We’ve all seen him, haven’t we? You’re driving along through Glencoe or the Trossachs or some such place, and there he is by the roadside, drawing the tourists who think this is what it’s all about. But it’s a lot older, deeper and darker than that; and this song tries to put it into perspective.
I entered this one for a song-writing competition in Stirling. Archie Fisher was in charge of the judging, and didn’t rate it at all. I think I was placed third out of five. A few people had something to say to Mr. Fisher about that, actually. One of the other judges was Jim Crumley, now well-known as an author, but at that time editing the "Stirling Observer". He later spoke very encouragingly to me; and I’m still convinced that I received a coded message of support. The following week, his paper carried a report of the contest, with a photo of all of us lined up with Archie. But directly beneath this was an article about an event at Doune, including a picture of a vintage car bearing two chaps in full Highland dress with their pipes. The caption referred to these "Two Pipers" as taking a trip in the vehicle.
For those not familiar with Scottish history; James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, and John Graham of Claverhouse were prominent fighters for the Stuart cause in the seventeenth century, and Culloden was the final battle of the Jacobite uprising of 1745/6, at which their hopes were finally shattered. The merciless reprisals after the battle, initiated by the government commanders, remain as one of the most shameful episodes in British military history.