During the early 1960s, Jim McLean was a prominent figure on the up and coming folk scene. He was never much of a singer but he wrote many great songs which would be heard and sung by the protestors at the Holy Loch during the arrival period of the Polaris.
There was one very important album released on Folkways. It was simply called ‘Ding Dong Dollar’ and featured the songs being sung by the protestors. Three of the songs on the album were Jim’s.
‘We Dinnae Want Polaris’, ‘N.A.D for Royalty’ and ‘They Say They Never Had it Sae Good’. Pete Seeger was very influential in getting Folkways to release the album and, had he had it all his way, he would have added another of Jim’s songs, ‘Royal Horses’.
Although Jim was politically minded, this was not the case with all of his songs. ‘The Massacre of Glencoe’, ‘Smile in Your Sleep’. ‘The Barras’ were all written by Jim, along with many more.
In 1962 he met Alison Chapman, a Geordie studying in London. They met at the famous Troubadour Folk Club and married in 1966. They spent the rest of their lives together, both in work, play and raising a family. They were seldom apart.
Sadly, in early 2021, Alison passed away after a long and brave fight against cancer. This has devastated Jim, as might be expected with such a close love for each other.
Jim wrote two beautiful poems about Alison and passed them to a few of his close friends for comment. Alastair McDonald put tunes to them and Fraser Bruce agreed to create this wonderful CD with the assistance of Gavin Paterson on piano. The final recording and mix was done by Ian Bruce at his studios in Letham.
Jim did not write these poems expecting them to become huge sellers. He wrote them because he wanted to and he wanted to have a memory that he can pass to his friends and relations for years to come.
I hope that you can give it a listen and offer some plays on your programme or write ups in your magazine or newspaper, or whatever your outlet is. Thank you.
These are indeed, true songs of genuine love….. Fraser Bruce.
The CD is available to buy from fraserbruce.co.uk