Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sandy Halliday's Sacred Scotch Solos

I was sent another copy of "Sacred Scotch Solos" recently, this time a different edition from someone in Canada. It has a lovely biography of the author/compiler, Sandy Halliday:


"...In issuing this revised and enlarged edition of Sacred Scotch Solos, written by the late Mr. Alexander Halliday, we feel that a few notes regarding the writer will not be out of place. He was of but humble Scottish birth, with no advantage to fit him for the battle of life, but one, i.e. a mother who feared God and made Alexander a child of prayer. Like many other such mothers, she had the sorrow of seeing him a wayward lad, but her faith failed not, and she doubtless was crowned with joy when in the middle of September, 1915, she could say in "the home on high," in the words of one of his own hymns :-

"This my son safe hame has come frae a faur kintree."

From the day of his conversion his was a joyful life. He could not keep from singing :-

"His life flowed on in endless song, above earth's lamentation,"

there was a great contagion in it. His songs were caught up and echoed far and wide - Canada, Australia, Africa, the trenches in France, and the rugged rocks of the Dardanelles have been made to resound with them. We cannot claim that there is any literary finish about them, but in some there is a happy heart lilt, in others a tender pathos, and in nearly all, a note of urgent invitation to the Saviour he himself had found so powerful and so precious.

"Sandy Halliday," as he was popularly known, did not confine his efforts to hymn-writing and hymn-singing, but he was wholehearted in all aggressive Christian work, especially labouring in the Anderston district of Glasgow in association with the Anderston Working Men's Mission. His labours with it extended over forty years. He was ever at home working amongst the children, and he will not be forgotten for at least another generation, because of the place he found in the heart of many a bairn. But we are sure that even when these are all gone, his Scotch Solos will still keep his memory green, and be sung far and wide to the glory of God and the Salvation of Souls..."


It includes an advert for Redemption Songs, and old editions of Redemption Songs that I have include adverts for two other old Scottish hymnbooks that I've found Scots language hymns in - Duncan McNeill's Hymn Book and Songs from the King's Highway. So there was obviously a wee cluster of evangelicals, and small publishing industry, in the late 1800s and early 1900s producing all of this material - and all printed by Pickering and Inglis.


Click below to read the biography, and on the facing page the last ever hymn that Sandy wrote.