the Washington DC radio disc jockey (& GlescaPal) John McLaughlin
This CD, of
traditional and original music by a quartet of friends from the Glasgow
suburb of Cambuslang, opens with a rousing rendition of "The Rose of
Annandale," with vocals by the four members (Jim Ferguson, Alistair
MacFarlane, Will McArthur, and Ian Robb, alphabetically), and this is
followed by a plaintive "Liberty," again with a rousing chorus to sing
along with. This is followed by a lovely version of "No Man's Land," the
song many may know best sung by Eric Bogle; he would be impressed by
what Piggerybrae do with it.
"The Rolling Hills of the Boarders" follows, then "Four Strong Winds,"
and the anthemic "Fiddler's Green," a wish-fulfilling old salts' song,
before we get to what is, for me personally, the highlight of the CD,
the exiles' lament, "I Wish I Was in Glasgow," which can bring tears to
the eyes of Scotsmen in our international diaspora from Australia to
South Africa, the US, New Zealand and Canada. It closes with the hushed
line, "Glesga Pals!" uttered by Will McArthur, the web-master for the
elaborately-developed discussion board of that name (of which the
present writer is a proud member - try it, you'll love it!
Four traditional songs follow, "Yellow on the Broom," "Jock o' Hazeldean,"
"The Gallawa' Hills" (sung in march tempo), and Rabbie Burns' "Scots
What Hae," introduced by a spoken word recitation of the story behind
the song." This concludes the in-studio part of the recording, 11 songs
in total. These are followed by four live cuts, recorded at Trinity St
Paul's Church in Cambuslang, Sept 14, 2005, as the notes inform us.
The powerful story of Scottish hospitality betrayed by fellow Scots in
clan warfare, "The Massacre of Glencoe," is followed by a wonderful,
comic singalong, "The Wee Room," the congregation rumbling along, as
Fergie instructs them in how to drop their posh, suburban pronunciation
patterns, and get back tae bein' right Glesga fowk - "Wherrr," he tells
them, "Wherrr - it's no' "Where"! And they laughingly oblige by dropping
their Sunday best and getting intae the Glesga spirit. (Ye hiftae watch
that aroon GlesgaPals...).
"Killiecrankie," the story of one of Scotland's great battles, follows,
and the album closes with a beautiful "Wild Mountain Thyme," introduced
by Will's lovely flute solo, and with a hushed, swaying audience singing
A near-perfect CD, recorded initially to support the quartet's charity
work in churches and old folks homes in and around Glasgow - the CD's
profits all go to charity - this can be obtained through the band's
website, and is well worth its very moderate price. A great value, and
- John McLaughlin, Editor,
www.thedigitalfolklife.org - where this review appears.