The Battlefield Band

The Battlefield Band has proven to be one of the longest running institutions of Scottish music. At their inception in 1969, they were one of the most adventurous young groups around, mixing traditional music with some rock and pop, and even in the time since, they've remained somewhat abreast of trends, although not as much as those who've followed in their footsteps and sometimes overtaken them. But that's fine, they have a comfortable niche and a dedicated following. During the '70s, Scots music was very much a live thing, restricted to the folk clubs, with not much thought of the recording studio. And the Battlefield Band, under the leadership of Brian McNeill, spent much of the decade finding their feet -- indeed, McNeill was growing by leaps and bounds as a songwriter, which found its first flower on "The Lads O' the Fair" on 1980's Home is Where the Van is, where subtle electric arrangements met a traditional sound. They followed that up with an even stronger disc, There's a Buzz, and then in 1984, Anthem for the Common Man, where some personnel changes brought in singer Alistair Russell and saw a more political tone creep into the lyrics -- a reaction to Margaret Thatcher.