1988, Music

Sunshine on Leith (1988) by The Proclaimers

If you’re my age, or a little older, you’ve heard “I’m Gonna Be” more times than you could count. Depending on how you feel about this song, you may be pleasantly surprised by the rest of the album or severely disappointed.
Because the thing is, there’s maybe one or two tracks on this album that come close to approximating the energy of the duo’s most famous song, and those tracks do not match it. The vast majority of the record is pleasant, rather forgettable folk pop/rock. the ballads in particular can be rather sedate.

It’s all well made and well performed, but if the reason you listened to this record was because of their huge hit song, well they sure don’t sound like that most of the time. (Listeners in the UK likely didn’t have a problem with that, as this was not their first record, and other songs were hits, letting the average person know what they really sounded like.)

I will say that, aside from a slight shine to the guitars and some of the other instruments, it’s relatively hard to detect awful ’80s production. That’s not to say you can’t tell, but just that it’s less horrendously ’80s than a lot of records like this from the late ’80s.

The songs are okay, I guess. And the cover of Steve Earle’s “My Old Friend the Blues” is adequate. But this record lacks the feel and energy I need in my roots music. It makes me look at their big hit and think “That’s actually pretty great in comparison.”

6/10

All tracks written by Craig & Charlie Reid, except where noted.

  1. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” 3:37
  2. “Cap in Hand” 3:22
  3. “Then I Met You” 3:46
  4. “My Old Friend the Blues” (Steve Earle) 3:03
  5. “Sean” 3:19
  6. “Sunshine on Leith” 5:14
  7. “Come On Nature” 3:32
  8. “I’m on My Way” 3:43
  9. “What Do You Do” 3:37
  10. “It’s Saturday Night” 3:23
  11. “Teardrops” 2:31
  12. “Oh Jean” 5:54
  • Craig Reid – vocals, percussion
  • Charlie Reid – vocals, acoustic guitars

Additional personnel

  • Jerry Donahue – acoustic and electric guitars
  • Gerry Hogan – steel guitar
  • Steve Shaw – fiddle, mandolin (tracks 14, 16), piano (track 16), violin (track 16)
  • Stuart Nisbet – pennywhistle, mandolin, guitars (track 13), pedal steel (track 13)
  • Dave Whetstone – melodeon
  • Pete Wingfield – keyboards, organ (track 16), bass synth (track 16)
  • Phil Cranham – bass
  • Dave Mattacks, Paul Robinson – drums, percussion
  • Keith Burns – drums (track 13)
  • Niko Bruce – double bass (track 13)
  • Paul Townsend – bass (tracks 14, 15)
  • Nico Ramsden – electric guitar (tracks 14, 15)
  • Judd Lander – harmonica (track 14)

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