Both Sides The Tweed (3:41)

Cover of Handful Of Earth

From Handful Of Earth and 7 other releases

“Both sides the Tweed” is a reworking by singer Dick Gaughan of a traditional song from 1707 attributed to James Hogg *about the Treaty of Union between Scotland and England. Gaughan made minor changes to the words and added his own tune . The song was written in 1979 and first appeared on Gaughan’s 1981 album Handful of Earth. Though Gaughan’s recording was embraced by music critics at the time, the song achieved wide popularity only later when it was recorded by the Scottish group Capercaillie on their album Sidewaulk.

Gaughan assembled the song in response to the result of the first Scottish Parliament referendum in 1979 which had the controversial ruling whereby a simple majority was not enough to win a devolved parliament for Scotland. Instead it required that 40% of the entire Scottish electorate, not just those who voted, had to vote yes. A non-vote was therefore effectively a “no” vote. In the referendum 52% of those who voted voted yes, but as this only amounted to 33% of the electorate, the scheme could not be realised.

“Both sides the Tweed” speaks of the corruption involved in the negotiations leading up to the Act of Union of 1707 which linked Scotland and England on terms which nationalists believe did much damage to Scottish culture. The tone of the song, however, is conciliatory and may be read as a reaction against the Anti-Englishness of some Scottish nationalistic songs. The title refers to the River Tweed which marks the border between Scotland and England.


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  • smeghead1851

    @DHC(@- Why does the thought of a national anthem for an autonomous Scotland, living in union with England, make you unwell ? You do realize that is exactly what the words of this song are implying, hence " flourish on both sides the Tweed."

    24 Jul 2014 Reply

    One of the greatest Scottish musicians to ever live. Thank you for sharing your convictions, your soul, with us all. [2]

    6 Aug 2012 Reply
  • Dette04

    Great .!!!

    3 Feb 2011 Reply
  • FredaPeople


    9 Jan 2011 Reply
  • breitheamhnaig

    which part of national anthem or autonomous or Scotland is it that makes you feel deeply unwell , or is it just the word "for" ?

    24 Jul 2010 Reply
  • DHC92

    ''the national anthem for an autonomous Scotland'' The very thought makes me feel DEEPLY unwell.

    29 Mar 2010 Reply
  • roysam

    acknowleged that this is a great song, one of the best but what is up with the tetris synth on this recording?

    29 Dec 2009 Reply
  • smeghead1851

    the national anthem for an autonomous Scotland

    28 Mar 2009 Reply
  • TruthBeToldToda

    One of the greatest Scottish musicians to ever live. Thank you for sharing your convictions, your soul, with us all. Wish I were in the UK to catch your show.

    9 Oct 2008 Reply

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