The McCalmans   •     Scots Abroad

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  • Scots Abroad
    • 2006 - Greentrax CDTRAX 300 CD (UK)
  • Tracklist
    1. Scots Abroad (Ian McCalman)
    2. American Accent (Nick Keir)
    3. Leaving Denmark (Ian McCalman)
    4. Scotland's Story (Reid, Reid)
    5. Hooray For Holyrood (Ian McCalman)
    6. Extra Time (Ian McCalman)
    7. The Broom 0' The Cowdenknowes (Trad. Arr. The McCalmans)
    8. The Lying Truth (Ian McCalman)
    9. All Over This Town (Hick, Keir)
    10. Instrumental
      1. The Galley of Lome (Nick Keir)
      2. Captain Fraser's Favourite (Trad arr. Nick Keir)
      3. Jamie's 21st (Nick Keir)
    11. Follow The Heron (Karine Polwart)
    12. East Lothian Sky (Nick Keir)
    13. March! March! Ettrick And Teviotdale (Walter Scott, Arr. The McCalmans)
    14. Learning To Row (Maicus Hummon, Stuart Adamson)
    15. The Skye Boat Song (Trad. Arr. The McCalmans)
    16. The Tivoli Song (Jeremy Taylor, Nick Keir)
    17. The 12 Folk Days Of Christmas (Lyrics: Nick Keir, Ian McCalman.Tune: Traditional)

  • The McCalmans
    • Ian McCalman: Vocals, Guitar, Bodhrán, Keyboard and Mouth Organ
    • Nick Keir: Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Whistles and Mouth Organ
    • Stephen Quigg: Vocals, Guitar and Bodhrán
  • Credits
    • Recorded and Mixed at Kevock Digital Studios, Lasswade
    • Engineered by Ian McCalman
    • Mastered at "Castle Sound", Pencaitland
    • Photographs by Ian and Ellen McCalman
    • Produced in Scotland

Sleeve Notes

SCOTS ABROAD — OK, it's a cliche but it's true; Scotland's greatest export is people. Scottish emmigrants can be genuinely proud of their adopted countries and can sing their new anthem with sincerity and vigour but, as the song says, you can always tell where they're from.

AMERICAN ACCENT — Maybe you're too young to remember the days of Radio Luxemburg, Parker's Stores and parties where everyone sung with a Bob Dylan drawl. The realisation that we had our own accents and our own songs came as a revelation, which is a bit difficult to comprehend now, although there are still some "media experts" who ignore Scottish music. (Nick)

LEAVING DENMARK — I remember being asked on Australian network radio; "what's your favourite country apart from Scotland?" I answered, "Denmark" and then blustered, "but Australia comes second", but I was too late, the damage had been done. This song was written on the boat home from Esbjerg, Denmark and it relates mostly to the reluctant goodbye to apart of one's life … just showing my age I suppose, (Ian)

SCOTLAND'S STORY — The story of the different races which make up "The Scots: was complicated enough in the 19lh century but since the Italians, Chinese, Indians and many others have come this land and are now part of this great country. All of us in Scotland come from families who were once immigrants and all have equal worth here. (Nick)

HOORAY FOR HOLYROOD — The Scottish Parliament took up permanent residence in a newly designed building in Holyrood, Edinburgh. The design budget fell within the remit of the original brief, but even allowing for the occasional extra cappuccino machine, the cost now seems to be a tad excessive, i.e. 10 times the original estimate". £460 million is the latest figure and we, in Scotland, shake our heads in disbelief. I suppose the rampant budget escalation could be overlooked if the happenings within the building lived up to its cost, but alas, our leaders fall a wee bit short of perfection and seem as unreliable as the beams that hold up the debating chamber's roof. Despite all, I wish our Parliament well and want to give it the best possible chance, but for Scotland's sake, do better! "Say but little, say it well" is the motto above the door of the main chamber. Aye, that'll be right! (Ian)

EXTRA TIME — This is a song inspired by one of our great musician friends, Bert Haasjes. We met Bert in Holland and even from our first merry encounters, it was obvious that he liked a "wee drink". Bert told us that he had recovered from some of the usual "excesses of our trade" and had been given another chance (extra time) by his doctors. (Ian)

THE BROOM O' THE COWDENKNOWES — The Macs recorded this song in 1970 for CBS with a string quartet backing. Our next album in 1971 was entitled " No Strings Attached" for good reason. I always promised this great song another outing. (Ian)

THE LYING TRUTH — I get angry! When some political thug's perceived "truth" justifies invasion, torture, corruption and atrocities in the name of "religion and freedom", then, I get angry. The only therapy that works for me is song-writing. It's not much, but it's better than nothing. (Ian)

ALL OVER THIS TOWN — I think the song says it all. (Nick)

INSTRUMENTAL: The Galley of Lome, Captain Fraser's Favourite & Jamie's 21st — "The Galley of Lome" is a hotel south of Oban where my old band "Finn mac Cuill" often played. It has stayed in my memory … rather longer than where I left my capo, obviously, "Captain Fraser's Favourite" is a tune I learned long ago from The Captain Fraser Collection. "Jamie's 21st" was named after Ian's son … the tune was completed on Jamie's birthday. (Nick)

FOLLOW THE HERON — Kareen has proved to be one of Scotland's finest singer/songwriters. This song is a lyrical farewell to winter and a welcome to the long days of summer. (Stephen)

EAST LOTHIAN SKY — East Lothian is one of the jewels in the crown of the Scottish lowlands. It's my favourite haunt and a place to dream on when you're far from home. (Nick)

MARCH! MARCH! ETTRICK AND TEVIOTDALE — These verses appeared for the first time in Walter Scott's novel, "The monastery", published in 1820. It was based on a cavalier song, which appeared in James Hogg's "Jacobite Relics of Scotland". Scott uses the tune, "Blue Bonnets". (Stephen)

LEARNING TO ROW — I learned this from the late Stuart Adamson's recording with The Raphaels. It's a beautifully evocative nod at Stuart's Fife background. (Nick)

THE SKYE BOAT SONG — The lyrics were written by Sir Harold Boulton to an air collected by Miss Annie MacLeod in the 1870s. It was first published in "Songs of the North". "The Macs" recorded the Stevenson version of this song on " Smuggler" (1975) and we've used some of his words on this one, thus maintaining the Scottish element on every song. There are so many new songs on the album we thought we'd slip in a couple of "oldies". (Stephen)

The album is effectively over but we've added the next two idiosyncratic "live" recordings as "bonus" tracks. You lucky people! Apologies! (all)

THE TIVOLI SONG — This was inspired by one of my visits to Tivoli in Copenhagen. Once you realise that the first word in the song means "mother", all else is revealed in this English/Danish composition. The song is based on Jeremy Taylor's, "Ag Pleez Deddy" and I thank Jeremy for permission to change the words. It was recorded in the wonderful Hagge's Musik Pub, Tender, Denmark. (Nick)

THE 12 FOLK DAYS OF CHRISTMAS — This song was recorded in December 2004 at the Queens Hall, Edinburgh. Thanks BBC Scotland! We had just proudly received the award for "Services to Scottish Traditional Music" and we "performed" this song (ill-advisedly?) on the spur of the moment. Apologies to those slandered in this song, we love you all, really we do.