Sunday 31 May 2015


While compiling the selection now entitled THE BAD GIRL and OTHER DISPARATES I considered including the version of MR MOON which features Fraser Spiers playing blues harp - then I hesitated - and then I got lost

A different version of MR MOON was used on CUT FEET and EMPTY SHOES leaving this one - as with several other tracks in the Bad Girl selection - without a place to call their own

So, after thinking about it again, I decided it should join in with the other disparates and it is now the last track on the BAD GIRL selection

And in consideration of anyone who might have purchased the selection before MR MOON was added, it will be free to download for a while 

Saturday 30 May 2015


Yesterday, a small selection of tracks on Bandcamp was given the title MOSTLY SPOKEN. Then it was removed and the title changed to SOFT and MOSTLY SPOKEN before being changed again to SOFT or MOSTLY SPOKEN. This is a ruse to assist with the task of gathering together more of the tracks which are lying around with no set place to go 

The selection will not now be appearing on Bandcamp until it is complete. 

At the time of writing this the selection includes a half spoken version of LIKE THE SEA ROLLING IN, a recent recording of MY LOVE IS VELVET, an old version of the track LIKE AN OLD TIN CAN - (I never liked the drums which had been added) This is a plain acoustic version -although it does have a relatively quiet beat provided by a drum machine

Also included are four small songs which had been languishing somewhere for a while. They were, once upon a time, combined to play for 3 mins 23 secs (I doubt if Neil would have approved of the act of combining them). They have now been separated. 

When the selection has been completed and remastered it will uploaded again on Bandcamp.  

My intention to gather together most of the tracks for this selection before re-uploading it to Bandcamp was overtaken by my wish to put MY LOVE IS VELVET out there. The link is

Thursday 28 May 2015


The nudge was, as I may have suggested previously, very welcome
And the consolidation of the disparates has now spread to some of the mainly spoken word tracks and a reordering of everything which is on Bandcamp
And better still the process is reminding me of what material I have 'out there' and is encouraging me to consolidate it all even more

There was a temptation to combine, on Bandcamp, the four selections of words which are in the book THE INESCAPABLE ROAD - but there would be too many  
And anyway they are all together in the book and on a DVD with the same title

I did intend to make the DVD available for any stalwart supporter of my work but have not yet found time or inclination to do so

Wednesday 27 May 2015


The nudge has taken me in the direction of a title for the CD of disparate singles
And as I modify the above sentence I can declare that the deed has been done and most of the disparates have been gathered together alongside BAD GIRL BLUES on Bandcamp.

The selection so far consists of 14 tracks and the order is arbitrary. It might get changed soon - or sometime or other
I am continuing to play around with the image and the one below (as also used on Bandcamp) is all I have managed so far

Tuesday 26 May 2015


Someone I have never met before* purchased two of my tracks yesterday. He also suggested I occupied a niche. And that was pleasing. But there was more! He was complimentary about the combination of the Fraser Spiers blues harp and my voice - which set me up for the day. 

He also said he would have been glad if - for ease of access and download - more of the single tracks had been available in in one selection He was not looking for a less expensive option and later advised, if I should go ahead with the move, not to make it free

And that is where the nudge came from. I had been seriously considering gathering in some of the tracks which are on Bandcamp as singles and had not previously been used on a CD or other selection - and I am now working on this

As yet I have not decided on a title or the image to use and the main problem, as I perceive it just now, is how varied the tracks are in type and treatment They certainly will not go together as might birds of like feather

But if it works out reasonably well I will put the tracks onto a CD 

* I asked the stranger if he would mind me posting the above comments but have not yet received a reply. I am boldly going ahead without it

I am also awaiting some advice from Bandcamp about the easiest way to combine the tracks - other than the arduous way I can easily envisage

Monday 25 May 2015


Some background

For several years the bus taking me to work in the East End of Glasgow passed under a bridge called the HIELANDMAN'S UMBRELLA

And it was there in that rather dark place (and recently returned from Tiree) that I wrote the words for a song called YOU COME ON OVER ME 

I used to sing it a lot when I was out and about performing - and could sing it quite well at the time

Returning to it many years later - and when attempting to re-record it -I added some words and a bit of a tune which turned it into the song now entitled LIKE THE SEA ROLLING IN. 

