album cover Gaughan (1978)

[Topic 12TS384]

Engineer John Gill
Producer Tony Engle

Artist : Dick Gaughan

Dick Gaughan : Vocal, Guitars
Barry Lyons : Bass

Track Notes

songtext Bonnie Jeannie o Bethelnie (Trad. arr. Gaughan)

As this is one of the very first songtexts I put in the Songs archive, I put everything I have to say about this into the notes there.

Bonnie Lass Amang the Heather (Trad. arr. Gaughan)

Learned from Gordon MacAuley of Campbelltown. The tune is a variant of 'Skippin barfit thro the heather' and is also used for the song Auchengeich Disaster which is on The Bonnie Pit Laddie and True and Bold

songtext Crooked Jack (Behan/Trad)

A very bitter song by Dominic Behan to the tune of The Star of the County Down. The building of the hydro-electric dams in the Scottish Highlands attracted labour from all over Britain and Ireland with the prospect of good money and outdoor work amid spectacular scenery. The reality was a nightmare of exhausting toil and danger. This had Barry Lyons from Five Hand Reel on bass.

songtext The Recruited Collier (Trad. arr. Gaughan)

This is actually from the NE of England. I learned it, I believe, from either Christine Hendry or Kathy Bainbridge, both of whom were resident singers at St Andrews Folk Club in the 60s. (My memory was playing tricks when I first wrote that comment but I've since remembered that, while Christine was indeed at St Andrews, Kathy was in Edinburgh and sang regularly at folk clubs there.)

songtext The Pound a Week Rise (Ed Pickford)

When the coal industry was nationalised into the National Coal Board, conditions and wages made an improvement but it wasn't to last long. When Alf (Lord) Robens took over as head of the NCB his relationship with the National Union of Mineworkers was little different from any private employer and he laid the foundation for policy in the mining industry which led inevitably to the strikes of 1972 and 1974 which led in turn to the full-blown confrontation with the Thatcher Government in 1984/5. There is a nice irony in the 'I was once a miner' line. Also on True and Bold.

songtext My Donald (Owen Hand)

The east coast of Scotland had a large whaling industry at one time centred round the port of Dundee and, to a lesser extent, Leith. There are still many songs survive from that time but most of the Scots songs do not have the triumphalist approach of many of the songs from other places, concentrating, like this one, on the hardships and dangers of the life. As a very young man Owen Hand sailed with one of the last whaling fleets. He was part of the early-mid 60s London scene and a regular at Les Cousins together with Bert Jansch (both from Edinburgh). He made one album for Xtra before giving up performing around 69.

songtext Willie o' Winsbury (Trad. arr. Gaughan)

The last time I sang this song was in Liverpool to a solidly working-class audience. When I got to the line where Willie rejects the King's insulting assumption that he was merely after advancement and tells him where to shove his land, the audience stood and cheered! I realised at that point that never again would I be able to sing it as finally an audience had understood the key and it would be an anticlimax for ever more.

songtext Such a Parcel O Rogues In A Nation (Trad. arr. Gaughan)

Written by Robert Burns as a reflection on the signing of the Treaty of Union (1707) which theoretically dissolved the parliaments of Scotland and England/Wales, replacing them with the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The Scottish Parliamentarians who signed the Treaty were literally bribed to sign it, with only a handful of them having the backbone to dissent, notably Fletcher of Saltoun. The principle of the Sovereignty of the people over government enshrined in the Declaration of Arbroath was completely set aside in favour of personal advancement. The Treaty was, in truth, illegal as those parliamentarians signed away a right which was not theirs to give and the entire Union of Great Britain rests squarely upon a fraud against the Scottish people.

It is interesting that the Declaration of Arbroath, written in 1320, refers explicitly to the elected nature of the Scottish monarch and to the principle of Sovereignty resting absolutely with the people - this principle was eventually incorporated into the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. The debt which those documents owe to the Declaration of Arbroath is one which is still not as widely recognised as it should be (the 'he' refered to is Robert Bruce, King of Scots) :

"Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

songtext Gillie Mor (Hamish Henderson)

This is another song where I put most of the information into the song notes with the text in the song archive. The guitar tuning used was DAAEAE.

Historical Footnote

My fourth solo recording, done at Riverside Studios in London and one of two I made during the Five Hand Reel years, the other being Coppers and Brass

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