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*PYE (1975-1977)

Pye records in the mid-seventies was still considered a "major" label, albeit one with a catalogue of mainly middle-of-the-road, easy-listening artists like Des O'Connor, Max Bygraves and Acker Bilk, as the label had been slowly moving away from the "pop" market that it had been famous for in the fifties and sixties. The label also had a roster of Scottish artistes including The Alexander Brothers and Lena Martell, a roster which Andy joined in 1975. Early in his contract with Pye, Andy was still given enough free-reign to be able to produce two full albums of new material, and a couple of singles, before the predictable label demands came for a "greatest hits" album.

Brand New from Andy


Album sleeve imagewith Jimmy Blue and His Band

Andy's first LP for Pye contains, true to its word, fourteen brand new songs, which would make this the last sizeable batch of self-penned songs Andy would ever release. The album itself is one of the best of his post-EMI releases and could be judged as his last flourish as a creative songwriting artiste.

From the sleeve notes:
"In the six months immediately prior to recording this album, Andy crammed in three variety theatre seasons and 26 TV shows in Scotland, then, the album safely in the can, he jumped on a 'plane for Vancouver to record three more TV spectaculars! For the remainder of such an "average" twelve months Andy will, as usual, take his touring concert package to... take your pick - Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, the U.S.A., etc. etc. How does he do it? Well that's the stuff superstars are made of.

And yet the Stewart energies don't stop there. For this, his first album on the Pye label, Andy decided on an LP of brand new material. But good original material is difficult to come by these days - for anybody but Andy Stewart, that is. He simply sat down with Jimmy Blue, the leader of his backing band, and wrote what was required!"

The album gets off to a flying start with 'A Guid Scotch Night' a fine jig including a wonderful instrumental break as Jimmy Blue inserts the traditional 'Bugle Horn'. This song would be partially rewritten as 'Andy's Party' and used as theme show for his Scottish Television show of the same name. 'Little Girl' is a slow waltz and was obviously a favoured song; being included as the B-side to Andy's next single, and again being re-recorded on his next album as well. A trio of ode's to the fairer sex follow. 'Morag's Wedding' is a ceilidh song praising the "bonnie, bonnie bride", however as quick as a flash Andy then turns his attention to 'The Lassie O' Benawe' describing her as "braw, braw, braw!" However he finally settles down with the "loveliness" of 'My Ain Lass'. In 'The Volunteer', Auld Andra informs us that he would be more than happy to lend a hand if there is ever a strike at the whisky distillers! 'Song of Freedom' ends side one with a song so strong that it was selected for single release in a remixed form. This version is the simpler "band" version.

'Lead Me to the Northland', opening side two, is Andy's tribute to the highlands and is followed by a Scotsman's tribute to his one great love, a sad song of parting; 'Farewell Whisky' - a very strong track and sung well - one of the standout tracks on side two. 'Bonnie Annie' is a slow waltz with a lovely melody and the lyrics tell a tender but simple story of unrequited love. In the next track the listener is asked: who has the girls all blushing like roses, and who has whisky distillers rubbing their hands at the thought of money? 'Donny, Oh!' - of course! It's a major event "when Donny comes down from the glen". Next up, in a cautionary tale Andy loses all his worldly wealth but ultimately finds happiness with the 'Lassie in the Clachan' - forty miles from Inverness, and in the "Andylogue" 'The Last Ceilidh', Andy proves that there really is "life in the old dog yet" in a tale of a dying man's last wish. 'Farewell and Joy be with You All' is another new "farewell" song following in the traditions of 'Haste Ye Back' and 'Here's Tae You', providing a new closing song for Andy's concerts of the time.

Year of Release: 1975
Label: PYE Records Special
Catalogue Number: PKL 5524

A GUID SCOTCH NIGHT (Stewart, Blue) / LITTLE GIRL (Stewart, Blue) / MORAG'S WEDDING (Stewart, Blue) / THE LASSIE O' BENAWE (Stewart, Blue) / MY AIN LASS (Stewart, Blue) / THE VOLUNTEER (Stewart) / SONG OF FREEDOM (Stewart, Trad. Arr. Blue) / LEAD ME TO THE NORTHLAND (Stewart, Blue) / FAREWELL WHISKY (Stewart, Blue) / BONNIE ANNIE (Stewart, Blue) / DONNY, OH! (Stewart, Blue) / LASSIE IN THE CLACHAN (Stewart, Blue) / THE LAST CEILIDH (Stewart) / FAREWELL, AND JOY BE WITH YOU ALL (Stewart, Blue)

Produced by Peter Kerr.
Musical Director Mark Simpson.
Jimmy Blue and His Band by permission of Phonogram Ltd.

