Saturday 31 October 2009

Chapter Four: Hanging Around Stirling (1981)

Chapter Four: Hanging Around Stirling (Bridge Records BRJ 001, 1981)

Chapter Four were from Stirling, and consisted of Peter Davie (concertina, accordion, keyboards), Bill Paterson (guitar), Robin Duncan (mandolin, whistle, guitar), Tommy Quinn (bodhran, mouthorgan) and Ian Scott (banjo, guitar, mandolin). They formed in the mid-1970s at the long-running folk club at Stirling's Golden Lion Hotel.

This is a good example of a local folk group venturing into a self-published recording. There is a good selection of songs, presented well, with three instrumental sets as well. I don't know how many copies of this LP were pressed, but it's fairly rare now; I've seen copies for sale for over £50.

01 Row Bullies Row
02 Freedom Come-All-Ye (Hamish Henderson)
03 Corn Rigs-Drunken Piper-Miss Forbes Farewell to Banff
04 Three Score and Ten (Ewan MacColl)
05 93rds Farewell to Edinburgh-Laird o'Drumblair-Lass o'Patie'sMill
06 Three Nights and a Sunday (Matt McGinn)
07 No Use for Him (Eric Bogle)
08 All For Me Grog
09 Captain Byng-The Ballydesmond Polka
10 Band o' Shearers
11 No Man's Land (Eric Bogle)


Tom Anderson: Scottish Violin Music (1963)

Tom Anderson: Scottish Violin Music - Volume 2 (Waverley Records, ZLP 2015, 1963)

Tom Anderson is the main reason why Shetland music is known and played around the world. It's not just the tireless collecting and publishing of the traditional fiddle music of his native islands, but through his composing, performances and teaching (two of his young students were Aly Bain and Catriona MacDonald). He also had a long, if erratic, recording career, and there are dozens of albums which feature his music.

As well as Shetland fiddling, Tom Anderson was a great lover of the Scottish style of fiddling, and he recorded a few favourite Scots tunes as well. He is accompanied on this record, as he was throughout his performing life, by guitarist "Peerie" Willie Johnson.

01 The Hen's March
02 Oliver Jack/Willafjord
03 Smith of Couster's Fancy/The Grocer's Reel
04 The Peerie Hoose Ahint the Burn/The Merry Boys of Greenland/MacDonald's Reel
05 Norwick Wedding/Hillswick Wedding/A Road to Houll
06 Boys of Bluehill/Londonderry Hornpipe
07 Captain Gillan's Reel/Bob Johnson's Reel
08 Barclay's Hornpipe/The Meteor
09 Mavis Grind/Peter's Peerie Boat
10 Kail and Knockit Corn/Caper Fey/Pottinger's Reel
11 Wm Moffat's Strathspey & Reel
12 Sister Jean/Midnight Polka
13 A Liverpool Hornpipe/Harvest Home Hornpipe
14 Annie's Welcome Home/The Four Posted Bed
15 Jack Is Alive/Clettonroe


Other albums featuring Tom Anderson:

Allan Barty: Barty's Bow (1980)

Allan Barty: Barty's Bow (Kettle Records KOP4, 1980)

A celebrated Dundee mandolinist and fiddler, Allan Barty was in some ways a Scottish Dave Swarbrick, but he didn't reach the same level of success. Barty was a prominent member of the Dundee folk scene. Allan's first group was Barty's Bow, formed in Dundee in 1966, after which played in a number of Tayside groups, such as The Inn Folk, and appeared on television and radio, and toured with acts such as Tommy Makem & Liam Clancy. In 1971 he was considered as a replacement fiddler in The JSD Band after Chuck Fleming left. He recorded this single solo LP:, and was rumoured to have moved to Germany and presented a folk radio programme. He had appeared on more than forty records by the late seventies.

This, as far as I know is his only solo recording, and it's a beauty. It's all instrumental, with fiddle just winning out over mandolin, although many tracks are double-tracked with both. He is helped out on the album by Archie Fisher, Brian Miller and Robin Morton, and it was produced by Artie Tresize.

