Sample Tracks







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01: The World Came To Springburn

Oh my grandfather worked on the big locomotives
Put his bib and brace and boots on, off to Hyde Park every day
He built steel shining giants to bind our world
In the Age of Steam that seems so far away
My mother said the young ones stood there cheering
As some gleaming black Leviathan
Was rolled out of its bay
To be carried to Australia, India, or Egypt
For the world came to Springburn in its day

For a time before the war came, my uncles stood beside him
Taking on the family business -
as they would wryly say
The seven hills would ring out to the sound of thousands working
Children singing in the back courts as they played
Who in winter would go sliding on their satchels
Down the hill at Paddy Orr's
High above the company gates
And the streets were full of people
And the people full of purpose
For the world came to Springburn in its day

But though the war was won the factories foundered
For Diesel conquered Steam and the work just fell away
And my mother's people scattered,
as so many Scots before them,
West Australia, South America, all through the USA

Now for 20 years I worked there, in the same place as my forebears
Ah, but now it's called the College, where the youth are shown a trade
But there's precious little work still, and they've torn down half the buildings
And the wind blows through the spaces they have made
Westminster's man said he'd solve all the problems
But you'd hardly credit anything he'd say
He was down in London climbing
Up the ladder to a lordship
With Springburn just a step along his way
But the world came to Springburn in its day

04: Orkneyjar

Salt wind stings my eyes blowing up from the sea
Crossing the firth from Gill's Bay
Or it might be the memories surging in me
Taking me back to the days
When all of our summers were sunshine
And the nights were just painted with stars
And the Ola would surge through the water
To carry us to Orkneyjar
Orkneyjar, Orkneyjar
The Ola would surge through the water
And carry us to Orkneyjar

Those long days out in Harray with my cousin, Hugh
Catching trout that would fight on the line
Or nights over Scapa with Jock Skinner too
Pulling saithe that the full moon made shine
I'd ride the long miles off to Finstown
And never once think it was far
In those days that were practically endless
When time never touched Orkneyjar.
Orkneyjar, Orkneyjar
In those days that were practically endless
When time never touched Orkneyjar

Oh, I was a wee lad all skinny and shy
But they stuffed me like some Christmas fowl
From Graemsay to Stronsay they thought I would die
If I wasn't fed every hour
Bere bannocks and butter wi farm cheese and eggs
Or a haunch of roast beef they would carve
Each summer I grew like a Viking
On the riches of old Orkneyjar. Orkneyjar, Orkneyjar
Each summer I grew like a Viking
On the riches of old Orkneyjar

It's been many years since I've seen Kirkwall Bay
For life and toil kept us apart
But Orkney reached out and I've come back today
To find that she's still in my heart
The years have been kindly to Hugh and his Jean
And their smiles would outshine a star
As I'm welcomed like some long-lost Prodigal
To the bosom of old Orkneyjar.
Orkneyjar, Orkneyjar
As I'm welcomed like some long-lost Prodigal
To the bosom of old Orkneyjar

05: Bess Millie

She selt winds tae sailors, an luck charms tae whalers
An blissins tae Hudson's Bay men
They wid come tae Bess Millie, an pey her right freely
Tae mak sure they'd see land again
Fore they'd tak sail fae Orkney, they'd struggle up Brinkie's Brae
An the spaewife the islands aa kent
For sixpence wid sell them a breeze in a bag
An they'd aa coont hid money weel spent

Whin the revenue cutter cam up tae the islands
Tae pit doon the smugglers' schemes
She curst Captain Phillips, an threitent his crew
Tae send them aa tae Fidler's Green
But the Captain he stuid firm an telt her he'd burn doon
Her hoos gin she didna gie in
Sa they made an accord, an she blisst aa on board
Even offert tae sell him a wind

Eyes blue as the seas whar folk claimt she'd bin seen
Conversin wi selkies an trows
Near a hunder year owld whin she telt Walter Scott
The tale o the pirate, John Gow
No a teeth in her heid, bit still shairp as a blade
An the author wrote doon every line
Then she bylt up her tea an she spak him a spell
Sa the rest o his travels war fine

She selt winds tae sailors, an luck charms tae whalers
An aa their hopes oan her war peend
Bess Millie the spaewife o owld Stromness toun
A real seafarers' fair-wither freend

06: Tho We Lang Syne Landit oan Fair Isle

The King forswore his oath and drave us tae the fields
The bishops and the lairds aa power they wid wield
In State and in the Kirk and in the minds o aa
The Covenant we'd signed left us ootside their law
Claverhoose's men aa mounted on their greys
Wid ride us doun at prayer, their swords sae fiercely raised
Ah still hear the cries o bairns an see the fawin blades
Tho we lang syne landit oan Fair Isle

