Press Release : 40yrs On The Road

Scotland’s most popular folk song is “Caledonia ” , says Scots band celebrating 40 years on the road

North Sea Gas, one of Scotland’s best-loved folk groups who have toured the world, reveal that the most popular Scottish song after 40 years is probably “Caledonia”.

The band, who have made 21 albums including over 270 songs and 70 Scottish and Irish tunes, are massively popular in the United States, Europe, and particularly Germany. ‘Fans expect us to play favourites like “Fear A’Bhata” and “Johnny Cope”’ said Dave Gilfillan, the band’s founder-member, ‘although we are continually recording new material and changing our show there is always a request for “Caledonia”.  

From humble beginnings at The White Hart Inn in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket the band’s career has taken them to every part of the world with a regular pre-Covid circuit in Europe and North America. Their experiences include hosting legendary late night shows in the early 80s at the Caley Cinema in Edinburgh with guests such as Hamish Imlach and Johnny Cunningham. Appearing at many of the top folk festivals and sharing stages with Dame Edna Everage, and Gene Pitney, and many more household names over the years. They have also performed in more unusual settings, including Oil Rigs and Colditz Castle!

Paying their dues at every kind of venue in the early years led to theatres and television.  The band’s 21 albums have seen various personnel changes and their 22nd album will be a triple compilation album (featuring new material) to mark the 40th anniversary, Named appropriately “A Long Road” . 

The current North Sea Gas line-up has been the most stable with Gilfillan and fellow band member Ronnie MacDonald working together for twenty years and Grant Simpson joining them 16 years ago.  

Band founder and only original member, Dave Gilfillan said, ‘The album will happen sometime in the near future as the COVID restrictions have not only decimated our touring schedule but lay waste to any plans for recording.’

He is, however, hopeful that North Sea Gas will be able to pick up their hectic schedule again as soon as the pandemic situation allows. ‘We’ve always aimed to provide great entertainment drawing on Scotland’s folk tradition. It’s my feeling that audiences will be more than ready for that. We’re raring to go. That’s the first forty years behind us and there’s plenty more to come.’

Hearth @ Homeland Review

NORTH SEA GAS – Hearth & Homeland 
Scotdisc CDITV888 
The year 2020 marked the 40th anniversary of North Sea Gas. It should have been marked by celebratory tours and other special occasions, but like so many things in that awful year, it didn’t happen, Ah, well! At least we have this 2019 album as an indicator. The band has had quite a number of comings and goings over the years, with Dave Gilfillan being the only constant; what has changed little over the years is the approach that has brought them their popularity. The repertoire here is full of the long-loved elements of Scottish song; a dash of Burns, some of the finest of traditional items such as The Jolly Beggarman, The Rigs O’ Rye and The Water Is Wide, alongside some lesser known modern songs, a set of tunes written and led by the band’s fiddler, Grant Simpson, with the album topped and tailed with Jacobite items. There is a warmth in their harmony singing and some of the lead vocals have a clipped, clear, precise feeling. Every track in imbibed with enthusiasm. It is an approach that has won North Sea Gas a following beyond the usual folk music community as the long list of continental and American tours demonstrates. Smith This review appeared in Issue 137 of The Living Tradition magazine

Spirit Of The Banished.

  1. New York Girls
  2. Farewell Tae The Haven
  3. A Mans A Man
  4. The Blossom Set
  5. Road And Miles Tae Dundee
  6. Lock The Door Lariston
  7. Reconcillation
  8. John McLean March
  9. Daughters And Your Sons
  10. Craigie Dhu
  11. Scots Wha Hae
  12. Trooper And The Maid
  13. Generation Of Change
  14. Jeanie & Davie McCall
  15. Hush Hush & Inisheer

Paradimethylaminobenzaldehyde. (Isaac Asimov)


Sodium citrate, ammonium cyanide
Phosphates and nitrates and chlorides galore
Just have one o’ these and you’ll never need more.

Got messed up last night on furfuryl alcohol
Followed it down with a gallon of propanol
Drank from mid-morning til late afternoon
Then spat on the floor and blew up the saloon.

(repeat chorus)

Powdered aluminum, nitrogen iodide
Slop it around and add some benzene
Then top off the punch with Fluorescein

(repeat chorus)

Whiskey, tequila and rum are too tame,
The stuff that I drink must explode into flame.
When I break wind it strips all the paint in the room,
And rattles the walls with an earthshaking boom.

(repeat chorus)

Go soak your head in a jar of formaldehyde
Scrub very hard, then rinse out your mane
In dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane!

Having A Bit Tonight (Trad)

Tonight I am so happy tonight I am so gay

Me mothers got a rolly polly pudding on the way

I saw her put the currents in the suet and the fat 

Tonight we’re having spotted dick what do you think of that


For I’m having a bit tonight I’m having a bit tonight

Me mother say’s I must be quick to get me bit of spotted Dick

I like me rolly Polly It fills me wi delight 

I hav’ne had it since Easter but I’m having a bit tonight


nite nite nite diddle it tite tite


There is me uncle Billy and me auntie Nell 

Then there is the girl nextdoor she likes a bit as well

Then there’s me old grandad he’s really very tough

Although he’s nearly ninety he’s a bugger for his Duff


Then there is me girl friend she is a lovely girl

Her hair is like the waving corn her teeth as white as pearl

There’s only one thing wrong with her she is’nt very fat

Tonight she’s getting spotted dick what do you think of that


Well me mothers rolly polly it is the very best

It really fills yer belly and puts hairs apon your chest

So if your feeling poorly or if your feeling sick

there’s nothing better for you than a bit so spotted dick

Granny’s Hieland Hame. (Trad)

Away in the Hielands
There stands a wee hoose,
And it stands on the breast of the brae.
Where we played as laddies
Sae long long ago,
And it seems it was just yesterday.


