ALMOST half a century after breaking into the folk scene in Fife, one of Scotland’s most succcessful singers will be honoured with a lifetime achievement award from the music industry this weekend.
Barbara Dickson, who played with the likes of Billy Connolly and Gerry Rafferty in the 1960s, will be receiving the major honour at this weekend’s “Tartan Clefs” ceremony in Glasgow.
She will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Edwyn Collins, Midge Ure, Big Country, Lulu, Frankie Miller and Skids frontman Richard Jobson when she is recognised for at Saturday’s event, a fundraiser for Scotland’s leading music therapy charity. The View and the Fratellis are expected to perform at the Scottish music industry’s annual “Oscars” night, while Glasgow pop icons Love and Money will be among those recognised.
Speaking exclusively to The Scotsman, Dickson has revealed plans to return to Scotland to live for the first time since the mid-70s, release an album of archive material from the late 1960s and early 1970s, and also record an album of songs from the late Gerry Rafferty’s back catalogue.
She has also railed against “vile” reality TV shows, such as The X Factor, and said she would “not walk the length of myself” to see a modern-day West End musical, despite making her name from classic songs and stage appearances.
Dickson, who turned 65 this year, has agreed to perform two songs at the benefit for the charity Nordoff-Robbins, which is expected to raise at least £400,000 to help children and adults who have been isolated by disability, trauma or illness.
She said: “I was approached some time ago and asked if I would accept an award, then asked if I would sing, and now I’ve agreed to perform two songs, one with Rab Noakes, one of the first singers in met on the folk circuit in Scotland back in the 1960s, along with people like Billy Connolly, Danny Kyle, Gerry Rafferty, John Watt and Archie Fisher.
“I’m about to bring out an album of very old material, called B4Seventyfour – The Folk Club Tapes, and next year I’ll be released an album of covers of Gerry Rafferty songs.
“BBC Alba has also made a documentary about my life and music, which I think will be shown over New Year, so it’s a great honour to be recognised like this at the Tartan Clefs.
“I’ve not lived in Scotland since I moved away from Edinburgh in 1973, but my heart has always been in Scotland and my husband and I are actually planning to move back to the city next year.”
Dickson became a huge stage star in the 1970s and 1980s, thanks to appearing in smash-hit musicals John, Paul, George, Ringo… and Bert, Blood Brothers and Spend Spend Spend.
But she is scornful of the today’s West End and has even less time for the pop hopefuls churned out by The X Factor.
She added: “The only positive thing I would say about them [new musicals] is that they have given a few actors some work, but other than that I wouldn’t walk the length of myself to go and see them.
“There is some still some great music coming out of Scotland from people like Paolo Nutini, Twin Atlantic and Biffy Clyro, but to me reality programmes like X Factor are not about music. I just find it vile.”