It all started in somewhat humble surroundings, at the Royal Jubilee Arms Hotel in Cortachy on New Year's Day in 1966.
What had started as a quartet was suddenly reduced to a duo when, for personal and domestic reasons, two of the original members left.
Ronnie Browne with his 'moothie' and Roy Williamson with his guitar faced a packed house on their own for the first time and while the excitement of the first concert may have been tinged with doubts and fears, the duo need not have worried. They left the stage to genuine foot-stamping applause and what should or could have been a disaster became a triumph that set the seal on a future that has since become 'legendary'.
The Corries have developed continuously, since then. The shy retiring guitar-player Roy has become a master instrumentalist, expert at the quick witty one-liner, song-writer, instrument maker and, of course, vocalist. The other half, Ronnie has not let the grass grow under his feet either, becoming a multi-instrumentalist in his own right, consummate patter merchant, equally noted song-writer and one of the country's most distinctive vocal talents.
The Corries are now internationally known and respected by both public and, as importantly, by fellow performers. The list of their friends and contemporaries is a genuine who's who' of Folk that stretches back to the early days when they promoted Folk concerts at the Edinburgh Festival with guests such as Liam Clancy, Christy Moore, Barbara Dickson, Roger Whittaker, Incredible String Band, Luke Kelly, Keiron Burke and Barney McKenna before they went on to form the Dubliners.
Other Folk 'superstars' such as The Fureys, Bonnie Dobson, Cy Grant, Martin Carthy, Cyril Tawney and The Spinners gladly shared the gate and shed some sweat at Corries Folk club nights in Edinburgh.
Television has also been a happy medium for Ronnie and Roy with steady series since the late sixties to the present, where their stage, 'littered' with a multitude of instruments, has been graced with a stream of illustrious performers.
But it's The Corries in concert, live, that is undoubtedly the most exhilarating and endearing memory that a Folk or Scottish music fan can have or share. It is on the concert platform that Ronnie and Roy have developed a style of presentation and homely informality that leaves the audience, sometimes numbering in the thousands, believing that they have been to a Folk club in the back room of a pub. Their natural way with an audience allied to their equally natural but sensitive reading of their songs allows the listener to be entertained yet at the same time to be humoured, educated (culturally) and roused. It is an experience everyone should have at least once in a lifetime.
This compact disc is compiled from the live recordings of The Corries, taken from their most popular albums and containing 18 of their hits' — yes we know we've missed this one and that one and Aunty Elsie's favourite too, but modern technology can only do so much when faced with such an overwhelming quantity and quality of material.
It is hoped that from these tracks you will see where The Corries are coming from. What they have done and where they are going to is in the first part well documented and for the latter part really anyone's guess. (Even with this release, Ronnie and Roy create a wee bit of history by becoming the first Scottish Folk group to release a CD.)
The annual Corries tour through Scotland (and odd points South of the border) is as much their pilgrimage to visit old friends and favourite places as it is a well organised 'military' exercise to sold out concert halls and the applause of audiences old and new. Packed into the van goes the 'famous instruments' — guitars, mandolins, borans, banjo, flutes, whistles, harmonicas, concertina, Northumbrian pipes, bandurria, combolins, psattery, 28-string guitar, some lights, some p.a. equipment and an undying enthusiasm. When the audience arrive it's all on show. You get the picture.
So … sit back and enjoy The Corries in all their moods, the humour of Portree Kid and Bricklayer Song, the beautiful melody of Dumbarton's Drum or Glencoe, the challenging, the positive, the plaintive and the anthems, The Roses of Prince Charlie, A Man's a Man and Flower of Scotland.
This is your own personal Corries concert — over and over again.