Friday, 16 July 2010

The Cameron Men: Classic Scots Fiddle Recordings from the Thirties (1977)




The Cameron Men: Classic Scots Fiddle Recordings from the Thirties (1977)

This is glorious music from the era of the 78rpm record. The Cameron Men from Kirriemuir in Angus were brothers William (Bill), James (Jim), George (all fiddles) and Stewart (piano) and were popular musicians throughout the area. They learned fiddle from a celebrated musician from Newtyle (10 miles from Kirrie) called John "Dancie" Reid, so called because of his ability to play fiddle and dance and the same time. It was William who achieved greatest success early on, winning several fiddle contests in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He was the first brother to be recorded, travelling to London in 1931 to Edison Bell Ltd studios. Within a couple of years, the four brothers were recorded together under the name The Cameron Men for Scots label Beltona Records, and in various line-ups, solo, as an ensemble, and as part of Dancie Reid's bands, they compiled a decent recorded output.

James Cameron also recorded solo, but it was as leader of the Jim Cameron Band, who recorded some sixty sides for Beltona in the 1940s and 50s, that he is most well known.

William's son Angus Cameron became a well-known fiddler in his own right in the 1970s and 80s.

01 Cameron Men: Abercairney Highlanders/Ballochmyle/Speed the Plough
02 Cameron Men: Polka
03 James Cameron: John MacFadyen of Melfort/Brig of Perth/Earl of Crawford's Reel
04 William Cameron: Farewell to Gartly/Stirling Castle/Soldier's Joy
05 Cameron Men: Miss Drummond of Perth/Maggie Cameron/The Favourite
06 James Cameron: The Rock and Wee Pickle Tow/Blackthorn Stick/Teviot Brig/Humours of Donnybrook
07 William Cameron: Our Highland Queen/Forth Brig/Forth Brig
08 Cameron Men: Loch Katrine/Miss Lyall/Loch Leven
09 James Cameron: 6-8 March/Smith's a Gallant Fireman/Pretty Peggy
10 James Cameron: Cumberland Reel/father o' Flynn/Auld Brig o' Ayr/Wind That Shakes the Barley
11 Cameron Men: Earl Dalhousie/Lady Mary Ramsay/Soldier's Joy
12 William Cameron: Banks o' Allan/Craigellachie Brig/Lasses o' Stewarton
13 Cameron Men: Dashing White Sergeant/My Love She's But a Lassie Yet/ The Rose Tree
14 James Cameron: Rakes of Kildare/Swallow Tail/Queen's Welcome to Deeside/The Drummer
15 Cameron Men: Circassian Circle/Brechin Brig/Victoria Hornpipe
16 Cameron Men: Bonnie Ann/Bob Johnston/Bob Johnston

Unavailable

James F Dickie: James F Dickie's Delights (1976)




James F Dickie: James F Dickie's Delights (1976)

The only recordings we have of Jim Dickie (1886-1983) are from tapes he recorded for his own amusement in the early 1950s. They were remastered and released on this LP in 1976, and a few more on a cassette which came out in 1980 (The Dickie Style). The quality is not perfect, but it affords us the chance to hear a significant Scottish fiddler of the early 20th century. His style is very much of the James Scott Skinner mode, and therefore doesn't always fit in with how our modern ears perceive fiddle music, but you can hear that Dickie was an extremely accomplished player, even if these recordings were made when he was past his prime (Dickie was performing at the turn of the twentieth century with other fiddlers and his brother John, a champion tin whistler). At the very least, this is a document of a bygone style of North-East fiddling.

01 The Cairdin' O't/Highland Donald
02 Francis Sitwell
03 Hard Is My Fate/Good Wife Admit the Wanderer
04 The Dean Brig o' Edinburgh
05 Glencoe/The Trumpet/Banks
06 The Smith's Waltz
07 Millhill's/Laird o' Drumblair/The Baker
08 Bonnie Lass o' Bon Accord
09 The Peterhead Polka
10 Braes o' Auchtertyre/Leaving the Glen
11 The Miller of Drone/JF Dickie's Reel
12 Bovaglie's Plaid/South of the Grampians/Good Old John
13 MacPherson's Rant
14 Madam Frederick/Earl Grey
15 Whistle O'er the Lave O't/White Cockade

Unavailable

Other albums featuring J F Dickie:

James F Dickie: The Dickie Style (1980)




James F Dickie: The Dickie Style (1980)

Jim Dickie was born in New Deer, Aberdeenshire in 1886. His father was a concertina player, and his brother John was a champion penny whistle player. By the age of seventeen he had started winning fiddle contestsAs a fiddler his biggest influences were James Scott Skinner, whom he knew, and Bill Duguid of Aberdeen. His style is very much in the Skinner camp, and is very much of its time, not always easily accessible to modern ears, but there's no doubt he was a very accomplished player. His friend J Murdoch Henderson wrote of him, "A player of great taste and polish. In the rendering of slow strathspeys and E flat airs in general his style is inimitable." This recording consists of his own home recordings from the early 1950s, complemented by tracks from his son-in-law James Duncan, and was issued on cassette in 1980.


