album cover Clan Alba (1995)

Engineer Mickey Sweeney & Dick Gaughan
Mastered by Roy Ashby
Mixed & Produced by Dick Gaughan

Artist : Clan Alba


Track Notes

5 to 6 (Trad arr. Clan Alba)

An Drochaid Chliuteach / Crathadh t'aodaich

Patsy Seddon : Vocal, claves
Mary MacMaster : Vocal, cowbell
Davy Steel : Vocal, maracas
Dick Gaughan : Vocal, guitar
Brian McNeill : Fiddle
Fred Morrison : Pipes
Dave Tulloch : Congas
Mike Travis : Cabasa

One afternoon during the initial rehearsals for the band, Brian McNeill and Gary West were playing around with An Drochaid Chliuteach and I began to tinker with a 5/4 line against it. The melody is actually in 6/4 and each part is 4 bars giving a cycle of 24 beats (6x4). The guitar line against this therefore became 4 x 5 beat phrases and a 4 beat phrase. Dave Tulloch then began to subdivide into other cycles and we ended up with several different rhythmic cycles all interweaving on different instruments - congas, guitar, claves, maracas, cabasa and cowbell variously playing 2,3,4,5 and 7 beat cycles against the basic 6/4.


songtext Dressed to Kill (Davy Steel)

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, guitar
Mary MacMaster : Vocal, harp
Patsy Seddon : Vocal, harp
Davy Steel : Vocal
Brian McNeill : Fiddle
Fred Morrison : Pipes
Mike Travis : Drums
Dave Tulloch : Timpani, percussion


Harpset

Hopscotch with Jenny (Gaughan) / Trip to Gorthleck (MacMaster) / The Girl with the Flowing Arms (Steel) / Travis's Fancy (Seddon)

Dick Gaughan: Guitar
Fred Morrison: Whistle
Patsy Seddon: Harp
Mary MacMaster: Harp, clarsach
Mike Travis: Drums
Davy Steel: Guitar
Dave Tulloch: Percussion


Oran na Cloiche (Donald MacIntyre)

Patsy Seddon: Vocal
Mary MacMaster: Vocal, harp
Mike Travis: Vocal, drums
Dave Tulloch: Vocal, percussion
Dick Gaughan: Vocal, guitar
Davy Steel: Vocal
Brian McNeill : Vocal, fiddle
Fred Morrison: Whistle

"Oran na Cloiche" - "The Song of the Stone". A song commemorating the taking of the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey by a group of Scottish students, including Ian Hamilton and Kay Mathieson. The song repeats the legend that for so long as the stone is in Scotland we will stay together as a people.


songtext Lark And The Bowman (Davy Steel)

Davy Steel: Vocal
Patsy Seddon: Vocal, harp
Mary MacMaster: Vocal, harp
Dick Gaughan: Vocal, guitar
Mike Travis: Drums
Dave Tulloch: Glock, chimes, congas, harmonica
Brian McNeill : Concertina

Davy Steel's song about the illusion of division between Highland and Lowland and the reality that we are one people.


songtext Cam Ye Ower Frae France

Highland Muster Roll (Trad arr Clan Alba) / Piobaireachd Dhomhnaill Dhubh (Trad arr Clan Alba) / Salute to Wallace (Gaughan) / Cam Ye Owre Frae France (Trad arr Clan Alba) / Nellie's Quickstep (Gaughan)

Dick Gaughan: Vocal, guitar
Patsy Seddon: Vocal
Mary MacMaster: Vocal, harp
Davy Steel: Vocal, bouzouki
Brian McNeill : Fiddle
Fred Morrison: Pipes
Mike Travis: Drums
Dave Tulloch: Side drum, timpani


True Thomas (Trad arr Clan Alba)

Mary MacMaster: Vocal, harp
Patsy Seddon: Harp
Dick Gaughan: Guitar
Mike Travis: Drums
Dave Tulloch: Percussion


Fred's Jigs (Trad arr Clan Alba)

Cailleach an dudain / Nighean na Cailliche / Nighean ruadh bhán

Fred Morrison: Pipes
Brian McNeill : Fiddle
Mary MacMaster: Vocal, harp
Patsy Seddon: Vocal, harp
Davy Steel: Vocal, bouzouki
Dick Gaughan: Vocal, guitar
Mike Travis: Drums
Dave Tulloch: Timpani, percussion


songtext Bye, Bye Big Blue (Brian McNeill)

Davy Steel: Vocal
Dick Gaughan: Vocal, guitar
Brian McNeill : Vocal, cittern
Patsy Seddon: Vocal, harp
Mary MacMaster: Vocal
Mike Travis: Drums

A lament for the closure of Ravenscraig steelworks ("Big Blue") and the economic consequences.


