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Laidlaw's Last Lament
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An atmospheric Border Scots ballad in the auld tradition: how 'the Piper of Loos' saved the 7th Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers in October 1915.
World - Traditional Celtic
Previous peak charts position #4
Previous peak charts position in subgenre #2
David Kilpatrick
David Kilpatrick
November 24, 2003
1 version uploaded:
MP3 4.3 MB  •  128 kbps  •  4:39
On 20 playlists
Story behind the song
The week before Armistice Day (November 11) 1999 a story was published in the Southern Reporter, researched by Bill Bruce, which neatly and emotively retold how Piper D L Laidlaw VC reversed the fortunes of a Border battalion fighting in the trenches of the Great War. I wrote the song in a moderate Border Scots dialect, which is easily understood, and played it locally. The lyrics were published by the newspaper. Like most of my songs, the inspiration was immediate and it took around 90 minutes to complete and a further hour to record. This is the second take. The pipes, ambient noise and gunfire effects are added on a Roland JV-50 keyboard and the rest is a one-take recording, playing a Lowden O-10 guitar in drop D tuning and singing. The recording is on a Roland VS-880.
In Scotland we were brothers three Worked oor land upon the Border And i' the summer o' fifteen We joined the ranks in order Farewell we bid oor mither dear God help yez a', said father We left oor hills and mountains clear For the trench-lines o' Artois Wis by Sir Douglas Haig's command That the seventh Bord'rers Were to cross owr no-man's land And so we did as ordered Lowsin' first the smoke an' gas An hoor before the dawin' From the trenches we did pass When oor guns had quit their roarin' First there rose ma brither John Ye wad ne'er hae kent him Gas-mask, kilt and helmet on Tae his deith they sent him Neist there rose ma brither Hugh Nae flinchin' though afflictit The green mist closed his eyes o' blue And I alane lay frichtit Then through the gunfire and the cries The gaspin' and the prayin' I heard the dronin' skirl and rise One piper bravely playin' An we who lay in bluid and clay Rose on our feet tae hear it An those who near were we'ed away Felt deith and didna fear it Piper Laidlaw played his lane "Blue Bonnets" at the break of day Wi' gas and smoke each blaw was pain Until they shot his pipes away Afore days end we gained the ground Yet dearly wis it won Where three had wauken in the morn That night wauk only one Six hundred of the Seventh fell Three hundred an' few more Of that battalion lived to tell How Laidlaw piped them o'er So Piper Laidlaw, was it ye That sent the Seventh hame Bravest but fewest of all they That frae the Border came? Frae Scotland we cam brothers three In France yet twa must stay And Laidlaw's last lament shall be Blue Bonnets, Blue Bonnets Lie cauld in the clay
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