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*Emerald Gem (1978-1981)

Andy signed up to the independent record label Emerald Music in 1978 and released three albums between 1978 and 1981. Emerald was originally formed in 1964 specialising in folk music and developed a large roster of Irish and Scottish artistes. The New Year got off to a great start with Andy recording one of his best "post-EMI" albums: 'Scotland Is Andy Stewart'.

Scotland is Andy Stewart


Album sleeve image This first album for Emerald takes the form of a musical journey around Scotland as Andy himself explained in the sleeve notes:

"This album fulfills a long-held ambition of mine in that it provides me and you, the listener, with a journey through Scotland - my land - in music and verse.

Some of the songs are tried, true and ever popular, while others are new to both you and myself - But I hope you will enjoy them all.

In my travels abroad to the far-flung corners of the world, I get many requests from expatriate Scots for a song from their part of "The Auld Country". This recording will, I hope, go some distance in satisfying their demands - not only in foreign fields, but also in our native towns and countryside."

The album gets off to a swinging start with a new rendition of the Stewart-Blue composition 'Aberdeen' first introduced on the 1971 LP 'Here's Tae You'. Here the tune is played much faster, setting the pace for the whirlwind tour around Scotland. 'The Girl from Glasgow Town' has her first outing since Andy's 'Best Of' album in 1966 and is followed by the exquisite 'Fair Maid O' Perth'. With a wonderful synthesizer/keyboard arrangement, inspired bass playing and a really good vocal delivery, this track is easily the best on the album and probably the single best track recorded over the three years with Emerald. Another track from the sixties gets a fresh rendition next; 'The Gallowa' Hills' followed by Andy's most popular monologue 'The Rumour'. Given its myriad Scottish accents, its inclusion here is totally appropriate for an album based on a tour around Scotland. 'The Lassie O' Dundee', another Stewart-Grant original from 1961 is revisited next, followed by the penultimate track on the first side; 'I Will Go'. Another excellent song from the pen of actor Roddy McMillan who - adding a verse or two of his own - translated the Gaelic original also known as 'McLeod's Lament'. The song concerns the "Highland Clearances" of the early 19th century, when Scottish soldiers returning from fighting abroad found cruel landlords had cleared the Highlands for the profitable raising of sheep and cattle by burning down houses and casting belongings into the snow. Side one ends with a visit to Edinburgh and 'The Heart of Midlothian', originally recorded on Andy's first album in 1961.

Side two takes us off to "the capital of the Highlands" to hear 'The Song of Inverness' - the first of four tracks new to Andy's catalogue of recordings. 'Bonnie Strathyre' is the next, with lyrics written in the 19th century by the artist, songwriter and philanthropist Sir Harold Boulton based on the traditional tune 'Taymouth'. Strathyre (meaning "sheltered valley") is a village in Perthshire near Callander, overshadowed by the mountain of Ben Vorlich. 'Song of the Clyde' (popularised by Kenneth McKellar) is the third newly performed song in-a-row and is the standout track on the second side. The tongue-twisting song follows the River Clyde from Lanark down to Arran and Andy leads us in fine style. The fourth track is a brand new "Andylogue"; 'The Kelso Collie', and as Andy himself says is "a real shaggy dog story" regarding a talking dog from the Scottish Borders! Next we are off to Sutherlandshire for another rendition of the old favourite 'Granny's Heilan Hame' then back down to Glasgow wearing a 'Big Kilmarnock Bunnet'. The Kilmarnock Corporation of Bonnet Makers began production of the famous bonnet (bunnet) in the late 1600's and the song is a cautionary tale of the many "dangers" lurking in the biggest City in Scotland. The song was popularised in the late 50's by Andy's 'White Heather Club' crony, Joe Gordon and his Folk Four. To finish Andy performs the UK's biggest selling song of 1977; 'Mull of Kintyre'. Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney had one of his biggest hits with this song recorded with his band Wings. In the midst of Britain's "Punk" period McCartney chose to write a Scottish waltz in praise of the Mull of Kintyre, the southwesternmost tip of the Kintyre Peninsula, a place where he still owns a home to this day. In what could have been a pale imitation, Andy manages to produce a respectable version, focusing on two verses alone, dropping both a third verse and the bagpipe section that featured so prominently in the Wings recording. The arrangement features the military drum-roll strongly and Andy compliments this with a staunch vocal delivery. Although the dropping of the pipes was surely down to logistics and the cost factor, it forces Andy's recording to stand on its own merits, which is a good thing.

