A Brief History of Scotland In Song

by eddie cairney

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St Columba Verse 1 Exiled frae Ireland and telt tae abide In a boat made o’ wicker and covered in hide He cam tae these shores tae dae contrition But he was a man o’ high ambition Nieve Colum Cille Nieve Colum Cille Verse 2 He got intae trouble for standing his ground In a dispute wi Finnian fur a book he had found Havin’ made a copy o Martin’s Psalter Finnian said it’ll no be leavin’ ma’ alter Nieve Colum Cille Nieve Colum Cille Verse 3 Then he fell foul o King Diarmait He said at Cooldrevny I canna permit The murder o ma cousin’s unacceptable For tae commit such a crime’s despicable Nieve Colum Cille Nieve Colum Cille Refrain 1 Many souls perished at Cuil Dremne The good Saint blessed them and sent them to heaven Nieve Colum Cille Nieve Colum Cille Verse 4 Travelled owe’r Scotland spreadin’ the news The Picts found his message hard tae refuse He spred his stories frae the gospel far and wide And munny a tribe would change their faith and come on side Nieve Colum Cille Nieve Colum Cille Refrain 2 He struck a chord wi the locals When he banished a monster wi his vocal skills Nieve Colum Cille Nieve Colum Cille Refrain 3 He built an Abbey on Iona He laid foundations that would grow and grow Nieve Colum Cille Nieve Colum Cille
Scots Wha Hae Verse 1 Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled Scots wham Bruce has aften led Welcome to your gory bed Or to victorie Now's the day and now's the hour See the front o' battle lour See approach proud Edward's power Chains and slaverie Chorus 1 Wha will be a traitor knave Wha can fill a coward's grave Wha sae base as be a slave Let him turn and lie Verse 2 Wha for Scotland's king and law Freedom's sword will strongly draw Freeman stand or freeman fa' Let him follow me By oppression's woes and pains By your sons in servile chains We will drain our dearest veins But they shall be free Chorus 2 Lay the proud usurpers low Tyrants fall in every foe Liberty's in every blow Let us do or die
Aberbrothock 1320 Intro Verse 1 In the year o’ 1314 wi oor backs against the wa’ We fought the English at Bannockburn By night we’d seen them fa’ Then we chased them south And gee’n them a taste o’ their ain’ poison But very soon we realised the fight was far frae won Verse 2 We follow’d Bruce and nae excuse Was ge’en or accepted As we brought the war o’ independence Doon upon the foe But still we had the spectre o’ One bigger and mair powerful Come marching North on self invite And leave us a’ in chains Refrain And the war o’ independence Brought us victory in the end But a war is only as good as the peace that it brings And that peace was declared in 1320 In Aberbrothock the Abbey toon Verse 3 Well the years went by you may ask why There wis nae resolution But the truth is ye never kiss The one who wants revenge We had to find another way To stop the murderous fighting So we used oor brains Swapping swords for pens Wi’ a letter tae the Pope Bridge It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, Nor honours that we are fighting, But for freedom For that alone, Which no honest man gives up But with life itself. Verse 1 Refrain Refrain
Catherine Douglas and the legend of Kate Barlass Verse 1 Catherine Douglas was a bonnie lass True tae her ain’ Scottish Laird She wad gladly gein her life that day For that lass she wis’na fear’d Verse 2 Skulkin’ in the street outside the hoose Where the King and Queen did sleep Robert Graham was wi’ his murderers Treacherous vigil they did keep Verse 3 Then they made their move their cowardly move On their poor defenceless King Robert Stewart had taken out the bolt T’let the sleekit band move in Refrain 1 Servants cried all is lost There’s madmen at the door Catherine up and barred it wi’ her erm T’let the King flee ‘neath the floor Verse 4 But these brutes they had but scant regard For the safety of the maid They broke doon the door and smashed her erm Like it was a loaf o’ bread Verse 5 They searched but couldn’y find the King So they thought he wis ‘ny there But they a’ got telt on their way oot He is doon beneath the flair Refrain 2 King James didn’y stand a chance His foes were dressed tae kill Though he fought them wi’ ee's wrestlin’ skill Their knives were better still Verse 6 Catherine changed her name tae Kate Barlass She did change it on that day She would become pert o’ Scots folklore For courage she did hae
