Some background: In 1967, Scottish football ruled the roost. That year, Celtic FC became the first British club to win the European Cup - yesterday’s equivalent of today’s Champions League - and it did so with an all Scottish playing eleven, with every player being born within a short driving distance of the club’s home ground in Glasgow. A month or so earlier, the Scottish national team had beaten the then World Champion English national side at Wembley to claim the British Home Championship, and a week or so after Celtic’s Cup triumph over Italian giants Inter Milan in Lisbon, the club’s bitter rival, Glasgow Rangers FC, narrowly lost the second tier ECWC Final against crack German outfit Bayern Munich. These were halcyon days for Scottish football. Never to be repeated, although Celtic would make another European Cup Final in 1970, and semi-finals in 1972 and 1974.
Released in to commemorate Celtic’s phenomenal 1967 success, The Green & White Brigade’s The Holy Ground of Glasgow Celtic is essentially a collection of the terrace songs and accordion-led Irish rebel tunes so beloved by the club’s supporters ... many of whom identify strongly with Ireland; although based in Scotland, the club and its forefathers had - and still have - strong links with the Emerald Isle … it’s complicated, and deeper explanation of that scenario would require more than just a separate blogpost, it would require a whole book.
Musically, it’s an acquired taste, obviously. I have no idea who The Green and White Brigade are, other than the fact that they clearly have great taste in football teams. The singing isn’t anything to write home about, but if you like Irish “folk songs” with um, tribal elements at their core, or if you feel the need for more accordion in your life (who doesn’t, right?), then this may just be an album for you.
Includes timeless masterpieces such as ‘Hail Hail, The Celts Are Here’, ‘We’re All Off To Dublin’ (in the green, naturally), ‘The Soldier’s Song’, and ‘Sean South of Garryowen’, plus of course a couple of obligatory medleys. Just sing along in private, and make sure you don’t get arrested.
In these days of mass marketing of football, where all manner of paraphernalia is available - replica kits, books, CDs, posters, club magazines, unofficial fanzines - it’s perhaps easy to forget that it wasn’t always like this, and an album like The Holy Ground of Glasgow Celtic would have been a relative rarity 50 years ago when it was released. A forerunner of things to come. For me, the music is hardly important, but purely as a keepsake, passed down from father to son, it means the world.
(The Vinyl Files is a short series of posts covering the best items in your blogger’s not very extensive vinyl collection)