JOSH McRAE is one of a small group of folk-singers who for the past few years have been leading a revival of folk-song in Scotland. He is a founder member of The Reivers, the folk-song group known to millions of Scots for their weekly appearances on Scottish Television's programme, Jig Time.
Josh, however, owes his development as a singer not only to his own Gaelic ancestry, and by listening to, and learning from, the great Scottish traditional singers, but also to his study of such American artists as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie.
To all his songs, wherever they come from, he applies the same artistic integrity and understanding. Twenty-seven-years-old, a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, Josh is by day an art teacher. At night, however, his home in Glasgow becomes a kind of song workshop where most of the young folk singers of the city meet to listen, to learn and to sing.
Champion at Keepin' 'em Rollin'
A new song in the folk-song idiom. First written by Ewan MacColl for a radio documentary in 1949, it has since established itself both among the long-distance lorry drivers themselves and among British folk-singers. It is perhaps the most successful of all recent work songs. The tune is the traditional Irish The Limerick Rake.
The Irish are like the Scots; wherever they go, a ceilidh starts. This Newfoundland song of a riotous evening, clearly shows the influence of the Irish immigrants in more ways than one.
The Day We Went To Rothesay, Oh
This street/music-hall song is almost the anthem of a beloved Glasgow institution — going doon the watter. Every Fair (the Glasgow Holiday period) sees thousands of Glaswegians going down the river to the resorts on the beautiful Clyde estuary. This song tells the story of one fantastic weekend in what, despite the ribald comments, remains the Mecca of the exodus, the town of Rothesay. The tune is the much older The Tinklers Waddin.
A satirical ballad of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. Sir John Cope was the general in command of the unfortunate English Army at Prestonpans. He and his men were routed in a five minutes battle by one wild and contemptuous charge of Bonnie Prince Charlie's Highlanders. Hence the song.