Living Tradition

For those of you unaware of the explosive talent that is Rory McLeod, he is best described as a modern-day troubadour with a distinctive style and a delivery that can be simultaneously amusing, poignant and striking. Mostly accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica, he tells strangely familiar ballads that either have borrowed tunes with adapted words or are just plain original cuts. He is passionate about gun control (No Use For A Gun), the struggles of smallholding farming (Tenant Farmer’s Blues) and the disenfranchisement of persecuted immigrants (A Foreigner Forever). His mammoth, almost 10-minute long, revision of Henry Thomas’s Allow Me One More Chance, which emerged from a 70th birthday tribute for Bob Dylan who also covered it on his first album, is a touching, at times hilarious, dissertation on modern relationships. Two other songs, Galloway Girl and Wrong Side Of The Wall, emerged from a project about Hadrian’s Wall, and have their own charm. His take on Berry Fields O’ Blair, which he took direct from Belle Stewart and cockneyized, is another song that has to be heard to be believed. A surprising gem is his take on recently deceased Don Chapel’s Let’s Get Together One More Time (for those with an interest in these things, he was Tammy Wynette’s second husband). All in all, this is an album that has made me smile from start to finish and improves with repeated listenings. Give it a bash...

- Grem Devlin, Living Tradition Magazine, Issue 129