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Freedom Come All Ye

[Hamish Henderson (1919-2002), tune The Bloody Fields of Flanders]

The Scottish Folksinger

Nigel Denver sang Freedom Come All Ye in 1964 on his eponymous Decca album, Nigel Denver. He noted:

This majestic song of peace written by Hamish Henderson shows his great compassion and understanding of the problems facing humanity.

The Exiles recorded Freedom, Come All Ye in 1966 as the title track of their Topic album Freedom, Come All Ye. Gordon McCulloch noted:

This is the work of Hamish Henderson, one of Scotland’s most gifted poets, whose Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica won him the Somerset Maugham Award. The folk song revival in Scotland is in debt to Henderson for his years of valuable research at the School of Scottish Studies, and for the many fine songs which he has himself contributed. The air is the traditional pipe tune, The Bloody Fields of Flanders.

Hamish Bayne and Martin Cole sang Freedom Come All Ye in 1991 on their Fellside album Making Music.

Isla St Clair sang The Freedom Come-All-Ye in 1993 on her album Inheritance.

The Band of Hope sang Freedom Come All Ye in 1994 on their Musikfolk album Rhythm & Reds. This track was also included in 2000 on Roy Bailey's album Coda.

Dick Gaughan sang The Freedom Come-All-Ye, “Hamish Henderson's great song on Internationalism”, on his 1996 Greentrax album Sail On. A 1982 live recording from the Old Cambridge Baptist Church, next to Harvard University Campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was included in 2019 on his Greentrax album The Harvard Tapes. This video shows him in a 1989 performance:

Jim Reid sang The Freedom Come-All-Ye on Greentrax's 2003 Hamish Henderson tribute album A' the Bairns o Adam. He also sang it in 2005 on his Greentrax album Yont the Tay.

Freedom Come All Ye was sung as the closing tracks of the 2016 and 2018 concerts celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the TMSA. Both concerts were released by the TMSA on DVD as 101 Scottish Songs: The Wee Red Book and 101 Scottish Songs: The Wee Red Book 3.

Findlay Napier sang The Freedom Come All Ye in 2017 on the Folk by the Oak album Shake the Chains. He noted:

Written by Hamish Henderson in 1960, it has become the best of Scotland's unofficial national anthems. Originally themed as an anti-imperialist protest song, the first line echoes Harold MacMillan's “Winds of Change” speech.

There [was] an excellent translation from the Scots on Dick Gaughan’s [now defunct] website. My favourite part is the verse:

All of you who love freedom
Pay no attention to the prophets of doom.
In your house all the children of Adam
Will have food, drink and hospitality.

Or: “Ignore the Daily Mail, welcome refugees.”

The “black boy frae yont Nyanga” is Nelson Mandela.

Hamish Henderson sang The Freedom Come All Ye on the 2018 Greentrax anthology Scotland's Voices. This track is an archive recording from The School of Scottish Studies.

Jackie Oates sang Freedom Come-All-Ye in 2018 on her ECC album The Joy of Living.


Freedom Come All Ye

Roch the wind in the clear days dawin
Blows the cloods heelster-gowdie ow'r the bay,
But there's mair nor a roch wind blawin
Through the great glen o the warld the day.
It's a thocht that will gar oor rottans
—A' they rogues that gang gallus, fresh and gay—
Tak the road, and seek ither loanins
For their ill ploys, tae sport and play.

Nae mair will the bonnie callants
Mairch tae war when oor braggarts crousely craw
Nor wee weans frae pitheid and clachan
Mourn the ships sailing doon the Broomielaw,
Broken faimlies in lands we've herriet
Will curse Scotland the Brave nae mair, nae mair;
Black and white, ane ti ither mairriet,
Mak the vile barracks o' thier maisters bare.

So come all ye at hame wi' Freedom,
Never heed whit the hoodies croak for doom.
In your hoose a' the bairnes o' Adam
Can find breid, barley-bree and painted room.
When Maclean meets wi's friens in Springburn,
A' the roses and geans will turn tae bloom,
And a black boy frae yont Nyanga
Dings the fell gallows o' the burghers doon.


See also the Mudcat Café thread Origins: Freedom Come All Ye (Hamish Henderson).