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Last update: 7th January 2019

The Clutha and Gordeanna McCulloch

Gordeanna McCulloch from Glasgow went to the school where Norman Buchan ran his famous Ballads Club, and shortly afterwards she travelled to London to attend Ewan MacColl's class of singers. Gordeanna also had an early spell singing with The Clydesiders, and more recently she has been involved with Palaver, Malinky and Glasgow's Euridice Choir.

The Clutha formed in 1964 by three librarians from the Mitchell Library in Glasgow plus one of their former colleagues. One founder member, Don Martin played guitar and sang, and unearthed much of the group's material from the Mitchell Library's music department. From Kirkintilloch, Don left the Mitchell in the mid-1970s to be local studies librarian in Strathkelvin, and he is the author of several books on the area.

By 1965 they had added fiddler Callum Allan and singer Gordeanna McCulloch. With this line-up they performed for at least ten years, winning the Peter Cooke Cup for Scots ceilidh bands three years in a row (1971-73). The band added piper Jimmy Anderson shortly after recording their Scots Ballads... LP. Since 1977 their piper has been Tom Johnstone.

I was sad to hear of Ronnie Alexander's death in 2016. I have memories of Ronnie when he attended my mandolin classes in Glasgow. Any more information about the group would be gratefully received: email me.

Some of The Clutha's recorded output is detailed below. (With thanks to Erich Nestler.)

New Voices from Scotland Gordeanna McCulloch: New Voices from Scotland (Topic 12T133, 1965)

Side One: The Kirk o' Birnie Bouzle; The Dowie Dens o' Yarrow

Side Two: The Lichtbob's Lassie; Will Ye Gang, Love

all songs traditional

Scotia The Clutha: Scotia! (Argo ZFB18, 1971)

Side One: The John McLean March (Hamish Henderson); The Border Widow's Lament; Captain Ward and the Reindeer; Bride's March/Foula Reel/The Merry Boys o' Greenland; The Gauger; We're Geylie Yet; The Shearin's No For You; The Magdalene's Lament; The Forfar Sodger; Tail Toddle

Side Two: Highland Division at Akarit (Piper W McDonald)/The Pibroch o' Donal Dubh; John Anderson; Jock Hawk's Adventures in Glasgow; Jenny's Bawbee; Cauld Kail in Aberdeen; Doon in the Wee Room; The Banks o' Red Roses; Bannocks of Barley Meal/Farewell to the Creeks; Harlaw

All songs traditional unless otherwise indicated

Gordeanna McCulloch (vocals); Ronnie Alexander (vocals, guitar); John Eaglesham (vocals, concertina); Callum Allan (fiddle); Erlend Voy (fiddle, concertina, vocals)

Streets of Glasgow The Clutha: The Streets of Glasgow (Topic 12TS226, 1973)
with Terry Dick, Flora MacNeil, Geordie McIntyre, Freddy Anderson, Gordeanna McCulloch, Duncan Cameron, Johnny Cameron, Sheila Christie, Mick Broderick, Barmulloch Primary School.

Side One: Dance Tune Medley; The Collier's Eight Hour Day; The Weekend Song [Gordeanna]

Side Two: Bottling Songs [Gordeanna & Sheila]; The Bleacher Lassie o' Kelvinhaugh [Gordeanna]; March Tune Medley

Clutha 1 The Clutha: Scots Ballads Songs & Dance Tunes (Topic 12TS242, 1974)

Side One: The Soor Milk Cairt; Donald Blue; Mount and Go; Deil In the Lum; The Moudiewort/The Caledonian Hunt's Delight/The Shepherd's Wife; Andro and his Cutty Gun; The Rigs o' Rye

Side Two: The Dark Island/Battle of the Somme/Greenwoodside/Campbell's Farewell to Redcastle/Invercauld Gathering/Paddy's Leather Breeches; Johnnie Sangster; Wha's Fu'; Andrew Ross; Corn Rigs/Soldier's Joy/Mrs McLeod; The Gaberlunzie Man

