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March 20, 2023


Folk music is an essential part of Scottish culture, and the country has produced many talented musicians in this genre. However, one name stands out above the rest as the voice of Scottish folk music through the ages: Dick Gaughan. Born in Glasgow in 1948, Gaughan began his music career in the 1960s, and his voice and guitar skills have captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. He has become a legend among folk musicians, and he has inspired many artists after him.

Early Life and Career

Dick Gaughan’s parents were both traditional Scottish music performers, so he was introduced to music at a young age. He began playing the guitar at the age of seven and started performing in local folk clubs as a teenager. In the early 1970s, Gaughan joined the renowned folk band, The Boys of the Lough, and later became a member of The Gaugers. He also released his debut solo album, “No More Forever,” in 1972, which established him as a talented musician.

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Political Activism

Aside from his music career, Gaughan has long been a political activist. He has campaigned for human rights, workers’ rights, and social justice. He has a strong socialist and anti-fascist ideology, and his music reflects these values. Some of his most famous songs, like “Why Old Men Cry,” are about social issues and political struggles. Gaughan’s activism has made him an icon in the Scottish folk music scene.

Vocal Abilities

One of Gaughan’s most distinctive characteristics is his voice. He has a strong, powerful voice that can express a range of emotions. He is equally comfortable singing ballads and protest songs, and his enunciation is always clear and precise. Moreover, he can convey his vocal emotions in various languages, including Scottish Gaelic, Irish, and English.

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Guitar Playing

In addition to his singing abilities, Gaughan is also an exceptional guitar player. His fingering style is unique, and he can play both acoustic and electric guitars. His music is a fusion of Scottish traditional tunes and American folk rock.


Dick Gaughan’s influence on Scottish folk music and the wider folk genre is substantial. He has inspired other Scottish musicians like Karine Polwart and Eddi Reader. Moreover, he has contributed to the emergence of other notable folk artists in the UK. Popular groups like Fairport Convention, The Corries, and Runrig have cited Gaughan as a significant influence on their music.

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Q1: What’s the significance of Dick Gaughan in Scottish folk music?

Dick Gaughan is an icon in the Scottish folk music scene. He has promoted the tradition of Scottish folk music and has contributed to the emergence of numerous talented folk artists.

Q2: Is Dick Gaughan still active in the music industry?

Yes, as of 2021, Dick Gaughan continues to record and perform music.

Q3: Does Dick Gaughan only perform traditional songs?

While Gaughan primarily performs traditional Scottish folk music, he also composes his music.

Q4: How has Dick Gaughan contributed to the political activism scene?

Dick Gaughan is a political activist and has campaigned for social justice, human rights, and workers’ rights. He reflects his political views in his music.

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Q5: What is the focus of Dick Gaughan’s music?

Dick Gaughan’s music primarily focuses on social issues, political struggles, and traditional Scottish folklore.

Q6: Is Dick Gaughan still touring in Scotland?

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all live performances have been canceled. However, once live performances are allowed again, he plans to resume his tour.

Q7: In which languages can Dick Gaughan sing?

Dick Gaughan can sing in several languages, including Scottish Gaelic, Irish, and English.


Dick Gaughan is a Scottish music icon, a true embodiment of Scotland’s folk music tradition. His voice and guitar playing have captured the hearts of audiences worldwide, and his political activism has made him an inspiration to many. Gaughan’s legacy in the Scottish music industry is incontrovertibly everlasting. So go and give a listen to his vast catalogue, and you’ll understand what makes him one of the most significant figures in Scottish music history.

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