Vive the Auld Alliance

Jack makes it in time with his guest Wednesday post – –

This week is the 35th anniversary of the founding of Greentrax Records based in Edinburgh and the brainchild of Ian Green. There’s plenty on-line about the history of the label and how it was built over the years, but here’s some personal connections.

I first met Ian when he was still in the police and running a folk club called ‘FuzzFolk’ in the centre of Edinburgh. Later we met again when he was involved in the annual Edinburgh folk festival. After the label was up and running I was one of the lesser known performers he contracted with for an album of songs.

But there’s a far more interesting connection – –

I helped start a folk band called ‘Heritage’ in the mid-1970s and in the early 1980s we recorded music in my living room which we had copied to cassettes to sell at gigs. One of the cassettes wound up with Ian and he re-labeled it and put it out as a GreenTrax album.

A couple of years later he was attending an industry fair in Cannes in France and met up with a guy who owned a company called ‘Playasound’ that specialized in music from various countries around the world. They didn’t have one for Ecosse (Scotland). What they did have were shops all over the world in French speaking countries.

So a recording made on a borrowed tape recorder ended up in shops all over the world and because Ian was always meticulous about paying royalties we started getting serious amounts of money. Yikes! We might have to pay tax – – –

We all knew the band was coming to an end. We had progressed musically but we had all moved on. But how to avoid the tax stuff? Use it in a final project. We had lots of really good stuff, so invest in a final recording. Our first studio recording had been at Temple Records with Robin Morton, so we decided the final one should be there too.

A few weeks ago I got an email from Ian to say that he would celebrate the anniversary by re-issuing the very first compilation album from the 1990s – ‘Music and Song of Scotland’. There’s a track from my songs album and another from our percussionist Lindsay Porteous, but there is also one from that faraway living room recording.

Here’s to many more years of Greentrax – – –

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