by David Leask
It was 1988, Fairground Attractions' song "Perfect" was number one in the charts, the average house price in Scotland was £38,500 and my home town rugby team, Jedforest, had just completed a memorable season winning both Division Two and their first Border League title since 1957. I'd been following Jed ever since Jock Wilson first arranged for the Parkside Primary schoolboys to get in free to watch the games on a Saturday afternoon. My enthusiastic heels regularly rattled the boards of the wee boys stand down at Riverside cheering on the team. While I watched a few of my school pals go on to take the field for Jed, I ventured into a different field and began playing music in bands like Xi-Zero in high school and Panic No More with Grahame Thomson. I'd been trying my hand at writing songs in my bands for a few years and thought, "Why not have a crack at capturing the moment of Jed's great season in a song?" I wanted to create a bit of a sing-along tune and at the same time tell the story. After finishing up the song, I played it for my dad, Ronnie Leask, and he suggested I record the song and sell some copies to raise funds for the club. Dad approached the club and told them RML & Company would cover the costs, the club really liked the idea and it was full steam ahead.
I enlisted the help of my musical pal Grahame Thomson to play some bass and electric guitars and we built up the tracks in my home studio. Jed Renilson added some cornet with a nod to "Jethart's Here" as part of the introduction and then Bill Johnstone took over with his dynamic commentary setting the scene. After laying down my own vocals, I had my brother Brian add some harmonies and it was really starting to come together. However, there was one crucial element missing. I needed more voices in the chorus. I put the call out for some Jed players who were the singers at the club and before we knew it, we had Roy Laidlaw, Graham Hamilton, Brian Hughes, Donald Miller, Albert Straker, Gregor McKechnie, Chico Woods and Ian Clarkson make up the Jedforest choir. It was a great moment to have them all up in the lounge at Sunny Brae. While there were no shortages of laughs, as soon as we went into "record", I could tell they were all taking it seriously, the same way they did on the field. The mix was finally wrapped up and then it was time to run off the 500 copies in-house - much to the chagrin of my family! I asked my friend Mike Biagi to take some photos for the cassette sleeve and Jed Press took care of the printing and we were all ready in time to have the club sell them at the Jed Sevens tournament. Word must have gotten around town because the 500 copies sold out in about 20 minutes! While the cassette format has slowly disappeared over the years, the song still carries on. From time to time, you may even hear it sung by some of the players and fans after a big win. Now you can download your own copy by clicking the FREE button up above.
Jedforest, Jedforest we'll support you through and through,
Jedforest, Jedforest, the boys in royal blue
Wave your banners high
The champions they will cry