Reputedly written by Allan Barbour Murchie, one of the participants in the ‘Battle of Bonnymuir’ when a band of Scottish Radicals marched to take over the Carron Iron Works, near Falkirk, in April 1820 to protest against worsening economic and social conditions, and to campaign for more voting rights. It was sung by Chartists in the 1840s. The original tune was lost. This is an abridged version and is the first time since then that these lyrics have been sung, set to the Scottish traditional tune ‘Twas Past One O Clock’ (the approx. time the battle occurred). Barbour was one of the nineteen Radicals taken prisoner by Government troops and were subsequently transported to New South Wales, Australia, where he lived out the rest of his life. He received a Royal Pardon in 1835, as did the other protesters. For the leaders, John Baird and Andrew Hardie, it came too late, they were executed in 1820 as the song documents.
Originally from Leith, Alan studied town planning at the art college in Dundee, then went onto train and work in community education in and around Glasgow for over thirty years. He took voluntary redundancy in 2013 to concentrate on his music.
He started writing songs in the 1970s while at art college. When he moved to Glasgow he soon found himself doing the odd floor spot at folk clubs and for various causes in and around the city. He was one of the first acts to appear at Danny Kyle’s Open Stage at Celtic Connections in Glasgow.
He describes his music as being in the ‘roots’ tradition drawing on his Scottish literary interests; Scottish, Irish and American folk; with a touch of country. He accompanies himself on guitar (both fingerpicking and plectrum styles) and harmonica. He released a demo album in 2012, ‘The Prentice Bard’, showcasing some of his compositions.
Alongside his original work, Alan has researched and is currently reworking Scottish songs and lyrical poems from the 18th/19th century as part of a project he has devised called ‘Strains of Eden’. The project’s first EP ‘This Land is Our Land’, (2015) is supported by the Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust, the UK and Australian based charity, which aims to promote and build on the legacy of singer songwriter Alastair Hulett.
Artist website: http://www.rowth.com
Single title: Dark Bonnymuir
Album title: This Land is Our Land
Release Date: 13/05/2015
Single artist: Alan Dickson
Single duration: 5.04
Record Label: Rowth Records
Catalogue No: Rowth 001
Writers: Allan Barbour Murchie
Publishers: Rowth Publishing
Search Terms: Scottish Insurrection 1820, Radical War, Protest