Stewart sent me a tape and these words just after Archie Fisher had released the song with Folk Legacy. I was quite content with the way Archie sang it, but I remembered that Stewart wanted to hear how I would do it, so I started singing it again a few years ago for a fine songwriter who left us far too soon.
O the West wind blows to Coshieville, and with the winds came we
And where the river hugs the wood, and Blackthorns flower in May, there stood
A single Rowan Tree
So young and slender – so were you: I loved you both as there you grew
The day I took the road that loads by Rannoch to the sea.
Well I carved our names at Coshieville – the Rowan Tree stood still
But the darkening West was in my eye:
Despite your kisses and my lies, my thoughts had crossed the hill
I broke your heart as the minutes passed,
I shrugged and said that nothing lasts.
But many a backward glance I case, as we moved North to the drill.
The big wheels rumble up and down: the lorries know the way
I waved my hand, I hitched a ride
We crossed the bridge at Rannoch-side, where the diesel motors play.
I set my face to a cliff of stone
My ear to a Boring-hammer’s drone
But deep inside I rued alone, for you were far away.
Well the money moved from Erricht’s Loch – the Great Glen Beconed on
At Morriston the hills grew pale
We fought and drank through old Kintale
‘Til the money soon was gone.
I curse Loch Awshire’s Autumn raid, the Winter whiskey in Dunblaine
Till the West wind rose in the Spring again,
And my heart leapt at its song.
So I came at last to Coshieville – with a dozen hills aflame
You had another hand to hold –
Beneath the names I carved of old, there was another name
You looked me through, nor have a sign;
I drank the cup of bitter wine,
For well we knew the fault was mine – and I left the way I came.