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Matt McGinn

Mitchell Library, Glasgow Collection, Bulletin Photographs

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Matt McGinn

Folk musician Matt McGinn, pictured outside his birthplace in Ross Street, Calton, in 1970. His short autobiographical novel, Fry the Little Fishes, gives a graphic picture of the urban poverty in which he grew up.

Many of McGinn's songs such as Gallowgate Calypso and The Ibrox Disaster reflect his observations of Glasgow life. A prolific songwriter and poet, he was capable of producing six songs in a single day, often inspired by topical news stories. The many songs he wrote with a target in mind were characterised by humour rather than bitterness. Jokes were an important part of his stage act, as well as songs.

McGinn's music was diverse: comic songs, hymn-tunes, sentimental ballads, parodies, pop song, calypso and jazz. Some of his best-remembered songs such as Red Yo Yo and The Wee Kirkcudbright Centipede were for children. His best selling album was The Two Heided Man in 1972, followed up by The Two Heided Man Strikes Again in 1974. His work was invested into the Smithsonian Institution in America where he is recognised as one of the most important folk writers of the 20th century. Evidence of his enduring appeal came in 2003 with the first Annual Matt McGinn Tribute Concert and Awards Ceremony, held in Glasgow.

Reference: Bulletin photographs, Box 13, November 1987

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

awards, children, comedians, concerts, folk musicians, folk singers, folk songs, novelists, poets, Smithsonian Institution, songwriters, streetscenes, tenements

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