Published: 12/01/2014 11:00 - Updated: 10/01/2014 20:49

Dougie's Californian Cadillac journey

Written byCD release

Dougie Burns who released his CD on January 1. Picture: Steve Bull Photography
Dougie Burns who released his CD on January 1. Picture: Steve Bull Photography

AN album cover featuring a pink cadillac?

It could only be the work of Inverness musician Dougie Burns whose live sets are graced by song California Cadillac – with a singalong chorus that unites generations.

Just like the 13 tracks that feature many musicians, the cover is a creative collaboration after Dougie’s conversation with designer and musician Mark Allison of band All The Colors.

The nifty little logo on the CD itself was an original idea by Dougie’s daughter Sarah – not the first time she features on the album.

“The logo’s based on my first and only tattoo – I got it when I was approaching 50,” laughed Dougie. “It’s my initials – the key signature for D and a bumble bee for B.

Though the recording was done last February, the CD’s release was delayed by illness and Dougie working away for three months over the summer.

“I just decided to put it out on January 1 on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Shazam etc and in Imperial Records in Inverness,” Dougie said.

“I’m selling CDs at gigs and have sold quite a few already, but online is good for those people who might just want Calfornia Cadillac, which is fine by me!”

Another popular live number – the humorous Everything Went Wrong When I Was Blonde – is there too, though going by the snappier title Blondie.

Based on the experiences of Dougie’s daughter Sarah – who crashed her car after going blonde – the song goes on to guess the effect of red – and even green hair.

The track also features Sarah’s voice.

The poster for Dougie's album gives a flavour of all the people who played on it.
The poster for Dougie's album gives a flavour of all the people who played on it.

But there are lots of musicians featured on the album.

Dougie said: “I just cheekily phoned people up and on Facebook and email. I just asked them if they all wanted to come and play and said I’m sorry I can’t pay you anything, but if it makes something ... And everyone I asked, came."

Even Status Quo lent their support, in a roundabout way ...

Dougie explained: “Les MacPherson who recorded the album is a big Status Quo fan and he had a plectrum from both Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi up on his wall. There was a bit I kept playing wrong so he took the Parfitt plectrum off the wal to let me play with that. When the same thing happened in another song, he let me use the Rossi one!"

Dougie also plays with blues outfit Bluebelly with Bobby MacDonald and their album had been done live.

“I wanted this album to sound different from the Bluebelly one, more like a rock album and with backing singers.

“But Bobby’s son Ross also played bass with him on track I Believe, and we also had Andy Murray and his son Josh Mackenzie featuring on a track, so we have a couple of songs featuring a father-son combination.

"Ranald Smith stepped in to play guitar with me on The End Of It All. Ranald's an old friend of mine and was a stalwart of the Inverness folk scene through the 70s and on.

"Sarah and Ranald's daughter Victoria were all through school together and we Dads became firm friends through music.

"That was another remarkable thing about the people who played on the CD - the range in ages of the guests. It went from Connor Meeks on drums who was 18 while Ranald who is 65!

“Someone who made a magnificent effort was my cousin, Douglas A Burns, who played in a Glasgow band called The Exiles when I was a teenager and I'd see him playing on the telly.

"He hadn’t played for 30 years, but I persuaded him to come up and play drums. He was nervous but it was great to have him on there too!

"And the backing singers on Happy Birthday are the girls from my work who I dared to come and do it whilst we were at the office Christmas do. One unsuspecting husband too!"

Though it delayed the release of his album, Dougie enjoyed the chance that working away gave him to investigate the Edinburgh music scene.

“While I was working down there, I went along and played at some open mike nights and met up with the musician Fash Stewart who is well-knwon up here. He included me in an open mike he was at and while I was down there I met new musicians in Edinburgh. People were very welcoming."

Now Dougie would love to be able to bring the album to life - live!

He laughed: "I'd love to do a live performance of it with all the musicians playing the songs they appeared on. But the logistics will be difficult!"

Dougie plays at the Velocity Cafe, Inverness, with harmonica player Al Davies next Thursday (Jan 16) and on Thursday, February 20. He will also be joined by Al to play the Market Bar on Tuesday, March 4 and Sunday, May 11.

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