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Five Hand Reel


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(1974 – 1980)

Five Hand Reel was a Scottish/English/Irish Celtic rock band of late 1970s that combined experiences of traditional Scottish and Irish folk music with electric rock arrangements. Members included Dick Gaughan (b. 1948), Bobby Eaglesham (1942 - 2004), Tom Hickland, Barry Lyons and Dave Tulloch.

Five Hand Reel was formed originally in 1974 from the remnants of UK electric folk band Spencer’s Feat: bassist Barry Lyons, Tom Hickland on fiddle and keyboards, and drummer Dave Tulloch. Enlisting two Scottish musicians, fiddler Chuck Fleming and singer/guitarist Bobby Eaglesham, they decided to call themselves Five Hand Reel. They started gigging in late 1974, playing their first London show at King’s Cross Cinema.

In early 1975, Chuck Fleming returned to his previous band. His replacement was legendary Scottish singer and guitarist Dick Gaughan, an ex member of Boys Of The Lough. The live debut of the renewed band was at the Half Moon in Putney in summer 1975.

Five Hand Reel signed with Rubber Records in 1976 and recorded their first album, “Five Hand Reel”, at Impulse Studios in Newcastle on Tyne. It was voted as “Folk Album of the Year” for 1976 by Melody Maker.

The second album, “For A’ That”, was recorded now in courtesy of RCA Records in July 1977, at the height of the punk summer of discontent. The opening “Bratach Bana” was one of the first Gaelic songs to be recorded using rock elements. The Irish band Horslips had recorded the same song in Gaelic on their album “Happy To Meet - Sorry to Part”, also in a rock arrangement. As Dick Gaughan says in his notes to the album:”It seems odd in these days when it is now perfectly normal to sing Gaelic songs in a contemporary fashion that this was regarded as extremely daring and adventurous in 1977.


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