Greentrax Recordings
Greentrax Recordings

1986-2021: Celebrating Scotland's Music for 35 Years

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cover image for Hamish Henderson Tribute vol 2 - Ballad Of The Banffies
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17 tracks: Ballad Of The Banffies (Cameron Nixon) * Here’s To The Maiden (Fiona Hunter) * Banks of Sicily (John Morran) * Hamish Introduces Tail Toddle (Hamish) * Tail Toddle and Instrumental Solo (John Morran & Marc Duff) * The Presence (Fiona Hunter) * The Roads To Rome (Cameron Nixon) * Soo Sewin Silk (Fiona Hunter) * The Speaking Heart (John Morran) * Katzel Henderson (fiddle tune played by Euan McLaughlin) / En Marche (poem read by Fred Feeman) * Nou Jeannie Dear (John Morran) * Sodge Ye The Cotton Spinners (Hamish) * Brief Discussion on Blossom In The Spring (Stuart MacGregor) * Blossom In The Spring (Cameron Nixon) * Goettingen Nicht (Fiona Hunter) * Aunty Mary / Wee O’Hara (Hamish) / Hamish’s Mad Version of El Alamein (Fred Freeman) * Rivonia (South African singing group Atte).

Dr Hamish Henderson - poet, singer-songwriter, folklorist and cultural and political activist - was born on 11th November 1919 in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, and died on 9th March 2002 in Edinburgh.

In 1951, after service in the British Army during the Second World War, Hamish became an honorary research fellow at the newly founded School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University and in 1954 he was offered a permanent post there. He remained at the School of Scottish Studies until his retirement.

Although he was a very fine poet, and arguably one of the most significant voices of the Second World War, it was his songs and the ballads that were to attract him both as a writer and collector. The material he collected on his field trips, now safely archived at the School of Scottish Studies and some of which has been released on The Scottish Tradition Series of recordings by Greentrax, is now legendary. Many of the songs he wrote, including the Freedom Come All Ye (suggested by many as a contender for the Scottish National Anthem) have become folk standards.

After Hamish’s death, Dr Fred Freeman and Ian Green, MD of Greentrax Recordings, set about the task of releasing an album of songs and poems of Hamish Henderson. In 2003 the Hamish Henderson Tribute Album - A’ The Bairns O Adam was released to wide critical acclaim. Research and collection of material for a Hamish Henderson Tribute Album Volume 2 was immediately set in motion and despite the lockdown which delayed it, the new album (again produced by Fred Freeman) is now proudly released on the Greentrax label.

Whereas the first album comprised mainly existing recorded material by such stalwarts as Alison McMorland, Dick Gaughan and The Laggan, plus a track from the School archives of traveller Jeannie Robertson (recognised as Hamish’s “discovery”), Volume 2 consists mainly of newly recorded songs and poems. The singers are Fiona Hunter (of Malinky), John Morran (of Deaf Shepherd), young singer Cameron Nixon (who can be heard on Malinky’s Handsel album) and Hamish Henderson. They share the Hamish songs, while Fred Freeman reads his poems.

The songs include the title track, Here’s To The Maiden, The Speaking Heart, Tail Toddle (with an instrumental solo by Marc Duff), The Roads To Rome, Banks of Sicily, Soo Sewin Milk, Nou Jeannie Dear, Sodge Ye The Cotton Spinners (discussed and sung by Hamish), Blossom In The Spring (plus a discussion with Hamish and the late Stuart MacGregor), and The Presence, a poem by Stuart MacGregor which was set to music and recorded by Archie Fisher many years ago.

There is also the quite unique and spirited recording of Rivonia by the South African vocal group Atte, licensed from the Claddagh Records back catalogue. The poems recited by Fred are En Marche (with an instrumental introduction by Euan MacLaughlin - Katzel Henderson) and Hamish’s Mad Version of El Alamein, preceded by Hamish singing his popular party piece Aunty Mary / Wee O’Hara.

Backing music is handled by the talented Marc Duff (whistles), Frank MacLaughlin (guitar), Euan MacLaughlin (fiddle, banjo) and Angus Lyon (accordion, keyboards).

Fred Freeman has excelled in the production of this album, which was recorded by Richard Werner of B&B Studios. Sleeve design by John Slavin.

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