Nigel Richard is a familiar name in Scottish folk music, as a master instrument maker and founder member of numerous pioneering musical collaborations, including the trans-continental India Alba with Ross Ainslie.
However not long after celebrating his 70th birthday, Richard reveals himself to be not just a world-class maker of bagpipes and other instruments, but also a composer of great songs.
Not Before Time continues the folk blues traditions of Bert Jansch and Davy Graham, but here there is something else as well, a subtle unconventionality which makes this recording quite distinctive. This is perhaps unsurprising; Nigel has spent much of his life absorbing the music he finds in his travels to different parts of the world. From his first trip to Morocco in 1968, through his enthusiasm for Cretan Lauto music in the 80s, to his long standing interest in Indian music, we hear this is a musician who has a wide palette and empathetic ear.
Of the songs themselves, which range in theme through love, addiction, flawed religion and social commentary, we are rewarded with music of variety and maturity, reflecting insights drawn from a wealth of experience over a long time. As they say, “The best things are worth waiting for”.
Words: Martin Green, LAU, 2019
In Nigel’s own words:
“I have always played music whenever I can. Although my roots are in the folk blues of the 60s, to which my loyalty still lies, many other styles have influenced my playing. Making musical instruments professionally is not a casual occupation, and has been a thief of my time, but I have managed all the same, to keep the actual playing of music to the forefront. It does add to the enjoyment of making this CD, and sharing my music, that it was not achieved without struggle!”