Giant walks through Glasgow

Album reviews: Return to Y’Hup – The World of Ivor Cutler

Some of Scotland’s finest musicians step up to interpret the work of the late, great Ivor Cutler, and his witty ditties retain an all-ages appeal, writes Fiona Shepherd

Ivor Cutler was a true one-off. The Glasgow-born surrealist, storyteller and sage may have been the epitome of the outsider artist but his witty ditties retain an all-ages appeal.

Which is probably why the quartet of musicians at the core of this tribute album – Citizen Bravo’s Matt Brennan, Raymond MacDonald of Glasgow Improvisers’ Orchestra, guitarist Malcolm Benzie and Frightened Rabbit’s Andy Monaghan – had no difficulty in attracting a host of mostly Scottish musicians to the project, from practised storytellers such as Kris Drever to idiosyncratic stylists such as Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch.

The singular spirit of Cutler is evoked throughout Return to Y’Hup, not least in the use of Cutler’s own harmonium and the love and respect accorded to his writing across the board.

Cutler’s partner Phyllis King gives her implicit blessing with a recitation of Latitude and Longitude, while Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos, James Yorkston, BMX Bandits’ frontman Duglas T Stewart and Robert Wyatt apply their distinctive speaking voices to their respective nuggets of wry insight, which never outstay their welcome, only whetting the appetite for more. Continue reading