Chemikal Underground release Ballads Of the Book compilation


Chemikal Underground Records are proud to announce the release, in March 2007, of Ballads Of the Book, an elaborately ambitious project featuring some of Scotlands best writers and musicians.

The brainchild of Idlewilds Roddy Woomble, Ballads Of The Book began as a simple idea to bring together the literary talents of Scotlands writing community with a diverse range of new and established recording artists. Following Idlewilds work with Edwin Morgan on their Remote Part album, Roddy wanted to explore the possibilities of more artistic collaborations with various writers providing original lyrics for recording artists to interpret in whichever way they saw fit. Having enlisted the enthusiastic support of the Scottish Arts Council and with Chemikal Underground onboard, it wasnt long before the nascent idea and fledgling list of interested parties flourished into a brilliantly realised collection of songs: as musically eclectic as they were elegantly poetic.

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+ From the literary world, the list of those involved reads like a whos who of the great and the good in Scottish literature. The giants of Edwin Morgan and Alasdair Gray rub shoulders with cutting edge, contemporary writers like Ali Smith, A L Kennedy, Louise Welsh and Ian Rankin. Esteemed poets like Robin Robertson, Bill Duncan and Rody Gorman feature alongside successful writers and novelists like Michel Faber, Alan Bissett, Laura Hird, Rodge Glass, Hal Duncan and John Burnside.

+ From the musical world there is a rich collection of both established artists and upcoming, even unsigned acts. Idlewild, James Yorkston, Norman Blake, Sons And Daughters, Karine Polwart, King Creosote, Alasdair Roberts and The Trashcan Sinatras contribute tracks alongside Chemikal Underground acts Aereogramme and De Rosa. There are rare appearances from both Vashti Bunyan and The Incredible String Bands Mike Heron as well as solo performances from Emma Pollock and Malcolm Middleton. First time incarnations also feature for ex-Arab Strap frontman Aidan Moffat (Aidan Moffat And The Best Ofs) and ex-Delgado Alun Woodward (Lord Cut-Glass) in addition to the (as-yet) unsigned talents of Strike The Colours and Foxface.

The album cover is an original, specially commissioned artwork by Alasdair Gray and the genesis of the project is the subject of a film documentary due to be broadcast by Scottish Television around the release. Live performances in support of the album are scheduled for Glasgows Celtic Connections festival in January of next year, with additional launch events, acoustic performances and talks by the writers and musicians planned around the release also.

In short, Ballads Of The Book is an extraordinarily ambitious and original piece of work: simplistic in its origins and imaginatively executed, its hard to imagine an album with more impeccable credentials.


Mike Heron & John Burnside – Song For Irena
De Rosa & Michel Faber – Steam Comes Off Our House
James Yorkston & Bill Duncan – A Calvinist Narrowly Avoids Pleasure
Foxface & Rody Gorman – Dreamcatcher
Lord Cut-Glass & Alasdair Gray – A Sentimental Song
Aidan Moffat And The Best Ofs & Ian Rankin – The Sixth Stone
Norman Blake & John Burnside – Girl
Karine Polwart & Edwin Morgan – The Good Years
Sons And Daughters & A L Kennedy – The War On Love Song
Alasdair Roberts & Robin Robertson – The Leaving
Strike The Colours & Rody Gorman – Message In A Bottle
Aereogramme & Hal Duncan – If You Love Me You’d Destroy Me
Malcolm Middleton & Alan Bissett – The Rebel On His Own Tonight
Trashcan Sinatras & Ali Smith – Half An Apple
Vashti Bunyan & Rodge Glass – The Fire
King Creosote & Laura Hird – Where And When
Emma Pollock & Louise Welsh – Jesus On The Cross
Idlewild & Edwin Morgan – The Weight Of Years

Tuesday 30th January 2007, 8.00pm: The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall Strathclyde Suite

This night will showcase the live performances of some of the songs from Ballads of the Book alongside songs from the musicians’ own material. Tickets: £12.50

Karine Polwart Band/Inge Thomson/Kevin McGuire/Steven Polwart /Mattie Faulds/James Yorkston/Idlewild/Roddy Woomble/Rod Jones/Allan Stewart/Gareth Russell/Colin Newton/Mike Heron/Alasdair Roberts for more details

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