01 Pet of the Pipers/Dan the Cobbler/The Maid On the Green
02 Hen's March Tae the Middens/The Four Poster Bed
03 Sleepy Bairns
04 Flowers of Edinburgh/Bottom of the Punch Bowl/Petronella
05 The Showman's Fancy/Humours of California/The Galway Hornpipe
06 The Balkan Hills/Campbell's Farewell to Redcastle/Barren Rocks of Aden
07 The March Hare
08 Madame Bonaparte
09 College Hornpipe/Victoria Hornpipe/The Kinks Hornpipe
10 The Blackthorn Stick/Humours of Glenart/The Drunken Parson
11 Marfield Greys
12 Liberton Polka/Mason's Apron


Other albums featuring Allan Barty:

Friday 30 October 2009

Alba (1977)

Alba (Rubber Records RUB 021, 1977)

This excellent but short-lived band was the mid-70s idea of Sean O'Rourke, ex-JSD Band (vocals, bazouki, flute, whistle), who got together with ex-Tannahill Weaver Mike Ward (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals). Mike introduced singer Tony Cuffe (guitar, lyre, whistle, lead vocals), and later they found young piper Alan Macleod playing at a gig. They tried to take direction from some of the big Irish groups of the time, the Bothy Band and Planxty.

They recorded just this album, but they weren't playing full time. Sean O'Rourke had gone back to art school in Glasgow, while Mike Ward planned to qualify in classical guitar. Alan Macleod was still at piping school, and Tony had just finished teacher training. Before long, the band had simply moved on to individual projects. Tony Cuffe joined Jock Tamson's Bairns and then Ossian. He later moved to Boston where he performed solo and with Windbags, and did some teaching as well. Sadly with the turn of the century Tony contracted cancer, dying in December 2001. He is sadly missed and fondly remembered.

01 Glen Rinnes/The Jig of Slurs
02 The Overgate
03 Kings Favourite
04 Van Dieman's Land
05 The Mermaid's Song/John Murray of Lochee/Pipe Major George Allen
06 The Blacksmith's Reel/The Star of Munster
07 Fear Ah Bhata
08 Drummond Castle/Paddy's Leather Breeches
09 Captain Ward
10 The Garten Mother's Lullaby
11 The Geese In the Bog/Dr McInnes' Fancy


Sunday 25 October 2009

All Folk Together (c.1969)

All Folk Together (Talisman STAL 5013, c.1969)

This is simply a compilation of artists on the Waverley label, part of EMI. There's no date, but it must have been released about 1969 or 1970.

01 The Islanders: Four Strong Winds
02 The Livingstones: Travelling Through the Rain
03 The Ian McCalman Folk Group: Sally, Free & Easy
04 Anne Byrne: Fiona and Shane
05 The Lowland Folk Four: The Tailor's Breeches
06 Eddie & Finbar Furey: Star of Munster
07 The Lowland Folk Four: The Jute Mill Song
08 The Ian McCalman Folk Group: Santiano
09 Eddie & Finbar Furey: Pretty Saro
10 The Islanders: Golden River
11 Anne Byrne: Come By the Hills
12 The Livingstones: Johnny Cope


Other albums featuring The Islanders:

Other albums featuring The Livingstones:

The Islanders: Patterns of Folk (1971)

The Islanders: Patterns of Folk (Waverley SZLP 2124, 1971)

By the time of this, their third LP, Noel Eadie had joined the group in place of Pete Furnish. Jim and Nancy Craig and Eddie Pollard made up the foursome. Eadie, who plays mandolin and sings, was soon afterwards to come to prominence as a member of Gaelic folk group Na h-Oganich.

Patterns of Folk was also the title of a television series starring The Islanders, of which STV broadcast seven programmes.

01 If I Had a Hammer (Hays-Pate Seeger)
02 Before I Met You (Seitz-Lewis-Rader)
03 Jeelie-Piece Song (Adam McNaughton)
04 Song for a Winter's Night (Lightfoot)
05 I Can't Help But Wonder (Where I'm Bound) (Paxton)
06 I Never Will Marry (Ed McCurdy)
07 Wild Rover (trad)
08 The Orange and the Green (Jim McLean)
09 Children of the Mist (Moir-Craig)
10 Farewell to Fiunary (N McLean)
11 Rivers of Texas (Carlyle)
12 Song of the City (J Craig)
13 The Strangest Dream (Ed McCurdy)
14 Wild Colonial Boy (trad)


Other albums featuring The Islanders:

Saturday 24 October 2009

Memories of Angus Fitchet (1988) Radio broadcast

Memories of Angus Fitchet (BBC Radio Scotland, 1988)

Robbie Shepherd presents a remembrance of the late Angus Fitchet shortly after his death in May 1988, broadcast on Radio Scotland. Shepherd plays some of Fitchet's music and reminisces with three of his colleagues, Bobby Crowe, Jimmy Blue and Jack Cooper.

