witch" (Transatlantic, 1978)
Reissued on CD along with 1975's Smuggler.

The McCalmans "The Ettrick Shepherd" (Greenwich Village, 1980)

The McCalmans "Live (At Your Service)" (CBS/MACS, 1980)

The McCalmans "Bonnie Bands Again" (MACS, 1982)

The McCalmans "Ancestral Manoeuvres" (MACS, 1983)

The McCalmans "Scottish Songs" (Ross Records, 1986)

The McCalmans "Peace And Plenty" (Greentrax, 1986)

The McCalmans "Listen To The Heat" (Greentrax, 1988)

The McCalmans "Flames On The Water" (Greentrax, 1990)

The McCalmans "Songs From Scotland" (Greentrax, 1991)

The McCalmans "Honest Poverty" (Greentrax, 1993)

The McCalmans "Songs From Scotland" (Greentrax, 1991)

The McCalmans "In Harmony" (Greentrax, 1994)

The McCalmans "High Ground" (Greentrax, 1997)

The McCalmans "Keepers" (Greentrax, 1999)

The McCalmans "Hard Day's Night" (MACS, 2000)

The McCalmans "Where The Sky Meets The Sea" (Greentrax, 2002)
These '70s folk revival veterans still have a nice light touch... There's a certain sense of formalism here, but for folks who like vocal trad tunes, this is a nice, understated album.

The McCalmans/Various Artists "McCalman Singular" (Greentrax, 2004)
The songs of Ian McCalman, performed by a host of British and Celtic artists, including Aly Bain, Barbara Dickson, Dick Gaughan, Sheena Wellington and others.

The McCalmans "Festival Lights" (Greentrax, 1995)

The McCalmans "Tangled Web" (MACS, 2004)

The McCalmans "Scots Abroad" (Greentrax, 2005)


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