THE ROAD TO TYRANNY
1. Josh’s 2 Secs/Jo De Sylva – a force of nature/Short and Simple/ Roddy MacGregor
Josh is 14. Josh does things around the house ….eventually, but first the answer to any request is “ 2 secs” This could result in it being done in 2 minutes, 2 hours or 2 days! Jo De Sylva the force of nature is my amazing wife and partner in everything! She is a whirling dervish, an incredible force of nature. Short and simple is a wee tune that a friend on hearing first off said “That tune just sounds like you…short and simple”. With friends like that…. My son Roddy MacGregor has embarked on a professional football career with Inverness Caley Thistle. This tune fits his drive and determination in everything he does
This music was inspired by the stunning scenery of Essich, the area around Inverness that I was brought up in. I count myself very lucky. String parts are brilliantly written and performed by Jenna Reid.
3. Water O’ Buchat/The Caithness Cowboy
Over the years at Blazin in Beauly we’ve worked on a tune auction and the naming rights to that tune as a way of raising funds to keep the event going. The first tune was bought by Pauline Ainslie from Strathdon and named the Water O’ Buchat. The Caithness Cowboy is written for Gordon Gunn, that great Scottish fiddler who can, in a bow stroke, transport you from Caithness and across the Atlantic. A rare talent.
4. Dave Gifford’s Adventure wrapped in a dream/Hoolie in the Hub
Another tune written for the Blazin in Beauly auction. This one was bought by Claire Murdoch and dedicated to her father. Some rather fabulous clarinet (from Tom) and washboard (from Ian) on the Hoolie in the Hub.
5. Linda’s Waltz
A tune written in memory of Linda MacLean. Her husband Lawrence, has been one of the biggest supported of MacGregor’s bar and the live music we put on. Linda loved the accordion and her instruments have been donated to the bar for guests to play.
6. Emily’s Oosh/The Raasay Rant/Massie’s Madames
The first two tunes were commissions for major events and the third one written for Anna Massie’s rather excellent trio.
7. Iain MacFarlane’s Welcome to the DT’s/Cailleach na Crach
The tales behind both these tunes can both be found in “A Highlander’s Revenge – tunes and tales from a Blazin Fiddler”.
8. Lament for Captain Simon Fraser
Fraser lived his final years across the road from our pub in Inverness. He was one of the most influential musicians of the 19th century with the publication of his “Airs and melodies of the Highlands and Isles chiefly acquired during the interesting period between 1715 and 1745.” I was taught many tunes from this book as a kid and found it a fascinating resource. I was involved in a creating a play written by Hamish MacDonald and Dogstar Theatre which brought to life the story behind the man. A complex individual! Strings arranged by Jenna Reid and Su-a Lee.
9. Jock’s Bothy/The Ox/Man of the mountain
The first march is a commision for Dave and Karen Carson for their “Pappy’. The Ox is a wild strathspey composed after a wild night at the Ohio Scottish music and dance school and the last tune is written for my good friend and superb Scots singer, Davy Holt who likes nothing more than to be climbing a mountain!
10. Annie’s Waltz
Written for Annie on her 80th birthday. She was a huge Blazin’ Fiddles and Travelling Folk fan. I recorded this with the Blazers but on this version Tim Edey sprinkles some of his magic dust on it.
11. Road to tyranny/The Lovat Arms/Special Ed
The title track was inspired came from a quote from Lord Neuberger, a former president of the Supreme Court who had grave warnings for us all when the internal market bill was forced through allowing the government to breach its obligations under international treaties. It also deprived the individual citizen the right to take the government to court. “Once you deprive individuals, people have the right to go to challenge the government, you are in a dictatorship; you are in a tyranny.”
The Lovat Arms Hotel has been the home to Blazin in Beauly for over two decades now. We’ve had some magical nights in there over that time. Special Ed is written for my good friend, writer and fiddle player Ed Pearlman, originally from Boston.
12. There’s a new Zycinski in town
This is an old one! Written for the birth of Sarah Zycinski, the daughter of my boss at BBC Radio Scotland for many years. The second part of the melody is written by Liza Mulholland.
13. The Big Yin’s
Anyone who has been to a Blazin Fiddles gig over the last decade will know the story of this one! An incredible party at Billy Connolly’s house. He’s been such an inspiring figure over the years. Anna Massie on banjo here to give it a bit of the “Big Yin’s” stamp.
14. Doddie’s Dream
A very different take on this tune, probably more like the original version composed on Hogmanay 2020 and dedicated to Doddie Weir. An incredible human being .
All tracks composed by Bruce MacGregor except 12 (B Macgregor & L Mulholland)
Anna Massie – guitar tracks 1,3,4,7, 9,11. Banjo 4 & 13.
Angus Lyon – piano/keyboard 1.2, 3, 5, 9, 11,12, 13,14. Accordion 3.
Ali Levack – whistles – tracks 1 & 11.
Duncan Lyall – double bass tracks 1,2, 3, 5, 7, 11,13.
Iain Sandilands – percussion – tracks 1,2,3,4,11,12,13.
Jenna Reid – fiddle - tracks 2,3,8,13.
Su-a Lee – cello - tracks 2, 5, 8.
Tim Edey – guitar – tracks 6, 10, 12. Box – 3,10,12,13.
Tom Gibbs – clarinet – tracks 4 & 7.