FolkWorld presents: Danny Kyle Album Reviews by Michael & Christian Moll:

The Danny Kyle albums

Danny has recorded two Danny Kyle albums in his life - one in 1975, the other in 1998, shortly before he passed away. Here are reviews of both of them.

The New One

Danny Kyle CD "Heroes & Soft Targets
Iona Records; IRCD061; Spielzeit: 49.54 min
The Danny Kyle fans had to wait long for this new album of their musical hero - sadly enough the album came finally out when Danny already was gone. But still, to see it from the positive side of things, Danny has left us another wonderful souvenir so that we never will forget him.
Heroes and Soft Targets - Danny's explanation of this title is the following: "The heroes are the songs, the people who wrote them, or caused them to be written, the people who carried them around and shared them with us, the words and tunes that made us warm, cold, angry, sad, happy, cry, laugh, and in the process - made us strong.
...The 'soft targets' are the people they were written for."
Danny Kyle and Brian McNeill; photo by The MollisIn that sense, Danny has been a hero, and this CD presents him exactly as such. The highlights are the original Danny Kyle songs which are great representants of the Glasgow/Paisley song scene. "Music of the loom" marks the start of the 50 minutes - a song with the following story: "When Queen Victoria ordered, and wore a Paisley shawl, the popularity of the garment was assured - the chorus 'pee-nickle-poo-nickle' represents the sound of the shuttle". Hopefully, this great song will be taken into the Scottish song tradition. Other Danny Kyle songs on this album are "Keek A Boo", a children's song Danny wrote when working in the Fairfield Shipyard; "The Lament for The Gordons", a great anti-war song, "Glasgow Farewell", an emigration song written for Danny's sisters who emigrated to America. Not to forget the two highlights that close the album, presenting Danny in his true and funny face: "The Glasgow Pub-Bus Run To Ballyshannon" is one of his favourites, telling of the adventures travelling to the Ballyshannon Festival, with loads of well-kent Irish names being mentioned, and the howling Chorus "I was proud to tell me friends that I was there". And the very last song is the right one to get you into deep sleep: "The Yawning Man" with a yawning chorus - when he used to sing it, there was always somebody in the audience starting to yawn...
The other songs collected on this album are "Galway to Graceland", "Messing about on the river", Ewan McVicar's "Shift and Spin", the bluesy "Midnight Special", Pete Seegers "Sacco's Message to his son", the "Weary Hobo" and Scotland's secret national anthem written by Michael Marra, "Hermless".
If you knew Danny, you now know that you will find on this album many of Danny's favourites. Still, the album shows Danny more from a serious singer/songwriter side, though often his songs are full of humour. The recording quality and arrangements are highest quality - no wonder, as it is produced by Brian McNeill, and Danny is joined by Brian on fiddle, by Andy Thorburn, Dougie Pincock, Thomas Lynch, Fraser Spiers and Rab Mairs. Danny was especially impressed during the recording by Peter Haigh at Pier House - he acknoledges him as "the man with bigger ears than Mr. Spock".
If you have ever met Danny, you simply need to have this one!
Label: Iona Records

The Old One from 1975

Danny Kyle LP "Ah'll Get Ye"
Label: Pan Audio, Stereo PA005

We guess that this LP is today no longer available. We are lucky enough to have received a tape of it...
This one shows more the Danny Kyle we used to know - a funny guy who always told the worst puns in his Paisley dialect and with his Paisley charme and humour. The music itself shows partly Danny solo, partly with the "Vindscreen Vipers" Skiffle Group, and partly with Gallagher & Lyle.
Danny Kyle and the Vindscreen VipersOn the LP, Billy Connolly writes the following dedication: "Billy Connolly says: One night ten years ago I was an Italian suited welder going out for a pint. Purely by chance I stumbled or staggered into a folk song club in Clydebank. The guest was Danny Kyle and I must state here and now that I have never been the same since. Do yourself a favour, sit down and listen to his album, listen to the sincerity of his 'Straight' songs, or laugh yourself silly at his pawky Paisley patterend humour. Finish the exercise by going to see him perform live. You have my promise, you'll never be the same." How true these words...
On this oldie-goldie album, you find three songs written by the wee man - a great funny one named "The ugliest man in Glasgow", "Mill Lassies" and - again - "Glasgow Farewell". The other 6 highlights (of course there are no low lights) on this album were "Jean Harlow", "Hobos Lullaby", "The Titanic" (with a great 'blub-blub' in the end), "Katie Harts", "Joe Hill" and "Jessie James".
The album is a live recording, always with a huge and enthusiastic audience, well joining in in the songs. And between the songs or - in the typical Danny-manner - sometimes also inbetween one song, Danny tells loads and loads of crazy puns, with the audience - and of course also the home listener - laughing tears. This is the Danny Kyle he was famous for: A funny guy, with great puns, with songs where the whole audience would join.
Still, the music was partly different, when playing a few songs with the "Vindsreen Vipers". This Skiffle Band joins Danny with the funny Mike Whellans (playing here only drums and percussion, not his in these days usual combination of percussion, guitar, mouthie and singing), Tich Frier (vocals and guitar), Bill Nolan (vocals and guitar) and Malcolm McCormick (vocals and banjo).
This one's just great fun, great to laugh about and sing along - as Danny's cousin Tom Kyle said correctly "it's a hoot". Still it's unbelievable that Danny sounds on this recording from 24 years ago exactly like he sounded just before his death.
In the end, while listening, you would normally feel very sad because you would think that it's a shame that this great wee guy is gone - but you cannot stay sad for a longer time; Danny's puns are too bad not to laugh about them...
Label: Pan Audio, Stereo PA005.
If anybody finds this album on a flee market (or maybe even want to sell his own copy...), please buy it for us - we would love to have an original copy of this record.
Michael & Christian Moll.

Photo Credit: Photos by The Mollis
Danny with Brian McNeill in Tønder 1997
Danny Kyle and The Vindscreen Vipers (taken from the album)

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 2/99

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