IT’S been four years since John Watt picked up a microphone and camera and made his way around the country to record another of his thoroughly enjoyable video productions.
If the gap has been considered too long by John’s fans, then his latest offering, ‘The Singing Farmer on Tour’, will have more than compensated for the ‘absence’ of the genial songster and friends.
As with previous videos, John weaves his way around the countryside on a vintage Massey Ferguson 135 tractor - in this case mainly the North Coast - meeting well-known characters along the way and singing a plethora of songs - at least one of which has been freshly penned for the occasion.
It has always been recognised that John Watt does much more than make tapes purely for the music market - his efforts chronicle rural life and adequately depict the social fabric of the area something that is widely recognised by many.
His 15 previous videos are enriched with an historical perspective that are well worth bringing out every now and again as a reminder of the places, scenery, characters, hobbies, occupations and stories from many people some of whom are sadly no longer with us.
John has the uncanny knack of doing things right and on this latest CD he has again put his stamp on the 60 minute production. He is chauffered on his journey by Kilraughts man, Jim Murray, who steers his tractor on a journey meeting many people on the way.
The ace card on this CD is the appearance of former Irish Rovers member, Will Millar, who just happened to be here on business when John invited him to make a contribution both in song and music. Will readily agreed and it has greatly added to the overall appeal of the CD.
Some of the other contributions include Charlie O’Hagan, Victor Gregg, Michael McSparran, and the former principal of Our Lady of Lourdes in Ballymoney, Maurice McHenry.
John sings a number of songs, plays the banjo, but has also included a number of other special musical guests.
The sleeve notes indicate that production was carefully planned to appeal to people of all ages and with different interests in life, ranging from farming and vintage machinery right through to history and many other human interest subjects.
Watch out for a new song on the Dark Hedges at Gracehill and there’s also songs about Lovely Whitepark Bay, The Shorelands of Lough Foyle and The Cooley Song. In total, there are 19 songs.
‘The Singing Farmer on Tour’ was filmed by John Thompson Film Productions, Garvagh, whose professionalism shines through. John produced an directed it.
The video is undoubtedly well worth a purchase and is available at James Simpson’s newsagency in Main Street, Ballymoney.