James F Dickie:
01 Our Highland Queen
02 Smith's a Gallant Fireman
03 North Shore Hornpipe
04 Stirling Castle/Rachel Rae
05 Tulchan Lodge/Gladstone Reel/Glenlivet/The Hurricane
06 Shakins o' the Pocky/Farewell to Gartly/O'er the Hill/Newcastle Hornpipe
07 Master Francis Sitwell/Glories of the Star
08 Princess Beatrice
09 Finlay's Hornpipe
10 Castles In the Air

James Duncan:
11 Laird o' Bernerside/Earl Grey/JF Dickie's Reel
12 Braes o'Auchentyre/Mirth & Melody/Fit & Fervour
13 JF Dickie's Delight/The Baker
14 Peterhead Polka
15 Bonnie Lass of Headlake/Tarland Memories
16 Bob Steele/The Spey In Spate
17 Mar Castle/The Hawk
18 JO Forbes of Corse
19 Haslam's Hornpipe
20 Riches Denied

Unavailable

Other albums featuring J F Dickie:

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The Fiddler's Companion (1980)




The Fiddler's Companion (Waverley Records GLN 1023, 1980)

This was released as a companion to a book of fiddle tunes, The Caledonian Companion (there was already an LP of that name, so they had to come up with something else). It's simply a small collection of tracks from some of Scotland's top fiddlers of the time. The LP kicks off with Aly Bain playing a couple of wonderful sets, and continues at a very high standard. Other fiddlers featured include Angus Grant from Fort William, Tom Anderson from Shetland, Hector MacAndrew from Fyvie, Donald Stewart from Edinburgh, Alastair Hardie and Bill Hardie from Aberdeen. Because MacAndrew died just before he was due to record the tracks for this LP, they have used some earlier recordings from the 1960s.

Tracks

01 Aly Bain: The Shakin's o' the Pocky/Princess Beatrice
02 Aly Bain: The Firth House/Mrs Forbes Leith
03 Angus Grant: Well May Charley Wear the Crown/Lady Dorothea Stewart Murray's
04 Angus Grant: Donald MacLean's Farewell to Oban
05 Alastair Hardie: Gin Yell Kiss My Wife I'll Tell the Minister/here's a Helath to Glorious Wellington
06 Alastair Hardie: Robert Innes of Stirling Universirty/Whistle O'er the Lave O't
07 Alastair Hardie: Methlick Style/Madam Neruda
08 Donald Stewart: Merrily Danced the Quaker's Wife/My Wife's a Wanton/Stool of Repentance
09 Donald Stewart: Balmoral Castle/Miller o' Dervil/James Hardie
10 Tom Anderson: Da Sixereen/Willafjord/Da Grocer
11 Bill Hardie: Mr AG Wilken's Fav/Jenny Hardie's Reel
12 Bill Hardie: Earl Haig/Laird o' Drumblair/Speed the Plough
13 Hector MacAndrew: Chapel Keithack
14 Hector MacAndrew: Muir o' Gellan/Gillen's Reel
15 Hector MacAndrew: Gicht Cadstle/Mrs JH Alexander/JH Alexander Esq

Unavailable

Other albums featuring Tom Anderson:

Other albums featuring Hector MacAndrew:

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Angus Cameron: Strings to the Bow (1977)




Angus Cameron: Strings to the Bow (1977)

This was Cameron's follow-up to his first solo LP, Bow to the Fiddle (1975) and it has him on top form playing the music he obviously loves. Steeped in the fiddle tradition of the county of Angus, Cameron displays an understanding of the genre. Cameron's father Will Cameron had travelled to London in 1931 to record some solo sides for Edison Bell records, and twee years later again, this time with his brothers James and George (fiddles) and Stewart (piano), recorded a number of solo and group efforts. These records have been re-issued in LP format.

