LOOKING moodily over the photographer’s shoulder is one of Scotland’s cleverest song-writers -–Matt McGinn, who helped revive folk music and protest songs in the 60s.
Alas, he died too young at the age of 49 in 1977.
Born in Calton, Glasgow, he spent time in an approved school before getting a job in a Hillington factory. But, thanks to a trade union scholarship, he was later able to attend Ruskin College in Oxford and returned to Glasgow to work as a teacher.
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The songs he wrote ranged from ditties for children, to the daftness of The Big Effan Bee - a bee in the fictional town of Effan. But many other songs hit home on the plight of the working classes. His Three Nights And A Sunday (Double Time) was an attack on smug workers who grabbed all the overtime going at the expense of other workers’ jobs.
American protest singer Pete Seeger took Matt over to the Carnegie Hall in New York for a gig at which a young Bob Dylan was further down the list.
Matt also entertained audiences with his stories and jokes, which was a style later adopted and polished by Billy Connolly. In fact, a young Billy was on the bill at a Glasgow University gig with Matt but had to pull out at the last minute. Matt went on stage and announced: “Our next act Billy Connolly needs no introduction – because the b****** didnae turn up.”
Oh and collectors of graffiti will appreciate the “Tongs Ya Bass” on the wall behind him. Whatever happened to them?