Various Artists: The Battle of Prestonpans 1745: Music and Songs of the Campaign

The album is subtitled as “Companion to the Prestonpans Tapestry” If you do not know what the Prestonpans Tapestry is, briefly it’s a tapestry instigated by Gordon Prestoungrange. In about 2002, at the Prestoungrange Arts Festival he commissioned Andrew Crummy as designer. The caveat was that it would be like the Bayeux Tapestry — but it has to be one metre longer! So it came to pass: a tapestry depicting the journey Bonnie Prince Charlie took in 1744 starting in Rome then on through France to Scotland. Amassing his army on the way through Scotland, eventually arriving at Prestonpans with a 2000 strong army. The British Forces led by Johnnie Cope had chased the Jacobites through the Highlands, and marched to meet them at Prestonpans for a battle. The tapestry created by 200 women and 2 men took over 18 months to sew.

The tracks on this album are a selection of songs and music that depict the story and so the album is played as background music wherever the tapestry is displayed. There are 15 tracks on the album supplied by various artists such as Karen Matheson, The Whistlebinkies, Jean Redpath, The McCalmans, The Corries, Sangsters, Ceolberg with Davy Steel, and The 1st Battalion The Black Watch Pipe band. To get the full effect, you must listen to the album whilst viewing the tapestry — but it still makes good listening on its own, particularly if you are well versed or studying English and Scottish history.  

You can learn more about the tapestry here, and you can buy the CD this away.

(Greentrax records, 2010)

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