Benefit concert to be staged for musician Dick Gaughan

Billy Bragg and Karine Polwart will be among the guest performers at the benefit night for Dick Gaughan next month.
Billy Bragg and Karine Polwart will be among the guest performers at the benefit night for Dick Gaughan next month.
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A gala concert is to be staged in aid of one of Scotland’s leading singer-songwriters, Dick Gaughan, after he was forced to give up performing for the foreseeable future after suffering a suspected stroke.

Billy Bragg, Karine Polwart, Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain will be among the leading musicians and performers taking to the stage of the benefit for the 68-year-old at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh next month.

A separate online fundraising site has been set up to support the only performer to get a lifetime achievement honour at the BBC Folk Awards and the Scots Traditional Music Hall of Fame.

Gaughan, who was born in Glasgow but raised in Leith, released his first album in 1972, was a member of the bands Boys of the Lough, Five Hand Reel and Clan Alba, and also had a spell wih the Scottish theatre company 7:84.

Gaughan, who started playing the guitar at the age of seven, has long been recognised as one of the nation’s leading political songwriters thanks to albums like Handful of Earth, Different Kind of Love Song and True and Bold. His work has been covered by artists including Capercaillie, Christy Moore, Billy Bragg and Mary Black.

However he was forced to cancel all future shows last month after admitting to suffering health problems during several gigs in August. He told his fans: “In order to prevent rumours spreading, I think I’ve had a stroke”.

However his agent John Barrow says medical tests have yet to get to the bottom of his medical condition, which he says have affected the singer’s performances for the last year.

He said: “Until further tests are done it remains conjecture that Dick had a stroke sometime ago. The external, unconfirmed ‘evidence’ - such as it is - seems to tick the right sort of boxes for a stroke. We’re waiting for medical confirmation. But even it turns out not to have been a stroke it has been clear from his performances over the past 12-14 months or so that all was not well.

“Dick has been quite overwhelmed and indeed humbled by the very public and sometimes very quiet, private support he has received from fans and friends since he went public with this ‘problem’ during shows in Edinburgh and Glasgow.”

Simon Thoumire, founder of the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame, said: “Dick Gaughan is one of Scotland’s greatest sons. He has tirelessly tread the boards promoting our music and culture throughout the world and brought our many songs, tunes, poets, songwriters to worldwide acclaim. Dick is a brilliant performer and musician.”

He wears his passion on his sleeve and audiences love it.”

In its publicity material for the benefit night on 27 November, the Festival Theatre said: “Illness has curtailed the activities one of Edinburgh’s greatest performers, Dick Gaughan, but not before some old pals and fans have rallied to help.”

Bragg said: “The great Dick Gaughan, who has done so much to support the struggles of others, needs our support.”

Singer-songwriter Eddi Reader told her Twitter followers: “I’m calling all angels to help oor Dick - get well soon buddy.”