Angus Fitchet (1910-1988) was a fiddler from Dundee, who had along career playing the music he loved. After the second world war he joined Jimmy Shand's band, and later started his own. There was aperiod when he gave up the band and toured as a solo fiddler on shows with Will Starr (accordionist) and Robert Wilson (singer). Fitchet was loved and respected by his fellow musicians as a performer, as well as a composer. One of his compositions was played on this radio show, Lament for Will Starr, and shows his calibre as a composer, and his understanding of the idiom.

01 Kate Dalrymple (partial)
02 Petronella (partial)
03 The Dying Year (JD Michie)/The Autocrat
04 The Dunoon Barndance/Glen Caladh Castle
05 Lament for Will Starr (Fitchet)/The Young King (Skinner)
06 Sunset on the St Lawrence


The Livingstones I Presume (1969)

The Livingstones I Presume (Waverley SZLP 2113, 1969)

The second of their two albums, The Livingstones I Presume was released in 1968. By then, Frank McKay had left, and the group was a trio: David McCabe, John Dempsey and Ken McKay. There is a certain maturity about their arrangements and harmonies on this record, compared to their first; listen to the first few seconds of the opening track, Leonard Cohen's Suzanne. Another difference is that the songs of John Dempsey are given prominence, five out of twelve songs are his.

01 Suzanne (Cohen)
02 Johnny Cope (trad)
03 Far Too Far (John Dempsey)
04 Rough Justice (John Dempsey)
05 Travelling Through the Rain (John Dempsey)
06 Westering Home (H Roberton)
07 Admiral Benbow (trad)
08 Time I Was On My Way (John Dempsey)
09 Bonnie George Campbell (trad)
10 The Jolly Roger (John Dempsey)
11 Flo'ers o' the Forest (trad)
12 The Man from Cyandra (trad)


Other albums featuring The Livingstones:

Knowe o' Deil: The Viking's Bride (1987)

Knowe o' Deil: The Viking's Bride (Attic Records ATT 015, 1987)

By the time of this - their third - recording, Knowe o' Deil were a duo consisting of Ivan Drever (vocals, cittern, mandola, guitar, whistle and synthesiser) and Ian Cooper (guitar, bass, synthesiser). However, there is a dedication on the sleeve for "the past ten members of the Knowe o' Deil". Their first release was Orcadia, followed by Orkney Anthem. After The Viking's Bride, Ian "went on to other things," while Ivan teamed up with Dick Clarke from Skye.

Drever, from Orkney, is well known as a member of Wolfstone, and has frequently toured and recorded with collaborators such as fiddler Duncan Chisholm, Stuart Eaglesham and Wayne Mackenzie.

The Viking's Bride LP is a mixture of self-penned and traditional songs and tunes, the original compositions coming from both Drever and Cooper.

01 Mrs Wylie's Door (Ian Cooper)
02 Selkie o' Suleskerry (trad)
03 Holm Band Tune (trad)/Mrs Anne Barbour (Ivan Drever)
04 Sir Olaf (trad)/Swaapan for Aasks (Ivan Drever)
05 Green Fields of Orkney (J Cumming)/Scapa Flow (J Johnstone)
06 15 Jars o' Rhubarb Jam Rag (Ivan Drever)
07 The Children of Alba (Ivan Drever)
08 Dominic McGowan (trad)/The Ship In Full Sail (trad)
09 Mrs Violet Eunson (D Eunson)
10 The Sea King (trad/B Cornwall)/Duncan's Favourite (Ivan Drever)
11 Song for Isa (Ivan Drever)
12 The Viking's Bride (trad/Drever)/Hindenberg Line (J Rendall)


Other posts featuring Ivan Drever:
Ivan Drever and Dick Clarke: October Bridge (1988)

Hector MacAndrew: Scots Fiddle (1975)

Hector MacAndrew: Scots Fiddle (Scottish Records 33 SR 138, 1975)

For those of us who can appreciate this style of Scottish fiddle music, this is a joy. Hector MacAndrew, one of the leading exponents of his day, playing at his peak and captured on record. The usual composers are represented: Skinner, Marshall, Milne, Fraser, as well as one of the greats from the piping world, G S MacLennan (possibly best known for his Jig o'Slurs). This label published a number of solo fiddling LPs, which I'll get round to digitising in time.