Darien – a land too far Verse 1 We spent a’ oor money on a duff piece o’ land Diseased and hungry we’ll mak’ oor last stand What are wi daein’ here the folks a’ said We’ll likely a’ be murdered in oor bed Heathen savages and the Spanish King They’d like tae see us on the high trees hing Meat for the wild beasts that’s what they sing There’s nothing that they want that we can bring Chorus Fever and famine and insects and heat It’s enough tae mak’ a grow’n man greet Why in God’s name have we chosen this place The maggots ‘ll hae us noo we’ve lost God’s grace Verse 2 Drummond and e’s cronies sit in their ship Drinkin’ doon the wine and enjoyin’ the trip While we’re a getting’ roasted in the midday sun He keeps on tellin’ us he’s the chosen one Driven by pride and a sense o’ fate We watch oor hopes evaporate Promised a tropical paradise But the hale (whole) thing wis jist a pack o’ lies Chorus Verse 3 William Paterson misguided fool Tel’t us this place would be Scotland’s jewel He got the whole country tae gie up its gold Tae finance a venture that’s now covered in mould Desparate people clutching a meagre purse Will never think clearly it’s the gambler’s curse Huntin’ the turtles is no gonna last For the able bodied are dyin’ too fast Chorus
Banners Verse 1 It’s a long long way From the Mersey to the Tay Down a road we may not return For it’s all because of the 45’ adventure And the Jacobite within us all Chorus From our clans we come We do promise on our swords Not to turn on pain of our lives And we will march for Derby in the morning Our banners they will fly high Over London Verse 2 Through the mud and snow Travelling light as we do go Hearing not a word to complain We will break our camp Half an hour before the daybreak And we’ll make our 30 miles by night Chorus Verse 1 Chorus
My Land Verse 1 This land I leave forever Is the land I leave behind I take the spirit with me For some day I hope to find Rest for I have never Had it in these troubled times Although I’ve no regrets I have no peace of mind Bridge 1 When I dream I still see Atholl How we thought but never spoke Of throwing out the Hanovarians And their bloody hated yoke Verse 2 But in my pain and sorrow I can find no room for blame We fought for freedom where we lay And there can be no shame But the odds were stacked against us Though we fought them to a man And I just hope that history Will understand Bridge 2 That it was no vain adventure That it wasn’t just a dream If the French had kept their word We would have been by now supreme Verse 3 But as I stand alone here On these few square feet of sand The chapter it is over So farewell my land
The Bonnet Blue Verse 1 As we go towards the future We must not forget the past We have come a long way From the mists of time With battles won and lost Verse 2 Now we must go down the road That leads us to our destiny We will face what ever Life throws at us With the courage of the free Instrumental Solo Chorus I will wear the flag of Bonnie Scotland On my heart I will be forever true I will wear the tartan of old Alba On my head I will wear the bonnet blue I will raise up the Saltire I will raise it to the sky I will always be proud of who I am I will hold out the hand of friendship Everywhere I go For I’m Scottish and proud of this land Chorus
The never to be forgotten Francis Hutcheson Verse 1 The dawning of a new age Brought for a new type of Scott Cultured and considerate An antidote to the rot Verse 2 Education was the key To battle with the enemy Facing up to poverty And its ally illiteracy Refrain He was the first modern man And a really decent bloke The never to be forgotten Francis Hutcheson Verse 3 He sewed the seeds of freedom In a far of colony He said resist and stand your ground In what became the USA Verse 4 By his students Smith and Hume Came forth the modern world And over to the west Frances Alison did the rest Refrain Verse 5 Never liked reactionaries He stood against Hobbsian views Believed in teaching anyone Learning need have no excuse Verse 6 He taught us there is nothing wrong With beauty and virtue Leisure and aesthetics And the notion of being true Refrain
A parcel of rogues in a nation Verse 1 Fareweel to a' our Scottish fame Fareweel our ancient glory Fareweel ev'n to the Scottish name Sae famed in martial story Now Sark rins over Salway sands An' Tweed rins to the ocean To mark where England's province stands Such a parcel of rogues in a nation Chorus O would or I had seen the day That Treason thus could sell us My auld grey head had lien in clay Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace But pith and power till my last hour I'll mak this declaration 'We're bought and sold for English gold' Such a parcel of rogues in a nation Verse 2 What force or guile could not subdue Thro' many warlike ages Is wrought now by a coward few For hireling traitor's wages The English steel we could disdain Secure in valour's station But English gold has been our bane Such a parcel of rogues in a nation Chorus
