Gerry Rafferty's late 1970s gem Night Owl will always hit the highest note for me

The iconic Scottish album was my first record and remains my most treasured.

There will always be a certain place in your heart for the first record you ever bought, or possibly received.

My first album was indeed a present, a Christmas gift to accompany my first bit of hi-fi kit, though that may be stretching the definition of high fidelity somewhat. In truth, said machine was a Boots-branded record player and the piece of vinyl in question was the late great Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty’s third studio album - Night Owl.

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The thrill of waking up on the big day in December 1979 to be greeted by My First Turntable and My First Record quickly turned to disappointment when it transpired that the supposedly stereo unit would only play on one channel. Cue a frustrated couple of days until the faulty player could be replaced.

What that episode did spark were two lifelong passions - one for all things audio and hi-fi related and another for the music of Paisley-born Mr Rafferty, who sadly joined that Great Gig in the Sky a little over 13 years ago in January 2011 at the not-so-ripe old age of just 63.

Having already been working for this esteemed publication for a number of years I ended up writing a small appreciation of the famous Buddy for The Scotsman, reflecting on his output and the mark he made on myself and millions of fans around the world. To his loyal band of followers, Gerry Rafferty was much, much more than Baker Street - his 1978 sax solo-laden smash hit name-checking a famous London street.

The iffy Boots record player may be long gone, but I still possess that original copy of Night Owl and every now and then it is carefully extracted from its somewhat tattered sleeve and plonked on the platter for a spot of reminiscing. It’s an album that’s revered possibly as much for its splendid John Byrne sleeve art as its musical content. The recent passing of the Scots polymath only adds to its poignancy as far as I’m concerned.

A couple of years back, I was fortunate to participate in the OneLP Project undertaken by music photographer William Ellis. There was no hesitation over which album I would be snapped clutching.

Scott Reid is a business journalist at The Scotsman



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