First Cold Day
The First Cold Day, the new CD from Scottish singer-songwriter Jim Malcolm, is a happy marriage of old and new, featuring seven new songs from Malcolm's pen alongside two traditional songs, one Andy M Stewart favourite and a Robert Frost poem set to music by Malcolm. Malcolm's seventh solo CD begins with him singing Stewart's The Valley of Strathmore and the song's lyricism is enhanced by interplay between Malcolm's mouthorgan and the fiddle of Marie Fielding, with Susie Malcolm adding harmonies. This is followed by "An Hour in the Gloaming", Malcolm's tribute to Robert Burns on his 250th anniversary, a jaunty, pastoral song with a catchy chorus. Down in Alabama has clearly come from Jim's experiences in the USA, where he tours every year, and gives a glimpse of the humour which makes his live concerts such good fun. Closer to home, Schiehallion is good fun too, a song written in collaboration with the children of Kinloch Rannoch primary school and featuring some singing trolls on the choruses. In more plaintive style, The First Cold Day evokes the first frost lying over Perthshire as Malcolm flies away to warmer climes on tour, a beautiful song which brings in Brian McAlpine on keyboards to great effect. Traditional songs on the CD are The Shearing, again with Susie Malcolm on harmonies, and Maggie's Bairn, where Fielding's fiddle sets the playful atmosphere. Malcolm's ability to tell a good story are in evidence in The Train From Perth to Lochearn - the life story of an iron horse engineer - and in From the Clyde to the Susquehanna, which tells the story of one of the emigrants to the USA who did not prosper in the new country.