Song of Freedom


45 image This wonderful A-side has been prepared for 45 single release with an added brass section (not on the album version) which enlarges the sound of the whole recording.

The tune for this song is the pipe tune 'Lord Lovat's Lament'. Lord Lovat was a title created in the Peerage of Scotland in 1458. The eleventh Lord, Simon Fraser, had been a supporter of the House of Hanover, but switched allegiance to the House of Stuart, supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Jacobite pretender to the thrones of Scotland, England and Ireland. He was amongst the Highlanders defeated at the Battle of Culloden and after a period of two months in hiding was captured on an island in Loch Morar and convicted of treason. A tune newly written and entitled 'Lord Lovat's Lament' was composed by his loyal piper David Fraser and apparently played on the ship that transported him to London where he became the last man to be beheaded on Tower Hill. Before he laid his head on the block, Lovat was heard to recite the line: "Dulce et decorum est pro patia mori" - "It is sweet and right to die for your country".

Now resurrected in song with an incredibly stirring sound, 'Song of Freedom' (the single version) is undeservedly rarely heard, and is definitely Andy's best recording from the whole of his two years at Pye. Had it been recorded a decade earlier, it would have surely been a hit and have taken its place on any "greatest hits" compilation.

The B-side 'Little Girl' is the same take from the 'Brand New from Andy' LP.

Year of Release: 1975
Label: PYE
Catalogue Number: 7N.45502

SONG OF FREEDOM (Stewart, Trad. Arr. Blue)

LITTLE GIRL (Stewart, Blue)

Produced by Pete Kerr.

Together Again


45 imagewith Ann Williamson

A taster for Andy's 'Country boy' album pairs together two Buck Owens songs; the ballad 'Together Again' and the up-tempo 'My Heart Skips a Beat', both performed with Ann Williamson.

Eighteen year old Soprano Ann Williamson from Bo'ness, was a new "find" who made her debut on a Blackpool talent show when she was only five years old and gained extensive experience doing cabaret in both Scotland and England. Pye subsequently signed her up to record her own debut album in the following year.

Year of Release: 1975
Label: PYE
Catalogue Number: 7N 45668

TOGETHER AGAIN (Buck Owens)

MY HEART SKIPS A BEAT (Buck Owens)

Arranged by Mark Simpson.
Produced by Pete Kerr.

Country Boy


Album sleeve image with Ann Williamson

In all artists' careers there are high points and there are low points. This album could arguably be seen as Andy's low point, recording-wise. The genre of "Scottish-Country" music was gaining popularity in Scotland (especially around the social-club circuit) in the mid seventies, and Andy, already having dabbled in this area - in a way - with his 1969 release 'Rainbows are Back in Style', now devoted a whole album to Country music. The complete departure from his considered image was hyped-up in the sleeve notes by Producer Pete Kerr:

"For you folks who had Big 'A' branded as some kinda heather-stompin' dude who figured blue grass was for feedin' to cows, take a heapin' helpin' outa this Stewart-style Country pie. It's gonna leave ya dang-busted and hog-tied, that's what it's gonna do! Y'hear?"

Unfortunately it must be said, the album does not live up to the hype. From a man who, with his obvious pride at being a Scot, forged his own identity and found a voice of his own in Scottish song, everything here seems a bit inauthentic. Andy delivers the vocals in a pseudo-American twang, but given his already acknowledged gift for mimicry, the listener can never really be sure whether this album aims to be taken seriously or as one big tongue-in-cheek send-up, and as such is neither one thing nor the other. Whether the album was Andy's idea, or the label's - or a joint effort - doesn't really matter. One or two "Country" songs per album is acceptable; a whole album is hard-going. One cannot help but feel that this record release is a waste of an album - or a missed opportunity... If a "themed" album was the idea, a better alternative would have been an album of Robert Burns' songs, from a man who loved his Burns.

Without actual sales figures, it is unknown whether album sales were good, average, or poor - but perhaps tellingly he would never again record another "all-Country" album. This territory is probably best left to the master of the genre: Sidney Devine.

Year of Release: 1975
Label: PYE Records Special
Catalogue Number: PKL 5532

ACT NATURALLY (Morrison, Russell) / CRYIN' TIME † (Buck Owens) / HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT (Kristofferson) / ONCE A DAY ‡ (Anderson) / IT TAKES PEOPLE LIKE YOU (Buck Owens) / MY HEART SKIPS A BEAT † (Buck Owens) / I'M GONNA BE A COUNTRY BOY AGAIN (Buffy Sainte Marie) / A COUNTRY SONG (Andy Stewart) / TOGETHER AGAIN † (Buck Owens) / LITTLE GIRL (Stewart, Blue) / IT KEEPS RIGHT ON A HURTIN' ‡ (Tillotson) / TAKE ME BACK INTO YOUR HEART (Andy Stewart) / COUNTRY ROAD † (Danoff, Nivert, Denver) / ME AND BOBBY McGEE (Kristofferson, Foster)

† Andy Stewart with Ann Williamson
‡ Ann Williamson

Produced by Pete Kerr.
Musical Arrangements by Mark Simpson.
Recording Engineer - Stuart Jeffrey. Recorded in Edinburgh, August 1975.

