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Up the Shankill
of Ulster Flute Band (Glasgow)
UP THE SHANKILL, the third hotly
awaited release by the Sons of Ulster
Flute Band, Glasgow, arrived on
the shelves this week. Following in
the steps of We Shall Remember and Before
an Empires Eyes, Up
the Shankill is a mixture of melody and Blood and Thunder.
Like the last two they have dedicated this CD to the memory of
Volunteer Noel Kinner, 1st Battalion No.5 Platoon (A Company) Ulster Volunteer
Force. The band was formed in
memory of this Volunteer. For more
information on the history of the band and their formation visit their web site www.noelkinner.co.uk.
You can also purchase copies of their CD's here.
The CD is a mixture of music, vocals and two excellent poems.
The two poems, The Fight and Ulster
Volunteers are both beautifully spoken and an education to listen to.
The second CD contained the Rudyard Kipling poem Ulster 1912. If you
delve into your history you will see that poems like these do exist and can
prove to be an education to us all. The
Sons of Ulster Flute Band should be commended for, once again, bring these
poems to the attention of the Protestant community.
"Who fears death for Ulster's cause?" are the opening words of the poem The Fight, the first track on the CD. One section of the British communities that have never feared death for the cause of Ulster would have to be the people of Ulster themselves. The Protestant people at that.
The next vocal track is the superb Chocolate Soldier.
This is a song about a young member of the Ulster Division writing home
to his sweetheart, with the simple message Ulster will be right!
Then they have a new musical version of the Ballad of Noel Kinner, incorporating the banjo. Excellent re-working of a superb ballad. A ballad that I feel is the type of song that should not be messed with, but I feel the band have done a wonderful job on this new version. So, I won't shout at you!
Then we have the song Clydevalley. Superb song, superb rendition. What did happen to the Clydevalley? Answers to email@example.com (For those of you that don't know the Clydevalley was the vessel that brought over 30,000 arms into Larne harbour to arm the Ulster Volunteers against the threat of Home Rule in 1912).
We then have the fantastic poem Ulster Volunteers, read to the music of Derry Walls. If you consider it, were the Ulster Volunteers of 1912 of the same stock of the Brave Thirteen, the Apprentice Boys of Derry? After all did the men of the Ulster Volunteer Force not close the doors on the face Irish Republicanism, in the way of mobilising against the Home Rule Bill? May sound a funny comparison, but think about it.
The next vocal piece on the CD is an old Orange song, The Bold Orange Heroes of Comber. This to me is one Orange Ballad that is not recorded as often as it should. A bit like the Union Cruiser. This is also good to see that the link that was so strong between the Orange Order and the Ulster Volunteer Force is not being laid to rest. I wonder how many Orangemen served in the 36th Ulster Division? Quite a lot I feel, as there is a Lodge in the jurisdiction of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland named after this fine band of people.
The final vocal is the excellent Eternal Light. This is a ballad by James Gourly dedicated to the MacDowell family who come from the Shankill area. It's a ballad about a Father and his three sons who never returned from the fields of the Somme. Apparently, in a church on the Shankill Road there is a light that is constantly lit as a dedication to these four brave Ulster soldiers.
The Sons of Ulster Flute
Band are renowned for their musical prowess, their discipline, their pride
and the dignity in which they represent themselves, and the memory of Noel
Kinner. You can see this in the
rules of the band. Attendance is
compulsory, no alcohol while on duty with the Sons
of Ulster and an anti-drug policy are just three of the bands rules.
Wherever you go on the Loyalist marching season you will hear people talk
about the Sons of Ulster Flute
Band. Listening to them, and
having the privilege of seeing them perform, you can understand why people rave
about the band. Their musical
ability is shown on Up
the Shankill as well as their last two releases.
The Sons of Ulster have
done justice to the Regimental march of the Coldstream Guards.
On the track Royal Union the band have
a guest flautist, Laurie Johnson from the excellent Imperial Corps of Drums from Liverpool. This is followed by the superb Conway Street, which
includes one of my all time favourite tunes God Bless the Prince of Wales,
otherwise known as Men of Harlech.
Then there is the superb Crimson Banner, a tune that was written about the Siege of Derry in 1688-89. This was when the forces of King James II try to take the city of Londonderry only for the Thirteen brave Apprentices to shut the gates in the faces of the rebel forces. The Crimson banner was lofted with joy at the breaking of the boom by the Mountjoy.
Glory! Apprentice Boys.
boom has been broken was the cry.
Long may the
Crimson Banner wave
The next tune that stands out is the excellently played Volunteers.
Is this a tribute to the many Volunteers who have lost their lives for
the defence of their beloved Ulster. But
then again, is it an acknowledgement? An
acknowledgement of the fact that the Volunteers are still ready for war, if so
The Twelfth would like to thank Robbie for his review of the Sons of Ulsterís excellent CD, Up the Shankill. He has also reviewed the Pride of the Ravenís CD, A Touch of Class. To read this review, click here.
Robbie is also web-master of the Flute Band News. In an effort to promote Ulsterís marching band culture, Glenwood Publications Ė the publishers of The Twelfth Ė are happy to recommend Up the Shankill.
a copy of Up the Shankill, send a cheque/Postal Order (made payable to Glenwood
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