01 Harry Scott of Friokheim/Earl of Dalkeith/Tony Reid of Balnakilly
02 JO Forbes of Corse/Glen Grant/Sir Reginald McDonald
03 The Weeping Birches of Kilmorack
04 Mrs HL McDonald/Duke of Edinburgh/Stray Lodge
05 The Flower o' the Quern-Ballochmyle Brig-Angus Campbell
06 Glen Prosen March/Littlejohn's Hame/Spey In a Spate
07 Farewell to Whisky/Beeswing
08 Margaret-Anne Robertson/Earl Grey/hurdle Race
09 March of the Cameron Men/Cameron Highlanders/Mrs McIntosh of Raigmore/Marquis of Huntly
10 Our Highland Queen/Forth Brig/Forth Brig
11 Mr Minchie/Mrs Adie/Mackintosh of Mackintosh
12 Stool of Repentance/Patrick Harper's Jig/Rakes of Kildare
13 Da Tushkar/Mickie Ainsworth/Millbrae/Susan Cooper
14 Sweet Georgia Brown

Unavailable

Other albums featuring Angus Cameron:

Angus Cameron: Bow to the Fiddle (1975)




Angus Cameron: Bow to the Fiddle (Beltona Sword SBE 180, 1975)

During the 1930s there was a group of three brothers in the county of Angus called The Cameron Men, who performed and recorded Scottish fiddle music. Angus Cameron of Kirriemuir was born into this family, and learned fiddle from an early age from one of the Cameron Men, his father Will Cameron. In 1952 Angus won the Alyth Fiddle Festival at the age of 17, and soon afterwards the Scottish Fiddle Championship, starting an illustrious path through Scottish fiddle circles. As well as playing with his own dance band, he has appeared on numerous television programmes and reformed the Angus Strathspey and Reel Society.

01 Balmoral Castle/Glenlivet/David Adams
02 Flowers o' the Forest
03 Corgarff Castle/Marquis of Huntly/Eugene Stratton
04 Athole Highlanders' Farewell/Brig o' Perth/High Road to Linton
05 Bonnie Lass o' Bon Accord
06 Edgefauld House/Forbes Morrison/The Hurricane
07 The Hen's March/Willafiord Jack/Ollifiord Jack
08 Scott Skinner's Comps/Marchioness of Huntly/Willie Mann of Paddy
09 Mrs Maj Stewart of Java/Bob Johnstone's/Bob Johnstone's
10 Taps of Fechle/Jimmy Blue's/Jimmy Blue's
11 Mrs Scott Skinner/Craigellachie Brig/Lassies o' Stewarton
12 Blackthorn Stick/Connaughtman's Rambles/Tennpenny Bit/Biddy the Bowl Wife
13 Lament for Abercairney/Miss Marianne Oliphant/Cross of Inverness
14 Oh Lady Be Good

Unavailable

Other albums featuring Angus Cameron:

Various Artists: Scottish Fiddlers to the Fore (1970)




Various Artists: Scottish Fiddlers to the Fore (1970)

This record is old and not in top condition, so there's a lot of pops and crackles. The reason for posting it, however, is the rarity and the standard of fiddle playing.

This album is a live recording of the winners of a one-off fiddle competition held in Perth in November 30th 1969. The judges there were Yehudi Menuhin, Hector MacAndrew, Watson Forbes and James Hunter (Hunter later notated some of the pieces on this record for his book The Fiddle Music of Scotland).

First prize was given to Arthur Scott Robertson of Shetland, who went on to record two LPs using his title: Champion's Choice and Scotland's Champion Fiddler. Second was William MacPherson of Elgin giving an incredible performance of Scott Skinner's Valley of Silence. Third equal went to Angus Cameron of Kirriemuir, who is a descendant of the Cameron Men who were fiddle recording artists in the 1930s, and Florence Burns from Aberdeen.

The second side of the LP features a small selection of fiddle orchestras; I have not included these in this download.

01 Arthur Scott Robertson: Maclean of Pennycross/Maggie Cameron/Duntroon
02 Arthur Scott Robertson: Countess of Crawford/Marquis of Huntly's
03 Arthur Scott Robertson: Greig's Strathspey/Beeswing Hornpipe
04 William MacPherson: Valley of Silence
05 William MacPherson: Mackworth/Mary Walker
06 Angus Cameron: Scott Skinner's Comps to Dr MacDonald/South of the Grampians/John McNeill's Reel
07 Angus Cameron: Beauty of the North/Geordie Affleck
08 Florence Burns: Dargai/Miss Laura Andrew/The Hawk Hornpipe

Unavailable

Other albums featuring Arthur Scott Robertson:

Other albums featuring Angus Cameron:

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Bill Brian: A Fiddler's Tribute to Scott Skinner (1982)




Bill Brian: A Fiddler's Tribute to Scott Skinner (1982)

Bill Brian is from Elgin and has been involved with the Scots fiddle scene for many years as a performer, teacher and organiser. He is currently leader of The Elgin Strathspey and Reel Society, a post he took over from the great fiddler Willie MacPherson, also of Elgin. Brian is also a member of the Colin Donaldson Scottish Dance Band. On this album he is accompanied by Ena Anderson (later Ena Brian) on piano and organ, Frank Henery on guitar, and Brian Payne on bass. All the tunes on the LP were composed by James Scott Skinner.

