Monday, 19 October 2009

The Petermen (1968)

The Petermen (RCA RD7949, 1968)

This is a little-known gem, in my opinion. These are excellent songs learned from singers such as Archie Fisher, Jimmy Hutcheson, Peter Shepheard, Ewan MacColl, Davie Stewart and Cyril Tawney, delivered in a way which in some ways was ahead of its time. The recording isn't perfect, as there is a bit of surface noise from the original record, but it's still worth listening to.

The Petermen - Mike Petrie and Vic Peterson - got together in 1967. Mike Petrie (1948-2002), originally from Greenock, was "singing folksongs before he knew they were folksongs," and was further influenced in the early 1960s by Robin Hall & Jimmie Macgregor, and later Ewan MacColl, Lizzie Higgins and by Archie Fisher.

Vic Peterson (b.1950) was from Dundee, and less influenced by traditional and folk music, although he began singing folksongs in the mid 1960s, thanks partly to Mike's influence.

The Petermen made one LP together in 1968 full of tasteful, mostly Scottish material. It sold more in America than at home, and received several good press reviews. They were one of the first Scottish folk groups to employ session musicians (The Strawbs). The producer was Richard Kerr at RCA, who would later work with Harry Nilson in the US.

Mike Petrie's high regard for Archie Fisher was ironically part of the duo's demise. Having played the album to Archie, and receiving a less than enthusiastic response, Mike's thinking was affected, and The Petermen stopped working together. In 1969 Mike said "We split quite amicably, but we both wanted to do different types of music. I'm wholly a traditionalist at heart. Before the Petermen I sang with other people and today I sing and play guitar as a single artiste." He was resident at the Woodlands Folk Club in Dundee for a number of years, and apart from his main instrument - guitar - Mike also played mandolin, penny whistle and concertina. In the early 1990s Mike recorded again, this time with The Foundy Bar Band.

Vic Peterson met up with singer Diana Shearer at the BBC studios in Glasgow, and they formed a professional singing partnership under the name Vic and Diana. They moved into television, theatre and cabaret, and continued to perform around the world as Juniper Green, occasionally being augmented by Alan Barty on bass and Eddie McNaughton on guitar. An LP was recorded in 1971, and Vic and Diana were married in 1972.

Juniper Green recorded one other album on Galaxy Records in 1978 to coincide with their appearances on TV shows such as Search for a Star and Opportunity Knocks. Vic and Diana went their separate ways in 1979. Vic joined a group called The Wedgewoods, did some session and TV work. He returned to Scotland and became a Sales Manager, never really performing in public.

Vic Peterson now owns the Victoria Hotel in Blairgowrie. "I sing in our music bar most nights and encourage all types of singing to take place. We have traditional folk songs sung by visitors, pipe tunes and blues. Russian folk songs are sung by [his wife] Elena and many people from all over the world just seem to drop in and join in."

01 The Gentleman Soldier
02 The Boatie Rows
03 There Are Nae Pubs in Kirkintilloch
04 The Merchant's Son
05 Tailor's Breeches
06 Bogie's Bonnie Belle
07 The Piper o' Dundee
08 The Trooper and the Maid
09 The Buildings
10 Cam' Ye By Atholl?
11 Cam Ye O'er Frae France
12 The Galloway Hills
13 The Gaugers
14 The Nightingale


1 comment:

  1. I had this many moons ago....but gave it away....I seem to recall that their Bobie's Bonnie Belle and Cam Ye O'er Frae France were pretty neat versions.....
    Thanks for the opportunity to hear if my old ears were deceiving me....