Alistair Hulett Tribute Recordings

Love Loss and Liberty, released on January 28th 2011, is a compilation of Alistair’s songs by artists who all donated their performances. The Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust is both very grateful to the artists, and proud that so many outstanding performers wanted to be part of the CD, which provides a small insight into the diversity and range of material created by Alistair. The Trustees would also like to thank all the artists, record companies and music publishers who generously gave permission for the use of the songs. Many thanks also to Alison Hulett for her outstanding design work, and to Phil Snell of Limbo Creatives Ltd for production.

All funds raised from sales of Love Loss and Liberty will go to the Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust in the UK, and the Alistair Hulett Memorial Fund in Australia.

Public Tributes

If you would like to leave your own personal tribute to Alistair Hulett please use the comments section at the bottom of this page. Comments have to be moderated to ensure no spam is automatically posted. Your tribute may take one or two days to appear on the website. Thank you for understanding this issue.

Love, Loss and Liberty

Love, Loss & Liberty, the Songs of Alistair Hulett, is available from the online store for £13(GBP), $25(AUD) including postage and packaging.

Sons Of Liberty
James Fagan and Nancy Kerr

During his many years as an antipodean, Alistair made some of the best songs ever written about Australia, particularly its working history. “The Sons of Liberty” is typical of his uncanny ability to turn complicated historical events into brilliantly singable anthems of common people. We are honoured to have been Alistair’s friends and to have worked with him over the years, and we miss him every day. Fortunately for all of us, Alistair lives on in a truly remarkable collection of songs that will continue to inform, inspire and illuminate our lives forever.

Visit James Fagan and Nancy Kerr’s Website

James Fagan and Nancy Kerr

He Fades Away
June Tabor

Mark and I were on tour in the USA and a friend gave us a home-made cassette tape to play on a long drive north through Vermont. Having played the first side, we turned it over and found Alistair’s Dance of the Underclass album. When we got to ‘He Fades Away’ we had to pull off the freeway in floods of tears. I knew I had to sing it. A few years later we put it on Against The Streams. I finally met Alistair and he said, in passing, “so you got that CD I sent to your record company?… you know, I had you in mind when I wrote He Fades Away” “No”, I replied, “I didn’t get it, but the song still found me.” Not only does the song express deep anger over the exploitation of the men who played a dreadful price for working at Wittenoom (Western Australia) in the blue asbestos mine and mill, but it also says so much about the pain and helplessness of watching someone you love suffering and going beyond your help.

Visit June Tabor on Brightfield Productions

June Tabor

Don’t Sign Up For War
Rory McLeod

I met Alistair in the mid 80s when he was living in Australia. I was touring there myself and sang at many benefits and rallies with Alistair, against the first Iraq war, outside the fence of Long Bay Prison, a live broadcast for community and Aboriginal Radio stations Skid-row and Redfern, on an ‘oven hot’ sweltering Christmas Eve for the ‘Free Tim Anderson’ campaign, among many others. There are many fine songs Ali has written that I wanted to sing for this album, I was told other good friends of Alistair were already covering them, so it’s ‘Don’t Sign Up For War’

I chose this defiant song because I like the internationalism expressed in it and the unambiguous and uncompromising ‘class consciousness’ of the song, I’ve always wanted to hear that call for solidarity amongst working people from all over the world, whatever country.

I remember singing in Solidarity Benefits for the (MUA) Maritime union of Australia when the wharfies were out on strike there, the solidarity for the Liverpool Dockers abroad was even stronger than it was at home, where the Unions, and socialists, were being ‘tarred and feathered’ and demonized with the lies from Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers and TV channels that represent the capitalists views of the ruling class.

I’ve always firmly believed and sang that we, us working people in Britain, wear the same chains and share the same fate with other working folks and dispossessed people around the world, and our governments have always tried to make our enemies for us and tell us who we should hate, by using racism and xenophobia and crying for some kind of empty patriotism, jingoism and bigotry. Alistair’s’ chorus that says it all in a nutshell; ‘Betray your country’, but ‘serve your class’.

Not wanting to dilute the message musically or distract from the words. I decided to sing it unaccompanied and just marching with the sound of my own boots, then we later added the lovely clash and strident colour of electric guitar to express the tension in the songs story.