The track which Jennifer Clark used for her arrangement of the song was one of those old attempts. And although the vocal was/is weak - she improved it markedly and has made it into something which - for me anyway- is mesmerizingly special.

Again, it can be heard on Bandcamp at

About the bridge 

The Hielanman's Umbrella (English: Highlandman's Umbrella) is a famous landmark in the centre of Glasgow,Scotland It is the local Scots nickname for the glass walled railway bridge which carries the platforms ofGlasgow Central station across Argyle Street

Due to the forced displacement of people during the second phase of the Highland clearances in the 19th century, 30,000 Highlanders who spoke Scottish Gaelic but did not speak English came to Glasgow to find work When arriving in the city they were housed in many different areas of Glasgow Over many years Highlanders continued to arrive and began to keep in touch by meeting under the bridge, mostly at weekends

With the city's inclement weather and the meeting of the Highlanders it came to be known as the Hielanman's Umbrella

As time passed the Highlanders and their offspring became integrated into Glasgow culture until finally the meetings no longer occurred. Many of the younger generation no longer recall the name of the bridge


The text and the image were copied from Wikipedia

Friday 22 May 2015


This track is unlike the others that are on Bandcamp (and elsewhere)

The arrangement is by Jennifer Clark, who plays keyboards, bass guitar and percussion. She also mixed and mastered it.
The initial vocal and guitar recording came from my back catalogue and some restoration work was required. For this Jennifer sought the assistance of a friend and professional colleague Eddie MacArthur of Stealth Studios at
Jennifer's website is at

Jennifer is advising that you use headphones to listen to the track

The link to hearing it on Bandcamp is

A CD of this track as a single is being considered and if it does happen the image for the insert will probably be taken from a photograph provided by Isabel Whyte. It is of waves crashing in over the rocks south of Balaphuil Beach on Tiree. It will be similar to the one below

The image on Bandcamp, which is cropped from an old painting of mine entitled Tiree Landscape, will remain for now. The piece of land it features is real and familiar and was revisited not long ago. For those who know Tiree it is on Gott Bay. Standing in front of the Lodge Hotel and looking towards the sea it is about a hundred yards along the road to the left. 


Having now acquired two different versions of the song WITH YOU IN MY LIFE I have chosen what I consider is a convenient way of making them both available. And, as an afterthought, I have added the original acoustic track and given them the title of WITH YOU IN MY LIFE x3 

The text below also accompanies the songs on Bandcamp at

Version 1 is my initial attempt to record the song and give it a bit more 'depth' with some rough and ready overdubbing using Audacity.  It was subsequently mastered by Geoff Allan of Cava Sound Glasgow

Version 2 is an arrangement by Jennifer Clark.Jennifer was also responsible for the arrangement for The Water is Deep and will hopefully be working on other tracks of mine in future.  More about her can be found on the web site at 

Version 3 is an arrangement by Brian McNeill who was responsible for some of the tracks on my CD Cut Feet and Empty Shoes. The treatment he provided was unexpected. I have been referring to it as the colliery band version. 

The image on Bandcamp of my hero NY is there without permission but I am in the process of seeking it

Along with this selection is the image of my hero Neil Young. It is being used without permission but I am in the process of seeking it. I do however remain under his influence and this will hopefully increase over the coming months

Tuesday 19 May 2015


With a touch of the colliery band there will be another version of the song WITH YOU IN MY LIFE on Bandcamp soon. It was a surprise to me and I hope it will be a pleasurable surprise for others.

Also, as indicated on Bandcamp, the idea of making available the mastered version of the original acoustic version and the two professionally arranged versions is being considered 


Four blues influenced songs featuring Fraser Spiers have been uploaded to Bandcamp over recent months as separate tracks. But there is a fifth (also featuring Fraser) which until now has been left out. It is a version of I'VE WAITED A LONG TIME. Those familiar with the CD MORE LIKE A RIVER THAN A ROAD will know it as the opening track on that selection. They will also be aware that the arrangement was by John Saich and Mags Russell of WILD BISCUIT MUSIC

Today I intend to put the five songs together and call the selection very simply -as the title of this post indicates - A FEW BLUES. From a relatively superficial search this title has not been extensively used before - if at all.

