Julian plays the Goodacre Way

In a television interview a couple of years ago Aberdeen soul singer and composer Annie Lennox credited her father’s piobaireachd playing as having  inspired some of her songs.  Julian Goodacre, our Society Hon. President, in  the booklet which accompanies his latest CD Some of me Pipes admits to being an aficionado of Dusty Springfield, whose response to his gift of an early Goodacre cassette was a signed photograph.  Was she inspired by the sound of the English bagpipe? We shall never know. You can hear “I only want to be with you” on track 3 as un hommage à Dusty, on Leicestershire smallpipe and harp.
Some of me Pipes – full title Some of me Pipes, Some of me Tunes, Some of me Friends -  is an unorthodox CD.  Julian takes the opportunity to thank his friends for their contribution to his music and his life and to acknowledge the part played by his native land and the English bagpipe in his music making.  The Highland bagpipe and the bellows-blown pipes of Scottish or English Borders don’t get a look-in. The only exception is Matt Seattle playing his Border pipe in ‘The Bonny Braes of Elcho’.
The bulk of the tunes are Julian’s with trad getting proper acknowledgement as do the parts played by the many first- class  musicians.
To compose, arrange and learn 23 tunes is no mean feat. Dance music predominates  - all that is required are participants who can dance English country dances.
For others such as myself, the unusual melodic lines and style of playing the pipe with its generous grace notes and  deliberate crossing notes are a refreshing change.  One also marvels at a tune-smith who can select a tree which has reached the end of its natural life and create a musical instrument.  Then there is Julian’s gift of finding eleven musicians who can resonate with him.
And now a look at the tunes, or at least most of  them.
‘The Thorn’ is an ear-catching mazurka played at a good dance tempo on three different English pipes.
‘Flaxen Lass of Allways’;  A tune I heard and took to a few moons ago, thinking it was a song for a lost love but it recollects a Goodacre family dog of yesteryear. The Leicestershire small pipe is joined with beautiful harp playing and continues successfully from Dusty Springfield’s ‘ I only want to be with you’.
‘Night Star’ and ‘Mariette’s Jacket’ are two polkas played on two pipes with melodeon, hurdy-gurdy, fiddle, sousaphone and trombone – it really works!  Just before, there is a recording of ‘Captain Bergar’s Slow Revenge’. Now, Captain Gabriel Berger (slight spelling difference) shot himself with a musket on 3 August, 1886.  He had intended to shoot the composer (the tune goes on and on) but was not a good shot.
‘The Cambo Question’ gains from its being played on Cornish double pipe and an outstanding low D English great pipe.
‘Ma Chère Célestine’: full of thoughts personal to Julian although the events happened over 100 years ago. To my mind it is the most sophisticated tune on the whole CD.
‘The Obvious Daughter’: A bit on the long side but a very fine tune for Leicestershire small pipe decorated with contributions from Steve Lawrence on bouzouki, guitar and percussion.
‘The Leicestershire Lowlanders’ is described by Julian as a fine and deeply traditional English tune, a variant of which  has been played for several centuries in Scotland. I discussed this view with Jeannie Campbell and we agreed that the rhythm of the notes can be found in both Atholl Highlanders and Blue Bonnets but the melodic line diverges quite quickly.
The 2008 Edinburgh Festival provided a platform for Julian, accompanied by John Hegley, to play ‘The Saunt’ (Saint in old Scots but really a particular agricultural field in Leicestershire). That Festival also heard the evergreen English dance ‘Shepherds Hey’ on Cornish pipes accompanied by Tony Curtis on keyboards (Some like it hot but I prefer classical music myself). Tony is not on the CD, but John Hegley is, playing mandolin.
On the 13th track Jules plays a 14 inch triangle – not to be missed..
Then there is ‘The Bonny Braes of Elcho’, an old favourite of mine, with Matt Seattle on bellows-blown Border pipe.
Shouldn’t ‘The Piper’s Wedding’, ‘The ‘Washbasin’ and ‘The Bridal (?Bridle)Path’ be given a predominant harp and a whispering Leicestershire smallpipe accompaniment?  I only asked.
‘The Cyrilleanne Mariage’ – music for a Pyrenees wedding brings Some of Me Pipes to a joyful end with a warm atmosphere and the scent of mountain flowers.
Ian K Murray