Photo of Campbeltown Loch record cover

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Old Photo of Campbeltown Pier
 
 

 

"Campbeltown Loch" by Andy Stewart

This recording is from an original 1963 (now fifty years old and out of copyright), His Master's Voice single (POP 1246), sung by Andy Stewart with an orchestra conducted by Brian Fahey. It is based on the bagpipe march, "The Glendaruel Highlanders" written circa 1860 by Pipe Major A. Fettes of the Royal Aberdeen Volunteers. The Campbeltown Loch words were added much later and have been variously attributed to either Alan Cameron (Wikipedia), or to MacMillan and Stewart (on the 1963 Andy Stewart record itself).

Campbeltown Loch MP3 download

 

 

Andy Stewart was born in Glasgow in 1933, the son of a teacher. Famous for songs such as "The Scottish Soldier" and "Donald, where's your troosers", both of which he wrote, he was for many years the compere of The White Heather Club, a popular BBC Scottish Music program. Awarded the MBE in 1976, he retired owing to ill health in the late 1980's. He came out of retirement in 1991 but died at Arbroath, his home, shortly after giving a charity concert in Edinburgh in 1993.

Campbeltown Loch itself is a sea loch near the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland. A large, sheltered loch near the infamous North Channel (between Scotland and Ireland) - the entrance from the Irish Sea and the Clyde into the Atlantic, it was an important naval base during the wars. Featured in the Neil Munro novels of Parahandy and the Vital Spark, Campbeltown Loch and Davaar Island at its mouth are also photographed on the front of the famous 1977 Paul McCartney single, "Mull of Kintyre".

The words of the Campbeltown Loch song are no accident - Campbeltown is particularly noted for its whisky! At one time there were 34 distilleries here and three still exist now - Glen Scotia, Springbank and Glengyle. So, whilst the loch was never actually whisky itself (as far as we know!), there must have been almost a lochful passing through it on board sailing ships and steamers throughout the last 150 years.

Most of the photos in this video are reproduced by kind permission of Historic Kintyre and may be seen in far greater detail and with a wealth of explanations and comments on the Historic Kintyre website.

 

Lyrics -

Chorus
Oh Campbeltown Loch, I wish you were whisky!
Campbeltown Loch, Och Aye!
Oh Campbeltown Loch, I wish ye were whisky!
I wid drink ye dry.

Now Campbeltown Loch is a beautiful place,
But the price of the whisky is grim.
How nice it would be if the whisky was free
And the Loch was filled up to the brim.

I'd buy a yacht with the money I've got
And I'd anchor it out in the bay.
If I wanted a nip I'd go in for a dip.
I'd be swimmin' by night and by day!

We'd have a gathering of the clans.
They'd come from near and far.
I can see them grin as they're wading in
And shouting "Slàinte mhòr!".

But what if the boat should overturn
And drowned in the Loch was I?
You'd hear me shout, you'd hear me call out
"What a wonderful way to die !"

But what's this I see, ochone for me
It's a vision to make your blood freeze.
It's the polis afloat in a dirty big boat
And they're shouting: "Time, gentlemen, please!"

Oh No No! Campbeltown Loch, Ah wish ye were whisky!
Campbeltown Loch, Och Aye!
Oh Campbeltown Loch, Ah wish ye were whisky!
I wid drink ye dry
Campbeltown Loch, Ah wish ye were whisky!
Oh Campbeltown Loch, Och Aye!
Oh Campbeltown Loch, Ah wish ye were whisky!
Ah wid drink ye dry.

 
 

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