The arrangements are really well done on this album, with David Pringle as MD. The sound is filled out well with synthesizers, electric pianos and a really strong electric bass. This added instrumentation would not reappear on subsequent recordings and that is what really sets this album apart from the others of the time. Andy is in fine voice on this album too, seemingly having no problem with high song-ending notes. A great return-to-form and definitely the number one candidate for best "post-EMI" album.

Year of Release: 1978
Label: Emerald Gem
Catalogue Number: GES 1196

ABERDEEN (Stewart, Blue) / THE GIRL FROM GLASGOW TOWN (Stewart, Grant) / THE FAIR MAID O' PERTH (Stewart, Pringle) / THE GALLOWA' HILLS (Trad., arr. Stewart) / THE RUMOUR (Stewart) / THE LASSIE O' DUNDEE (Stewart, Grant) / I WILL GO (McMillan) / HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN (Stewart, Grant) / THE SONG OF INVERNESS (MacKenzie, Henderson) / BONNIE STRATHYRE (Lawson, Boulton) / SONG OF THE CLYDE (Gourlay, Bell) / THE KELSO COLLIE (Stewart) / GRANNY'S HEILAN HAME (MacFarlane) / THE BIG KILMARNOCK BUNNET (Trad., arr. Stewart) / MULL OF KINTYRE (McCartney, Laine)

Arranger/Musical Director: David Pringle.
Recorded at Castle Sound, Edinburgh, March-April 1978.
Recording Engineer: Calum Malcolm.

Sing A Song Of Scotland


Album sleeve image Andy was "subcontracted" out from Emerald to the Warwick label for his next release in 1979. Warwick (nothing to do with its early 1960s US namesake) was a short lived UK budget subsidiary producing records predominantly sold in high-street chains such as Woolworths.

At first this two-record set (Andy's only double album) may seem a "throwaway" release recorded in the style of many modern Scottish medley albums, but it does have some saving graces and is actually quite fun. Mainly the attraction to Stewart fans is the fact that many of these 100 songs are not performed on any other album. Some of the medleys are performed at breakneck-speed, taking the case of 'Bee Baw Babbitty' as an example; at certain points it seems a bit of a race to get to the end of the track, with a battle between the Andy and his backing vocalists to reach the finale first!

Highlights from side one are the "Burns" medley 'There was a Lad - Polly Stewart - The Deil's Awa' Wi' The Exciseman - A Man's a Man' and the "Jacobite" medley 'The Tartan - The Campbell's are Coming - Johnny Cope - The Piper O' Dundee'. On side two the medley of "street-songs" 'Bee Baw Babbitty - Queen Mary - The Height Starvation Song - Doh-Ray-Me - Ye Canny Shove Yer Granny Aff a Bus' is the standout track here. Side three features a "Bonnie Prince Charlie" medley 'Will Ye No Come Back Again - The Skye Boat Song - Come Ower the Stream, Charlie - Rise and Follow Charlie' whilst side four contains another excellent "street-songs" medley 'Johnny Lad - Bonnie Wee Jeannie McColl - The Soor Milk Cairt - The Wee Toon Clerk' and surely no 100 song compilation would be complete without a "Bothy-Ballad" medley 'The Muckin' O' Geordie's Byre - The Lass O' Fyvie - Nickie Tams - The Barnyards O' Delgaty'.

Year of Release: 1979
Label: Warwick (in association with Emerald Group Records)
Catalogue Number: WW5073/4

Record One:

