Dick Gaughan was born in Glasgow and mainly brought up in Leith. His mother, was a Highland Scot from Lochaber. She was a singer in both Gaelic and English. His father, Dick, was born in Leith of an Irish father, an Irish speaker and fiddle player. Dick was brought up in the musical traditions and culture of the Gaels, both Scots and Irish.
He was an early member of the band Boys of the Lough and is on their first album and was with the now-legendary, Five Hand Reel, making three albums with them. In the 90s he founded and produced the short-lived but quite extraordinary ensemble Clan Alba.
His greatest musical love is for the ancient traditional Scots ballads. Also know as The Muckle Sangs (the big songs), these are the big story songs which form a substantial part of Scotland's living wealth of traditional song.
Over the years, Dick Gaughan has recorded and performed many of these 'Muckle Sangs', The great Scots Ballads are mostly of very great antiquity with some of the themes and motifs being traceable back thousands of years. Full of mystical and supernatural references. they are very dramatic and powerful and Gaughan has always insisted that the greatest singer of ballads he ever was privileged to hear and learn from was the late Jeannie Robertson.