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Ford, Dean: This Scottish Heart

Best known, certainly in the UK, as the voice of Marmalade and for writing their hit, “Reflections Of My Life”, the journey of Scottish born singer and songwriter Dean Ford was a long and winding one. When Marmalade ended, Ford went solo and in 1975 released his first album under his own steam, the self titled outing being produced by Alan Parsons, no less. However, when the album failed to make an impact Ford was dropped and his dependency on alcohol began to take a grip. Moving to Los Angeles in 1979 Ford tried to forge a new musical path, but starting again without the renown of his previous band proved a tough ask and until 1986, when he went cold turkey, the bottle was his constant companion. From there he kept his hand in the musical scene with low key club performances but in 2003 he teamed up with others for a CD to pay tribute to Frankie Miller and the slow journey towards This Scottish Heart began. Tragically, just as the album was released, Dean Ford passed away on 31st December 2018 but hopefully those around him can take solace that he did achieve his goal of putting together a two disc, thirty song collection that goes a long way to recounting his journey from childhood, and young adulthood, in Scotland through to his resurfacing for this album.

With this writer living a mere 30 or so minute drive from the Scottish wilderness, it’s easy to understand why SoT ringmaster Peter Pardo sent This Scottish Heart may way for assessment and while I have to admit that the kind of shortbread tin, melancholy that can often be found in a lot of music from my homeland - especially when written from afar - isn’t to my taste, in Ford’s case he isn’t just banging the drum for a country he once knew, but for a life and time he long missed; one spent with family, friends and new acquaintances as he took his tentative first steps into female company. In truth, the likes of “Bonnie Mary”, about Mary Queen of Scots, is a little too cliché for me, but remakes of “Glasgow Road” and “Reflections Of My Life” are rather wonderful in an introspective kind of way.

Across this collection - and other than on those two re-recordings - Ford handles all of the instrumentation himself and programmed the drums, all in his small kitchenette. And more than anything it is that labour of love feel that wins through on the likes of “Until The Day I Die”, “Cowboy Joe” and “Left My Heart In Mexico”. The overtly Christian “God Is” and “Precious Little Boy” might be a little blatant for some, but with the acoustic fragility that encapsulates much of this double disc present here too, it’s clearly an aspect that Ford wanted to highlight in a life that possibly needed more than a little faith to get through.

A gentle, but heartfelt collection, This Scottish Heart is a fitting way to remember the life and music of Dean Ford. Those joys come through most strongly in the messages and stories revealed and the sense of longing, but also of satisfaction, they convey. Few artists bare their soul in such a candid way and we can only be thankful that this much missed musician took this final chance to do just that.

Track Listing
Disc 1
1. A New Day
2. Little Man
3. Running Out Of Time
4. Natasha
5. The Blue Angel
6. Butterflies In June
7. Until The Day I Die
8. I Got You
9. God Is
10. Precious Little Boy
11. Merry Go Round
12. Cowboy Joe
13. Restless Heart
14. He’s An Angel
15. Left My Heart In Mexico
16. When Will It End
17. Dreamland

Disc 2
1. Glasgow Road
2. This Scottish Heart
3. Glasgow Night
4. Bonnie Mary
5. Made In Scotland
6. A Song For Mary
7. Nineteen Fifty Three
8. Daddy
9. Buddy, Roy And Dion
10. Blue Horizon
11. Callander
12. For McDougall
13. Reflections Of My Life

Added: May 25th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: This Scottish Heart at Gonzo Multimedia
Hits: 855
Language: english

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