THE HIKING SONG (A. McKenzie) HORO, MY NUT BROWN MAIDEN (H. Robertson) THE UIST TRAMPING SONG (H. Roberston) MARCHING THROUGH THE HEATHER (Hanley Gourlay) / THERE WAS A LAD - POLLY STEWART - THE DEIL'S AWA' WI' THE EXCISEMAN (Burns (Trad.) arr A. Sutherland) / AWAY UP IN A CLACHAN - A GORDON FOR ME - JOCK MacKAY (R. Wilson) / THE TARTAN (K. McKellar) - THE CAMPBELLS ARE COMING - JOHHNY COPE - THE PIPER O' DUNDEE (Trad. arr. Sutherland) / McGINTY'S MEAL AND ALE - DRUMDELGY - KISSIN' IN THE DARK - JOHN GRUMLIE - BIG KILMARNOCK BUNNET (Trad. arr. Sutherland) / SONG OF THE CLYDE (Bell/Gourlay) - IN PRAISE OF ISLA (H. Robertson) - ROTHESAY BAY (Trad. arr. Sutherland) - JOY OF MY HEART (H. Robertson) - LOCH LOMOND (Trad. arr. Sutherland) / TAKE ME BACK (A. Stewart) - THE BARREN ROCKS OF ADEN (A. Stewart) - FAREWELL, 51st (A. Stewart) - JOCK CAMERON (J. Morgan) / I BELONG TO GLASGOW - SAILING UP THE CLYDE - WE'VE GOT A BABY IN THE HOUSE - NINETY-FOUR THIS MORNING (W. Fyffe) / BEE BAW BABBITTY (Trad. arr. Sutherland) - QUEEN MARY (R. McMillan) - THE HEIGHT STARVATION SONG (McNaughton) - DOH-RAY-ME (R. McMillan) - YE CANNY SHOVE YER GRANNY AFF A BUS (A. Stewart) / TILLITUDLUM CASTLE - HERE'S TO THE GORDONS - THE LASS O' LOWRIE - THE NORTHERN LIGHTS OF ABERDEEN (R. Wilson) / THE DASHING WHITE SERGEANT (H. Robertson) - THE TARTAN BALL (J. Morgan) - LASSIE COME AND DANCE WI' ME (Stewart/Grant) - THE COUNTRY DANCE (Stewart/Blue) / I LOVE A LASSIE - SOMEBODY WAITING FOR ME - ARDENTINNY - WEE HOOSE AMANG THE HEATHER (H. Lauder) / SCOTLAND THE BRAVE (C. Hanley) - WE'RE NO AWA' TAE BIDE AWA' (R. Wilson) - MAIRI'S WEDDING (H. Robertson) - THE THISTLE OF SCOTLAND (E. McColl)

Record Two:

DONALD, WHERE'S YOUR TROOSERS? (Stewart/Grant) - HIGHLANDMAN'S UMBRELLA (Slater) - LOCH MAREE ISLANDS (MacKenzie) - LOVELY STORNAWAY (Halfin/Kennedy) - THE DANCING IN KYLE (Duguid/Pritchard) / THE WAGGLE O' THE KILT - IT'S NICE TO GET UP IN THE MORNING - TOBERMORAY - THE SAFTEST O' THE FAMILY - I'M FOO THE NOO - THE WEDDING OF SANDY MacNAB (Lauder) / THE STAR O' RABBIE BURNS (Trad. arr. Simpson) / WILL YE NO COME BACK AGAIN (Trad. arr. Simpson) - THE SKYE BOAT SONG (McLeod/Bolton) - COME OWER THE STREAM, CHARLIE (Trad. arr. Simpson) - RISE AND FOLLOW CHARLIE (Trad. arr. Simpson) / STOP YER TICKLIN' JOCK - ROAMIN IN THE GLOAMIN' - A WEE DEOCH AND DORIS - KEEP RIGHT ON TO THE END OF THE ROAD (Lauder) / JOHNNY LAD (Trad. arr. Simpson) - BONNIE WEE JEANNIE McCOLL (Trad. arr. Simpson) - THE SOOR MILK CAIRT (Paterson) - THE WEE TOON CLERK (Trad. arr. Simpson) / MY AIN HOOSE (Trad. arr. Simpson) - WESTERING HOME (Robertson) - THE WILD MOUNTAIN THYME (S. McPeake) - HOREE-HORO (H. Robertson) - THE WILD ROVER (Trad. arr. Simpson) / THE MUCKIN' O' GEORDIE'S BYRE - THE LASS O' FYVIE - NICKIE TAMS - THE BARNYARDS O' DELGATY (Trad. arr. Simpson) / GREEN GROW THE RUSHES, OH - CORN RIGGS - MY LOVE SHE'S BUT A LASSIE YET - I'LL AYE CA' IN YON TOON - O' A' THE AIRTS (Burns (trad) arr. Simpson) / SCOTLAND YET - THE AULD SCOTS SANGS - THE ROWAN TREE (Trad. arr. Simpson) / THE OLD SCOTTISH WALTZ (Morgan) - THE BONNIE WELLS O' WEARIE (Trad. arr. Simpson) - BACK TO BONNIE SCOTLAND (Copyright Control) - BONNIE SCOTLAND (McNab/Reid) - HASTE YE BACK (Sturdy/Wilson)

Produced by Pete Kerr.
Musical Directors/Arrangers: Mark Simpson & Alex Sutherland.
Recorded at Castle Sound, Edinburgh, November 1978 to March 1979.
Recording Engineers: Calum Malcolm & Phil Yule.
Sleeve Photography by Vista, Glasgow and B.T.A.