01 Leaving Glen Urquhart/South of the Grampians/John MacNeil's Reel
02 Lady Charlotte Campbell (slow strathspey & reel)
03 Farewell to Drumblair/The Lodge of Glentanner/The £10 Fiddle
04 Hard Is My Fate/Goodwife Admit the Wanderer
05 The Auld Brig o' Don
06 Mrs Hamilton of Pencaitland/Miss Graham of Inchbraikie/North of the Grampians/The Haggis
07 Cluny Castle/Johnnie Steele/Pretty Peggy
08 Pipe Major John Stewart/Lady Madeline Sinclair/Alex C MacGregor
09 The Shakkins o' the Pokie/Mrs Forbes Leith
10 Berryden Cottage/The Countess of Crawford/The Marchioness of Huntly/The Marquis of Huntly
11 My Heart Is Broke Since Thy Departure/Round With a Health to Glorious Wellington
12 Afton Water
13 Huntly Lodge/Ballindalloch Castle/The Duchess of Manchester/Mrs George Robertson
14 Braes of Castle Grant/The Miller o' Drone/The Mason's Apron

Other Hector MacAndrew recordings:

Friday 23 October 2009

Danny Kyle: Ah'll Get Ye! (1975)

Danny Kyle: Ah'll Get Ye! (Pan-Audio PA005, 1975)

Danny Kyle is a giant name in the Scottish folk scene. He never achieved great popularity as a recording artist, but was a celebrated stalwart of folk clubs and festivals. He was an early influence on Billy Connolly. This is a live album, recorded at three gigs in the Spring of 1975. He is joined on some tracks by his occasional band The Vindscreen Vipers Skiffle Group (Danny Kyle (vocals, teachest bass), Mike Whellans (washboard, drums), Tich Frier (vocals, guitar), Bill Nolan (vocals, guitar) and Malcom "Malky" McCormick (vocals, banjo), and on other tracks by Benny Gallacher (vocals, banjo, guitar), Graham Lyle (vocals, dobro, electric guitar, mandolin) and Allan Hornell (bass guitar).

01 Jean Harlow (H Ledbetter)
02 Jokes
03 Hobo's Lullaby (G Reeves)
04 The Ugliest Man In Glasgow (Danny Kyle)
05 The Titanic (H Ledbetter)
06 Intro to Joe Hill
07 Joe Hill (E Robinson)
08 Katie Harts (John Murphy)
09 Jesse James (trad)
10 Mill Lassies (Danny Kyle)
11 Glasgow Fareweel (Danny Kyle)


Wednesday 21 October 2009

New Voices from Scotland (1965)

New Voices from Scotland (Topic 12T133, 1965)

Another first class album from Topic, New Voices from Scotland featured the talents of one group and two solo singers.

Gordeanna McCulloch was one of the lucky students of Rutherglen Academy, and a member of the Ballads club there, run by folksong enthusiast, collector and late MP Norman Buchan. Other members included Ray and Archie Fisher, Fraser Bruce, Ewan McVicar, Bobby Campbell, Josh McRae and so on. Later she joined a class of young singers under Ewan MacColl in London. Gordeanna also had an early spell singing with The Clydesiders, and more recently she has been involved with Palaver and Glasgow's Euridice Choir. Other than her solo career, she is celebrated for being part of the Glasgow group The Clutha, who recorded four albums over the years.

The Exiles were also from Glasgow, and consisted of Bobby Campbell, Gordon McCulloch and Enoch Kent. Campbell was another of the young singers influenced by Norman Buchan's Ballads Club, and like Gordeanna, he attended Ewan MacColl's singing group in London. All three founded The Glasgow Folk-song Club. They released an LP in 1966 on Topic, Freedom Come All Ye (Topic 12T143).

Norman Kennedy, from Aberdeen, hasn't recorded an awful lot over time, but what we have is first class. Two of his early influences were the great Jeannie Robertson - who lived across the road from him in Aberdeen - and Davy Stewart. One of his highlights, in my opinion, is the 1968 LP Scots Songs and Ballads (Topic 12T 178). He moved to the United States in the mid-1960s

01 The Exiles-Soldier's Joy
02 Gordeanna McCulloch-Birnie Bouzle
03 Gordeanna McCulloch- h-Dowie Dens o' Yarrow
04 The Exiles-Tae the Beggin'
05 Norman Kennedy-Sleepytoon
06 Norman Kennedy-Peurt a Beul
07 Norman Kennedy-The Haughs o'Cromdale
08 Gordeanna McCulloch-The Lichtbob's Lassie
09 Gordeanna McCulloch--Will Ye Gang, Love
10 Norman Kennedy-My Son David
11 The Exiles-The Toon o' Kelso
12 The Exiles-Fiddle Tunes


Bobby MacLeod: Simply Solo (1988)

Bobby MacLeod: Simply Solo (Mull Recordings MR1010, 1988)

I know nothing about this recording. I was given it on cassette many years ago, but there was no information about date or label on it. Bobby MacLeod was an accordionist from the island of Mull, and had a long and successful playing and recording career. Some of his compositions are widely known, perhaps the best example being "Charlie Hunter". This recording is as stated: Bobby MacLeod playing completely solo.

