It's a funny kind of wealth, I sometimes think, that can be measured in terms of money or kind to the exclusion of everything else … and it's unlikely that a wanderlust no matter how strong could ever erase from a man's mind the faces of old friends, the memory of the town he grew up in, or the sounds of the countryside he once knew well … And if he should prefer to take his few shillings and exchange them for a good glass and good company, a good song and the chance maybe to sing himself who can blame him? He may never grow rich but if he lacks friends and a taste for the good things in life, what use is money to him anyway.
I hope it's something more than coincidence that most of the songs on this record offer more than just a taste of the wilder side of life and if they should seem a bit detached from reality now and again, who cares? It's a nice thought anyway.
In our first song THE MAID OF AMSTERDAM the maid as always comes off best and Jack Tar is left with only the memory. In its original form many of the verses expressed the bitter regret and bawdy sentiment of many a wild night spent ashore. As yet we haven't had Jack's luck!
It seems to us that the idea of a 'dry' town in the middle of whisky-drinking Scotland is as weird and wonderful as a clockwork orange, but at the last count the town of KIRKINTILLOCH was still without a pub. The song was written by our good friend Geordie Hamilton who was born in the town. I should add that when we last met he seemed to be coping very well with his unfortunate start in life.
ON THE BANKS OF THE ROSES, our next song has for a long time been one of my favourites. An unusual love song, it has some lovely images and a fine swing to it.
There have been many songs written about Ireland but even the title of our next number QUIET LANDS OF ERIN seems to convey right away all the atmosphere of that sad but beautiful country. This lovely arrangement by Iain Sutherland involves harp and alto-flute and we hope you will like it as much as we do.
Now we know that not every soldier is a gentleman and in THE GENTLEMAN SOLDIER this seems to have been the case. While I can't entirely disagree with his actions, I do feel that this particular fellow was a very fast worker indeed. Poor Molly.
Of all the stirring songs of battle and insurrection we have chosen LAMMAS TIDE. This is really a fragment adapted by Roy from the ballad 'The Battle of Otterburn' and it tells of a skirmish involving some of the wildest clans ever to draw sword and roar off to plunder the North of England. Those were the good old days!
Now, the first song on the second side is called … THE GALWAY RACES, and I think it comes as near as any song does to describing perfectly the Irishman's love of a Fair or gathering of any sort. I can remember the times when singing and dancing carried on till daylight. As far as I know the whisky was never "multiplied with water" as the song suggests, although many's the cold damp dawn we all wished it had been!
In LOWLANDS LOW, the ship carried not only cargo but Irish exiles as well, fleeing from troubled times in their own country to the more peaceful lowlands of Holland. We collected this version from the singing of Bobby and Peg Clancy of Carrick-on-Suir.
It is doubtful whether THE KERRY RECRUIT had any idea at all of the trouble he was buying, but one thing is certain; had the Crimean war been half as funny, it is unlikely that the song would ever have been sung. In a way he was one of the lucky ones. He came back and lived to tell the tale.
Roy wrote our next number THE RIEVER'S GALLEY. As you may know, a riever was a kind of seafaring pirate, the most famous one being a legendary figure called Kismul. When you listen to this song it is easy to imagine the ship gliding out to the still green waters, the oars rising and dipping as she heads for the open sea with yet another rich prize in view.
The idea of the young man courting his girl by moonlight is a common enough theme in Folk Song. Usually they are discovered by the mother and the young man is rudely shown the door. Not so however in I'M A ROVER which makes us wonder why the young lady in this case needed so much persuading!
For our last song on side 2 we have selected CAM YE BY ATHOLL another stirring song, this time appealing to the clans to unite and support the Jacobite cause. The 'Charlie' referred to in the chorus is of course 'Bonnie Prince Charlie', surely the most colourful and tragic figure ever to run backwards across the pages of Scottish history. Now, sing up.
The Corrie Folk Trio
And finally to Iain MacFadyen, Iain Sutherland and John Martin who all helped to make this record possible. Thank you.