Tracks:

01 Dumbarton Castle/Kirrie Kebbuck/Thrums Cairn
02 Rosacre
03 Mrs Christie/Laird o' Haughs/Eugene Stratton
04 Dr Morrison's/Professor Blackie/Farewell to Huntly
05 Sarona
06 Shakin's o' the Pocky/Miss Mary Walker
07 Lord Huntly's Cave/Dr McHardy/Dan Stewart
08 Dargai
09 Dr Keith/Ben Alligen
10 Bride's/Baker/Peter Gray/Scott Skinner
11 The Fallen Chief
12 Herr Roloff's Farewell/Mrs Chree/Carnie's Canter

Unavailable

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Jack Beck: O Lassie, Lassie (1989)





Jack Beck: O Lassie, Lassie

When Jack Beck was asked to record a solo album im the late 1980s, he got the rest of the current line-up of Heritage to play on the album with him. The result is a splendid collection of songs with tasteful accompaniment, and anyone interested in Scots folksinging will be delighted with this.

01 Birnie Bouzle
02 Matt Hyland
03 Twa Corbies
04 Kilbowie Hill
05 The Bleacher Lass o' Kelvinhaugh
06 Bound to Be a Row
07 Ned of the Hill
08 The Jolly Beggar
09 Love Is Teasing
10 The Merchant's Son

Jack Beck: vocals, guitar
Gary Coupland: accordion
Pete Clark: fiddle
Mike Ward: whistle, keyboards, Northumbrian pipes
Alistair Marshall: Highland bagpipes, flute
George Haig: banjo, mandola, Autoharp
Davy Lockhart: fiddle
Lindsay Porteous: jew's harp
Chris Miles: backing vocals
Andy Hunter: backing vocals
Colin Stuart: backing vocals

Unavailable

Other albums featuring Jack Beck:

Heritage: When the Dancin' It's A' Done (1981)




Heritage: When the Dancin' It's A' Done (No Bad Records NBLP-2, 1981)

This, the second Heritage album, is a marked difference to the first. By this time the group was down to a six piece: Jack Beck (guitar, vocals), Davy Lockhart (fiddle), Jim Dunn (accordion), George Haig (banjo, guitar) and Lindsay Porteous (jaw harp, bodhran, pan-pipes, mouth organ, bones) were joined by Mike Ward (whistles and harmonium).

01 Over the Water wi' Charlie/Key of the Cellar/Bonnie Prince Charlie
02 Tattie Time
03 Niel Gow's Lament for his Second Wife
04 Lochiel's Welcome to Glasgow/Jig of Slurs
05 Bogie's Bonnie Belle
06 Boulavogue/The Minster Cloak
07 Farewell to Tarwathie
08 Hills of Glenorchy/Hare In the Corn/Hartigan's Fancy/Athole Highlanders
09 Fordell Ball
10 Salmon Tails Up the Water/The Rose Tree
11 The Rock and the Week Pickle Tow
12 Haste to the Wedding/Charlie Hunter/Drops of Brandy
13 The Plaidie Awa'/Maggie's Foot
14 Ae Fond Kiss/I'll Ay Ca' In By Yon Toon/My Love She's But a Lassie Yet

Unavailable

Other albums featuring Heritage:

Heritage: Some Rantin' Rovin' Fun (1980)




Heritage: Some Rantin' Rovin' Fun (1980)

Heritage were a band regarded with some affection within the Scottish folk scene. They were born out of folk clubs and pub sessions in the mid-1970s and centred around Dunfermline in Fife. Founder member Jack Beck had been singing for years, solo and with fellow Fifer Barbara Dickson (1964-66). Other participants of the club scene who became part of the earliest Heritage were Jim Dunn (accordion), Davie Lockhart (fiddle), Mike o' Connor (fiddle), Mike Mustard (fiddle), Lindsay Porteous (jews harp, mouth organ, bodhran), George Haig (banjo) and Mark Milligan (bodhran). This line-up recorded this first Heritage LP, and unfortunately the recording quality is terrible; it was recorded quite primitively in a Fife village hall. I believe it was never meant to have been released, but served as a cassette souvenir for band members. However, it was 'remastered' and published in 1980 on No Bad Records. If you can get past the recording, the music is worthwhile, albeit a little like listening in to the local pub session.

