Oran Mor, Glasgow, Sun 7 Nov 2010
With a new solo album called Losing Sleep and a retrospective of his old band Orange Juice called Coals to Newcastle out, it should have been just another day at the comeback coalface for a middle-aged indie star with a healthily enduring reputation. There was much more to this packed-out show in Oran Mor’s grand upstairs auditorium, though. It’s been five years since Edwyn Collins suffered two life-threatening strokes, and that new album is the first he’s written since. His hesitant speech and walk might not entirely be up to a bona fide roaring comeback, but his undimmed talent certainly is.
Surrounded by fine musicians included ex-Morrissey associate Boz Boorer and sometime Sex Pistol Paul Cook on drums, the singer deferred to Carwyn Ellis as co-vocalist on impressive, introspective new tracks like ‘Do It Again’ and ‘What is My Role?’. Collins’ rich baritone is still more than capable of delivering classics like ‘Rip It Up’, ‘A Girl Like You’ and ‘Blue Boy’ as the fans expect (although maybe not the very highest notes of ‘Falling & Laughing’), but the biggest surprise was perhaps his son William’s excellent guest vocal on ‘In Your Eyes’. Dad’s proud expression was just one more heart-warmer of many here.