Mittwoch, 13. Mai 2015

Ewan MacColl - Scots Drinking Songs (1956)

EWAN MacCOLL is the Scots-born son of a Gaelic-speaking mother and Lowland father from whom he inherited more than a hundred songs. He has worked as a garage hand, builder's laborer, organizer, journalist, radio scriptwriter, actor and dramatist. MacColl has written and broadcast extensively about folk music, was general editor of the British Broadcasting Corporation folk music series, "Ballads and Blues," and frequently took part in Alan Lomax's radio and television shows for B.B.C.
 
Of the songs he has included in this album, MacColl writes: "I can remember as a child being allowed to stay up at Hogmanay parties when a dozen Scots iron-moulders and their wives would settle down to serious drinking. A Wee Drappie O't would be sung with everyone joining in the chorus with maybe a few English friends looking a bit embarrassed at this display of Celtic emotion and the beer jugs would be circulating freely and whiskey bottles would empty at an alarming rate. In between the songs the company would argue the merits of Edward Clod's 'History of Creation' and Volny's 'Ruins of Empires' and then as the singing became more and more rough I would be sent off to bed. As these junketings often lasted for a whole week I had plenty of opportunities to learn the songs."
 
Sleeve Notes:
 
"It has been observed that the pattern of social drinking in Scotland corresponds roughly to the three movements which comprise a pibroch [1]. First, there is the leisurely philosophical discussion, argument or monologue during which the theme of the evening is stated. The second movement consists of a set of variations in the form of repeated patriotic utterances and the last movement is a scherzo in which amorousness and bawdiness are combined to show the national prowess in a sport which, as far as we are concerned, has all the competitive features of international football.
 
The first movement is non-melodic; being confined to pure talk. The second movement is a synthesis of talk and patriotic song and the third and longest movement is wholly song.
 
Scots licensing laws have done their best to destroy this ancient pattern by making singing in pubs an offence and, wherever possible, by segregating the sexes. The legislators appear to have operated on the basis of the good old Calvinistic maxims that women are the root of all evil and that singing and licentiousness are interchangeable words. However, what is lost in the pubs is gained in the family circle and many a child who might otherwise have grown to ignorant maturity has learned some of the more interesting and pleasurable facts of life from listening to songs sung by Auntie Mag and Uncle Alec at a Hogmanay (New Year) party.
 
As in Italy, love is the great theme of Scots folk song but, unlike Italy, it is the act of love rather than the emotion which is celebrated. John Knox might rave against the sins of the flesh and numerous Holy Willies might rant against evildoers but the commons of Scotland had a healthy, realistic attitude on love which no amount of Calvinistic preaching could pervert. True, there were the prying elders and the cutty stool to be faced after the act but the joys of love and the body's needs outweighed all such considerations.
 
The frank expression of physical desire in Scots folk song has been a subject for dismay with collectors and anthologists for more than two hundred years. Only David Herd's collection ("The Ancient and Modern Scots Songs," 1769) escaped the embalmer's knife of polite hypocrisy. Bishop Thomas Percy, famed for the "Reliques of Ancient English Poetry," offered to clean up Herd's collection but Herd, being an honest man, refused and published the songs as he had found them.
Since that time, the majority of Scots collectors, apparently unaware of the fact that babies are not found under cabbage leaves, have divided their time between attempting to castrate the muse and apologizing for Herd and the lower classes' capacity for lovemaking.
 
The fig leaf of Calvinism cannot disguise the virility and appetite of the Scots muse and under the influence of a few drinks the fig leaf disappears through the window and the muse, with a smacking of lips and a bellow of laughter, proceeds to celebrate the most universal of man's pastimes."
 
Tracklist:
A1We're A' Jolly Fu'
A2The Calton Weaver
A3When She Came Ben She Bobbit
A4The Laird Of The Dainty Doon Bye
A5Blow The Candle Out
A6Donald Blue
A7The Brewer Laddie
A8We're Gayly Yet
A9A Wee Drappie O't
A10The Cuckoo's Nest
B1Green Grow The Rashes, O
B2The Day We Went To Rothesay
B3The Bonnie Lassie Who Never Said No
B4The Muckin' O' Geordie's Byre
B5Jock Hawk's Adventures In Glasgow
B6The Brisk Young Lad
B7I Wish That You Were Dead Guidman
B8The Wind Blew The Bonnie Lassie's Plaidie Awa'
B9Andro And His Cutty Gun
 
(320 kbps, front cover included)

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