FOUR songs, four singers, three men and a girl. It was the Edinburgh Festival of 1962 that brought Rory and Alex McEwen, two of the most popular folk singers in Britain, into partnership with Carolyne and Dick Farina, a husband and wife team from America. The four songs they sing all come from their Festival show. Two are American, one is Scots, and the other, a new one, is naughty in any language. The soprano is Carolyne. The harmonica is Dick. And Rory and Alex the guitars.
THE legend has it that once upon a time there was a foggy night, a lighthouse with a sick keeper, and a very remarkable woman. She sensed the danger of a situation in which ships were known to be near the light and stood on a point of rock and hollered till daybreak. From that day on she became known as Hooten'annie. The name caught on, the deed was told in song, and before long any happy sing-around became known as a Hootenannie — hence the title of this series of EPs by two of the most popular folk-singers in the English-speaking world. Two of the songs in this collection come from their native Scotland — "The Diamond," a rollicking sea-song, and "Nicky Tams," a lyric about the old country-style working trousers which were gathered below the knee with a length of string. The West Indies claims the beautiful "Bahamian Lullaby" and America is represented by "The Fox."
This, the last of a series of Waverley "Hootenannie" EPs featuring the McEwen brothers — Rory and Alex — boasts two solos and two duets. Stars of radio and TV, and also of the Edinburgh International Festival, they use these four songs to illustrate the range of their talent and repertoire. "Ye Jacobites by Name," sung by Rory, is a stirring Scots song recalling the romantic adventures of the eighteenth century. Alex brings us up to the depressed days before the Second World War with that sweetly pathetic lullaby. "Coulter's Candy." The scene shifts to America for the first of the duets, "Abilene" and again to France for that pretty ballad, "Isabella".