Coppers and Brass (1977)
[Topic 12 TS 315]
Producer Tony Engle
Artist : Dick Gaughan
Dick Gaughan : Guitar
Tom Hickland : Piano
I've frequently been asked why I took the almost minimalist approach I did on this album. It has to be placed in historical perspective.
Most musicians playing traditional Irish and Scots music at that time didn't take the guitar very seriously; if you produced a guitar in a session you'd be expected to provide accompaniment to the 'real' players.
A few of us had been trying to change this but there really weren't very many guitar players had the tenacity to keep banging their heads against what appeared to be a locked door. Paul Brady, Tom Gilfellon and myself had been chipping away for years without making much of a real breakthrough and in 1977, I decided it was time to stop knocking politely at the door and try kicking the damn thing down instead.
There was a long history of releases of solo musicians playing traditional tunes in the format of featured solo instrument with simple piano accompaniment so my adopting this format for Coppers and Brass was a slightly tongue-in-cheek attempt to place the guitar as a solo instrument within this tradition.
Techniques have developed a lot since those days and the crudity and experimental nature of some of the playing makes me cringe on the rare occasions I ever hear any of it these days but I'm still glad I did it. I think it played a small part in breaking down some of the prejudice against guitar and in helping to create space for others to explore the versatility of the instrument.