'Even in the Rain' - Sleeve Notes

1. Millenium Village

Islay’s Charms/Farewell to Millennium Village/Pierre’s right arm/Alex C MacGregor
(Traditional, Rory Campbell MCPS/PRS, Brian Pickell, G S MacLennan MCPS/PRS)
The first tune was learned from Marianne and Rory, and Farewell to Millennium Village was written after a two-week stint at one of the world’s strangest places, Disneyworld. (Alternative title - "Two minutes to showtime!"). Pierre’s right arm was written for the amazing fiddling arm of Pierre Schryer, and Alex C MacGregor is an all-time-classic pipe tune.
2. The Bonnie Lass o Wellwid Ha’
(Lyrics: Thomas Floyd; Music: John Morran, MCPS/PRS)
Wellwood is an area of Muirkirk, John’s home village. A mansion, now a ruin, had been in existence since the 1600s when it belonged to the Clan Campbell. From that time until its demolition in 1928, it was rumoured to be haunted by a young, murdered girl known as Beenie and there are several stories relating to sightings. The great Ayr Bank crash of 1772 ruined the family, as it did another Muirkirkonian, John Lapraik (Burns’ Epistles to John Lapraik). It was latterly inhabited by Colonel J.G.A. Baird, a much-respected M.P. Thomas Floyd the poem’s author, lived in the village from the mid 1800s to early 1900s and it is likely that the young woman referred to resided in the house at that time.
3. Mince
The world’s end/There’s time to wait/Mince in a Basket
(Brian McDonagh, Rory Campbell MCPS/PRS, Clare McLaughlin MCPS/PRS)
This set was originally put together by Clare, Marianne and John for a concert at the Edinburgh Folk Festival called Flowers of Edinburgh, although the set has evolved a wee bit since then. The first tune was learned by Clare from the mighty Dervish recording, The Boys of Sligo. There's Time to Wait was written while sitting waiting for a lift in the middle of Italy. The 3rd tune was written by Clare following a game of Fantasy Breakfast, where the tired and hungry singer Mick West declared Mince in a Basket as his fantasy breakfast.
4. Chessmen
The Alborada Rant/Chessmen
(Rory Campbell MCPS/PRS)
A couple of new tunes, written by Rory. The title to the first tune was given during a period of learning some tunes from Asturies, Spain. The Chessmen are two ceramic chesspieces made by Fred Carson that were gazed at often while practising.
5. Yestreen I had a pint o wine
Also known as “The Gowden Locks o Anna”
(Robert Burns)
An eloquent love song from Robert Burns which becomes even more poignant when the underlying story is revealed. In 1791, Burns fathered a daughter named Elizabeth to one Anne Park of Dumfries. Anne died shortly after childbirth and Burns sought refuge for his baby with Gilbert his brother. Nine days after the birth of Elizabeth, William Nicol Burns, was born to his wife, Jean Armour. Shortly thereafter, Jean took Elizabeth from Gilbert and brought her up as her own child. Of all Burns’ children, Elizabeth turned out to be the only one strikingly like himself. Who is to say what Burns truly felt for Anne Park. Is it fitting that her life was taken prematurely? John imagines him sitting drunk and alone at table in an alehouse, singing this song and taking gulps of wine between verses, trying to justify his actions on the basis of a love which in reality was probably more akin to lust.
6. Póilín Ní Lionsaigh
(John Morran MCPS/PRS)
This is a beautiful waltz, written by John for his wife Pauline.
7. Braemar Gathering
The Braemar Gathering/Morag MacNeil, Tangusdale/Colin Clark Caruthers/New Hands/Donella Beaton 
(G S MacLennan MCPS/PRS,Rory Campbell MCPS/PRS, George Wilkie, Aidan Burke MCPS/PRS, Traditional)
The first tune is a classic 6/8 pipe march. Morag MacNeil, Tangusdale, is a strathspey written by Rory for his godmother. New Hands was composed by the great fiddler Aidan Burke, from London and Donella Beaton is a pipe jig which we love playing live.
8. I Coft a Stane o Haslock Woo/Ben Wyviss
(Robert Burns,Traditional)
The Kilmarnock Edition of Burns’ work states “This is a very exquisite production – barring the chorus, which is not satisfactory ……The last four lines of this little song are not surpassed in beauty and tenderness by the author’s ‘John Anderson, my jo’”.Burns often used words to convey the rhythm and “feel” of a dance or action, for example the chorus of “My Wife’s a Wanton Wee Thing” is not great poetry but was meant to fit and complement the jig rhythm; a sort of lowland equivalent of gaelic mouth music. In this case the words of the chorus are almost certainly meant to represent and express the action of the spinning machine. Our arrangement of this song includes the traditional pipe tune, Ben Wyviss.
9. Jimmy Lothian's
Uist Dance/Lady Madelina Sinclair/Grant’s Reel/Dunse Dings A/Haggs Castle
The band learned the first tune from Marianne, and she also taught us Grant’s Reel, which she got from an eponymous Jock Tamson’s Bairns recording. The rest of the tunes in the set were learned from Jimmy Lothian, a fiddle player from Carnwath, South Lanarkshire. Thanks Jimmy!
10. The Mermaid's Sang
(Lyrics: Robert Stephen; Music: John Morran,MCPS/PRS)
The author of this contemporary poem is Robert Stephen from Ardallie in Aberdeenshire and was passed to John by Angus McLaughlin, the founding member of the band. John composed the melody and sings the song in the Lallans dialect of Scots rather than the Doric of Aberdeenshire. Being a seafaring and explorative nation, many Scottish songs concern themselves with the sea and its mythical creatures. This song continues that tradition where the death at sea of a lover and the mourning of the girl left at home is narrated.
11. Even in the Rain
Even in the Rain/The Quebec Breakdown/Unknown/Gregor Lowrey’s
(Rory Campbell MCPS/PRS, Michael Grey Isa Music, Traditional, Rory Campbell MCPS/PRS)
The first tune is named after a statue in Loanhead (Midlothian) of a man grooming a horse. Day in, day out, rain, hail or shine. The Quebec Breakdown was written by the excellent piper and composer from Toronto, Canada, Michael Grey. We don’t know the title for the 3rd tune, but it has been recorded by Ossian. Gregor Lowrey’s was written by Rory for this excellent musician and friend.
12. Lost For Words at Sea - featuring Vocals by Sam Brown
(Lyrics: Brian Smith; Music: John Morran, MCPS/PRS)
This song was initially recorded on our first album ‘Ae Spark o Nature’s Fire’. When Sam said she’d like to sing on it we jumped at the chance to include her. The words were written by Brian Smith, a friend of John’s, during a holiday in Skye. Arriving on the back of a postcard the poem reflects Brian’s wonder at the sheer beauty of Scotland and his concerns with personal freedoms and Scottish nationhood.
Set performed on video: Gie's a Drink
Gie us a drink of water/John MacDonald’s Exercise/The Deaf Shepherd/The Smith of Raasay/The Aberarder Rant
(The Deaf Shepherd – Gavin Pennycook MCPS/PRS, Traditional)
This has become our signature set.