Here’s a never before released demo version of Nick’s song, The Heron, from 2000. This track appeared on Nick’s 2001 solo release, Rumours of Snow.  The Heron is a perfect observation of the countryside, dating from when Nick lived in a remote location in the borders.

The Rumours of Snow sleeve notes state  “For a while, I lived in Wormiston, above Eddleston in the Borders, just by the black and white Meldon Hills which face each other across a glen dotted with iron age and roman forts and burying places”.

In early October 1963, a popular beat combo took to the stage at the Carlton Cinema, Park Road, Kirkcaldy. The band – 4 gentlemen from Liverpool – were supported by Andy Ross and His Orchestra, The Fortunes and Houston Wells and His Marksmen. They had already played 166 dates that year and were on a 3 data Scottish mini tour before returning south to play the London Palladium on the following Sunday night.

The gig was ranked Fife’s #1 of all time by fifetoday recently. Nick, aged 10 at the time, had a friend who was there and who told him about trying to recreate the concert later with a pile of records to try and impress a girl. As he used to say, the Dansette was an early version of the iPod shuffle.

Far Down The line appeared on the All Over This Town album – a song of friends leaving to find their fortune in London and the last shared pint in one of Nick’s favourite pubs Leslie’s – a perfect gem on Edinburgh’s Southside.

Leslies opened in 1896 and its interior remains largely unchanged. It can be found at 45-47 Ratcliffe Terrace, Edinburgh EH9 1SU.

http://www.realalepubedinburgh.co.uk/

Far Down The Line

You’ll drink a last pint up in Leslie’s on the way,
They say the beer will taste more bitter from today,
You’ll take a long look at the skyline from the bridge,
And watch the morning sun explore the Old Town’s ridge.

You’ve heard it all, you’ve said it all, it’s time to go,
You’ll find a better life in England, sure you know,
You had to smile when old friends sadly shook their heads,
“Come on, it’s no the moon I’m going to”, you said.

Now you’re waiting on the London train,
And it won’t be long before you leave it all behind,
There’s no pipe band playing ‘Will ye no come back again’
Far down the line, far down the line

It’s not for long you’ll make your money and return,
But in the morning light you watch the Tweed bridge burn,
You dream the South will give you all the things you lack,
And you can scarcely hear the land that calls you back.

And when the team in blue run out you’ll raise a cheer,
You can sing ‘The Flower of Scotland’ once a year,
Though you promised that you’d always keep in touch,
Well you were never one for writing very much

Now you’re waiting on the London train,
And it won’t be long before you leave it all behind,
There’s no pipe band playing ‘Will ye no come back again’
Far down the line, far down the line

And will you hang arround the pubs of Camden Town?
Will you let them call you Jock, the tartan clown?
And when you’re drunk at Hogmanay, will you believe,
That you still mourn the land you were so keen to leave?

And there are thousands, many thousands of your kind,
Perth and Stornoway and Kirkwall left behind,
And if they ask you why you took the long road South,
You’ll say you had no choice, there’s nothing left there now.

Now you’re waiting on the London train,
And it won’t be long before you leave it all behind,
There’s no pipe band playing ‘Will ye no come back again’
Far down the line, far down the line

 

Nick’s song, Festival Lights was perhaps the unofficial anthem of the Fringe. The words can be seen painted on the wall of Edinburgh’s famous folk music pub, the Royal Oak (1 Infirmary St, Edinburgh EH1 1LT).

Royal Oak

 

Festival Lights – Nick Keir

The Folks out here are kind, They let me sleep all day,
They don’t seem to mind I’m dreaming my life away,
There’s traffic jams near The Hague, we’ll have to leave here soon,
Sing our songs and go, by the light of a lowland moon,

And it seems like I’ll miss Autumn in Edinburgh,
That’s the one I should have spent with you,
With the rain lashing down, a fog on the Meadows,
As the Festival lights, as the Festival lights go dim.

Been wandering round this town trying to pass some time.
It seems I know these streets, as well as I know mine,
The clock has turned to Five,perhaps you’ll be home soon.
I’ll call and say I’m missing you, and then hang up the phone.

And it seems like I’ll miss Autumn in Edinburgh,
That’s the one I should have spent with you,
With the rain lashing down, a fog on the Meadows,
As the Festival lights, as the Festival lights go dim.

And everybody’s written a song, which says
You’ve been on the road
Been on the road so long.