The first Bo'ness Rebels
Ceilidh Song Book came out in 1951 and after several editions of the
"Rebel" and "Patriot" song books the most recent one
appeared in 1965. These were exciting times and I daresay the wee books
helped in some measure to re-instate Folk-song in Scotland at that time.
The Bo'ness Ceilidh was always
a source of wonder to me; how Wilie Kellock managed to get all those
talented people from everywhere, from Brass Bands to Mod Gold Medalists,
from the Fianna na-h-Alba to the much respected Patriotic orators Oliver
Brown, Robert Blair Wilkie, Wendy Wood, Hugh MacDiarmid, Hamish Henderson
of the School of Scottish Studies, Norman McCaig, Seumas MacNeill
Principal of the College of Piping, Thurso Berwick and many many others.
It was great to feel your
blood rekindling in your veins by songs from MacGregor Kennedy and the
Inverscotia Singers or an old haunting Gaelic air by Dolina MacLeannan,
the rousing Stirling Brig by Hugh MacDonald, Port a Beul from Kitty
MacLeod or a laugh when John McEvoy sang his Wee Magic Stane - they made
everyone present proud to be a Scot.
Although there are many
excellent news songs and singers my main concern at this stage is to keep
alive the traditions established by the Rebels Ceilidh Song Books. I have
therefore taken these songs from the three books added a couple of new
ones to make a comprehensive selection of forty.
Many of the former young
Bo'ness Rebels are now respected local Councillors.. Bill Kelloch now
retired and living in Lochaber, Hugh MacDonald retired and now living in
Islay, MacGregor Kennedy now living in Isle of Bute, Jimmy Dewar the
Artist, retired, I've used his 1951 lino-cut on the cover.
Many others alas are now
singing on board the Golden Carvel on their way to Tir-nan-Ogg and I'm
sure they will wish success to this re-hashed Ceilidh Song Book in the
knowledge that it is another wee chuckie on the Independent Cairn.
Angus McGillveray 1994