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Contraband by Contraband.

To followers of 1970s power poppers The Jags, he's the drummer. And to folk music fans of a certain vintage, he's the bloke who used to play the William Tell Overture on his head with Scots folk-rockers Contraband. Alex's Interlude, as this popular party piece became known, has been brought back into focus with the recent reissue of the one and only Contraband album. But as Alex Baird will tell you, it came at a cost.

"I did it for fun at the CD reissue launch party because it's on the album," says Baird, "but back in those days I had hair and you wouldn't notice the damage. This time, my head was covered in bruises the next day. So I wouldn't recommend it, especially to slap-heads like me."

Contraband was a group that seemed set for big things and its members delivered on that promise, although not under the Contraband name. Widely regarded as a Scottish Fairport Convention, they had much of what the Liege & Lief-era Fairport had to offer: a strong and very personable singer and frontwoman in Mae McKenna, jigs and reels delivered with an energetic backbeat and versions of traditional ballads that brought these venerable songs into the rock music arena. The loyalty they inspired was and is such that when the aforementioned album became available to license recently, one fan, Jim Phelan, started a record label, Celtic Folk, especially to re-release it.

A bit of a blast from the past there.    cheers     I think I heard Contraband at Greyfriars, but I vaguely supposed all had gone away to do other things.

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