Our cover photo was taken en route from Stranraer to Ullapool during a five week tour of Scotland in the summer of 1971. We are on a road overlooking Loch Lomond, and the Maid of the Loch can be seen steaming gracefully in the background while we steam disgracefully in the foreground. Even Robin's famous red beard had to be sacrificed to the blistering weather. (The severities of the Scottish climate are much exaggerated.)
For more than ten years we have been touring Scotland, not only singing songs but learning them wherever we went, and this record has items from the border country — THE BONNY HILLS O' GALLOWA', to the remote Shetland Isles — FETLAR LULLABY. ON THE BANKS OF LOCH LOMOND is a rather unusual song about this beautiful but tourist tormented place. (An American tourist once asked a stunned Balloch man, "Sir, would you kindly direct me to Lake Loch Lomond?" The song was given to me by circus performer Billy Crockett, and I adapted it and added the middle verse. IF YOU EVER COME TO LONDON I got from the late Jack Radcliffe during a tour of Australia. Not far South of Loch Lomond lies Dumbarton, ancient capitol of Scotland, and home of the great piper, RORY MURPHY; while yet further down the West coast is Ayrshire — the Burns country. TODDLIN' HAME was written by Robert Burns, and RATTLIN' ROARIN' WULLIE is one of the many old songs which he rescued from oblivion. The first two verses are traditional, the third verse is by Burns, and with casual effrontery, I added the final verse.
From the Gaelic speaking North-West of Scotland comes the beautiful lullaby HO-VAN GORRY O-GO, and BIRLINN GHORAIDTH CHROBHAIN. Ghoraidth Chrobhain was one of the ancient Kings of Scotland. JOCK McGRAW is from Aberdeenshire, (The Forty-Twa referred to in the song is the famous Forty Second Highland Division) and the other East coast song is AS I CAME DOON THE OVERGATE — from Dundee. An Overgate, incidentally, is a thing that one comes doon.