Updated: Jan 26, 2019
I'm proffering this tune as an offering to a gent I knew back when I was in Court Square, the irish band I was in back in the mid to late 90's. The band had a steady gig every week at McGovern's on Skillman Avenue on Woodside, a proper Irish dive, full of old gents drinking and singing along with us when we got it right and fussing when we didn't. Duncan Mooney was was a Scot, I believe he was well in his 70's, still working as a roofer, gnarled and tough as boiled wood. He invited me to a British VFW hall to drink scotch from plastic bottles and sing, because it was January 25th, Robbie Burns' Day -- the birthday of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796).
I worked this track up a little while ago when I was recording an album of the music that was popular in and around the time of the American Revolution, this tune would have been heard used as a march by both sides of that conflict. The song is about the Scottish struggle to support the Jacobite cause, the struggle to put Prince Charlie, a Scottish royal on the English throne -- so I would say that makes it a bit more resonant if the Yankee militias were singing it vs. the Redcoats, after all, that would have been the same army that put down Prince Charlie's rebellion back home. (I guess I should note that the lyrics I'm singing here are not the words Robert Burns penned for the song -- these words are the more folk, probably more widely known ones.)
So here's to Robert Burns and the Scots and very specifically Mr Duncan Mooney who has passed on now, but lives in my memory, eating haggis and drinking scotch out of red Solo cups.