Update: I managed to find the original recording on prerecorded cassette, so I have updated the scans to include the original artwork.

01 The Pap of Glencoe/Soondachan MacPhee/Sandy Cameron's Reel
02 Snow In Summer/June Clover
03 Caisteil a Ghlinne/Theid mi G'adAmharg/Crodh Gun Aighean
04 Haste to the Wedding/Tenpenny Bit/Donald Chisholm
05 The Queen Mary Waltz
06 The Highland Wedding/Lady Dorothea Stewart-Murray's Wedding March
07 Musette-Birds at Dawn
08 Alan C Beaton/John MacFadyen of Melfort/The 71st Highlanders
09 O Till Mo Leannan/Crodh Chailean
10 Arthur's Seat/The Banks/Eugene Stratton/The Golden Eagle
11 Mull of the Cool High Bens/My Mother
12 The Braes of Castle Grant/The Brig o Perth/Ca'the Ewes/Major Manson
13 Valse Bleue


Other albums featuring Bobby MacLeod:

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Pibroch MacKenzie: The Mull Fiddler (1969)

Pibroch MacKenzie: The Mull Fiddler (Waverley ZLP 2115, 1969)

Alex "Pibroch" MacKenzie played with accordionist Bobby MacLeod, and like MacLeod was from the island of Mull. He recorded at least two solo LPs, and appeared as a guest on many more. This is the only solo album I have, but I will prepare a compilation of bits and pieces of his recordings at a later date. Unfortunately, I know very little about Pibroch MacKenzie, and it would appear that not much is known generally. I'll be happy to be proved wrong.

01 Kirkhill/Dovecote Park/Cock o'the North
02 Tom Bain's Lum/74th's Farewell to Edinburgh
03 All the Airts
04 Blackthorn Stick/Rakes of Kildare/Donnybrook/Father O'Flynn
05 Londonderry Air
06 Conundrum/PM Willie Maclean/Skye Crofters
07 Miss Monaghan/Teetotaller's
08 Atholl & Breadalbane Gathering/Rhodesian regiment
09 Lord Lovat's Lament/The Lovat Scouts
10 Tribute to the Queen
11 Stool of Repentance/Washer Woman
12 Cradle Song
13 Harvest Home/Boys of Bluehill
14 Red, Red Rose/I Lo'e Nae a Laddie/Nut Brown Maiden


Hector MacAndrew: Scottish Fiddle Music (1963)

Hector MacAndrew: Scottish Fiddle Music (1963)

Hector MacAndrew (1903-1980) was from Fyvie in Aberdeenshire, and was one of the leading Scottish fiddlers of his day who had been taught both by his father and his grandfather (his granfather was taught by a pupil of the great late 18th century fiddler Niel Gow).

MacAndrew himself taught fiddle, and some of his students went on to be recognised as fiddlers of the first rank themselves; they include Florence Burns, Douglas Lawrence, and Gregor Borland. In 1974 MacAndrew taught Yehudi Menuhin at Blair Castle, in a tv programme about Scottish fiddling.

This school of Scottish fiddling is precise, musically polished and stylised, but there is room for expression as well.

01 Sir William Wallace/Tulchan Lodge/The Burn o' Forgue
02 Mrs Jamieson's Favourite
03 Mrs Major Stewart of Java/Madam Frederick/Earl Gray./The Waverley Ball
04 Auld Robin Gray
05 J.O. Forbes of Corse/Mar Castle/Miss Laura Andrew/The Hawk
06 Bonnie Glenfarg
07 Lament for the Death of his Second Wife/Craigellachie Brig/The Fairy Dance
08 Rose Acre
09 Bovaglie's Plaid/Athole Highlanders' March to Loch Katrine/Marquis of Huntly's Farewell/Tullibardine
10 Chapel Keithack
11 Captain Campbell/David Davidson of Cantray
12 The Glories of the Star/The Trumpet Hornpipe

Other Hector MacAndrew recordings:

Monday 19 October 2009

The Islanders (1968)

The Islanders: The Islanders (RCA Victor RD7950, 1968)

By 1968 Iain Mackintosh had left for his solo career. Jim Craig and his wife Nancy were still singing, but John Noble had left to work for the civil service in London, and was replaced by guitarist Eddie Pollard. The bass player was Pete Furnish. (I heard that Pete drove a Mini Cooper, and to get his double bass into the car he had to take out the front seat, while his girlfriend had to sit in the back.) Pete was in the group "...from the time that the banjo player left because his pawnbroker business was keeping him too busy..." Pete left in 1968/9 to a job in motor sport, moving to Northern England. After a stint as a chartered accountant, Pete has now retired, but still plays bass, mainly in jazz combinations.

