CHEERY ODIN – Gan Yer Dinger (own label)

Gan Yer DingerI love reviewing because I can take a punt on an album. I’ve never sent one back and there are occasions when I find a real gem. Gan Yer Dinger is one of those. Eighteen tracks celebrate the language and people of Hawick in a fine style. This is by no means a “comedy album” but even the more serious pieces have a light touch and more than one has a nod to Spike Milligan, Billy Connolly or Harry Secombe. Cheery Odin is the stage name for a musician who’s been performing for many years and may be known to quite a few reading this. Although he grew up in Hawick he freely admits he’s not a native speaker, so the album is a homage to the local tongue rather than a strict interpretation. That caused me no problems because I thought everyone in Hawick sounded like Bill McLaren, and this album should certainly have them dancing in the streets.

With eighteen tracks, ranging in length from 1.22 to 5.07 I won’t even attempt to cover them all but the overall feel is a great joy and spirit for a place that he clearly holds dear in his heart. It isn’t a polished album, at all, and all the better for it. Odin has brought in a huge range of musicians to help him and gone for “an alive-an-kickin’ feel to make it more as if some of my best musician chums turned up and were happy to sit in and play along.

To sample just a few ‘Gied A Bash’ opens with a whistle and drum and finishes with a complex but sing-along chorus. ‘Findasapoke’ follows it with a totally different feel, and almost pop 60s songs that the Bonzo Dog Do-dah Band could have brought out and what sounds like a ukulele lead. It’s centred around childhood memories of food and games that probably aren’t that popular any more but are sadly missed. ‘Deh Ca’mei Nutty’ is a delightful song that brings Spike Milligan to mind. You may need Google translate open unless you’re particularly conversant with Scottish words for people who aren’t the brightest bulb in the candelabra, but it’s done with great fun and compassion with the singer laughing at himself. Try not to sing the ‘Ying Tong Song’ at the end.

You can land on any track at random and it enjoy it; it’s that kind of album. It is like a night at your favourite folk club when all the really good floor spots turn up. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to it and it goes on in the car to make a long journey fly past.

Rather beautifully the main aim of Gan Yer Dinger, beyond the music, is to raise enough money for a memorial bench for a local friend and artist, Wattie Robson, who was a true wordsmith. The album is also a fitting tribute to those who wish to keep local traditions and styles alive. The album was released in March though the artist’s Bandcamp page as a digital download. There are CDs but on limited distribution.

Tony Birch

Artist’s website:

No videos available.