Once they are all together in a oner I will probably remove them as singles from the Bandcamp site

Also as four different images have been used for the single tracks I will need to choose one only. And at the time of writing I have no idea which one it will be. I hope I get one later.

Later. Ideas were not required. The words of the opening track I LOOKED ALRIGHT THIS MORNING belong in Glasgow and I am choosing to use a photograph of a street on which I frequently walked. The link to A FEW BLUES is

Wednesday 13 May 2015


This evening a new blog was painlessly conceived. Indeed it was accompanied by much self induced laughter. Tomorrow - who knows - it may provide more enjoyment. And if so it will be very welcome

A few mornings later the laughter had subsided but the idea had remained. More will be said very soon.

Very soon.
There will be a SAPSYNONYMOUS CLUB. So far there are two possible members. Me and 'another'

Members will be ANONYMOUS. The criteria for becoming one will be varied.
First up one will be required to admit that, at some time in one's life (in relation to matters of love and romance) one has behaved like a sap. Or if one prefers a chump, a patsy or a dolt. All other synonyms  were too potentially demeaning.

Masochists will not be eligible.

And an important question was asked. Might such a club be of any use to anyone other than the two possible members already identified? Catering to oneself and one other only had little appeal.

And following on from that question came others.

Check in again for what they were and to find out what will be required of members.


Yesterday I received an email containing an invitation to submit to a competition. One of the categories was for poetry. Now I do not enter competitions* and I do not think I write poems but I do write words that can look like them. And as I was hanging around not sure what to do next I decided to submit one of the things I had.  I came across SO SAID THE SAP and decided to use it. Doing so also reminded me where I had got the title for the blog and what it had meant at the time.

I also listened to the recording of the words on Bandcamp and if anyone is interested they can be heard on there by using the following link

I have moved the selection of spoken words to which they belong (there are 30 items) to first place on the Bandcamp page for easy access. The image - a collage - which goes with it can be viewed there. It was also included in another post on this site but (again for ease of access) I may as will include it at the foot of this one


These words
May not
Be heard
As rap
But they
Were written
By a sap

Who could not see
That need and greed
Can oft times quell
True love's appeal

Who could not see
That what they saw
Was victim of
Their deepest flaw

A tendency to keep
What they had
When four or more

Around that time
The date's not clear
But what they got
Was stark - a fear

Of losing what
They had and whether
Light or dark
The fear was bad

Or bad enough
To find a place
In everything
They did - a trace

Of fear ran through
Their every move
And kept them tied
To anxious mood

To hesitating
Stepping back
Scared of falling
Off the track

That others rode
With engines stoked
With words of love
Of praise of hope

That all would play out
Good and true
That what they had
Would see them through

But being sap
Does not require
To also breathe
A bitter fire

Upon all those
Who have it good
Although a bit more
Sharing would

Improve the lot
Of those who feel
They never got
Their early needs

Met in ways
That set them free
Of fear - the sort
I'm citing here

So said the sap
The day they found
Love does not always
Leap and bound

To fill the heart
And head with joy
Sometimes its crap
And but a ploy

To satisfy the selfish needs
Which found a place
When grief destroyed
Those tender moments
Soft and kind
Which we all need
If we're to find
Within ourselves

A peace of mind

*A correction. I did inadvertently (one of my favourite words) enter TWO INCHES TALL in the Spoken Word category of the Independent Music Awards and it was - remarkably - successful. But that was a long time ago in 2012 

Friday 8 May 2015


The overall title for the material I make available for others to see and hear is SONGS AND IMAGES from GLASGOW HAIDA GWAII and IN-BETWEEN. It was settled a long time ago as indicated on a page on my main web site (clicking on the title will take you there) 

And when I was looking for a good reason to post the photograph below I was reminded of this. There has been much on this site about songs but not very much about images. 

About the photograph: I was very familiar with the figure in a friend's garden but yesterday I noticed that it had acquired a dress of green foliage. And I thought it looked so beautiful - although I can admit to not wearing my glasses at the time - I should take a picture of it.

