Folk-rock legends are a hit at Rothesay gig

Doug Morter, Ray Jackson and Jerry Donahue on stage at Craigmore on Sunday.
Doug Morter, Ray Jackson and Jerry Donahue on stage at Craigmore on Sunday.

LINDISFARNE’S biggest hits may all date back to the 1970s, but like all the best songs in any genre, the likes of Lady Eleanor, Run For Home and Meet Me On The Corner have stood the test of time in the face of some pretty stiff competition.

The enduring popularity of the folk-rock group from Newcastle-upon-Tyne may partly explain the bumper turnout at Craigmore Bowling Club on Sunday night, where Ray Jackson, who founded Lindisfarne in the late 1960s with Alan Hull, Rod Clements, Simon Cowe and Ray Laidlaw, took to the stage alongside Doug Morter and Jerry Donohue.

The near-capacity audience may also be partly explained by the fact that Sunday’s was the first ‘big’ live acoustic gig on the island since the Concert in the Crypt at Mount Stuart just before Christmas. But the real reason for the big crowd, we suspect, was simply the fantastic talent at the top of the bill, and that the chance to see three legends of folk-rock performing on Bute was one not to be missed.

Jackson’s name might be the best-known of the three, but this was no mere trip through the Lindisfarne back catalogue: indeed, Morter’s songs were among the most memorable of the evening, among them the haunting Green – written in tribute to the bucolic setting of a festival in his adopted home of Denmark, at which a touch of alcohol-induced ‘social confusion’ caused him to miss sets by two of his favourite acts, BB King and Little Feet – and two not-very-thinly-veiled digs at our misguided politicians, Rifleman Henry and Failed Hands Across The Table.

Donahue, meanwhile, may have spent less time in the spotlight than his two colleagues, but his guitar solos added plenty of colour to an already rich tableau, and his chance to shine on the instrumental First Encounter was eagerly seized and enthusiastically enjoyed.

Unsurprisingly, though, it was the Lindisfarne songs which earned the loudest applause of the night: the trio’s set kicked off with The Road To Kingdom Come, from the Nicely Out Of Tune album, and also featured Wake Up Little Sister, the Rab Noakes-written Together Forever, King’s Cross Blues and Lady Eleanor en route to a suitably rousing conclusion in the form of Meet Me On The Corner.

Support from local trio Rise, whose set included rare outings for covers of Scarborough Fair and Randy Newman’s Guilty, made for a memorable start to the Bute acoustic year, and left the audience eager for the treats to come over the next few months.

Sunday’s gig was organised by TransClyde Music – further TransClyde gigs in the coming months include The Carravick Sisters on April 22, Kieran Goss on May 12, Stacey Earle and Christine Collister on May 20, a local music showcase with the Argyll and Bute Ukulele Ensemble, Groovecoasters and Rise on June 24 and Rab Noakes on July 29.