Nothing has been more surprising in the world of music in recent years than the astonishing revival of interest in folk-song. Spear-heading that revival in Scotland has been the sprightly and vigorous trio of Rena Swankie, Josh MacRae and Enoch Kent. Taking their name, The Reivers, from the old Border raiders, they give to their ballads an attack and vigour that must have characterised their namesakes.
Although they had been singing for a number of years to enthusiasts and for the archives of The School of Scottish Studies and other academic institutions. it was not until they appeared on the STV programme of Scottish Song and Dance ' JIG TIME ' that they became known to a wider audience. Since then, and especially since their record of THE WEE MAGIC STANE (The Work of the Reivers Vol. 1 JKR 8026), whose restriction by the BBC caused a storm north of the border, they have become a household word. Further, they have succeeded in remaining true to the authentic Scottish tradition and achieving a mass popularity; this record shows just how they do it.
THE AULD MAID IN THE GARRET
It's a queer thing, tradition; this a song that one might have sworn was written for the old Glasgow music-hall, and perhaps this version was. But in origin this song goes back to a penny sheet ballad written by Martin Parker in the seventeenth century called THE WOOING MAID
JOCK SINCE EVER I SAW YOUR FACE
This a new version of an old piece of Lowland mouth music, i.e., a song used to accompany a dance when no instruments were present. This version was written by Enoch Kent for a nation-wide TV programme on the Gorbals.
The tale of the wife whose temper was too hot even for Hell to hold is found all over the English-speaking world. In America it is known as THF FARMER'S CURSED WIFE: it is found in England and it has frequently been attributed to Burns, who certainly collected it. The Reivers use the Irish chorus form.
GOVAN IS A BUSY PLACE
This snatch of Glasgow sporting life, set in the ship-building area of Govan-was written a few years ago by Scots actor and writer, Roddy McMillan. for his play ALL IN GOOD FAITH.
DOWN IN THE MINES
The Reivers, while basing themselves on Scottish material, draw upon a world-wide repertoire. This song was written by Merle Travis and it first appeared in a collection from his native Kentucky called " Folk Songs of the Hills." Incidentally, in the same album was his SIXTEEN TONS.