(September 2003) 16 tracks (see below)
Poet, songwriter, soldier, collector, academic - none of these pigeon-holes do justice to the late Hamish Henderson, one of the great cultural figures of 20th century Scotland.
Most of the tracks were recorded specially for this album by artists who were personal friends of Hamish, or greatly admired his work.
Artists include Dick Gaughan, The Laggan, Fred Freeman, Alison McMorland, Gordeanna McCulloch, Adam McNaughtan, Geordie McIntyre, Rod Paterson, Jim Reid, Allan MacDonald, Margaret Bennett The Corrie Folk Trio and the Eurydice Choir. Session musicians who contribute to the newly recorded tracks are Sandy Brechin (accordion), Angus Lyon (accordion), Rod Paterson (guitar), Alison McMorland (banjo), Frank McLaughlin (smallpipes) and Malcolm Stitt (guitar and bouzouki). Produced by Dr Fred Freeman (producer of the Linn Records Robert Burns series).
Hamish died in Edinburgh on 8th March 2002, but at the celebration of Hamish’s life (which followed one of the largest Edinburgh funerals in recent times), the idea of a tribute album was already being suggested. The finished album consists mainly of Hamish’s songs and poems and is accompanied by extensive sleeve notes and song lyrics.
Three tracks were gleaned from The School of Scottish Studies archives - a spirited version of Hamish singing his own aong The 51st Highland Division’s Farewell to Sicily and a piece of mouth music, plus a track from the wonderful Jeannie Robertson who was one of Hamish’s ‘discoveries’ during his extensive field work collecting songs in North East Scotland.
Previously released recordings of Gillie More by Dick Gaughan and The John MacLean March by The Laggan, versions particularly enjoyed by Hamish, were licensed from Topic and Nevis Records respectively. Fred Freeman recited two of Hamish’s poems and Margaret Bennett read a third and linked it to one of Hamish’s favourite Gaelic songs. Piper Allan MacDonald, who played two of Hamish’s favourite laments at the funeral, also recorded both for the album.
One very unusual track on the album was found amongst Hamish’s personal things where it had lain for some years. In 1968 Hamish invited The Corrie Folk Trio (Ronnie Browne, Bill Smith and the late Roy Williamson) to the School of Scottish Studies to record his song Rivonia (Free Mandela). Martin Carthy, by chance, was visiting Roy Williamson and remembers the occasion. Without much arm-twisting Hamish convinced The Corrie Folk Trio to rehearse and record the song on the spot, a recording earmarked specifically for Nelson Mandela and the freedom fighters in South Africa.
A copy of the recording was in fact smuggled on to Robben Island where Mandela heard and received it with delight. Hamish later telephoned Bill Smith to say he had received a letter from Mandela thanking him for his ‘time, effort and concern’. Years later Mandela thanked Hamish in person while visiting Scotland - on the occasion of Nelson Mandela being presented with the Freedom of the City of Glasgow.
The Ballad Of The D-Day Dodgers (tune Lili Marlene, sung by Rod Paterson)
So Long (poem read by Fred Freeman)
The Flyting o' Life And Daith (sung by Alison McMorland)
Victory Hoedown (sung by Adam McNaughtan)
Rivonia (sung by The Corrie Folk Trio - this is Hamish Henderson's famous Free Nelson Mandela song, recorded at the School of Scottish Studies in 1968 and sent to the South African Freedom Fighters in the field)
The Freedom Come-All-Ye (tune The Bloody Fields of Flanders / Maclellan, sung by Jim Reid)
Ninth Elegy (poem read by Margaret Bennett)
Thug Oirinn Oro (sung by Margaret Bennett - one of Hamish's favourite Gaelic songs)
The Ballad of the Men of Knoydart (tune Johnston's Motor Car, sung by Geordie McIntyre)
The Speaking Heart (sung by Gordeanna McCulloch)
The Song Of The Gillie More (sung by Dick Gaughan)
The 51st Highland Division's Farewell to Sicily (tune Farewell To The Creeks, sung by Hamish Henderson)
The John MacLean March (sung by The Laggan)
Pipe Tunes: Lament for the Son / Latha Dhan Fhinn Am Beinn Loghnaidh / Taladh Dhomhnaill Ghuirm (played by Allan MacDonald)
Poem: Lament For The Son (read by Fred Freeman)
Mouth Music (sung by Hamish Henderson)
Auld Reekie's Roses (sung by Eurydice Choir with Gordeanna McCulloch)
My Son David (the magnificent voice of the great Jeannie Robertson, recorded by Hamish in 1960 - from the archives of the School of Scottish Studies)
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