Throu fines an forfeiture they reived us o wir land
Wi thumbikens and boot they maimed wir limbs and hands
Twa bonny maids at Wigtoun drount in Solway Firth
Claverhoose jist laughed, we cursed his bluidy birth
Soon, at auld Drumclog, poort watter oan his fire
As he fled back tae Glesga strugglin through the mire
Ah mind weel hou lood we cheert tae see wir foe retire
Tho we lang syne landit oan Fair Isle

Then militiamen wi Monmouth maircht tae brek wir lines
At Bothwell Brig we stood and held them for a time
Wantin skeelie sodjers, pouder, guns and shot
We could fecht nae mair, sae ran 'fore we war caught
Herrit tae the coast, freends helpt us oan wir wey
But aa the road tae Orkney, Royalists held sway.
Mony deed o hunger, mony gaed astray
Afore we landit oan Fair Isle
Noo twenty years hiv gaun, Ah still greet for thae days
Tho we lang syne landit oan Fair Isle

07: Cape Breton

Making a cover to go on a cradle
Mairi sits quiet, her hands never still
She is a weaver, most skilful and able
While John works their wee bit of land with a will
But the tacksman has told them he'll soon be away
And he's warned that they've less than a year
For the Laird down in London needs money to play with
To sup with his English compeers

Cape Breton, Ontario, or North Carolina
The reason you're sent there is clear
The Laird down in London needs money to play with
To sup with his English compeers

Oh, John he just laughs and he dries Mairi's tears
For the Marquess would ne'er hurt his kinfolk, his clan
But he knows that his chieftain's not been here for years
People say that the city wreaks change in a man
When the baby arrives he quiets his doubt
And toils that they all may be fed
Comes the news that the folk down the coast were burnt out
And they look at each other in dread

Came factor and agents, impatient and rough,
When John made to fight them, they clubbed him right down
The last Mairi saw of the house where she'd loved
Was the smoke and the flames as it burned to the ground
Herded like beasts they were forced on a ship
That the Marquess most generously paid
So he could turn over his acres to sheep
By transporting his kinfolk away

The barrels of water they drank from were clouded
And soon there was sickness amongst young and old
Six days out of port, her small body shrouded
John lowered their child to the dark and the cold
Now fair is the place they have here by the sea
And they've built a good life it is clear
But however rich this New World lets them be
The price that they paid was too dear

08: Ah Wid Dance Wi Ye, Darlin

Ah wid dance wi ye, darlin,
Through the lang winter's night
We wid fly through the darkness
And on intae the light
Sae lang Ah've happ't ye in ma hert
An held ye in ma mind
Sae wid ye dance wi me, darlin
Wid ye be sae kind?

Well, Ah wid dance wi ye, laddie
For Ah find ye passin fair
But Ah'm ma faither's daughter
An Ah'm canny wi ma care
Hae ye land, hoose and riches?
Hae ye yowes, hae ye kine?
For it lacks mair nor a gallus look
Tae win this hert o mine

Alas, ma wealth is oan ma back
Ma future's in ma hands
Ah hae nae coin, nae hoose, nae beasts
Nae servants, gowd or lands
But if ye'll promise me yer hert
Tae hold it for a year
Then Ah'll return a rich man
An Ah'll dance wi ye, ma dear

A year's a lengthy measure
Tae withold ma love from aa
That wid play the part o suitor
Aa sae gallant an sae braw
But Ah own Ah find ye bonnie
An weel-favour't in yer weys
Sae Ah'll no dance wi ony man
This twelve-month and a day

An he's gaun tae be a sodjer
In the regiment o France
An he's taen his share o plunder
Baith by hazard and by chance
But there's naethin comes frae naethin
As his scars they plainly show
For he's no the bonnie lad he wis
A lang twelvemonth ago

Ah wid dance wi ye, darlin,
Through the lang winter's night
We wid fly through the darkness
And on intae the light
But as ye see Ah'm no the lad
Ye once foond passin fair
But dance a measure wi me
Then Ah'll be gone frae here

Well, Ah'll dance wi ye, laddie
For the constant that ye've been
For the hardships ye have borne
An the times that ye have seen
Aye, yer face is no yer fortune
But Ah own it suits me fine
For it wisna just yer gallus look
That won this hert o mine

09: Her Father Called Me Frankenstein

Her father called me Frankenstein
I got the impression he did not like me
He was five foot six I was six foot three
And he had a little fusty black beard