All songs traditional unless otherwise indicated

Gordeanna McCulloch (vocals); Ronnie Alexander (vocals, guitar); John Eaglesham (vocals, concertina); Callum Allan (fiddle); Erlend Voy (fiddle, concertina, vocals)

Kinross Folk Festival 1973 Various Artists: Scots Songs & Music Recorded at the Kinross Festival 1973 (Springthyme Records SPR 1001)

Side One: The Clutha: The Winter Is Past/Alan McPherson of Mosspark/Captain Campbell/Sleepy Maggie/High Road to Linton

The Bonnie Mill Dams The Clutha: Bonnie Mill Dams (Topic 12TS330, 1977)

Side One: My Apron; Bonnie Susie Cleland; Farewell Tae Kemper/Kilworth Hills; High, Jeanie, High; Braes o' Lochiel/The Terrible Twins/The Banks of the Allan; Ochitree Walls;

Side Two: Binnorie-o; Logan Water/Neil Gow/Captain MacDuff's Reel; Among the Blue Flowers and the Yellow; False Bride; Maids o' the Black Glen/Back o' the Moon/Donald Willie and his Dog/I Laid a Herrin' in Saut; Mossie and his Mare

Gordeanna McCulloch (vocals); Ronnie Alexander (vocals, guitar); Jimmy Anderson (pipes); Callum Allan (fiddle); Erlend Voy (fiddle, concertina, vocals)

Sheath and Knife Gordeanna McCulloch: Sheath and Knife (Topic 12TS370, 1978)

Side One: Yowie Wi the Crookit Horn; There's a Herrin' in the Pan; Sheath and Knife; Jock Since I Ever Saw Yer Face; Chevy Chase; Captain Wedderburn;

Side Two: The Gallant Weaver; Eence Upon a Time; Caw the Yowes; Bawbie Allan; The Heilan Laddie; Be Kind Tae Yer Nainsel

(Republished by Fellside FECD117 with bonus tracks from New Voices and Streets of Glasgow. - see above)

Gordeanna McCulloch (vocals); Ronnie Alexander (guitar); Jimmy Anderson (lowland pipes); Callum Allan (fiddle); Erlend Voy (fiddle, concertina)

Ceilidh House Sessions Various Artists: Ceilidh House Sessions - From the Tron Tavern, Edinburgh (Greentrax, CDTRAX 5002, 1994)

Laddie Lie Near Me; Maid Gaed Tae the Mill (Gordeanna McCulloch with Palaver)

Greig-Duncan Various Artists: Folksongs of North East Scotland - Songs from the Greig-Duncan Collection (Greentrax, CDTRAX 5003, 1995)

Lord William and Lady Margaret (Gordeanna McCulloch)

Burns Vol.2 Various Artists: Complete Songs of Robert Burns, Vol. 2 (Linn Records, CKD 051, 1996)

The Reel o'Stumpie; O an' Ye Were Dead Gudeman; A Rose-bud by my Early Walk (all Gordeanna McCulloch)

Burns Vol.3 Various Artists: Complete Songs of Robert Burns, Vol. 3 (Linn Records, CKD 062, 1997)

Comin thro' the Rye; Tam Glen (both Gordeanna McCulloch)

Burns Vol.3 Scots Women Live from Celtic Connections 2001 (Greentrax CDTRAX213D, 2001)

The Good-Looking Widow; Oh Tae Be in my Bed and Happit; A Wee Bird Cam' Tae My Apron

The Bonnie Mill Dams Clutha: On the Braes (Clutha CLCD001, 1996)

The Braes o Bonill; The Dun Broon Bride; The Forester, Lord Ronald; The Sodger Maid; The Silkie o Sule Skerry; The Barrin o the Door; The Maid Gaed Tae the Mill; The Parson's Sheep; Glesga Jean; Ye Hae Lien Wrang Lassie; The Deerness Ram; The Braes o Strablane; Wi Ma Big Kilmarnock Bunnit

Gordeanna McCulloch (vocals); Ronnie Alexander (vocals, guitar); Tom Johnstone (smallpipes); Callum Allan (fiddle); Erlend Voy (fiddle, concertina, vocals)

Nigel Gatherer, Crieff, Perthshire |