Somewhere about the fringe of the fringe of the fringe of the Edinburgh Festival there was great deal of folk music going on. Officially, and in the official fringe festival" there was quite a bit. But right at the outer edges of the festival there were always a lot of unannounced good things to be had, provided by people who no doubt believed that Edinburgh presents them with an ideal platform for their wares.
The difference between the 1963 festival and those of former years seems to be, as far as folk music is concerned, that a lot of Edinburgh folk got together with a fair number of Glasgow folk—there's a very thriving folk scene in Clydeside and a fast road and diesel service link Glasgow to the Scottish capital.
And somewhere along the line other singers from all over Scotland and England heard on the folk grapevine that Edinburgh '63 was a thing not to be missed. The result was something very much like a folk festival superimposed on the drama and classical music and exhibitions. Much of this folk festival took place in odd pubs and coffee bars and most of it was unadvertised, but those lucky enough to find it lapped it up.
The mobile recording van did not find it by luck, of course, but by design. The first fruits of the design are on Edinburgh Folk Music Festival"—Vol. 1 (Decca LK 4546). This present disc is a natural follow-up.
BACK TO BACK is probably one of the best things the West Indians ever brought to Britain. This ghostly jamboree, celebrated in a cemetery, is sung by NADIA CATTOUSE, well known here as a singer and actress. She appeared at Edinburgh in 1963 in the 'Behan Bein' Behan' show.
WHEN I WAS NOO BUT SWEET SIXTEEN, a lovely traditional Scots song, sung here by RAY FISHER, a young Scot who has achieved considerable success on the folk music scene in Scotland and North-East England.
MY HUSBAND'S GOT NO COURAGE IN HIM, a nice bit of allusive songwriting, popularised by A. L. Lloyd. It is sung by LOUIS KILLEN, a fine lyrical singer from Tyneside who is well known all over the folk scene.
JOHNNY REMENSKY, more usually called 'Let Remensky Go', is a song written by Roddy Macmillan about the five escapes from Peterhead jail of Remensky the safe-breaker, who was 'employed' during World War II as a cracksman-commando to break safes in enemy territory, given a free pardon at the end of the war and subsequently jailed again for safe-breaking. His escapes were spectacular, his freedom short-lived, but many people thought, perhaps sentimentally, that he should have been given another pardon. Hamish Imlach, who sings the song, is rather like Burl Ives in appearance, but more rugged in voice.
LET NO MAN STEAL YOUR THYME, a very beautiful English song, sung here by ANN BRIGGS, who has one of the best voices among today's young singers.
FIDDLE TUNES. A vigorous medley of Scots and Irish tunes from three-fifths of the Ian Campbell Folk Group, Dave Swarbrick (fiddle), John Dunkerley (banjo) and Brian Clark (guitar).
ALL THE WEEK is one of the songs written by Ewan for the radio ballad 'Singing the Fishing'. JILL DOYLE, who sings it, is one of the band of people responsible for fostering a love of folk song among Edinburgh's young people during the last four or five years.
MACPHERSON'S RANT. The legendary hero of this song is said to have broken his fiddle at the foot of the gallows, rather than let anyone else play it. The authorities, hell-bent on the execution and knowing that a reprieve was on the way, put forward the clock so they could hang Macpherson. Hamish Imlach is the singer.
YOU CANNAE KICK AROUND HERE, one of the thousand songs written by Glasgow school teacher Matt McGinn, who sings it here.
I LOVED A LASS, a lovely traditional song found in many versions a 11 over Britain. Sung here by ARCHIE FISHER, a young singer who has done a great deal to promote folk music in Scotland.
HAMBA LILLI, a South African kwela song meant, as you will hear, to be danced to. The repetitive words mean, 'Move, Lily, move.' JEAN HART, who sings the song, is better known to audiences at the Establishment Club in London, but she enjoys singing folk songs and has appeared at several folk song concerts in London and Edinburgh.
SHOALS OF HERRING. If this song, written by Ewan for 'Singing the Fishing' is not No.1 on the folk hit parade, it is pretty near the top. This arrangement for the Ian Campbell Folk Group features Ian Campbell as singer.
MOUTH MUSIC. Born in the island of Lewis, DOLINA MACLENNAN has been singing in Gaelic and English for several years in Edinburgh. Here she displays the mouth music used traditionally as an accompaniment for dancing.
INVERAY, the famous ballad of the Baron O' Brackley (Child No. 203), sung here by a fine young Scot OWEN HAND.
KISHMUL'S GALLEY is one of the Hebridean songs made famous in a rather poetic English version by Kennedy-Fraser. Here it is sung with vigour and conviction by ARCHIE FISHER and his sister RAY.