"Dave Goulder and Friends have published a book, A Torridon Portfolio: Rebel Hostel in the Glen 1967-1973, which will be appearing at the same time as this newsletter. It focuses on the creation of a hostel, similar to those of the Gatliff Trust, run by Dave from 1967 until 1973, his now former wife, Liz Dyer, and another made-redundant-hostel-warden, the late Bill Wallace." Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust, 'Hebridean Hostellers newsletter'
"Thanks so much for my inscribed copy of Rebel Hostel. I have just finished reading it in one long orgy, and absolutely love it. What a great job you have done in evoking other and wilder times. Heroics, cowardicies, and over-refreshment. H&S would not have approved, but it’s obvious that everyone adored the experience, and for some it was literally life changing. Viz Mary Scott’s very touching youthful entries. Great photos too - especially the one of the Last Ceilidh at Achnashellach, and I like the cut of Herbert Gatliff’s jib! How I wish I had known about Glen Cottage back then." Christopher Somerville
"I've been reading a chapter or two of Glen Cottage each night and have finished it. What a cracking read; I thoroughly enjoyed all the tales. I've done lots of hostelling and bothies over the years and can easily relate to everything. I would have loved to have visited but it never happened. What I had not realised was how many folk I have met via Mary and you were Glen Cottage devotees; or should that be orphans. Well done, Dave." Philip Ponton
"Brilliant! Absolutely bloody brilliant! Just arrived. A tour de force from all who put it together. I am touched and grateful to read people’s experience of meeting me, though it feels a little odd, but most of all the ways people say we influenced their view of life or the choices they made for their futures. Virtual hugs are winging around the globe. I am truly amazed. I had no idea it had meant so much." Liz Dyer
"Glen Cottage was for me, as it obviously was for others, a big landmark in my life. It was great to read the perceptions of all those other people in the book (and their sometimes varying recollections!). There were so many more stories, of course, and other people with stories, but the book does capture the atmosphere. And the pictures - unlike today, back then most people didn’t take photos, or very few, so they came as a nice surprise." Andrew Cronshaw
"The songs relating to this period of his life established him as a songwriter of considerable potential, particularly in the eyes of other musicians. In public terms, little was known of him as he rarely left the Ross-shire glen where, until a few years ago, he ran a mountaineering hostel; nevertheless his song 'January Man' was immediately accepted as one of the outstanding songs written during the revival period. It is, indeed, a remarkable song, written specifically for unaccompanied singing and lyrically so accomplished that it is now taught in schools as a poem. The transition from the industrial Midlands to the Torridon Mountains inevitably provided Goulder with another source of raw material. In this later phase he produced many fine songs on natural themes, though few were idyllic. Indeed, and perhaps aptly for a man who lived in such rugged terrain, some even tended towards the macabre; Goulder is not an experienced naturalist for nothing." Fred Woods, 'Folk Revival'
"The bizarre streak shows itself often, as in 'Three Old Men', The Raven and the Crow' and the very eerie, 'A Most Unpleasant Way, Sir', but most of all in 'The Carpenter and the Sexton'. For me this is the outstanding song of 1971 and I can hear every songwriter echoing my reaction “God, I wish I’d written that.” The creation of such material is near impossible without some prior study of British traditional songs, and it is the absence of such groundwork that clearly reveals itself in the tepid outpourings of so many current “folk” bards. Their produce is for the most part disappointingly rootless. Dave Goulder, on the other hand, while not always choosing to write in the traditional idiom, appears at all times to be at least glancing over his shoulder at it." Cyril Tawney, 'Folk Review'
"Goulder’s control and use of the macabre is one of his strongest assets; the characteristic is totally individual in the field of contemporary folksong though the influence of tradition has prompted many attempts in the genre. 'The Carpenter and the Sexton' is comedy noire at its best (or worst). At the same time, it would be misleading to over emphasize this aspect of Goulder’s work. Songs such as 'When They Laid You in the Earth' (a title reminiscent of Henry Purcell though the song’s content is very different), 'Cold Unfriendly Way' and 'Sandwood Down to Kyle' display a longing and a warmth that occasionally seem to be lacking in much contemporary song." Fred Woods, 'Folk Revival'
"Written by Dave Goulder, a one-time footplate man in the good old days of steam. This I believe, is one of the most perfect songs ever written. Thanks Dave, for a great song." Mike Harding, on 'January Man'
“His preoccupations as a songwriter remain the savage and/or beautiful imagery of wild life, the moody evocation of rural scenes, and of course, the sheer comic force of much human behaviour, all often interlaced with references to the changing seasons. He is a complete individual as a writer and a singer”. Alastair Clark, The Scotsman, on 'January Man'
"Champion stuff, this. Brimming with humour and sensitivity. Is there a better writer in the British folk mould than Dave Goulder?" The Scotsman, on 'Requiem for Steam'
“His clever rhymes and gentle melodies are engaging stuff, and will probably sell in thousands at steam-ups all over the country”. Tony Rose, The Guardian, on 'The Man Who Put the Engine in the Chip Shop'
“Rivetingly original” Scott Alaric, 'Filed under E for essential', The Boston Globe, Folk 88
“A recommended addition to the record library of any railway enthusiast.” Railway Magazine, on 'Requiem for Steam'
"... all the songs here reflect upon the age of steam. The early works are reminiscent of (and some just as good as) MacColl's industrial ballads. The rapid delivery and galloping nylon strung guitar on some of the tracks also bring to mind the songs of Jake Thackery." Neil Brookes, Shreads & Patches, on 'The Golden Days of Steam'
RAILWAY SONG BOOK
"What a fantastic mix of autobiography, history, songs, photographs and drawings.... I know this book fits under both my personal hats of music and railways, but it's one of the most enjoyable reads I've had. It's not cheap but when you see the quality of the production you won't mind that at all." From the September 2018 Newsletter of The Friends of the Far North Line (Cairdean Na Loine Tuath). The full review is here.
A GATHERING OF STONES
"This is a CD which definitely needs listening to - the more I played it, the more I liked it... He's succeeded in providing real atmosphere with audio clips from the great outdoors, reflections on the camaraderie between wallers, different words from many places." Will Noble, English Dance and Song, on 'A Gathering of Stones'
"You could call it a labour of love, but it is more than that: it records in music and words all the sounds and feels and harshness and beauty of the craft which all wallers identify with. David Griffiths, Waller & Dyker, on 'A Gathering of Stones'
"This new CD, 'A Gathering of Stones', is a compilation of musical works and readings by several artists and speakers. The works are well spaced and very enjoyable to listen to... The whole CD is delightfully comprehensive and comprehensible." John Shaw-Rimmington, DSWAC
"One could offer the analogy that each of the individual audio stones making up this disc is placed so that the entire sequence is attractive to the ear; the work of a master craftsman indeed." David Kidman, The Living Tradition, on 'A Gathering of Stones'