Where the heather bells are blooming just outside Granny’s door,
Where as laddies there we played in the days of long ago.
Neath the shadow of Ben Bhragie and Golspie’s loudly stane,
How I wished that I could see my Granny’s Hielan’ hame.

I can still see old Granny,
A smile on her face,
As sweet as the heather dew,
When she kissed me good-bye
Wi’ a tear in her eye,
And said, ‘Laddie may God bless you’.

It’s A Wonderful Thing. ( R. Fulton)

It’s a wonderful thing to feel young and healthy

Great to say your feeling fine

What do you care about being wealthy

As long as you have a good time


A man who weds at ninety five a girl of twenty two

Enganged a nice companion so his wife would not be blue

I fear the wife is preganant the companion’s pregnant too


It’s a wonderful thing to feel young

Now and old man met a laddie crying bo ho ho ho ho

The boy said I’m upset because I can’t do what big boys do

The old man thought a minute then he started crying too 

It’s a wonderful thing to feel young


It’s a wonderful thing to feel full of youthpop

What if you lost all your teeth

What if you find that there’s snow on the rooftop

If there’s a big fire underneath 


Well you’ve heard of auntie Jessie now It really is a farce

She went out walking yesterday and fell apon the grass

We promised not to mention where she stuck the elastoplast

It’s a wonderful thing to feel young


Now auntie Jessie’s in mess you really must’nt scoff

The plasters really agony especially when she coughs

It did’ni hurt when it went on but gee’s when it came off

It’s a wonderful thing to feel young


It’s a wonderful thing to feel young and glowing

What if you lost all your hair

What if you can’t quite see where your going

As long as you know when your there


Well a fine girl caught winching beneath the stairheed light

Her father said I’ll teach you to make love 

The girl said dad I wish you would for he canni da it right 

It’ a wonderful thing to feel young


Well an old wife at a funeral called a minister by name

She said that man you buried he’s a hundred I’m the same

He said my god a hundred it’s no worth your while go’s hame

It’s a wonderful thing to feel young

It’s a wonderful thing to feel young

It’s a wonderful thing to feel young

Embo’s Golden Shore (Colin McKenzie)

Twas on the 16th of July in 1988

That Embo did declare itself an independent state

And the peopled came from miles around by the dozen and the score

To watch the rollers gently break on embo’s golden shores


On Embo’s golden shore me boys 

On Embo’s golden shore

We’ll watch the rollers gently break 

On Embo’s golden shore


To enter this new fledgling state a visa was required

For Embo gained it’s freedom then without a shot been fired

Twas not Whithall’s stately rooms they played their power game’s

but in the cosy backroom bar in Granny’s Heiland Hame


I’ve travelled many’s a weary mile and seen strange foreign lands 

I’ve seen the snowy mountains and I’ve wondered through the glens

But then I came by Dornoch town far famed in days of yore

And I watched the rollers gently break on Embo’s golden shore 

One Of Those Days. (Boulton/ Parton)

When you find you’ve slept through your alarm clock and you can’t find clean knickers or socks
When number one daughter’s used all the hot water and there’s no teabags left in the box
The orange juice carton is empty and the coffee pot’s furry and green
The only bread’s frozen, the toaster is broken and you struggle to stifle a scream

It’s going to be one of those days
It’s going to be one of those days
But don’t think these things only happen to you
That creation has cursed ev’rything that you do
For the rich and the famous have their moments too
And it’s going to be one of those days

There’s icebergs ahead, said the first Mate to the Skipper who stood on the bridge
But on the Titanic there was no sign of panic, the Captain was cool as a fridge
They can’t harm us at all, he said smiling, hold your course, keep her full steam ahead
But soon after noting the carpets were floating, he turned to the first Mate and said:

It’s going to be one of those days
It’s going to be one of those days
Why do these things always happen to me?
Just how unlucky can anyone be?
This is not going to look too good on my CV
And it’s going to be one of those days

Doctor Livingstone lived in the jungle with a tribe who thought he was a god 
He’d got forty wives, gold and silver besides, he was set up for life – lucky sod!
Then Stanley strides into the clearing with his pith hat, machete and shorts
I presume you are one Doctor D. Livingstone, at which the good doctor retorts

It’s going to be one of those days
It’s going to be one of those days
Here am I living the life of a toff
Now Stanley has caused a complete catastroff
I wish he’d just take his pith hat and pith off
And it’s going to be one of those days

Now there’s no disputin’ Rasputin was cute in a mad monkish way
He was giving Katrina the lovely Tsarina more than spiritual guidance they say
So the Tsar he arranged for his murder and he hired a hit-monk for the job
To stab him and shoot him and electrocute him, no names and no pack drill, ten bob

He said It’s going to be one of those days
It’s going to be one of those days
If there’s trouble about you can bet that I have it
Is it my fault the Tsarina goes like a rabbit
And if this is mad monking I’m changing my habit
And it’s going to be one of those days

So if you ever have one of those mornings when nothing you do will go right
Everything that you touch from the time you get up congeals into one great heap of – rubbish
Don’t think it’s your fault or failure, it’s not something you’ve eaten or said
And all you can do when it happens to you is sing as you go back to bed

It’s going to be one of those days
It’s going to be one of those days
It isn’t a blessing, it feels like a curse
When things keep on turning from bad into worse
And you can’t even think of a line for this song
That’ll rhyme or scan or any bloody thing
And it’s going to be one of those days