Andy Stewart's Greatest Hits


Album sleeve image Again, the reasoning behind this release - whether this was Andy's idea, or (more likely) the record label's - is unknown, but either way Andy's next album was to be a greatest hits compilation, but because of course the original recordings were owned by EMI, these were new recordings of the old hits.

There was never any way that these new recordings were going to top the originals, but there is still some value in them nevertheless. The band sound is rounded out with orchestrations that would not be present in later recordings, and Andy's voice is still fairly sound, if not quite as robust as a decade previously. Overall he performs the songs faithfully and persuasively and this album contains probably the best re-recordings of his hits, hits which he would re-record many more times in the future.

'Campbeltown Loch' gets the album underway swiftly with a new flowery arrangement whereas 'The Road to Dundee' has been arranged by Jimmy Blue, remaining faithful to the original recording. Next up, 'Donald, Where's Your Troosers?' is recorded complete with a "Presley" section that would be largely omitted in subsequent recordings. 'Take Me Back' is performed well, even if the original final note is toned down a little in 1977. 'The Muckin' O' Geordie's Byre' is a standout track from side one as it allows for plenty "muckin'" about with accents both English and Aberdonian, and no "Greatest Hits" would be complete without 'A Scottish Soldier' which ends the first side.

Not a track common to compilations; 'The Barren Rocks' utilises the alternative orchestral arrangement (opposed to the single version which consisted chiefly of bagpipes) and 'The Battle is O'er' has plenty of strings and flutes added to the song which fills the recording out nicely. A medley follows containing: 'The Dancing in Kyle', 'Cailin Mo Ruin-Sa' and 'Morag of Dunvegan'. This medley was one that would be performed during Andy's concerts and Andy's voice holds up well providing a standout track on side two. 'By the Lochside' is faithful to the original arrangement and is followed by 'The Tunes of Glory'. It is probably this track that most clearly demonstrates the difference in recordings from the sixties to the seventies, whilst the original was loud and proud, it has to be said that this recording sounds somewhat diminished. The best track on side two is the final one: 'D'ye Mind Lang Syne'. The newly arranged orchestration by Mark Simpson is lush, and instead of his own voice (as he recorded in 1963), Andy performs the song in-character as "Auld Andra" which really suits the whole sentiment of the song. This is the track's first appearance on a "Best Of" compilation, and fittingly so, as being one of Andy's favourites to perform, it spanned his entire career.

From the original sleeve notes:

"I am indebted to many people for their music; some named and others anonymous. And I owe a great deal to those who introduced me to such fine tunes as Lochanside, The Battle Is Over, The Black Bear and many others that inspired my eager if inadequate pen to provide lyrics."

"While on the subject of indebtedness I must thank Jimmy Blue and all the members of his band for their company, their patience and their fine sound throughout the years and throughout the recording of this particular record - and many thanks to Mark Simpson my auld frien' and fine pianist."

"But most of my thanks must go to you the members of the public and my audience for your support for my efforts during the past twenty years or so. It was at your request that I made so bold as to record in the first place, and it is only with your indulgence and support that I shall continue to do so."

"With renewed thanks and best wishes to you all, I remain, Your servant and sonsgster, Andy Stewart."

Year of Release: 1977
Label: PYE Records Special
Catalogue Number: PKL 5561

CAMPBELTOWN LOCH (Trad, Arr. Stewart, McMillan, Cameron) / THE ROAD TO DUNDEE (Trad, Arr. Blue) / DONALD, WHERE'S YOUR TROOSERS? (Stewart, Grant) / TAKE ME BACK (Trad, Arr. Stewart, Grant) / THE MUCKIN' O' GEORDIE'S BYRE (Trad, Arr. Stewart) / A SCOTTISH SOLDIER (Trad, Arr. Stewart) / THE BARREN ROCKS OF ADEN (Stewart, Grant) / THE BATTLE IS O'ER (Stewart) / THE DANCING IN KYLE (Duguid, Shand, Scott) / CAILIN MO RUIN-SA (D. Ross) / MORAG OF DUNVEGAN (Mathieson) / BY THE LOCHSIDE (Stewart, MacFadyen) / THE TUNES OF GLORY (Stewart, Grant) / D'YE MIND LANG SYNE (Trad, Arr. Simpson)

Produced by Pete Kerr.
Arranger/MD - Alex Sutherland.