Licensed from Manx Musical Recordings Ltd. in association with Emerald Group Records.

For Auld Lang Syne


Album sleeve image Andy is pictured on the sleeve, surrounded by his family, for his third LP on Emerald 'For Auld Lang Syne'. With no obvious links or theme this album is chiefly an album of old favourites, but contains one wonderful new song...

The opening track - the only new song on the album - was penned as an indirect follow-up to his hit from 1960; 'Donald Where's Your Troosers?'. After a twenty year showbusiness career wearing the kilt, members of the public were seemingly always taken aback to meet Andy wearing anything else. A besuited Andy would invariably receive the same comment as he explained: "When people meet me and I'm wearing trousers, they don't say "Donald, Where's Your Troosers?", they say "Andy, Where's Your Kilt?"" It goes without saying, this new track is a joy: "Trousers aren't humorous and nobody wants to know, when you're dressed in trousers what you're wearing down below - "Is there anything worn beneath the kilt?" a lady asked "is it true?", says I "there's nothing worn at all, it's all as good as new!"" and easily provides the best track on the whole record.

The rest of the album consists of re-recordings of songs recorded in the Sixties; 'Farewell 51st Farewell', 'The Gallant Forty Twa' and 'My Hameland', the Seventies; 'Country Roads' and 'Farewell and Joy Be With You All', auld favourites; 'Maggie', 'We're No Awa' Tae Bide Awa'' and 'Auld Lang Syne' and concert-style medleys such as 'The Northern Lights of Aberdeen'/'Rothesay Bay'/'I Belong to Glasgow'.

One other track new to Andy's catalogue of recordings, is the final track on side one; 'Y'All Come', an American "Bluegrass" country song written and originally performed by the schoolteacher-turned-country singer Arlie Duff and subsequently covered by many other country artists. It is introduced by Andy on the record as sharing the same sentiments as his own song 'Farewell and Joy Be With You All'. Perhaps even more appropriately the song echoes the sentiments of 'Haste Ye Back'.

Overall this collection is probably the least inspiring of the trio of albums released through Emerald. Sharing neither the quality of 'Scotland Is Andy Stewart' or the fun of 'Sing a Song of Scotland', it's one saving grace is of course, 'Andy, Where's Your Kilt?'. 'For Auld Lang Syne' would be his final album for Emerald.

Year of Release: 1981
Label: Emerald Gem
Catalogue Number: GES 1217

ANDY, WHERE'S YOUR KILT? (Stewart/Gourlay) / WE'RE NO AWA' TAE BIDE AWA' (Trad. arr. Simpson) / COUNTRY ROADS (Danoff/Nivert/Denver) / FAREWELL 51st. FAREWELL (Stewart) / THE COUNTRY DANCE (Stewart) / A TOAST TO THE LASSIES: The Lassies O' Hame - My Lass - A Lass O' My Ain (Stewart) / FAREWELL AND JOY BE WITH YOU ALL / Y'ALL COME (Stewart/Blue - Duff) / THE NORTHERN LIGHTS OF ABERDEEN / ROTHESAY BAY / I BELONG TO GLASGOW (Sturdy/Wilson - Trad. arr. Simpson - W. Fyffe) / THE GALLANT FORTY-TWA (Stewart) / MAGGIE (Trad. arr. Simpson) / MY HAMELAND (Stewart/Stewart) / THE OLD SCOTTISH WALTZ (Morgan) / AULD LANG SYNE (Trad. arr. Simpson)

Produced by Pete Kerr.
Musical Arrangements by Mark Simpson.
Recorded and Mixed at Castle Sound, Scotland
Engineers - Calum Malcolm
Recorded May/June 1980.
Sleeve Photography by Vista, Glasgow.