It can be embarrassing. You accept a commission to record some music for an historical exhibition only to find that traditional sources throw up just one song and one poem. Weave Trust With Truth is the story of the weaving industry in Dunfermline, a fairly narrow subject, so songwriters Gifford Lind and Alex Black had to fall back on their own resources and write the project themselves. Combining history, local stories and some traditional tunes, they did just that.
Weave Trust With Truth was the motto of the Dunfermline weavers and the opening title track is a sort of overview with a sting in the tail. “Now truth has changed, become what you perceive” writes Gifford in the last verse – how true. Alex Black is responsible for the next two song, ‘Plant It Cut It’ and ‘The Flax’ both describe the journey from plant to finished article. The former is set to the wonderful ‘Rakes Of Mallow’ and the latter to ‘Rose Of Allandale’
History comes next with the story of ‘Jamie Blake’ who, allegedly, stole the secrets of the new Damask loom allowing Dunfermline to corner the market. This was followed by a shortage of flax and the government tried all sorts of bribery to persuade farmers to ‘Up The Plantin’’ but to no avail which is why flax isn’t grown around the city. ‘The Shuttle Rins’ is a piece from the nineteenth century praising the hand weavers – unfortunately, power weaving was on the horizon and as ‘The Weaving’s Gone’ tells, their trade was coming to an end.
Finally, there is ‘Reprise: Thanks For Listening’ in which Guy Burgess comes into his own. Guy is a fiddler and mandolin player who is heard throughout the record but on this track, all the traditional tunes are played as a medley without people singing across the music. Actually, that’s not quite all. The project itself is quite short so Lind and Black flesh it out with three live tracks. The first is Lind’s ‘The Rhythm Of The Loom’, which is really an excuse for a tongue-twisting chorus. ‘Young Andra’ is Black’s take on Scottish emigration to find work and finally we have ‘The Wark O’ The Weavers’. This might have seemed an obvious choice but it’s actually from Forfar so doesn’t really count.
I should add that the profits from the album will go to a local Alzheimer’s charity so as well as enjoying the songs you can feel good about yourself. There will be a launch event at the Carnegie Dunfermline Library and Galleries on the afternoon of 2nd December.
Buy the album from: www.birnamcdshop.com