Tucker And The Scattered Family – Twelve Tall Tales

First thing that needs to be addressed here is that this is a solo project.  This is the music of Andy Tucker.  Simply, Andy chose to call himself ‘Tucker and the Scattered Family’ as the musicians who help him fill out his lovely scottish country folk songs are scattered around Edinburgh, Scotland, possibly even the world, if I know Andy.  It’s a very fitting name.  People drift in and out of the album.  I can hear the likes of Kat Healy, Kim Edgar and Shona Brodie on this record I think.  I also believe I can hear the dulcet tones of one Mr Graeme “Kays Lavelle” Anderson on the tune ‘Hope Takes Flight’.   And the rest of the record is made up of a mix of musicians, many of whom I don’t know, but all of whom add such warmth to this record that, though they might be scattered, they certainly make the whole thing feel like a proper family affair.

For those of you who don’t know, Andy used to front Edinburgh legends The Dead Beat Club.  He’s had his words used by an English high school poetry class – the classic Dead Beat Club tune Circa 1985 I believe.  And just last year he was one of the Burnsong winners, a prestigious award whose winners have included the likes of King Creosote, Norman Blake, Karine Polwart and Roddy Woomble.  So if you don’t know who he is and you weren’t going to pay much attention to this review, then please pay attention……now.  Thanks.

The Dead Beat Clubs’ one and only full length record ‘Random Heartfelt Trinkets’ was good, but for me it didn’t give a true account of the Dead Beat Club.  At times it was sublime sure.  At others it felt like a record which had been pieced together rather than planned.  That’s not a criticism of the songs.  They are great.  It’s just an observation about how the recorded ended up sounding.  For me, it didn’t let the brilliant songs Andy writes shine through or breathe.  Ultimately he writes Scottish Country Folk.  Well that’s how I would describe it.  The DBC album felt wrong in terms of instrumentation and production.

This record feels right.  Very right indeed.  The opening 3 songs on this record are as strong as I’ve ever heard from Andy.  ‘Look Me Up’, a duet with Kim Edgar, is simply gorgeous with Edgar’s vocal and piano the perfect compliment to Tucker’s tale of longing.  One of my favourite things about anything Andy Tucker does is the brilliance of the words.  He’s very Scottish. He tells stories.  Stories we can all relate to.  In fact.  He tells tales.  Just like the record title says he does.  It’s not a lie.  He tells them and he tells them brilliantly.   

This album has really put a smile on my face today.  It’s what I needed to break my unhealthy over listening to Sparklehorse.  It’s warm.  It’s honest.  It’s humorous in tone at times.  It’s whimsical.  It’s just like Andy Tucker himself.  It’s got such gorgeous melodies and harmonies throughout.  It’s got that brilliant Tucker voice.  And most of all,  it’s just how I hoped it would sound. 

Andy Tucker deservedly won the Burnsong.  He’s achieved things that most of us as musicians would love to have achieved and yet he remains Under the Radar to many.  Well he shouldn’t be.  His music is a breath of fresh air in the Scottish music scene and has brightened up my week.  Please check out his work here.  Enjoy.

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