No Idle Jest


Bonny Labouring Boy An Irish song in which the course of true love does not run smoothly, but we have hopes. She fancies the local ploughboy; mother has the landed aristocracy more in mind.

Not What I'd Sing When I'm Sober (David Diamond) A gentle bit of satire at the expense of overly earnest folkies. All of us who've ever attended open stage sessions have seen (or been) the person in this song.

Riding on a Load of Hay/ Leather Away the Wattle Oh Two tunes learned from the playing of accordion wizard Laurie Andres.

Bottle of the Best  (Jack Foley)  A tribute to Scotland's favourite sport, after caber tossing. .  .  .  and you get better with practice!

The Gallant Weaver One of countless traditional Scottish songs given a working over by Robert Burns. The gallant in question plied his trade in the town of Paisley, home town of your humble servant.

Hamlet (Adam MacNaughtan, MCPS & PRS)  Yes, the entire plot in three verses, with all of the dramatic tension intact.  Get the kids to sing along and watch those grades rise. Who says the standard of education in Canada is slipping?

Newry Town An eve-of-execution bit of repentance and a warning against copycat crimes from a failed highwayman. This does not stop him copying other doomed villains, cowboys, and bad girls in requesting six pallbearers, dressed appropriately, to do the final honours.

You Can't Take That on the Train (Roger Watson, Topic Music) Learned from the New Victory Band, this is a wonderful bit of fake vaudeville. Cherie gets to practise for her second career as silent movie accompanist.

Sammy's Bar (Cyril Tawney)  A powerful ballad about love gone wrong. Most of the audience realize she's not for him long before he does.... and they get to join in on half the words too!

My Darling Asleep/ Tripping Upstairs Two good driving jigs,  purloined during some great Sunday afternoon sessions with Dermot Hurley and Steve Kendall

The Joy of Living (Ewan MacColl, Ewan MacColl Ltd.)   Ewan MacColl wrote this  to a traditional Sicilian tune in 1986, three years before he died, as a farewell to the world and the people he loved. It serves as a fine epitaph.

Hot Asphalt An Irish navvy gets sweet revenge on an overbearing policeman using whatever is readily available... in this case a hopper of tar and a pickaxe.

Blann's Good Ale A sort of lifestyle beer ad from the last century. . . . and not a pickup truck in sight!

Bringing in the Sheaves (Jim Boyes, Voice Publishing) This is a new song firmly rooted in traditional style, all about celebrating our similarities and differences.





Alistair Brown: vocals, melodeon, concertina, harmonica

Roger Houghton: guitar, chorus on Blann's Good Ale

Cherie Whalen: keyboards, fiddle, harmony vocals

Laurence Stevenson: fiddle, whistle, chorus on Blann's Good Ale


Many thanks to the Friends of Fiddler's Green for countless laughs, and for never forgetting to put work and play in the correct order.


1. Bonny Labouring Boy                    4:17

2. Not What I'd Sing When I'm Sober          2:23

3. Riding On A Load of Hay/ Leather Away      2:06

   theWattle Oh

4. Bottle of the Best                         3:08

5. The Gallant Weaver                    2:40

6. Hamlet                              3:23

7. Newry Town                         3:09

8. You Can't Take That on the Train          3:45

9. Sammy's Bar                         4:24

10. My Darling Asleep/ Tripping  Upstairs     2: 04

11. The Joy of Living                    3:29

12. Hot Asphalt                         4:45

13. Blann's Good Ale                    2:29

14. Bringing in the Sheaves               4:05


Produced by Laurence Stevenson

Photography by Rosemary Donovan

Graphics by Luke Brown


Prospect Records PC001