There Was a man called Robert Burns Verse 1 There Was a man called Robert Burns Was born nearby auld Ayr He made the songs that Scotland sings For all the world to share The songs that we all sing today Sprung form his ready pen He gave us hope he gave us pride And so we sing again Chorus Let Scotland as a nation rise The lion rampant roar A poet spoke for all of us And will for ever more Verse 2 Though he was born a poor man’s son And lived a life of toil He put sweet words upon the page That time will never spoil He reaches out to every heart And touches every soul In every place in every land He’s known from pole to pole Chorus His life among us here was short Just thirty-seven years Yet in that time he gave the world The answer to its fears That man to man are brothers a’ Beneath the shining sun Where peace and love and harmony Will make us all as one Chorus
Jimmy Watt O’ Greenock Verse 1 Forged by the principals of self improvement Covenanters blood ran through his veins Guid pair o’ hands blessed wi’ a curious mind Jimmy was a lad of and before his time One day Jimmy found himself a Newcomen engine It was big and heavy no very green So he set himself the task tae mak’ it better Steam design tae Jimmy Watt was just routine Chorus Here’s tae the lad frae Greenock Wha’s engines powered the world Ye can tak’ the engine frae the lad But Greenock bides wi’ him Verse 2 Jimmy was a lad wha’ wisn’y guid at business Jimmy was owr saft tae seal a deal But as luck would have it he met Matthew Boulton Matthew’s middle names were Capitalist Zeal Matthew made the affluence and Jimmy made the engines Concentrating on the things he was good at It encouraged mair ideas frae this bright Scotsman Jimmy gave the world “horse power” and the “watt” Chorus Chorus Finish Ye can tak’ the engine frae the lad But Greenock bides wi’ him
Petrograd on the Clyde Verse 1 On the 3rd day of May In nineteen twenty six At a minute tae midnight We lay’d doon oor picks We a’ went tae the street And we went tae the hall We stood shoulder tae shoulder And answered the call Chorus Petrograd on the Clyde We were striking we were marching We were up for the fight Petrograd on the Clyde We were comrades we were workers Fighting for what was right Verse 2 Seven great big gunboats Were sent up tae the Clyde By a government who were A’ feart fur their life The young sailors a’ came doon The gangplanks wi’ guns Tae secure Glasgows docks Frae the militant ones Chorus Verse 3 Up at Ruby Street depot A battle ensued The red workers a’ fought Tae stop tramcars bein’ moved Doon at Maryhill Barracks They locked up the Jocks Tae prevent a Red Scotland Frae leavin’ the blocks Chorus Bridge We’ve been cajoled and bullied and beaten wi’ sticks Six bob a day’s no a wage it’s a fix How can you fight when your union caves in Controlled by big cowards wi’ nae backbone or chin Chorus Chorus
Herring girls Verse 1 Pull in the nets and it’s homeward bound The quines are a waitin’ for the haul See the sun behind us as we turn for shore We’ll get oor heids doon An’ catch a tide back oot Chorus Cut’n gut cut’n gut There goes anither ain Sing’n sing sing’n sing Yer lovely sang Work is hard oor’s lang When the season’s on Keep a cloot fur the hacks Are stingin’ sair Verse 2 See the sturdy stane o’ the harbour wall We’ll soon be landin’ feet on dry land Feel the hunger rollin’ roon’ in the gut We’ll hae a hot meal wi a’ the femly roond Chorus Solo Verse 3 Lassies trevel far following the fish It is hard fur them but they aye hae a smile Owr loaded boats, they pray they’ll mak’ it o’er They’re eiwiz happy, tae see the moorin’ rope Chorus x2 Solo
Exports Verse 1 Have you ever looked around at man’s inventions Have you ever wondered where they all came from The chances are they were invented by a Scotsman A reflection on the talent of this land Verse 2 The steam engine was invented by a Scotsman And so was the mighty telephone The raincoat, thermos flask, car tyre and the T V Well the list it just goes on and on and on Bridge Now there is an important quality That the Scots have always had It has stood us in good stead where ‘er we’ve went We even built the British Empire With pomp and circumstance In all the many places that we went But although we’ve supplied the world With marmalade and banks And we’ve never shied away From the tartan or the ranks There’s something we’ve supplied That’s been given without fuss There’s