01 I Ain't Marchin' Any More
02 Early in the Morning
03 Last Class Seaman
04 Hush Little Babe
05 No More Words
06 The Gallowa' Hills
07 John Reilly
08 Steel Rail Blues (Lightfoot)
09 Going to the Zoo
10 Gypsy Boy
11 Pride of Man
12 Yes, Yes, Yes
13 Wild Flying Dove
14 Twa Recruitin' Sergeants
15 Freedom Come-All-Ye
16 That's My Song


The Islanders: Keep Left (1965)

The Islanders: Keep Left (Waverley ZLP 2048, 1965)

This, I believe, is the first of three LPs The Islanders recorded. Having started around 1964, they included a very young Iain MacKintosh (vocals and banjo), who went on to a successful solo career. The main force behind the group were Jim and Nancy Craig, who lived in the Mount Florida area of Glasgow (Jim was a University lecturer). They started out with a concert party ran by Charlie Sweeney in Pollock Community Centre in Glasgow (they returned there in 1969 to play in a benefit concert). Nancy left the group when she became pregnant. The fourth member at the time of this recording was John Noble, who played guitar. They were joined by Ian Brown on bass.

The Islanders went through line-up changes in the years to come; more of that later. They featured in a BBC television series called The Making of America in the mid-1960s. The series was presented by a University history professor, I think it was Owen Dudley Edwards, and each week they performed one or more songs related to the unfolding story.

01 The Hour That the Ship Comes In
02 Polly Wolly Doodle
03 Four Strong Winds
04 The Pawn Song
05 Mary Don't You Weep
06 Spanish Is a Loving Tongue
07 John Henry
08 The Dark IslandFont size
09 Red Yo-Yo
10 No Irish Need Apply
11 Golden River
12 Jolly Roving Tars
13 Banks O' Sicily (trad/Hamish Henderson)


Other albums featuring The Islanders:

The Petermen (1968)

The Petermen (RCA RD7949, 1968)

This is a little-known gem, in my opinion. These are excellent songs learned from singers such as Archie Fisher, Jimmy Hutcheson, Peter Shepheard, Ewan MacColl, Davie Stewart and Cyril Tawney, delivered in a way which in some ways was ahead of its time. The recording isn't perfect, as there is a bit of surface noise from the original record, but it's still worth listening to.

The Petermen - Mike Petrie and Vic Peterson - got together in 1967. Mike Petrie (1948-2002), originally from Greenock, was "singing folksongs before he knew they were folksongs," and was further influenced in the early 1960s by Robin Hall & Jimmie Macgregor, and later Ewan MacColl, Lizzie Higgins and by Archie Fisher.

Vic Peterson (b.1950) was from Dundee, and less influenced by traditional and folk music, although he began singing folksongs in the mid 1960s, thanks partly to Mike's influence.

The Petermen made one LP together in 1968 full of tasteful, mostly Scottish material. It sold more in America than at home, and received several good press reviews. They were one of the first Scottish folk groups to employ session musicians (The Strawbs). The producer was Richard Kerr at RCA, who would later work with Harry Nilson in the US.

Mike Petrie's high regard for Archie Fisher was ironically part of the duo's demise. Having played the album to Archie, and receiving a less than enthusiastic response, Mike's thinking was affected, and The Petermen stopped working together. In 1969 Mike said "We split quite amicably, but we both wanted to do different types of music. I'm wholly a traditionalist at heart. Before the Petermen I sang with other people and today I sing and play guitar as a single artiste." He was resident at the Woodlands Folk Club in Dundee for a number of years, and apart from his main instrument - guitar - Mike also played mandolin, penny whistle and concertina. In the early 1990s Mike recorded again, this time with The Foundy Bar Band.

