Dick Gaughan
Handful of Earth


4.5
superb

Review

by DadKungFu STAFF
May 31st, 2024 | 18 replies


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist


What does one say or do when everything’s split amongst so many networks, shifting spheres of influence, conflicting loyalties, commercial interests and material ends? How does one maintain, or even find one’s coherent sense of self, one’s anchor in all the muddied churn of life? Must we endlessly dive, swirl, disperse and reshape ourselves according to the needs of the moment? Is there any stable sense of self to be found in the kingdom of means before ends?

Where identity is splintered and fragmented across the time of the day, there begins to be an almost unconscious yearning for integration, for coherence, for a sense of self that means more than artifice and technique can provide. There is a personality in Dick Gaughan’s music, much the same for any genuine folk style, a coherence that nonetheless displays the many different facets of the singer: the fighter, the drinker, the firebrand, the leftist, the poet. Whatever the song, whatever the story, we see it all draw back to an unshakable core, an integral and powerful personality. It only helps that Gaughan’s a formidable instrumentalist, and a gritty, rough-hewn singer. No small thing either that the touches of guestwork on the album illuminate and amplify that voice and message. Take that sawing fiddle and tin whistle combo pouring raw spirits on the fire of Erin-Go-Bragh, the blood-pumping earth and heart of World Turned Upside Down, the wry, bitter, inextinguishable human defiance of Worker’s Song. Gaughan is an artist who knows who he is, what he believes and what he is against. His radical sensibilities are a natural extension of his affinity for folk music; folk is inherently radical, with its sense of place, culture and meaning, with its unassailable sense of self.

We’re required to be many different things in many different situations. It’s just the way the world is. How many of those personas that I don each day really reflect myself? When alienation becomes such an immediately relatable word, alienation from ourselves and each other, where do I draw that core of my identity from? What the project of any working-class movement has to be is one that narrows that gap of alienation, that is able to find an identity within its time and place, an identity that is worth living for. For Gaughan, Scottishness, working-class sympathies, anti-authoritarianism, and a dynamic and empathetic sense of masculinity, are all simply facets of that unitive sense of self that doesn’t need to compromise, to put on a false face, to gladhand or network. When we hear that tragic, almost 500-year old history of the Diggers, who had the temerity to claim that hoarding the earth’s resources was not just unjust, but an actual sin, we see and more importantly feel, what those voices from the past have in common with us. And, as the whole concept of culture communicates, it’s often more than we’ve been led to believe.



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user ratings (7)
4.1
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
May 31st 2024


5098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

let us contemplate our navels and also this corny old leprechaun music as my students call it

Mort.
May 31st 2024


25836 Comments


horny old leprechaun music is better

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
May 31st 2024


5098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Get me a Top 25 HOLM albums list STAT

Hawks
June 1st 2024


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dick Gaggin

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
June 1st 2024


5098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

U might actually dig this hawks

Hawks
June 1st 2024


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

100% gonna jam Dad bro.

Hawks
June 1st 2024


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awwww fuck yeah this rulez.

ToSmokMuzyki
June 1st 2024


11674 Comments


what happened to it?

Hawks
June 2nd 2024


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This makes me wish I was Irish.

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2024


5098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Gaughan’s very much Scottish but Erin-go-Bragh does have that effect yeah

Hawks
June 2nd 2024


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

DAMN LMAO. See I thought that initially but then it sounded like Irish folk music to me plus Song for Ireland so kinda assumed lol.

Eakflanderyof
June 2nd 2024


5661 Comments


Dick Gone

ToSmokMuzyki
June 2nd 2024


11674 Comments


WHAT HAPPENED TO IT?!?!!??!??!

Eakflanderyof
June 2nd 2024


5661 Comments


Wild dog chewed it off

ToSmokMuzyki
June 2nd 2024


11674 Comments


HOLY SHIT

Cryptkeeper
June 2nd 2024


2151 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey this finally has a review, based

Orb
June 2nd 2024


9440 Comments


Imagine waking up one morning just to find out ur dick's gaughn!

FowlKrietzsche
June 5th 2024


1442 Comments


Delightful review! Lovely read



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