The folk song movement in Scotland, since the 'folk boom' began a few years ago, has proved one of the richest treasure houses both for artists and material anywhere in Great Britain. What's more the Scottish singers and the clubs in which they sing have proved guardians of their own very precious tradition and have remained less affected by passing trends or new ideas than their English counterparts.
On this record you will hear some of the leading Scottish folk artists singing a representative range of their material. The Ian Campbell Folk Group whose popularity in the last few years has spread throughout Britain but whose leaders, Ian and Lorna Campbell, were both born in Aberdeen are featured twice, with Lorna singing the haunting Highland Widow's Lament and Ian in a somewhat lighter vein singing the Scots classic We're Nae Awa To Bide Awa. Hamish Imlach, probably Scotland's most popular club performer, also gets two tracks on this record, the rabid nationalist war cry Scottish Breakaway and the somewhat more mellow The Gaudie. Isla Cameron, one of the great traditional singers of the British folk revival, offers a beautiful setting by Stephen Sedley of the Robert Burns poem John Anderson as well as a classic ballad Yarrow. Matt McGinn, Scotland's best known folk writer, is represented by his fanciful impression of one of Glasgow's more well known districts, The Gallowgate Calypso. A younger pair of Scots writers, Maurice Frankl and Andy Lothian, have their beautiful song You, Like The Sun sung by one of the younger generation of singers, Owen Hand, who also offers the beautiful ballad The Gardener. No record of Scots folk singers would be complete without Alex Campbell, one of the most popular club entertainers in the whole of Britain. Alex sings The Overgate. The Dubliners are far from being Scottish although their popularity in Scotland is possibly higher than anywhere outside their native Dublin. They do however sing a number of Scots songs and one of the group, Luke Kelly, offers on this record a song much associated with one of Scotland's great traditional singers Jimmy Macbeth, Tramps And Hawkers. Finally, there is one instrumental track on the record by a young man who, I think, can correctly be described as Britain's leading contemporary folk figure, the brilliant guitarist/lwriter Bert Jansch. Jansch, though he has been based in London for a number of years, was born in Scotland and on his record 'Jack Orion' he turned his brilliant instrumental ability to work on a number of traditional themes. One of these, Henry Martin, is reproduced here.