JIM MALCOLM – Sparkling Flash (Beltane Records BELCD107)

Somebody pass me the smelling salts or better still the latest recording by Jim Malcolm. I’d just had the pleasure (?) of reviewing an album by a certain ‘thrash folk’ band when this antidote landed on my doorstep. Call me old fashioned (and I know there’s plenty would) you can feel secure that all things are at peace with the world, particularly the world of Mr Malcolm. Opening with the track “Sparkling Flash” that could be shrouded in misery at the death of his friend (songwriter Jim Reid) there’s no sense of morbid regret just a celebration found in the comforting arms of a passing thunderstorm at his funeral. However strange the bedfellows, Jim manages to imbue his narrative skills on the listener with a ‘traditional style’ quality utilised by other ‘folk storytellers’ including Jez Lowe and more recently Ewan McLennan. Talking of song writing, on the pithy “American Accent” he manages to respectfully convey a reply to an accuser of why his accent ‘sounds’ American without the slightest hint of malice or the more commonly extended Glasgow Kiss. Of course, alongside his own compositions, he includes many trad arr: songs including “Green Grow The Rashes O” and “The Birkin Tree” where he is joined on vocals by his wife Susie reminding me of the time when Andy M Stewart was accompanied by his wife Kathy. Surrounding himself with a select band of musicians including Aaron Jones, Johnny Hardie and his daughter Beth, Jim manages to proudly promote his Scottish roots without ever once being mawkish and the ‘folk community’ should be justifiably proud in counting him as one of our own.

PETE FYFE

Artist website: http://www.jimmalcolm.com/

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