Originally from Leith, Alan has been described as a 'modern troubadour' (most recently by Maggie Craig in her latest book 'One Week in April'). After studying town planning at the art college in Dundee, he became disillusioned with planning; dropped out and went onto train and work in community education in and around Glasgow for over thirty years. Alan said “Outside work, I’d find myself writing songs reflecting on the daily struggles of people’s lives. Songwriting became a release for me - not just an accompaniment to life, but core it." Since Alan retired in 2013 he has been focusing on his songwriting, collecting old Scottish songs and writing poetry. He describes his music as being in the ‘roots’ tradition drawing on his Scottish literary interests and Scottish, Irish and American folk music.
An anthology of late 18th/early 19th century political song in Scots and English, which Alan has compiled, arranged and edited to commemorate the bicentenary of the Radical Rising. Includes 40 songs and 14 songwriter biographies with useful notes on each song.
The 1820 Radical Rising was the first sustained mass-political movement since the Jacobite uprisings, the significance of which has been downplayed ever since.