Air a' Ghille Tha Mo Run (Trad arr Clan Alba)

Mary MacMaster: Vocal
Patsy Seddon: Vocal, harp
Davy Steel: Guitar
Brian McNeill : Fiddle
Dick Gaughan: Guitar
Dave Tulloch: Congas
Mike Travis: Drums


Clan Alba

Clan Alba March (Clan Alba) / Lexy MacAskill (John MacAskill) / Latha suibhal beinne dhomh / Hawk Hornpipe (James Hill)

Patsy Seddon: Vocal, harp
Mary MacMaster: Vocal, harp
Davy Steel: Vocal, bouzouki
Dick Gaughan: Vocal, guitar
Fred Morrison : Pipes
Brian McNeill : Fiddle
Mike Travis: Drums
Dave Tulloch: Side drum, percussion


No Gonnae Leave Here (Davy Steel)

Davy Steel: Vocal, bouzouki
Dick Gaughan: Vocal, guitar
Mary MacMaster: Vocal, harp
Patsy Seddon: Vocal, harp
Brian McNeill : Fiddle
Fred Morrison : Pipes
Mike Travis: Drums
Dave Tulloch: Timpani, percussion


Growing Wings (Dick Gaughan)

Fred Morrison : Pipes
Dave Tulloch: Timpani, glock
Patsy Seddon: Harp
Mary MacMaster: Harp
Dick Gaughan: Guitar
Brian McNeill : Fiddle
Mike Travis: Drums


Canan Nan Gaidheal (Murdo MacFarlane)

Dick Gaughan: Vocal, guitar
Davy Steel: Vocal, mandola
Patsy Seddon: Vocal, harp
Mary MacMaster: Vocal, harp
Fred Morrison : Pipes
Brian McNeill : Fiddle
Mike Travis: Drums
Dave Tulloch: Timpani, percussion

"Come with me, come away to the West,
Where we shall hear the language of the great warriors;
Come with me, come away to the West
Where we shall hear the language of the Gaels
"


Tar The House

Tar the House (Allan MacDonald) / Lament for Ronald MacDonald of Morar / The Traditional

Fred Morrison : Pipes
Dave Tulloch: Percussion
Mike Travis: Drums
Dick Gaughan: Guitar
Mary MacMaster: Harp
Brian McNeill : Fiddle
Patsy Seddon: Harp


songtext Childhood's End (Dick Gaughan)

Dick Gaughan: Vocal, guitar
Mary MacMaster: Vocal, harp
Davy Steel: Vocal
Patsy Seddon: Vocal
Brian McNeill: Vocal

Written for Armistice Sunday 1994 after a lifetime spent watching politicians lay wreaths to the dead of war while making plans to create more.


Historical Footnote

Recorded at Redesdale Studios, Elsdon, Northumberland.

celtic knotwork

In the early 90s, I was going through one of my periodic bouts in which I realise playing music is basically a cooperative art and I was frustrated being exclusively solo. One night I was booked to play a gig in the NE of England together with the wonderful Scottish duo, Patsy Seddon and Mary MacMaster, known as Sileas. Davy Steel was travelling with Sileas and as it was a very small club we had to sit in the front row, right under their noses, while they did their set. It suddenly occurred to me that what I was listening to could well form the core of a rather large ensemble. I invited them to join me to play Both Sides the Tweed and the sound of those two harps and the superb counterpoints Patsy and Mary play so well filled my head and my imagination began to run riot.

I had always wanted to work again with Dave Tulloch and I had worked a lot with Mike Travis - the idea of getting them together excited me. They both had played a lot of jazz and were therefore very creative and open to new possibilities and Dave and I had an intuitive musical understanding from all our experience of being together in Five Hand Reel. Brian McNeill was an obvious addition to that lineup, as was Davy Steel, and we added Gary West, who had worked with Davy in Ceolbeg.

Archie Fisher was at that time the Director of the Edinburgh Folk Festival and he was interested enough in the idea of Clan Alba to book us for the Festival. Cy Laurie, owner of the Tron Bar in Edinburgh, let us use the downstairs room in the pub to rehearse in and we moved in there for a week. It was clear that with the amount of experience in that lineup, whatever came out of it would be good enough to do the Festival concert but it soon became clear that we were coming up with some very exciting ideas. The Edinburgh gig was wonderful and Clan Alba ("The Children of Scotland") became a reality. Gary decided that his studies meant he couldn't afford the time the band demanded so he left and Fred Morrison came in.

I had become a partner in Redesdale Studios in Northumberland and we moved in there to start recording. We all lived in the studio for the first ten days of working, putting in at least 14 hours a day, and it was one of the most amazing times I have ever experienced. The creative energy of 8 very experienced and inventive musicians was let loose and I regard it as a great privilege to have been part of it.

celtic knotwork

The release and marketing of the album turned into a nightmare which I cannot go into here but it still makes me angry and was the cause of my terminating all dealings with CM Distribution. And it made it impossible for the band to continue.


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