Watt Nicoll   •   The Ballad of the Bog

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  • The Ballad of the Bog
    • 1968 - Transatlantic XTRA 1062 LP (UK)
  • Side One
    1. Remote Control
    2. Factory Horn
    3. Wee Wains
    4. Scriptures
    5. Idle Welder
    6. Just Made It Legal
    7. Greenfields of Dundee
  • Side Two
    1. The Fifie
    2. Craftsmen of Old
    3. Swandown Girl
    4. Whiskey Drinkers
    5. The Pipe
    6. Ballad of the Bog

  • Musicians
    • Watt Nicoll: Vocals, Whistle & Ocharina
    • Oscar St. Cyr: Guitar, Concertina & Mandola
    • Roy Bayne: Banjo
    • Gordon Young: Bass
    • Alan Robson: Guitar
  • Credits
    • Produced by Nathan Joseph
    • Recorded at Craighall Studios, Edinburgh
    • Engineer: Robert Sibbald
    • Cover Photo: David Graham
    • Design Brian Shuel
    • All songs written by Watt Nicoll

Sleeve Notes

When only five years old I started out on the competitive piping circuit around village halls and highland games in the North of Scotland. At fifteen, much to the disgust of the Glasgow Educational Dept., I turned to speedway and rode for the Glasgow Tigers for the next two years where I picked up a wealth of rugby type songs. For the next five years I led my own trad, jazz band and it was listening to a folk singer during a jazz club interval I first realised the type of singing I had liked for so long actually had a category. As a piper I'd favoured the pibroch, or traditional music, and combined with my lusty love for the bawdy speedway songs I was a sucker for the folk scene and was soon a regular around the clubs with my whistle and a ready song.

As a zoologist I had little time to visit the clubs but I kept up the interest and started writing songs and poetry, even when I started doing my own T.V. show as Pet Man on the children's hour, or my zoology column in the 'Daily Express'. Although I was making money as a zoologist and eventually appearing in three T.V. shows and writing for no less than eight periodicals I unhesitatingly gave it all up for the job of a lifetime, Publicity Agent for Miss Scotland and travelling manager when she went to America for the Miss Universe contest. She was all 'she' and I was only me so we opted out of the American contest and eloped to Las Vegas. After the next year of travelling all over the globe together who could go back to children's hour and pampered poodles? So I became a professional folk singer and song writer and, so far as the folk scene is concerned, I became the 'Controversial' Watt Nicoll.

As well as songs based on my childhood in Dundee, I like to write about anything I feel sufficiently moved with, and, therefore, you'll find in my repertoire political songs, songs of tradition, children, whiskey and, of course, love, not to forget those bog songs. I don't, however, like to think of myself in performance as a singer and musician but rather a 'sudden thing' or a kind of happening', perhaps even a 'controversy' — Bass!

Watt Nicol