It was only later, with my glasses on, that I saw clearly the flower and the bud touching its mouth 

The experience also reminded me of another, also in a friend's garden, and 
I had written some words about that one

Lots of sparrows sat
In ones twos and threes
Eating the seeds
Bouncing off the leaves
In the garden

The marguerites were out
Full opened white
Reacting to a hazy sun
And overcast light

For water the sparrows
Had found a gutter
Blocked with debris
From a winter of rain

Through the house doors which were open
Came the sound of a singer
Repeating the same song
Over and over again

The woman who lived there
For the first time in her life
Ignored her hair in the mirror
As she passed it by

To pour a hot cup of tea
For a friend who was sat in the garden
Writing this description
Of the scene 

Wednesday 6 May 2015


Words this morning were prompted by two photograph of trams
and the news that Joni Mitchell was unwell. The photographs were warmly received. The hope is that Ms Mitchell will fully recover very soon

                       THE SAP proudly recalls riding on a tram just like the one in this photograph 

The photograph showing High Possil Secondary School in the background is displayed here with the permission of Sue (representing Larry 'who took loads of photographs of old Glasgow') and Milton Glasgow Memories on Facebook 
It was sent to me by Isabel Whyte who knows the area well. And the tram which The Sap often rode into downtown Glasgow (and which was remembered, about 45 years on, by Mrs Margaret Whyte) was the No 22

Before The Sap became a sap
The Sap rode in a tram 
From up at Possil High School
To Hope Street, with a man

Who spoke to her of painting
Who liked the way she sang
Who set her on the path towards
Performing with a band

Until The Sap became a sap
(tho doomed to head that way) 
She rarely looked back with regret
At all she'd failed to say 

To others who were loving
It's much the same today 
As Joni told us long ago
We're slow to learn 
What matters most
So slow we often let it go
And only know
When it has gone
How much we should have 
Treasured love and kept it 
Safe and strong

The following link will take you to a full list of Glasgow Corporation Tram Routes from 1871 - 1973

Monday 4 May 2015


The remastered version of HELLO SINGING BIRD is now on Bandcamp at

It is accompanied by a photograph of a thrush which once sang in a Glasgow garden. It could be the same thrush as the very tame one which can be seen eating raisins, on most days, in the same location. I am told the image looks rather 'murky' and will be attempting to improve it if at all possible.

And it has been.

                                                    THE SINGING BIRD - less murky

About the song. I don't know exactly why I have recently been working on songs associated with the loss of a mother but two on Bandcamp, DANCE ON and MOTHERLESS, precede this one. 

Hello Singing Bird was written while - as it suggests in the words - walking through a park. The park was Glasgow Green. The song also refers, as indicated in another post on the site, to a loaf of Mother's Pride - and for anyone who likes Dusty Springfield, to a video of her in an advert about the bread. I will repeat it here



On the morning of May 3rd I remembered that I had written some words about a shop but I was uncertain where they were.  I assumed they would be in one of the books of words and lyrics which had been printed over the past few years. 

And it was then I decided I needed to stop writing any more words. I needed to reacquaint myself with all those which were in the various printed books and 
in the many other unsorted notebooks

It was time to take stock. The image I had in my head was of the small shop on the corner of street where I lived as a child.

And I was pleased to have made that decision. I would now set about implementing it - without delay.

Then unexpectedly some words arrived in my head. They were about a shop which had to shut before it could open again. And I wrote them down. They will need to be worked on to become anything more than words in short lines. But I think they contain a message for me which I am trying to understand. 

Below are the words about the shop. At least I now know where they can be found. 

This song is a picture
Of a shop in a side street
With no shopkeeper in sight
And nothing in the window

On the shop door however
Is a badly written sign
Saying please move on
There’s nothing for you 
To buy

Nothing left to sell
Nothing left at all
Nothing left of value
Behind this door

It came off its hinges
Some time ago
The only way to fix it
Was to bolt it closed

It’ll stay closed from now on
A new door was once tried
But the space it needs to fill
Is an irregular size

As for the shop it’s unlikely
To open again
It’s been so long closed
No one remembers
What it sold

But it stays there somehow
More as a reminder
Of things that could be bought
When the world was somewhat kinder

Or is that just a notion
That’s been passed on over years
But whether that or not
Doesn't matter a jot
As the sign says on the door -
Please move on
If there was
There is no more

As the badly written sign says
On the badly fitted door
Please move on
If there was there is no more