Posted by: ramblinrobert | September 16, 2008

Scotland reprise

The name of this blog reflects the influence of a song, The Edinburgh Rambler. This is a rewrite of an old song, The Manchester Rambler, written by Ewan MacColl in the 1930s. It was rewritten by Ed Miller, a Scot, to reflect the same issues, access to the outdoors on private property, but set in his native Scotland instead of England. There’s a line in the refrain that caught my attention: “I may be a wage slave on Monday, but I am a free man on Sunday.” This aptly captures my conflict between my need to work and my dreams and desires to do other things.

This song was also my introduction to Ed Miller, expatriate Scot now living in Texas. As a result of that one song, I purchased a couple of his CDs. Somewhere along the way I ended up on his mailing list and a week ago received an email from him, announcing that he would be performing at a house concert in the South Bay, in the Santa Cruz mountains. Given that my favorite music venue is a house concert and that I love his music, going was a no-brainer.  Little did I know what a treat I was in for.

The house concert was at the home of music lover Philippa, who has been hosting house concerts for 15 years. Her first concert was for Ed Miller, and he’s been a regular visitor ever since. He’s family. Many of the people there had heard him sing before, probably at Philippa’s house. As a result, this was an audience intimately familiar with his music and there was a performer-audience rapport I’ve never seen before. It was a delight. Many of the songs included sing-along refrains that we took up with pleasure.

This wasn’t just Ed singing. He was accompanied by another expatriate Scot, John Taylor, a world-renowned Scottish fiddler now living in the San Jose area. So, there were also fiddlers in the crowd, including a contingent from Alisdair Fraser‘s group, the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers. Given my interest in fiddling, it was a treat to hear and watch him play, too. Check out the picture of his grandson getting into the act on one of the pieces.

We also enjoyed a potluck dinner between sets. I took a tomato, cucumber and squash salad, made from all home-grown ingredients, and we had many other great dishes, including wild salmon from the northwest. I’ve been to many house concerts the past couple of years, but this one topped them all. It was a wonderful reminder of why I love Scotland and of my trip there earlier this year. Good music, good food, good people.



  1. […] mid-September, I made a tomato and cucumber salad for a house concert potluck (see Scotland reprise), and in early October I prepared spaghetti, a squash side dish, another tomato and cucumber salad, […]

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