Vic Peterson met up with singer Diana Shearer at the BBC studios in Glasgow, and they formed a professional singing partnership under the name Vic and Diana. They moved into television, theatre and cabaret, and continued to perform around the world as Juniper Green, occasionally being augmented by Alan Barty on bass and Eddie McNaughton on guitar. An LP was recorded in 1971, and Vic and Diana were married in 1972.

Juniper Green recorded one other album on Galaxy Records in 1978 to coincide with their appearances on TV shows such as Search for a Star and Opportunity Knocks. Vic and Diana went their separate ways in 1979. Vic joined a group called The Wedgewoods, did some session and TV work. He returned to Scotland and became a Sales Manager, never really performing in public.

Vic Peterson now owns the Victoria Hotel in Blairgowrie. "I sing in our music bar most nights and encourage all types of singing to take place. We have traditional folk songs sung by visitors, pipe tunes and blues. Russian folk songs are sung by [his wife] Elena and many people from all over the world just seem to drop in and join in."

01 The Gentleman Soldier
02 The Boatie Rows
03 There Are Nae Pubs in Kirkintilloch
04 The Merchant's Son
05 Tailor's Breeches
06 Bogie's Bonnie Belle
07 The Piper o' Dundee
08 The Trooper and the Maid
09 The Buildings
10 Cam' Ye By Atholl?
11 Cam Ye O'er Frae France
12 The Galloway Hills
13 The Gaugers
14 The Nightingale


Sunday 18 October 2009

Scotia Folk (1970)

Scotia Folk (Fontana 6438 021, 1970)

This is a bit of a mystery, because there are no definite credits on this LP. The Scotia Bar in Glasgow was a hang-out for folkies in the late 1960s, and this purports to be an album of music from some of the professional folkie regulars. However, I can't place the singers. I think I recognise Alastair MacDonald in a couple of the tracks, but most of them leave me puzzled. Any help here would be appreciated.

The front cover features Alex Campbell in front of a crowd outside the bar (according to Jim McLean his wife took the photos, and Billy Connolly was behind the camera). The back shows four recognisable people at the bar: Danny Kyle, the producer Ian Campbell, the late Mick Broderick and the arranger of the music Jim McLean.

The music is typical fare - folk standards, a couple of American-style songs and a couple of instrumentals.

01 Bonnie Ship the Diamond
02 Diamonds In the Rough
03 Ye Jacobites By Name
04 The Bold Heroes
05 Broomielaw Breakdown
06 Nancy Whisky
07 The Gallowa Hills
08 Talking Conchie Blues
09 I Once Love a Lass
10 Scotia Reel


The Quinns at Linlithgow (n.d.)

The Quinns at the Star & Garter Hotel Linlithgow
(Atlantas Eastshore APRS 1006, n.d.)

There are times when the lines between folk music and pub cabaret are blurred, and The Quinns are a perfect example. On this, their only recording (as far as I know), they combine some folk standards and instrumentals with contemporary pop songs (The Shadows' Apache seems particularly incongruous). The origins of this LP was in the regular sing-songs at the Star and Garter Hotel in Linlithgow, where the Quinn family would be rendering their favourite songs. Brothers Peter and Arthur Quinn recruited George Smith, and started being engaged professionally. They did a six month residency at the Star and Garter

This will never be a sought-after relic of seventies folk music, but as a snapshot of what was happening in bars and hotels round Scotland at the time, it is of historical value.

01 Annie's Song
02 Fulsom Prison Blues
03 Four Strong Winds
04 Leaving Vaternish/Hills of Glenorchy/Stirling Castle/Mason's Apron
05 The Last Farewell
06 Killiecrankie
07 Glencoe
08 Special Girl
09 Song for a Winter's Night
10 Apache
11 My Best Friend
12 A Man's a Man


Ye Jacobites By Name (1984)

The Jacobites: Ye Jacobites By Name (Lismor recordings LILP 5136, 1984)

In 1968 Dave Davidson helped to form The Kingdom Folk, based in Newport and Wormit (north Fife), with William White and Brian Wighton, and they played contemporary, traditional and comedy music. "I used to play in a Tiny Tim-type act for a while," said Dave, "That's how we include some comedy in our material. But on the serious side our main influences are probably The Corries, Hamish Imlach and The Clancy Brothers." Dave reinvented himself as 'Dave Kingdom', a solo artist who had a residency at the Queen's Hotel in Dundee, and compered various folk events.

