Although widely known as (Now)Westlin Winds, the alternate and (probably) more accurate title of Song Composed In August (it’s what Robertburns.org calls it) makes this an apt way to introduce the new month. Jon attributes his inspiration here as, “Ian Giles, singer from Magpie lane and stalwart of the Oxford folk scene for many years, who introduced me to this song and his is, for my money, the alpha version, particularly at 2am in the Half Moon. Happy days.” There can be little doubting the anti blood sport message amidst this poetic roll call of natures bounty, as the summer gives way to the harvest season. I must say I’m much taken with this and realize I know precious little about Burns, something which even a cursory glance at this Wiki page makes me think I should do something about. Interestingly it suggest that the Peggy referred to in the verse is a Peggy Thompson, although dates seem at odds with the Burns website. Burns clearly lived a hard life, but as a farmer was in tune with the wildlife around him. I love the way he simply places the different birds in their preferred habitat, giving us an insight that is paradoxically profound. Lovely stuff.
You can buy the August digital album now from all good download stores: