Canal dogs

The Band's theme song, inspiringly named "The Crow Road" was written by Jan Moncrieff and Alan McLean.

The song has its background in their childhood days, growing up in and around Glasgow in the 1950s and 60s. Both share family links which originate in the Maryhill area of Glasgow, now made famous or infamous by the 'Taggart' series on television.

The strange words in the first verse of the song 'canal dogs and deid fish are nae angels tae me', come from a childhood experience centered around the Forth and Clyde canal. As a two year old child, Jan was frequently taken for walks (to give her poor mother a rest) by some elderly, even crumbly ladies who lived next door to her. When asked where she wanted to go she always said, "The canal" or sounds which approximated to those words. The reason for this desire by a small child to walk 2 miles to a canal, spend ages on an old winding bridge looking at the water, then struggle back home uphill all the way, was quite beyond anyone's comprehension.

After some time of performing this ritual walk without question, curiosity got the better of them and they asked, "Why do you always want to go to the canal?" The answer was obvious, "To see the jewels, of course." On further investigation, the beautiful orange and golden jewels, so much admired by the small child, were discovered to be the rotting remains of a dog, which had been dumped in the canal along with a number of dead roach which had collected around the body. Without a thought, the crumbly ladies revealed the horrible truth to the two year old.

For many years afterwards the concept of dead things going to heaven and becoming angels was impossible for the child to comprehend, angels were supposed to be white and beautiful, but after the canal dog experience she thought angels must have bloated bodies with soggy eyes, the thought of death became very frightening and the canal was not visited for many a long year. Some 40 years later, that specific place in the canal, by the bridge still brings back a strange mixture of emotions.

© The Crow Road Band 2018