I've recently added some Lyre music to my writing mix and am enjoying it, but one of the earliest groups whose music I still write to is The Corries.
This image comes from a video:
My first experience of them was a cassette tape mum and I picked up in Kirkcaldy in 1996 in Scotland, and to listen to The Corries sing Loch Lomond while we were driving past Loch Lomond, well, that was quite an experience!
I love their harmonies, I love the way they can pick up so many instruments, I love how great they are live, and I love that they tell stories. They are perhaps best known for Flower of Scotland, which they actually wrote, and which gets played often at Scottish sporting events and such.
They do a beautiful live version of Wild Mountain Thyme:
My favorites, though are some of their more obscure songs. This is The October Song, so beautiful, especially to a nature lover like me:
They do some really good lively ones too, like Johnny Lad:
And some downright funny ones too. Anyone who has owned a Bantam rooster will recognise the hero of this song:
I own about five of their albums, but I think my very favorite song of all is this one, Kishmul's Galley. It is just so joyous, and of course it tells a story!
Kisimul's (Kishmul's) Castle was on the Island of Barra, seat of the head of the MacNeill Clan, and Kishmul's Galley was the ship the clan chief, The MacNeill would take out pirating. What they brought back must have been quite a boon for the isolated islanders. I'll put a little more of a story under this link if you are interested in reading it.
Here's Kishmul's Galley, and yes it is my favorite to sing along to!
Story from Marjory Kennedy-Fraser, a very interesting lady who was a singer, composer, and arranger who recorded many of the Scottish songs and stories.
Una the lonely sat on a hill top on the isle of Barra, thinking of the queer things of life--the heath that is plucked ere it comes to bloom, the boat that goes down in the mouth of the harbour, the great sea that brings wealth to one and death to the other.
She had drunk her fill of the three sorrows of a woman, the sorrow of the orphan, the sorrow of a widow and the sorrow of the mother, and sure, having nothing now to work or hope for in this life, it would be no sorrow at all for her to sleep with the other tired women in the quiet kirkyard.
Una the lonely looked out to sea and looking forgot her thoughts. The waves were boiling with rage because the wind was laughing and mocking them; and far out, Kishmul's Galley, with Macneill of Barra and the bravest of his lads on board, was turning her head towards the bay and the old castle of the clan. But Oh Great being of the graces, as soon as the waves and wind noticed the galley, they straightaway forgot their own quarrel and must need join hands to drown the pluckiest galley in the Isles. Let me swallow her said the sea, opening it, s great mouth--but like the mountain stag, Kishmul's galley bounded to the top of the nearest wave. Let me topple her over said the wind, loud blowing with all its might, but like the seal of Lochlann, the galley darted down into a sea-glen. Wild with anger the waves sprang at her planks and the wind tattered her sails and snapped her rigging--but let them do their worst, Kishmul's Galley was ever the darling to carry her dear ones safely home. And Macneill of Barra and his men began to sing a song of triumph--they could see the old castle now, where the good things in life were waiting for them; the red wine, the feasting, the harping, and the best of all, the love of women and the prattle of children. Don't be so sure said the wind, drawing its whole breath into its lungs. But ere the great effort came, the galley suddenly darted into the quiet of the bay, leaving wind and wave taunting each other with defeat.
And Una the lonely, watching from the hilltop, leapt to her feet and--O Mother of God cried she what if yon galley be me."
At times through my Lyme journey, I too have found hope in the idea of that bright galley making it through the storm to the peaceful port!