01) The Blackthorn Stick/The Rakes of Kildare/Drowsie Maggie
02) Sleepytoon/The haughs o' Cromdale
03) The Reverend Archie Beaton
04) Cherish the Ladies/The Tenpenny Bit/The Frost is All Over
05) The Band o' Shearers
06) The Reel of Tulloch/The Athol Highlanders
07) Gordon's Favourite/Viellafjord/The Peerie Hoose A'hint the Burn
08) Dunfermline Feein' Mercat
09) Fanny Power
10) Lindsay's Reel/Flogging Reel
11) The Jig o' Slurs/The Hare in the Corn/Hartigan's Fancy
12) Hishie Ba'
13) Julia Delaney/The Foxhunter Jig

Unavailable

Other albums featuring Heritage:

Tom Anderson: Shetland Fiddle Music (c 1970)



Tom Anderson: Shetland Fiddle Music (Thule Records SNI 214, c.1970)

This is an EP (extended play 45rpm record) published in about 1970 by a small Shetland label called Thule Records. Being an old record, it's a little scratchy, but the sheer magnificence of Anderson's playing obscures any background noise. As usual, the tracks are a mixture of traditional Shetland tunes and pieces from the Scottish repertoire. Anderson performs both with, in my opinion, brilliance. This is an absolute treasure of a recording - enjoy!

01 Sail Her Ower the Raftress/Deil Stick da Minister/Taste da Green
02 Second Star Hornpipe/Madam Vanoni
03 Da Forefit o' da Ship/Sleep Soond ida Mornin'/Lasses Trust in Providence
04 Soo's Lament for Tatties
05 The Hens March O'er da Midden

Tom Anderson fiddle
with
Marjory Smith piano

Unavailable

Other albums featuring Tom Anderson:


Saturday, 3 July 2010

Ron Gonnella: Scottish Violin Music (1966)





Ron Gonnella: Scottish Violin Music (Scots Disc SDL-001, 1966)

I don't know as much as I'd like about the late Ron Gonnella. He taught at Morrison's Academy in Crieff, Perthshire, but I haven't met anyone who knew him. What little I know is here is gleaned from record sleeves.

Ron Gonnella's great grandfather was a Robert Dewar from Perthshire, who was a shepherd near Tulliemet in Perthshire. Gonnella was from Dundee originally, and played in the Scottish Dance Band circuit with the bands of Jim Johnstone and Anrew Rankine. He had his own band for a while - featuring Iain MacPhail on accordion - but it was as a solo artist that he toured all over the world promoting Scots fiddle music. He recorded many albums (I have twelve different records) and I think this one was his first solo recording.

The instrument Gonella played was a 1722 Italian violin made by Carlo Antonio Tanegia. I have been told that after his death there were a number of fiddlers desperate to try it to achieve the same wonderful tone that Gonella produced; in the end it turned out to be a mediocre fiddle, and it was the musician who was special, not the instrument.

01) The Braes o' Auchtertyre (Crockat)/The Miller o' Dervil (Barnett)/Jamie Shearer (Duncan)
02) Hard Is My Fate/Mrs Greig's Strathspey/The Perth Assembly (Duncan)
03) Miss Graham of Inchbrakie (Nath Gow)/Glen Rinnes (D Grant)/Loch Leven Castle
04) The Fallen Chief (J Scott Skinner)
05) Scott Skinner's Compliments to Dr MacDonald (J Scott Skinner)/J F MacKenzie, Stornoway (Ross)/Bleaton Gardens
06) Cluny Castle (Troup)/The Duke of Montrose/The Duke of Montrose
07) The House of Skene (Davie)/Kilwinning Archers/Pretty Peggy
08) Niel Gow's Lament for James Moray of Abercairney (Niel Gow)/The Weavers of Newly/The Flowers of Edinburgh
09) The Rover (J Scott Skinner)
10) The Highland Society of Scotland/Lady Madeline Sinclair/The High Road to Linton
11) Coilsfield House (Nath Gow)
12) The Fallen Hero (Nath Gow)
13) The 'Bonnie Ann' (J Scott Skinner)/Mrs Reid of Kilcalmkill (D Grant)/ The Earl of Seafield (D Grant)

Ron Gonnella (fiddle),
with
Robert Campbell (piano)