Her father called me Frankenstein
Her mother said I reminded him of
Him in his youth when he ran quite wild
And he thought he was another James Dean
(still did)

Lay a hand on his daughter
And he'd lead you to the slaughter
Even Elvis wasn't good enough for him
She was dark, she was sweet,
She was good enough to eat
But I really didn't want to lose a limb
(or worse)

I would sing Wild Mountain Thyme
For his folky friends up from Sandy Bell's
T'was the only folk song I knew then
And I hoped that it would drum up support

But he still called me Frankenstein
And strangely enough I grew to like him
In old bottles there's fine wine
But in his case it was crusty old port

Her father called me Frankenstein
All the time I was with his daughter
Then I saw him in the pub one night
After she and I'd been parted some time
And it was . . .
"Hello, laddie, you're looking fine,
come on over here, son, I'm glad to see you"
And he gave me the words to "She Moves Through the Fair"
But the drinks were still on Frankenstein

10: The Church of San Pedro, el Viejo

I look at your picture, you've a gun in your hand
You laugh with your girlfriends, you were beautiful then
The future was frightening wherever you ran
So you stayed in Madrid, and cried "No Pasarán"
Now for near forty years you tried to hold on
To the dream of a time when the fachas had gone
And you light a candle for Paco and Juan
In the Church of San Pedro, el Viejo

At the Casa de Campo, you held them at bay
While behind you the courtiers had all run away
And you and your friends fought the Moros that day
Side by side with the brave brigadistas
It was war and a lover did not seem so wrong
Paco was funny, and Paco was strong
And beneath a thin blanket you made a sweet song
Till they sent him to die at Jarama

Days turned to months and the city held on
All the cafés were crowded in despite of the bombs
People talked of the world and how it just looked on
Though the shells fell each night on Gran Vía
And a young anarquista held you by his side
Down in the metro while the bombers flew by
And you prayed to the Virgin while he laughed and cried
That religion was just for the children

The day that Madrid fell, Juan told you to hide
In the house of your uncle, on the carlista side
And you never heard if he lived or he died
'Twas as if he had never existed
Now there's some satisfaction, in the Transición
That his grandchildren know of the Revolución
But the candle you light, you know, he'd frown upon
In the Church of San Pedro, el Viejo

11: Me and Kenny

Last night I dreamed the soft warmth of your skin
And I woke thinking I was home again
But the cold grey light of dawn
Threw one shadow on the wall
Of the cheap cold-water room that I was in

Kenny sets the sound up while I change
He's built like some primeval mountain range
He'd never say it's true
That he'd miss his lady too
But he's always on the phone with my loose change

Me and Kenny driving through the valleys
Another night another empty stage
I'm getting mighty worn
Wishing I was home
Kenny laughs and says it's just my age
Kenny laughs and says
It's just my age

The circuit's full of little mining towns
And each evening a warm welcome I have found
While I lose myself in song
It doesn't seem so wrong
But in my sleep my traitor dreams just hunt me down

Tomorrow night I'll lie where I belong
And strive to fit these words into a song
A song to touch the soul
Of the one who keeps me whole
That I've dreamed of every mile this road rolls on

Last night I dreamed the soft warmth of your skin
And I woke thinking I was home again
But tomorrow the road ends
And on this you can depend
Then I'll touch the soft warmth of your skin

12: Big Dead Bob

What's that cheery cry
Who's that coming in the door?
Big Dead Bob is in the building
Looking bigger than before
As I look around the table
Every face is ashen white
Oh, my God, it's Big Dead Bob
Hell's mended him all right

Word came from bold Mick Fagin
Who'd heard it from Joe Mac
That Bob had crossed the Great Divide, and wasn't coming back
Joe heard it from Big Sandy
And Sandy from bold Mick
Since the circle was unbroken
Well, the word went round quite quick

He was coming out the Clutha Vaults
On Friday night so dark
He'd more than wet his whistle, and had sung out like a lark -
the phrase, "I fancy a fish supper!"
Had scarce escaped his lips,
When, so they said, he dropped down dead,
And cashed in all his chips

It was at the Monday session
Bernie ran in Laurie's Bar
Full of alcoholic angst, they sang this "Au revoir"
"Oh, Will Ye No' Come back Again," - then jumped out of their skin
For Big Dead Bob had just sat down
And he was joining in!

Now I'm the corpse in question
And I suppose you've guessed
That I haven't kicked the bucket yet, this ghost has not gone west
But it's cheered my heart, when I depart
To see how they'll mourn me
Till then, everybody join in with this haunting melody!


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