Sands of Time
SCOTS MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2008 Singer -songwriter John Malcolm lives in Strathaven, but he originally comes from Dundee so it's maybe this latter circumstance that partly prompted him to espouse the cause of Angus poet Marion Angus, a near contemporary of Violet Jacob, though not so widely known. A daughter of the manse she wrote poems in Angus Scots- - though an Aberdeen native, she was brought up in Arbroath, and died there - and often injects a sense of darkness into her narratives, as in "The Wild Lass", the first of the four Marion Angus tracks on this album. The others are "Ann Gilchrist", "Links o' Lunan" and "Candlemas", which share a distinctly fey quality, lines flitting between life and presumed death - a quality that John nicely captures. The other tracks on Sands of Time save one by Lanarkshire poet Gavin Stevenson, are John's own and are fine to listen to. John also manages an other -worldly quality, especially in "The Ballad of Charles Byrne", about a circus freak written from beyond the grave. It would be easy to categorise this album as one for the literary Scot or armchair makkar - but that would not be fair, as this round dozen tracks could well open a poetic door for those unfamiliar with Marion Angus and her work.