something we’ve supplied That’s unique to only us….. Chorus 1 We export whisky by the gallon And black bun by the ton The shortbread tin is an icon Recognized by everyone But if you ever happen to travel To the far side of the world You will always find a Scot And he’ll be giving all he’s got Because our greatest export is our self Chorus 2 We export whisky by the gallon And black bun by the ton The shortbread tin is an icon Recognized by everyone But if you ever happen to travel To the far side of the world You will always find a Scot And she’ll be giving it the lot Because our greatest export is our self Finish You will always find a Scot Prepared to walk the extra block Because our greatest export is our…. …….Keep right on to the end of the road……….. Our greatest export is ourselves
When the oil is gone Verse 1 When the oil is gone Where will we be Will we have another day If there’s no more fishing in the sea Can we do much else than pray Or will we find another way To generate our energy When the oil is gone Where will we be from now Verse 2 When the cold is gone Where will we be Will we have another day When there’s no more skiing on the hills Can we do much else than pray For will it not be long before They’re growing dates in Aviemore When the cold is gone Where will we be from now Chorus We must all accept That change is going to happen And it will affect The children of us all But it’s is not too late To stop this thing from happening If we all unite And the wisdom can be found And if we see the light Hopefully we’ll turn it all around
The road to reinvention Chorus 1 On the road to reinvention You can do what er’ you like You can make a castle from a house Or a Roller from a bike Verse 1 The road to reinvention Can be a mighty learning curve Or the road to reinvention Can be a brand new piece o’ turf The road to reinvention May have some very slidey slopes Or the road to reinvention May be the saviour of your hopes The road to reinvention Can be an awkward situation Or the road to reinvention Can be the saviour of a nation The road to reinvention Can be the road to ruination Or the road to reinvention Can be a national salvation Refrain Tak’ a wee bit o’ common sense Wrap it up in a’ yer dreams And then yer in wi a fighting chance And ye might just pull it aff And if it’s more than just a dream And yer feet are on the ground You will have done a’ that you can do Then the rest is up tae fate Chorus 2 On the road to reinvention You can shape your destiny You can sit around and talk a lot But you will not get your say Verse 2 Action is the better way If you want to get things done For an actions worth a million words And you’ll have a lot more fun If you take the leap You’re be on your own There be no one there for you But it may be worth the chance you take If you’re honest strong and true For you may just find There’s life beyond The last three hundred years If you don’t look back and don’t look down Then it may not end in tears For the way ahead is in your grasp All you have to do is be Everything you ever wished and hoped And it will be yours you’ll see Refrain Chorus 1 Chorus 2
Caledonia I Verse 1 Caledonia I Wid like tae ask ye why Ye nivur punch yer weight When yer behind yer ain front gate Verse 2 Look ow’r tae Norway They’re happy proud and free But the trouble wi Scots I find Is they niviur mak up their mind Refrain 1 Could it be a confidence issue Are ye only hae’n a flurt Tears’ll dry wi a tissue But it canna cure a hurt Can ye no mak up yer mind Chorus Destined tae aye be a Cinderella Dancin’ tae the tune o’ yer miester’s voice It’s no as like yer fairt or yella Disproved it a million times Destined tae aye be a Cinderella Dancing tae the beat o’ yer miester’s feet How can ye no be yer ain wee fella Tak care o’ yer ain affairs Verse 3 Caledonia I Wid like tae ask ye why Ye nivur act yer age Or seem capable o’ turnin’ owr the page Refrain 2 Are ye reluctant tae gie it a go Are ye jist a wee bit slow Insecure but try’n no tae let show Better the devil ye know Are ye gonna jist gie it awa Chorus


released April 17, 2015


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eddie cairney Scotland, UK

Eddie Cairney is one of the country's most prolific songwriters and Scotland's best kept songwriting secret with 14 albums to date and another 100 plus in the pipeline. He has written new music to almost all of Robert Burns works totalling 892 new songs. He writes in a great many genres, from folk to orchestral. He is also one of Scotland's most accomplished rock/blues piano players. ... more

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