The Celtic Music Radio Album of the Week commencing Saturday 21 June is ‘For Freedom Alone – The Wars Of Independence’ on the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. This important anniversary is marked by Scotland’s leading music label and company, Greentrax Recordings.
Ross Macfadyen presents a selection of tracks from the CD on the Album of the Week programme while Gordon Hotchkiss has Ian Green, owner of Greentrax Recordings as his guest on Hotchkiss Hotchpotch on Wednesday evening, 25 June from 7.00pm.
2014 is the 700th anniversary of The Battle of Bannockburn and Greentrax marks this important event with this compilation of songs, music and a poem by many of Scotland’s finest artists. 2014 is also the year of The Scottish Referendum and the album recognises this historical event.
The title of the album For Freedom Alone is taken from The Declaration Of Arbroath, a portion of which is included on the album.
There are a total of 18 tracks on the album, 16 of which relate to the relevant historical period, plus two bonus tracks.
Eight tracks are licensed from other companies, nine were specially recorded for the album and only three items are from the Greentrax/Culburnie labels.
There are 15 tracks featuring the Wars Of Independence and the exploits of William Wallace and Robert The Bruce. Wallace’s famous victory at Stirling Brig and his overwhelming defeat at Falkirk are the subjects of two songs, and of course The Battle of Bannockburn features in several.
Tracks include contributions from The Corries (the adopted National Anthem of Scotland Flower of Scotland and The Black Douglas), The McCalmans (The Lion Wallace Saw), Alastair McDonald (The Battle of Stirling Brig from an old Nevis recording and William Wallace, Knight Of Elderslie of more recent origin), Alasdair Fraser with Skyedance (Bannockburn) and Arthur Johnstone (the classic Burns song Scots Wha Hae).
Also specially recorded: Sylvia Barnes & Sandy Stanage (Lament For Wallace After The Battle of Falkirk and The Field of Bannockburn), Alex Hodgson (The Sword of Bannockburn and an Ian McCalman original written specially for this album, titled New Day), Robin Laing (Bruce at Bannockburn, dealing with the killing of Henry De Bohun by Robert the Bruce before the battle proper), Ian Bruce (De Bruce, De Bruce – a poem put to music by Ian McCalman) and George Archibald (Bruce’s Address To His Captains, part of John Barbour’s epic poem put to music by Ian McCalman).
Iain Anderson reads the humorous The Spiders Legend Of Robert The Bruce and a shortened version of The Declaration Of Arbroath.
Bonus tracks: The Referendum by Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, and the classic Both Sides The Tweed by Dick Gaughan, which we felt was important to redress any perceived imbalance – with its lines “Let friendship and honour unite, and flourish on both sides the Tweed”.
The very informative historical sleeve notes are by Jim Paris and the artwork design is by John Slavin, both deserve special mention.
Ian McCalman provided many ideas, in addition to his production and musical work, and he contributed immensely to the album. The inclusion of the reproduction of the painting of The Black Douglas is included by kind permission of Ronnie Browne and The Duke of Hamilton. Ronnie’s painting hangs in Lennoxlove House.