Andy's Hogmanay Party


Album sleeve imagewith Jimmy Blue and His Band

Andy's final album for Pye sets out to be another "crowd-pleaser" with a special live album taking the form of a Hogmanay party, released at the end of 1977 in time for the end-of-year celebrations. Again, the album is not truly "live", as the audience's reactions are layered on top of studio performances. This album also marks the final appearance on record from Jimmy Blue and his band.

Andy welcomes the listener into the party, appropriately with 'A Guid New Year', then launching into his television "signature" song - 'Andy's Party' - welcoming Jimmy Blue to the party too. A Lauder medley follows; sing-along time with 'Roamin' In The Gloamin'' then handkerchiefs are called for with 'The Wee Hoose Amang the Heather'. Jimmy Blue steps up to the plate next with a 'Strip the Willow', before Andy gives us a little medley of the hits; 'Donald, Where's Your Troosers?' (the "audience" getting a little excited on this one), 'A Scottish Soldier' and 'Campbeltown Loch'. 'Flower of Scotland' was written by Roy Williamson from the folk group The Corries in 1967, but the song itself needs little introduction as its popularity is such that it has been adopted as Scotland's unofficial national anthem. The song refers to Robert the Bruce's victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Andy chooses a "softer" rendition here, rather than the more "spirited" performances produced at Scottish Rugby matches. 'The Tartan Ball' is another song from the pen of "The Scottish Fiddler"; Jock Morgan and the first side ends with the sing-along 'Wild Rover'.

The Stewart-Grant classic 'Lassie Come and Dance with Me' enjoys another outing, opening up side two followed by a medley of 'The Northern Lights of Aberdeen'; 'I Belong to Glasgow' (a standout track on this side, with plenty of "muckin'" about); and 'Maggie'. 'Phil the Fluter's Ball' was written by Percy French, circa 1885, an Irish entertainer who could turn his hand to almost anything; writing, painting, monologues, stage entertaining, and this composition is probably his most popular piece of work. 'The Lang Road Back Hame' (composed by Andy's old friend Jock Morgan again) receives a rare performance next, it's first outing since the 1965 EP 'Heather Bells'. Jimmy Blue and his Band perform an 'Eightsome Reel' next, then lead Andy into 'Here's to the Gordons' and give the song the same arrangement as performed on the 1973 LP 'Scotch Corner'. 'Scotland the Brave' is the "alternative" unofficial Scottish national anthem. The traditional tune, dating back to the turn of the 20th century, was given lyrics in 1950 by a Scottish journalist Cliff Hanley and popularised by the Scottish tenor Robert Wilson. Finally, as Andy himself states there could be no more appropriate song to end a Hogmanay party than 'Auld Lang Syne'; "the parting song for all humanity".

Although the album does not produce anything of great importance, considering the album was created as a "party" record it is very enjoyable if taken in the right spirit. Taken WITH some spirits it is even more enjoyable!

Year of Release: 1977
Label: PYE Records Special
Catalogue Number: PKL 5564

A GUID NEW YEAR (Trad. Arr. Simpson) / ANDY'S PARTY (Stewart, Blue) / ROAMIN' IN THE GLOAMIN' / THE WEE HOOSE AMANG THE HEATHER (Lauder - Lauder, Wells, Elton) / STRIP THE WILLOW: Braes of Elchies - Drummond Castle - Lochiel's Welcome featuring Jimmy Blue and His Band (Trad. Arr. Blue) / DONALD, WHERE'S YOUR TROOSERS? / A SCOTTISH SOLDIER / CAMPBELTOWN LOCH (Stewart, Grant - Stewart, Grant - Cameron, Stewart, McMillan) / FLOWER OF SCOTLAND (R. Williamson) / THE TARTAN BALL (J. Morgan) / THE WILD ROVER (Trad. Arr. Stewart) / LASSIE COME AND DANCE WITH ME (Stewart, Grant) / THE NORTHERN LIGHTS OF ABERDEEN / I BELONG TO GLASGOW / MAGGIE (Sturdy, Wilson - W. Fyffe - Trad. Arr. Simpson) / PHIL THE FLUTER'S BALL (Trad. Arr. Simpson) / THE LANG ROAD BACK HAME (J. Morgan) / EIGHTSOME REEL: The Eight Men of Moidart - Hunter's Hill - 72nd's Farewell to Aberdeen featuring Jimmy Blue and His Band (Trad. Arr. Blue) / HERE'S TO THE GORDONS (Wilson, Garden, Stewart) / SCOTLAND THE BRAVE (C. Hanley, McClarg) / AULD LANG SYNE (Trad. Arr. Simpson)

Produced by Pete Kerr.
Recorded "Live" in Scotland, 1977.
Engineer - Calum Malcolm - Castle Sound Studios.