I also chose this song because it’s about the great activist John Maclean, whom the song quotes and whose brave unswerving action it celebrates. John Maclean was one of my dad’s heroes and inspirations and I feel a strong connection with the history of that struggle in Glasgow, from the rent strikes organized by women, to the ‘Clyde-side ship building yards take over and work-in’ by its own workers that I proudly saw happening on the news in London when I was a kid.

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Rory McLeod

Behind Barbed Wire
David Rovicks

I first met Alistair around the time of the G8 meetings in Scotland in 2005. I organized a little two-week tour of the US for he and I, and he retaliated by organizing a seven-week tour of Australia and New Zealand for us, so we got to spend a fair amount of quality time together. That tour ended up being the last tour we’d do together, since he died just over a year afterward.

Ally was kind, generous and full of observations about the world around him. He was also a brilliant musician. One of the many things I thought when I heard he was dying was, damn, no more guitar lessons.

When folks asked me to record “Behind Barbed Wire” for this collection of Alistair’s songs I was a bit hesitant — it’s a song that represents some of Ally’s most beautiful, intricate guitar work and I wondered how I might do it justice. I ended up using a flatpick and doing a version that, for better or worse, lacks most of the intricate stuff Ally did in his own rendition of his song. But I got a great, posthumous guitar lesson in the process, anyway.

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David Rovicks

No Half Measures
Niamh Parsons

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Niamh Parsons

When the Small Birds Start Leaving
Roy Bailey

I first met Alistair at the Australian National Folk Festival in Adelaide in 1991. We became firm friends. He was a great songwriter and over the intervening years I have recorded four of his songs: He Fades Away, A Migrants Lullaby, Suicide Town and When the Small Birds Start Leaving. I have many fond memories of Alistair and Fatima coming to my concerts in Sydney. I remember his return to Scotland and the UK and his appearance at the Sidmouth International Folk Festival. He soon established himself as a committed and talented artist.

His songs will last since they address the human condition, its joys and its tragedies, its love and it’s pain – whatever the subject, his love of, and for humanity shines through. He was always generous to me and I will always be grateful for his songs and his example. I am honoured to have travelled some of our collective journey together and to offer a contribution to this recording – I do so with love and gratitude. This CD is a tribute to a wonderful artist and a truly gentle man.

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Roy Bailey

Mrs Barbour’s Army
Sheena Wellington

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Sheena Wellington

The Dark Loch
Alasdair Roberts with Donald Linsey and Clutch Daisy

It was our mutual friend Donald Lindsay who first introduced me to Alistair’s music and, later, to the man himself. Donald played me In Sleepy Scotland and, being an aspiring ballad singer then myself, I was particularly taken with his versions of the ‘muckle sangs’ on that record. ‘Tam Lin’, with its sustained yet nuanced guitar figure and Alistair’s powerful vocal, was a stand-out track for me. A year or so later Donald, Alistair and I met in a Glasgow pub.

Among the many topics discussed that day (Alistair was a very engaging conversationalist) I remember talking about the singing of the late Paddy Tunney. I was pleased and excited to have met a fellow musician who shared my passion for the old singers and old songs. I grew to know Alistair better over the following years and it became apparent that his musical talent was matched by his generosity of spirit, friendliness, good humour and by his rigorously-held belief in social justice. I chose to cover ‘The Dark Loch’, a heartfelt piece about a particularly bleak period of not-too-distant Scottish history, and I was delighted that Donald Lindsay and Clutch Daisy were able to join in the recording too.

Visit Alasdair Roberts’ Website

Alasdair Roberts

Among Proddy Dogs And Papes
Jason Wilson Band

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Jason Wilson Band

Militant Red
‘Sigaro’/Banda Basotti with Pierluigi ‘Piggio’ Placido

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Banda Basotti

The Day That The Boys Came Down
Sydney City Trash With Alistair Hulett

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Sydney City Trash

The Swaggies Have All Waltzed Matilda Away
Handsome Young Strangers

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Handsome Young Strangers

Buy Us A Drink
The Irish Rovers

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The Irish Rovers