The Gallow’s Rant, March 2011

Alistair Hulett’s Sporadic Newsletter.

Welcome to the latest edition of the Gallows Rant, the sporadic newsletter first started by the late Alistair Hulett and now dedicated to ongoing news about his music and from the Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust (UK) and the Alistair Hulett Memorial Fund (AU).

Last month marked the first anniversary of Alistair’s death. In commemoration Celtic Connections, Scotland’s premier folk and roots festival, hosted a sold out tribute concert to Alistair and his music. Tribute events are being planned in Australia, see below for more details….


Celtic Connections Alistair Hulett Tribute Concert

Celtic Connections, ‘Tribute to Alistair Hulett’ concert took place at St Andrews in the Square on the 28th of January 2011. The concert was a sell out and raised considerable funds for the AHMT. The Trust would like to thank all the artists who took part and made the event such a memorable evening.

The tribute also launched the ‘Songs for Social Justice Award’. The Award for the ‘Song of Social Justice’ is open to songwriters and musicians from across the UK. The judges include Peggy Seeger, Roy Bailey and Karine Polwart. The winners of the award will perform at the 2012 Alistair Hulett Tribute Concert at Celtic Connections. Further information about the award will be posted on the website shortly.


Red Skirts on Clydeside film screening International Women’s Day, Glasgow 8th March 2011

Alistair’s song, “Mrs Barbour’s Army”, sung by Julie Anne McCambridge will feature in a film called, ‘In Red Skirts on Clydeside’ to be screened on the 8th of March at the Glasgow Film Theatre. The film recalls the year 1915, a year into the First World War, when landlords in Glasgow put up tenement rents. Women in Govan responded with a rent strike. In Red Skirts on Clydeside, the directors Jenny Woodley and Christine Bellamy chart the careers of Jean Ferguson, Mary Barbour and Helen Crawford Agnes Dollan through their involvement in the strike.

Twenty-seven years after the original film was made, Govan women reflect on their lives and roles by the Clyde in a unique collaborative women’s history film project led by filmmaker, Kirsten MacLeod, in association with Plantation Productions and the University of the West of Scotland.

The screenings will be followed by a panel discussion on women and the shipyards. For more information on the film contact the Producer & Director Kirsten Macloed on kirstenmac@clara.co.uk. The original song, written and performed by Alistair, is featured on the album, ‘Red Clydeside’.


‘The Lassies of Neilston’

Women in East Renfrewshire, Scotland are organising an exhibition to celebrate the
100th International Womens Day on Saturday March 5th. The famous strike by women mill workers in Neilston 1911 will be celebrated along with Alistair’s song, ‘The Lassies of Neilston’, written in honour of the strike. For more information contact Rhona Leith rhondal@barrheadha.org


‘Best Song of Social Justice’ -National Folk Festival Canberra Australia 21st-25th April 2011

In April, the National Folk Festival will inaugurate the Alastair Hulett Memorial Award for Best Song of Social Justice performed at the National Folk Festival. For more information contact the festival office www.folkfestival.asn.au


Folk Federation of South Australia’s Tribute Concert to Alistair Hulett 28th May 2011

The Folk Federation of South Australia will be staging a tribute concert to Alistair on the 28th May 2011. The legendary Eric Bogle will be headlining the concert along with other musicians including Peter Hicks, Danny Spooner (tbc) and the Fagans (tbc). Proceeds from the concert will go the AHMF. To find out more about the concert, contact info@folk-sa.asn.au


From the Archives – Remembering Alistair

Tempus fugit indeed! It seems hardly possible that we have just marked the first anniversary of Alistair’s death. For this Gallow’s Rant piece I want to take a brief look at the archive materials mourning Alistair’s passing and celebrating his life. What is interesting is the wide range of media formats present, together with the sheer amount of materials generated; all of which bears testimony to the high regard and esteem in which Alistair was held.

It is of course entirely appropriate that many formal obituaries appeared in the mainstream press, such as the Scotsman and the Guardian, and also in music and politics related papers and magazines, both nationally and internationally. Very considerable and diverse materials have also been created on the internet, from Fatima’s brave e-mails charting Alistair’s illness and passing; to quite formal and full appreciations like that from David Rovics, Alistair’s friend and fellow singer/songwriter and activist; to streams and threads on social networking sites and websites such as Mudcat. All of these materials have been captured and stored. Then there are sound recordings and videos of concerts, such as, to highlight just a few, a recording of the magnificent memorial concert held in May last year at the Vanguard in Sydney, the Music Deli programme of Alistair’s music broadcast on Australia’s ABC National Radio just a week after his death, and Lea Redfern’s documentary about Alistair’s life and work broadcast last November also on ABC National Radio.

To this collection has now of course been added materials relating to the Memorial Concert held at St Andrew’s in the Square, Glasgow on the 28th January this year, including a soundtrack of the concert, a poster advertising the tribute CD Love, Loss and Liberty launched at the concert, and a copy of the CD itself.

It is clear that Alistair was deservedly highly respected and much loved. For me a quote from the internet site of LINKS : the International Journal of Socialist Renewal speaks volumes when it defines Alistair as “A truly great singer, songwriter, activist and socialist”.

John Powles, Archivist, Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust


Love, Loss and Liberty Tribute CD Out Now!

The Tribute CD featuring artists from across the world covering Alistair’s songs is out now. Featured artists include Sigaro/Banda Bassotti, June Tabor, David Rovics, Roy Bailey, Niamh Parsons amongst others. CD orders can be made via the www.alistairhulett.com shop.


The Folk Singer for Alistair Hulett (1951 – 2010)

He holds his guitar like a revolutionary banner He sings for the memory of martyrs in chains He sings for the truth with his eyes set on freedom He’ll sing for us all while injustice remains

Come brothers and sisters there’s a new day tomorrow The warm wind of freedom is sweeping the land The bosses and scabs have no power to defeat us Our line will stay strong if we all make a stand

He sings for the workers, oppressed and mistreated He sings for the innocent victims of war He sings on the streets and when there’s trouble you’ll find him On the picket line and the factory floor

So hold fast to the line and let’s link arms together We’ll sing out our message – we’ll fight and stand tall Here’s a song for a world where all people are equal Where there’s peace and respect and a fair go for all Where there’s peace and respect and a fair go for all

by Lance Walker

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