Most of this record was recorded during a concert in Edinburgh in 1984. This concert was a particularly significant one for me because it was my first full solo concert after an illness which had caused me to lose my voice for many months, with the fear that I might not sing again. I was naturally very apprehensive — but the warmth and support from the audience lifted me up and carried me through the evening, giving me one of the most emotional and inspiring experiences of my life. This record is therefore a thank you to those who were there that night and to all the others who supported and encouraged me and my family during my illness. Too many people to mention individually deserve credit for their involvement but special thanks must go to Roy Ashby for engineering it and tolerating my peculiar way of working; to Danny Kyle for all his invaluable help; to John Barrow, John and Marianne Ramsay, Barry Cormack, Left Turns, Jack Mitchell, Dave and Ruth Bulmer; above all to Dorris, Laura and Seán for sticking with it and to Nancy Iverson for the massive work she did in helping us to keep body and soul together.
Revolution — While on a visit to the USA. I found a poem written in the 1890's by a worker/poet called Joseph Bovshover; it was one of the most direct and ferocious pieces of writing I have ever seen so I gave it a tune and updated some of the words.
Now Westlin Winds — Although there are many in our country who ignore his greatest works, poems like this one prove that Robert Burns ranks among the world's great poets — the rest of the world recognises that.
Which Side Are You On? — As Edinburgh is in the middle of the Lothian coalfield and this concert was given during the Miner's Strike, I put these new words to Florence Reece's Harlan County strike anthem from the 30's. Ken Loach used it later on for his film about the miners, "Which side are you on?", which was nearly never shown — what price our "free" media ? Well fought, Ken.
Victor Jara of Chile — Anytime Fascism rears its ugly head, the first victims are always the working class activists — the Communists, Socialists, Trade Union leaders — and the artists who take a stand on the side of the working class. On September 11th, 1973, Victor Jara, singer, songwriter, theatre director and Communist, was arrested during the Fascist Coup in Chile and held in the Santiago Stadium. Two days later after being subjected to appalling brutality, he was murdered. This is dedicated to those who say music and politics should not be mixed — tell that to the CIA and their thugs who murdered Jara because his repertoire didn't suit their interests. Viva Chile Libre!
Companeros — Written by Ewan MacColl in honour of the Cuban Revolution, the first stage of the victory of the American peoples over Imperialism.
The Workers Song — Have you ever noticed how, in times of War, the working class are the "heroic British (or American, or German, or Australian, or …) people" yet, whenever we have fought for the right to vote, the right to work, the right to education or any other right, we become "extremists" or a "politically motivated minority" ?
Your Daughters and Your Sons — Bob Cooney, one of the finest people I ever knew, once wrote, "Freedom's an infectious thing — no frontier can contain it". The long march to Freedom began when we crawled out of the swamp — we're nearly there.
Four Green Fields — In my opinion, this is one of the best songs written about Ireland in a long time. The "Four Green Fields" are, of course, the four provinces of Connaught, Munster, Leinster, and Ulster. You'll notice that I put Connaught first, where it should be — my people are from there but that didn't influence my decision at all naturally.
The Ballad of Accounting — I regard this as one of Ewan MacColl's finest songs.
Jamie Foyers — Another song by Ewan MacColl; in honour of all those who volunteered to fight with the International Brigades against Fascism in the Spanish "Civil War". I dedicate it to the memory of Bob Cooney who fought there and went on to fight Fascism on many another front.
Glenlogie — One of our great Scottish ballads — I don't remember where I learned this, it seems I've always known it. I do remember that I added the second part of the tune.
World Turned Upside Down — The first, and fatal, mistake of the Diggers was the assumption that the ruling class would behave like reasonable, moral human beings in response to logical argument.