Jackie Balfour (AKA Jackie Leven)

For those that don’t know him, Jackie Leven is a troubadour of the old school. A resonant songsmith, performer and storyteller and a prolific one at that. So much so that he has taken to releasing extra albums under a pseudonym (Sir Vincent Lone) and here has decided to use another nom de plume to release a yarn. Jackie’s live performances are well known for having pretty much a 50:50 ratio of stunning music to ribald tales. Appended to the alleged Jackie Balfour tale are three of these. The first is a legend amongst Jackie afficiandos – the tale of how he told a train full of people that Sting had died in a chopper crash for no terribly good reason and the painful consequences. The second tells how the coastline of Ardnamurchan is longer than that of North America and the last, an account of an uncomfortable night being slagged off by some abrasive Scottish lasses. They’ll all make you laugh.

As for the main course……. A pleasant little tale but mysteriously pointless. Didn't grab me or move me. Seemed sat somewhere between an attempt on Ivor Cutler's strange Tales From a Scottish Sitting Room and the rambling picturesque tales JL tells in gigs. Can't really see anyone listening to it twice, specially as rabid fans (and who else would buy it?) will have the three pub tales on the assorted fan club only releases.

If you don’t know the work of Jackie Leven then be aware he was a driving force behind lost legends Doll By Doll and is probably this island’s finest purveyor of Celtic male melancholy. And a damn fine guitarist as well. Check out his live gigs and huge back catalogue.

Ross McGibbon