Working with children is the recurrent nightmare of the average professional entertainer. "Never do it," he'll moan; "It's death!" "You can't win", and so on; and it's true that children often unwittingly expose the artificiality and insincerity of the 'Show business Personality.' Robin and I are very happy to say, however, that in several years of performing for, and often with children, in programmes of all kinds, relations have always been good, respect mutual, and we have always enjoyed ourselves. A large part of our mail comes from children of all ages, in every part of the country, and even outside it; and in our occasional lecture tours of schools, we seem to have made many more friends than enemies.
The Scottish Junior Singers, who help us on this record, are very old friends, having appeared with us regularly over the last few years on the "White Heather Club", B.B.C. television's top Scottish show. They are now well acquainted with a large part of our repertoire, (they absorb new words and tunes with a speed and precision which Robin and I envy greatly) and they were very loud voiced indeed in helping us with the selection of songs for this record. Top favourite, of course, was the 'Red YO-YO,' written by our old friend, Glasgow schoolteacher Matt McGinn, himself a great favourite with the children. The other two Glasgow songs on the record are, 'Murder in the Fish-Shop,' which I remembered from my own childhood, and 'Where Are You Going My Bonnie Wee Lass' which has been extensively re-furbished by Roddy McMillan, well-known Scottish actor, wit, raconteur, headcase and Glasgowphile.
The great singing McPeake family, of Belfast, gave us 'The Auld Piper', at a festival in Moscow some years ago, and it is still a great favourite of ours. We've made some little alterations, and I've added a couple of verses, but I'm sure the McPeakes won't mind. We could never sing it as they do, anyway. The two English songs are the 'Carrion Crow,' which we seem to have always known; and 'The Candlelight Fisherman,' which we first heard sung by Bob Roberts, a sailing barge skipper from Suffolk.
Making a record is usually a tense, sweaty business, with take and re-take resulting in frayed tempers and crumbling confidence; but thanks very largely to the Scottish Junior Singers, we really enjoyed this one.
We hope you think it was worth it.