COLIN MacIntyre, like many of us, decided to get a dog during lockdown. He’s walking the bouncy Cockapoo while we talk about delving into his musical memory box – and what’s to come for Mull Historical Society (MHS).

“It was about time I got a dog, I suppose,” says MacIntyre. “Dogs in wigs have been my theme from day one.”

Indeed, for anyone who remembers buying Loss, the first album by Mull Historical Society in 2001, the cover featuring a small terrier-type dog in a 1960s wig was something to smile at, even before the record began.

Colin MacIntyre is Mull Historical Society, of course, a son of Tobermory, and also the man who meant the fine folk on the island who are involved in preserving its history changing the organisation’s name to The Mull Historical and Archaeological Society.

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Emerging from the dust with some treasures for fans and new listeners, there’s a busy year ahead. A Celtic Connections show on February 3 with a full band playing the first two albums in their entirety, Loss and Us, is an appetite whetter for their re-release on February 24 on vinyl, plus the first vinyl release for the third album, This Is Hope.

In addition, there is a rather beautifully constructed four-CD boxset of the first three albums plus a fourth of MHS rarities and unreleased tracks. Accompanying this is a book with photographs and writings, including a preview of his new memoir The Boy In The Bubble.

The package has been called Archaeology: Complete Recordings 2000-2004. “The upstart strikes again,” says MacIntyre. “First they change their name when I come along, and then I choose this as a title. It might be a wee bit cheeky, but relations are good between us and it’s a great way of describing what the process is like – digging it all up, I suppose.

“But naming songs, albums, books, dogs … that’s always been very important to me. It gives me something to hang everything from.”

The idea came from a collaboration with Bernard Butler on the Wakelines album who had been working with the Demon label, which does collections and reissues well.

“I’ve enjoyed the process and it coincided with lockdown when we were moving house and I suddenly had more space,” MacIntyre says. “I could bring out a lot of things that had been in storage in Glasgow for a long time, and came across a lot of early demos that I’d forgotten about.

“For the first two albums, I produced about 35 songs for each, so I’ve been able to pull out unreleased songs for bonus tracks, but it’s good to have them all in the one place now, with some previously unreleased material.”

The third album, This Is Hope, is getting its first vinyl release. On the CD artwork there’s a section called This Is Society where 1000 supporters of the album had their names printed. MacIntyre is glad to see those names get a proper airing, but also for the chance to revisit the recording for vinyl.

“It was recorded at Bearsville, the studio near Woodstock owned by Bob Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman. It was probably a bit tired by the time we worked there but Dylan and The Band had recorded there – it was more about the atmosphere. Janis Joplin had recorded there and her Mini was still in the garage!”

Although MacIntyre has made his life away from the island for many years, that pull of Mull is always there.

“In all my writing, I’ve always reflected the folklore, if you like, of where you come from. Even my studio/mancave at home is called Calgary Cabin and I have Tobermory Main Street on my garage wall. That’s from the play based on my book, The Letters Of Ivor Punch. I managed to get a hold of the backdrop.

“It’s always there in the background for me, but it’s not all cosy – there’s also the darker, almost League Of Gentlemen side but I like to reflect as well.”

MacIntyre’s next music project will take him home – extremely close to home:

“My grandfather was the manager of the Clydesdale Bank on Tobermory Main Street and lived in the flat above for 45 years. He was also known as the Bard of Mull and was a published poet. People would leave with a poem stuffed in their pocket and an overdraft that they didn’t even ask for.”

Following 25 successful years at An Tobar, Gordon Maclean has converted the property into a recording studio.

“I haven’t been in that flat for 20 years, but I’ll be making an album there now, in the room where my grandfather wrote his poetry,” MacIntyre adds.

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The project is called In My Mind There’s A Room and although MacIntyre doesn’t want to talk in detail about it at the moment, he has worked with authors to write lyrics on the theme of a room that means something to them.

Although MacIntyre has ploughed his own furrow and managed to defy categorisation – perhaps leading to this longevity – he has always enjoyed collaborations.

“But first things first and I still need to work out what I’m doing with Loss andd Us live! I’ve never done this before – played any album in its entirety. It’ll be really interesting and we’re planning to do further shows throughout the UK later in the year,” he adds.

“Doing it in Glasgow at first is appropriate because that’s where I came up with the whole idea of the Mull Historical Society name. I really don’t think there’s any chance that I would have called myself Mull Historical Society if I was still on Mull – it takes going away sometimes. It’s that distance that makes you more obsessed with where you come from.”

Mull Historical Society: 21st Anniversary ‘Loss’ & ‘Us’, Saint Luke’s, Friday, February 3, 7.30pm. (Special guest Yvonne Lyon).

Archaeology: Complete Recordings 2000-2004 is released on February 24 and available from