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They're on their way – The Proclaimers return 'home'

By West Briton  |  Posted: July 11, 2013

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THE Proclaimers' concert at Lusty Glaze, Newquay, next week is a sort of homecoming.

Charlie and Craig Reid may well have the very fabric of Scotland running through their veins, but they actually spent two years at school in Cornwall.

Celebrating the release of the superb double CD, The Very Best of (1987-2012), Charlie told me: "We're looking forward to playing Lusty Glaze – even the name is inspiring. We always love returning to Cornwall.

"My dad's dad died in the war and then at the end of the Sixties his mum died so I think he wanted to move away from Edinburgh and all its memories, so in 1970 we came to Cornwall.

"We were 8 and left when we were 10. Actually I didn't want to leave – the people were so friendly and obviously the weather was a lot better than in Scotland.

"My mum was a district nurse in Cornwall. We lived in Hayle and went to Gwinear School for two and three-quarter years.

"It's one of those parts of the world that has a distinct feel to it. Cornwall has its own vibe and is one of the great places. It's similar to Scotland in a lot of ways, thanks to that strong Celtic feeling."

Incredibly it's 26 years since The Proclaimers released their first album This Is The Story following an unforgettable appearance on The Tube (that was a Channel 4 music show, kids).

Singing in regional accents about Scotland – its emigration and politics – they were a far cry from the over-styled pop of the time and became overnight sensations.

Hits followed with the euphoric I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), Letter From America, I'm On My Way and hit albums including Born Innocent, produced by Edwyn Collins, and 2005's more soul-orientated Restless Soul.

For those who only know those ubiquitous hits, the new 30-song compilation is a revelation. The Lonnie Donegan meets Marvin Gaye template has been fine-tuned over the years and you may be surprised just how clever, amusing, moving and, above all, contagious much of their latterday material is.

Charlie added: "We've released nine studio records now and the last time we put out a best of was in 2002 when we'd only released four albums, so we really want people to hear this new one as we really do think our material has got stronger in that time.

"Most people only know us for three records, four, tops – we've only had two really big hits in I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) and Letter From America. By putting this compilation out we hope people will hear the rest of our material as we think the past 12 years have been the most important part of the band's history.

"We've grown as writers and performers in that time.

"And, no, just because we're releasing a best of doesn't mean we're stopping – my bank manager would be severely disappointed. As long as we can do justice to the songs we'll carry on."

Perhaps the biggest surprise in The Proclaimers' career in recent years has been the success of the award-winning musical drama Sunshine On Leith, featuring their songs.

Written by Stephen Greenhorn, the drama follows the highs and lows of two soldiers returning home from Afghanistan.

The musical toured several times between 2007 and 2010 and has now been made into a film, directed by Dexter Fletcher, to be released on October 4. Charlie said: "The whole idea of a musical was a surprise to us. I'm not a theatre person let alone a musical theatre person, but our manager saw 40 minutes of what they'd come up with and told us, 'it's ****ing brilliant, it's going to work'.

"The fact that it has a great story and isn't a 'let's do the songs right here' type musical like Mamma Mia! won us over. Plus it stars actors of the calibre of Peter Mullen and Jane Horrocks ....

"Our songs are known for our rough guttural delivery but because of the lyrical content they actually work sung in a purer form in the musical and film."

The twins are in the swing of recording a new album so this tour, featuring the Lusty Glaze Sundowner Sessions gig, will be the last for a while.

"Playing gigs is our major calling now," Charlie added. "Most artists make more money from touring than they do making records. It's increasingly difficult to sell records unless you're Daft Punk and have a huge song.

"The unbelievable growth of festivals in the country since the beginning of the century has helped replenish us and we've gained a lot of new fans."

For two people who didn't look or play the part of rock stars, The Proclaimers have become one of our very best live acts.

"We started off in the early to mid-1980s never thinking we'd have commercial success. We were just an acoustic act who thought we'd get lumped in with Billy Bragg. It all became bigger than anything we'd expected, so we are very thankful," marvelled Charlie.

The Proclaimers will be supported by Cornwall's brilliant star on the rise Kezia and The Jar Family, 'inventors' of industrial folk.

The gates open at 6.30pm on Friday, July 19, with the support acts starting at 7pm. Tickets are available from £22 and are available at www.lustyglaze.co.uk/sundownersessions/

The previous evening – Thursday, July 18 – sees a Sundowner Session at the same venue from festival favourites The Levellers.

This Thursday there will be a free Sundowner Session at Lusty Glaze Beach, featuring music from the superb Lesoir and Hold the Sun.

Music will begin at 7.30pm, with Lusty's tasty barbecue and paella available from 8pm until late. The restaurant will also be offering its famous volcanic stone dining, along with other meals, until 8pm.

On Sunday, Company B are playing on the beach for another free Sundowner Session. The lively jive band will start at 7.30pm.

To celebrate The Proclaimers' return to Cornwall, What's On has two copies of The Very Best Of (1987-2012) to give away.

Tell us which of their songs featured in the film Shrek. Answers, marked Proclaimers, complete with postal address, to whatsoncornwall@c-dm.co.uk by Wednesday, July 17. See Notices for terms and conditions.

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