This is an LP of varied traditional and contemporary songs, most of them well-known and some of them used by the majority of young revival singers in their repertoire.
Twelve years ago in Glasgow I met Morris Blythman, a song-writer and poet whose help in the formative years of my career was inestimable. It was at his house in Springburn at Ceilidhs that I met pipers and singers from all over Scotland and where I first heard many of the songs on this LP.
To all the people who have made this LP possible — my wife, my parents and many friends, I would like to extend my gratitude.
YE JACOBITES BY NAME
From Hoggs' Jacobite Rebellions. My favorite verse is:
What makes heroic strife, famed afar, famed afar?
What makes heroic strife, famed afar?
What makes heroic strife?
To whet th' assassin's knife,
Or hunt a Parent's life, wi' bluidy war?
TWA RECRUITIN' SERGEANTS
For God's sake don't join the Black Watch!
GLASGOW STREET SONGS and JOHNNY LAD
These songs are typical of the cheeky Glasgow spirit.
This song was written by Ewan MacColl after a mining disaster in Nova Scotia in 1958 where only a small percentage of the miners came out alive. The words and theme of the song shows how completely in touch with the situation MacColl was.
BONNIE SHIP THE DIAMOND
A tale of the sea, about a ship bound for Greenland on a whaling voyage and its eventual return to Peterhead and…we'll make the cradles for to rock, And the blankets for to tear, And every lass in Peterhead Sing hush-a-bye my dear.
A story of a young man leaving or being evicted from his native land asking his lass if she will follow him. Learned from the singing of Jeanie Robertson.
FREEDOM COME ALL YE
This majestic song of peace written by Hamish Henderson shows his great compassion and understanding of the problems facing humanity.
COME ALL YE TRAMPS AND HAWKERS
First heard sung by Jimmy MacBeath, a great street-singing balladeer of Scotland. This song could almost be Jimmy's life story.
A comical story of the experiences of a policeman involved with an Irish navvy.
SHOALS OF HERRING
This song, a classic piece based on the life of Sam Lamer, the fisherman, was written by Ewan MacColl as the theme song for the radio ballad SINGING THE FISHING by MacColl, Seeger and Parker.
BONNY LASS O' FYVIE
The Captain of the Irish Dragoons falls in love with the chambermaid and is taken from her under military orders. He dies soon after of a broken heart.
KELLY THE BOY FROM KILLANNE and JOHNNY I HARDLY KNEW YOU
Two extremes in Irish balladry; Kelly, a giant of a man leading the Irish people into battle against the "auld enemy" during the 1798 Rebellion, and Johnny returning from the wars without limbs is met by his girl who ends by saying "You'll never go to war again".