Take The Road

(Available on CD only)

Side 1
  1. Smuggler's Road (Menzies)
  2. The Witch (Buchanan/Watson)
  3. Jackson's Bottle Of Claret / Rakes Of Kildare / Drunken Piper/ Bottom Of The Punchbowl (Trad)
  4. The Pheasant Cock (Trad)/Humours Of Cleish (Menzies)
  5. The '45 (R Menzies/Watson)
  6. Black Jack Davy (Heron)
  7. The Auld Man O' Benarty (Menzies)
Side 2
  1. Jim MacKay (Menzies)
  2. Shielings Of Sutherland (Menzies/Paul)
  3. King Of The Fairies / Tha Mi Sgith /Pipe Major D Maclean of Lewis / The Beggar Man (Trad)
  4. Country Of MacRae (Menzies)
  5. Yolande (Scobie/Menzies)
  6. North West Passage (Rogers)

Smuggler's Road The Distilling of Whisky was for many years considered a natural right in the Scottish Highlands. When the commercial potential became apparent to Westminster whisky was taxed and distilled under licence Many unlicensed or illicit stills continued to operate and the smugglers went to great lengths to ensure that their produce, uisge beatha, the water of life, reached its destination without interference from the gaugers The Witch Robin found this old poem and put it to music. It was written by Robert Buchanan (1785- 1873) who was a minister in Peebles-rather surprising considering the text of the poem He later became Professor of Logic at Glasgow University. Instrumental Medley Jackson's Bottle of Claret/Rakes of Kildare/Drunken Piper/ Bottom of the Punchbowl. A bright collection of traditional tunes. The Pheasant Cock/Humours Of Cleish Gordon's mother, Nancy, collected the first and last verses of this old cornkister from the singing of the late Davy Alexander. The '45 This is a short and unbiased view of the 1745 Jacobite rising Written by Robbie Menzies, who was himself once a Gaberlunzie and may be one forever. It was put to music by Robin. Black Jack Davy David was a gaun aboot body who seems to have done all the natural things like stealing a woman's heart This version of a widespread traditional theme was written by Mike Heron of The Incredible String Band. The Auld Man O' Benarty High on the ridge of Benarty Hill in the shire of Kinross lies the recumbent form of the Auld Man. This epic poem of Gordon's gives a clue to his origins. Jim MacKay On the road again, today's worker has to seek employment further afield than ever before in search of the top dollar. Jim had to leave his woman at home, but isn't that the way its always been. Gordon based his song on a true story, or to be more precise, many true stories. Shielings Of Sutherland Sutherland was one of the local points of the Highland Clearances which caused many of her people to take the road. What with one war or another and prevailing economic crisis. one of the main exports from the Highlands is people. Instrumental Medley King Of The Fairies/Tha Mi Sgith/Pipe Major D Maclean of Lewis/The Beggar Man Country Of MacRae This song describes a chance encounter between two supporters of King James, father of Charles Edward Stuart, and the man from whose name we get the word Jacobite. At Sheriffmuir in 1715 the entire jacobite contingent of MacRaes was wiped out. A monument to their memory has been erected close to the battlefield. Scotland's most photographed castle Eilean Donan, on loch Duich, is the seat of the Clan MacRae Yolande King Alexander 111 of Scots took the road from Edinburgh one stormy March night in 12a6 intending to return to his young wife Yolande de Dreux at Kinghorn. Having safely crossed the Forth at Queensferry, he fell to his death from the cliffs near Burntisland. His death resulted in the struggle for power between Bruce and Comyn. The end of the Golden Age. The words are by Willie Scobie from Dumbarton North West Passage A Canadian of Celtic descent, Stan Rogers was tragically killed in a freak aircraft accident. This talented singer/songwriter left a legacy of excellent songs. This is one of our favourites where Stan compares his life on the road to that of the old time pioneers. It is another travelling song.

Recorded at Wester Cockairney 1985
Photograph: Peter Watson
Produced & Engineered by RW & Alistair Campbell