by Ian McCalman
Here’s tae anither time, o harmony an simple rhyme
When new freens and auld combined tae share oor country’s story
Cauld winter’s past and gone, simmer’s days are stretching long,
Oh, that I were staying on, but she is gently callin
Scotland, I hear your name
In every cry of bitter pain
Freedom’s call has been the game
That you have played sae bravely
Remember now the hills of snow and heather moors whaur rivers flow
The ancient thistle there did grow, till southern winds cam blawin
England the sovereign might, reluctant neighbour’s bitter fights
Marriage vows devoid o rights tae stop the blood frae flowin
Noo the bloody battle’s o’er, the union flag’s within oor door
The lion sleeps when once it roar’d, the kingdom is united
Warm simmer’s past and gone, chillin wind is blowin strong
Nichts are hard, an oh, so long, anither winter’s comin
This song was brought to Sangschule by Scott and Anne Murray of Sangsters.
Ian McCalman was asked on behalf of this website if he would like to say something about the background to writing this song. This is what he said:
“Basically the song says that we remember good times singing the old songs (home thoughts from abroad) and though we relate to the stereotypical images of our land and always feel the need to return, all is not as it seems. I felt Scotland was losing her identity. The ‘cold winter’ was about the prospect of another long period without the prospect of devolution. I recall that the song was written shortly after the failed devolution vote of ’79 and I still resent the SNP’s pre-referendum policy, including their avoidance of coming down firmly on the side of devolution.”
Ian studied architecture at Edinburgh School of Art in the 60s, and founded one of Scotland’s best known and loved folk groups on his first day there, October 6th, 1964, when he met fellow students Hamish Bayne and Derek Moffat. The McCalmans, affectionately known as The Macs, have gone on to produce many albums and tour widely at home and abroad. Ian has written around 45 of The Macs’ songs and for 30
years, took 70% of the lead singing, according to his website. Ian’s funny stories and introductions to songs have also been a very popular feature of their performances.
The structure of the group has known changes over the years, including, as a very sad change, the death of Derek Moffat. Hamish left to live in Orkney with his wife Freda, to make concertinas, and was replaced by Nick Keir - and the most recent ensemble featured Ian, Nick Keir, multi-instrumentalist, and Stephen Quigg, singer and instrumentalist.
2010 saw the end of The McCalmans as we have known them, with Ian’s retirement as a touring singer, although his other musical activities continue to flourish eg his recording studio Kevock Digital. Nick and Stephen continue the good work as performers and news of their activities appears on www.ianmccalman.co.uk