Book – Limited Edition Hardback – “Can’t Do This on My Own” INC. P&P


This is the LIMITED EDITION hardback version (£16.99) with P&P (£3.00 UK, £6.00 WORLD – NON-UK) of my autobiography, featuring stories from my Battlefield Band years and much more. Published in collaboration with Traditional Arts Development. 240 pages text, 16pages photos.

HARDBACK VERSION – SOLD OUT 16th January 2021.

Postage pricing is correct for European destinations. For customers from other regions, please read the ‘description’ section by clicking below.

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From Kate Rusby: “I have known Alistair for many, many years and the idea of this book brought me much joy, and I’m delighted that it’s just what I secretly hoped it would be. It’s crammed full of beautifully recounted, mostly hilarious, tales from tour and beyond. A must read for everyone who loves travelling, loves music….. in fact, a must read for everyone!“

From Mike Harding: “Written by a musician who knew what the inside of a van smelt like after four unwashed bodies had lived in it for two months! Alistair takes us on a funny insider’s tour of those wonderful, heady days when sleeping on somebody’s settee was a wished-for luxury. A lovely read with the added bonus of us not having to be in the van. I know it’s a cliché by the way – but truthfully I couldn’t put it down.”

From Eric Bogle: “A detailed and absorbing account of the life of a travelling (folk)musician over the last 4 decades or so. Any musician who has trod this same path over the same period of time, and there are a few of us still around and vertical, will recognise immediately many of the places, situations, people, etc. etc. that Alistair writes about. For me it was a wee comfortingly familiar and sometimes bittersweet amble down memory lane. Bittersweet, because much of that world chronicled in Alistair’s book is gone and it’s not coming back. But, as ever, the music will adapt to changing times, circumstances and human frailties. Undaunted, “the song goes on”….

From Lynda Hardcastle and Alan Rose: “This compelling, well-written book is a must-read for anyone, but those with the slightest interest in the last 50 years of the folk music revival will find his story resonant. Not many of us, however, have clocked up his million miles, or met so many diverse and memorable characters. Highly recommended.”

From Ewan Robertson (Breabach): “An enthralling read! Alistair captures the magic of life on the road with wit and passion. It offers a fascinating insight into the adventures of a musician who has helped pave the way for so many of us today. Thanks Alistair!”

From Alistair Russell:

“Learn a few songs, pack up your guitar and see the world as a touring musician!”

Who wouldn’t be tempted by that prospect?

It’s feasible, but not that simple.

If you want to marvel at all the spectacular sights our planet has to offer, well, you will be able to do that, sure! But you’ll also spend years struggling for subsistence, numbing your bum on multiple forms of transport, and seeking inspiration for yet another album release. Empathy and tolerance will be needed from you and your bandmates in order to co-exist, too.

All my life as a linguist, musician and sound engineer, I’ve loved to meet new people from different cultures, to hear their stories and chronicle them, to be pitted against physical and organisational hurdles and to emerge into ‘the zone’ – where the music comes right, the audience goes wild, and the after-show hilarity is boundless.

My memory for detail has been my best friend in writing this book, and I hope to take you round the world with me, sharing the laughter and tears which my career in Celtic folk music has brought with it.”

HARDBACK VERSION – SOLD OUT 16th January 2021.

Why not order a CD/DVD along with your book?


Postage pricing is correct for European destinations. For customers from other regions, each order will get an email reply, offering a fast postage option which will cost £5 more, but we will always offer you the choice of slower delivery at the price advertised here.

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