“Doug Veitch is one of the largely unknown pioneers of the British music scene, a man who can claim to have almost single-handedly invented the idea of world music cross-over, investigating and colliding a whole variety of styles long before it became fashionable. For those who sought out records he made, (and all those who were influenced by his extraordinary experiments), he became a genuine cult figure, a man with a quite extraordinary musical imagination.”
“This hilariously impeccable demonstration of how to shove two theoretically incompatible styles of contemporary pop into a cranked-up Magimix and emerge with a seamless masterpiece. Veitch is the kind of master eccentric who makes pop worthwhile.” NME, “Single of the Week” 28th September 1985.
Described on his own album as a “stroppy git, varicose, belligerent, compulsive liar and sophist,” Doug Veitch is one of the largely unknown, obscure pioneers of the British music scene, a man who can claim to have almost single-handedly invented the idea of “world music cross-over”, investigating and colliding a whole variety of styles long before it became fashionable.
For his enemies in the music industry (some of whom are listed on the remarkably bitter and personal sleeve notes), he’s a difficult nuisance, a man who never accepted their deals, made awkward conditions, and then became something of a recluse. For those who sought out the few records he has made (and all those who were influenced by his extraordinary experiments) he became a genuine cult figure, a man with a quite extraordinary musical imagination.
Now Veitch’s “legendary lost singles” are available on album at last as a reminder of the career thus far of a man who has managed to fuse reggae, calypso, country, Tex-Mex, Scottish balladry, African styles and more, and then persuaded The Mad Professor to provide even wilder dub versions of the songs.
Veitch embarked on these adventures back in ’79 when he left the Scottish borders to appear in London, and put together an 11-piece band that featured fiddles and accordions long before they became standard rock instruments. He helped to finance all this by working as a road sweeper and window cleaner, while also promoting African Music (he played an important role in the early history of the Bhundu Boys).
Doug claims bands like The Pogues and The Men They Couldn’t Hang were influenced by what he was doing, though he was even more daring. The often rough and ready delights on this album include a rousing collision of country, brass and reggae on Jumping Into Love, songs that mix ska, yodelling and British traditional influences and a folksy protest, Banks of Marble, which has pedal steel and Cajun influences thrown in. Veitch is currently living back in Scotland and the release of this remarkable set will hopefully tempt him back into the studio and out onto the road.
Champion Doug Veitch The Original (Bongo Records) The greatest “hits” of the undisputed King of Caledonian Cajun Swing (now living in semi-retirement in Edinburgh), including “Lumiere Urban”, the legendary “Not The Heart” and a great cover of “Tears On My Pillow”. There never has, and there never will be, anyone like him.
Nobody knows why he did it. Nobody knows why top Scottish house painter Doug Veitch was expelled from Hawick with his vision of Country and Western records that sounded like reggae, dub versions of Cajun tunes, and hi-life tributes to Jimmie Rodgers.
Now, of course, everybody’s doing it, but none of these pale imitators (or as the unusually candid sleeve-notes put it, “poxy rip-off bands”) ever made it sound as natural and as funny as the originator, self-styled King of Caledonian Cajun Swing.
These records were mental. ‘Not The Heart’ is George Jones in one of his rare collaborations with Lee Perry, ‘Jumping Into Love’ is the first and only appearance of the mad Scottish horseman Skidee… everything is, as Theophilus P. Wildesbeest says, ‘ever’frang’.
To be informative, ‘The Original’ contains all the singles and all the Peel Session tracks that Doug recorded, including the fiery ‘Banks Of Marble’ where Doug apologises for being nice to farmers.
Champion Doug is an extraordinary man. A stocky Scot with a foul temper and former drink problem (the cans didn’t hold enough) his love of music was something that infected and impressed enough people to make almost a whole industry from his personal tastes. Before The Pogues there was Doug, playing with anyone who could take it, charging through various ‘Celtic’ punk jigs and shantys, ranting and laughing. Before Edward II there was Doug, mixing squeezebox ballads and reggae dub beats in a curious but engrossing way that few have managed to imitate, let alone improve upon.
Before Hank Wangford lost his wife, there was Doug crying over his beer and buying more to cry over as he warbled through country classics like Jim Reeves on Seconal and Special Brew. This album has all of this and more and is a must for anyone who thinks that ‘World Music’ has to come with frilly-fronted shirts or leopard-print kagools. Champion Doug Veitch – The Undisputed King of Caledonian Cajun Swing.