By 1973 Dave had been playing with Chic Batchelor (guitar and mandolin) as Top Flight. They became Dingly Dell with Jan Caldon (tin whistle) and went down well on the lounge bar circuit. The name came from the famous Lindisfarne album, and the trio included a lot of comedy in the act. They were still around in 1977 when they recorded two songs for Dundee Folk, an LP released as part of the 1978 Dundee Students' Charities Campaign.

The Jacobites performed as vocal duos and trios throughout their existence and recorded several albums on vinyl, cassette, and finally on CD. On the first LP Davidson is joined by Brian Lochrie of Perth, and on subsequent recordings by Gillian Murray, and her husband Stuart Duncan, the last CD being finished in 1992. During this time, the group toured extensively all over the world, and had regular residencies in Scotland.

Sadly, in 1992 Dave Davidson was killed in a car crash aged 46. The final CD, Captivated, was released four months before his death, and the other two Jacobites decided not to carry on. Eventually Gill Murray went back to performing on stage as a soloist on mainly Scottish variety shows, where she started out. She also recorded an eclectic "jazzish" album and performs occasionally with the Jauncy Brothers Band. Stuart, after he recovered from the accident, toured Denmark as half of Crann Tara with Bill McArthur (ex-Beggar's Mantle), and they recorded a cassette album. They also performed as Moonshine with Gill Murray joining them. The trio performed for the next 8 years under both of these names. Now Stuart runs Redbarn recording studio outside Dundee.

Helping out on this album are Jim Sutherland (percussion, cittern) and Eddie McGuire (flute).

01 Ye Jacobites By Name
02 John Anderson My Jo
03 Sound the Pibroch
04 Island Spinning Song
05 Loch Lomond
06 Beautiful Highlands of Home
07 All Around My Hat
08 The Trooper and the Maid
09 Kinloch Rannoch Lullabye
10 The Lads o' the Fair
11 Bonnie Glenshee
12 Silver Darlings
13 MacPherson's Rant
14 Bonnie Schiehallion


Other albums featuring The Jacobites:
Dundee Folk (1977) (as Dingly Dell)

Folk Philosophy (1971)

Folk Philosophy (Talisman STAL 5019, 1971)

"Folk Philosophy" was the result of a Scottish Folk Group Championship, the dreamchild of Bill Houston and Watt Nicol. There were an astonishing eighteen heats, with semi finals being held in Glasgow and Dundee, and the grand final in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, with The Corries as guest artists. All proceeds went to the Scottish Council for the Care of Spastics.

I have been told that the winners of the Championship were The JSD Band, whose prize was an album deal and contract with EMI. The winners of the heat held at Perth City Hall were Bitter Withy. They won £50 but couldn't take part in the semi-finals because of work commitments.

The other seven finalists were featured on this LP and received six month contracts.

The Gowries (1969-1973)
Forfar-based The Gowries first got together in the summer of 1969. Brian Hendry and Dave Fyfe had been in The Anchor Folk Four until they split. They met Ian Lamb (who had played before in The Shannermen) and Elaine Nicoll through the Forfar Folk Club. They played a mixture of traditional and contemporary material and were resident at the Forfar Folk Club at the time, where Ian was president. They played a lot in Tayside and Fife playing mostly contemporary folk along the lines of The Seekers and toured a bit with Watt Nicoll and Whisky Fizz. Latterly they were playing mainly pubs (where the money was) and switched to electric guitars and bass doing chart cover stuff. The Gowries played their last date in September 1971 when Dave went off to Edinburgh University. Brian and Elaine continued singing as a duo. The group reformed in December 1972 for a special one-off appearance supporting Watt Nicoll. The Gowries came 6th in the Scottish Folk Group Championship.

Originally called Arizona Eggplant, this threesome came from Lochee, Dundee. After a line-up change, they went back to being called Arizona Eggplant and were resident at hotels in Arbroath and Broughty Ferry. The lead singer was Willy McNally.

Town Choice
This trio was from Edinburgh. Shortly afterwards two members of the group formed a band called Both Sides (unrelated to the Dundee-based group of the same name). Lead singer of Town Choice, Harry Cullen, is now manager of the Oxford Bar in Edinburgh

Chorda Cleich
A quartet from Edinburgh. In 1971 they dropped the "Cleich" and were known simply as Chorda. Lead singer John Croall later helped form Jock Tamson's Bairns. Chorda Cleich came 3rd.

The Galloways
From Edinburgh. Member George Grant moved to Dundee and joined Both Sides. The Galloways came 5th.

Ailsa Craig
This group met when they were all students at Strathclyde University. The group consisted of William Devine, Frank McArdle, Frank D'Ambrosio and Arthur Loughran.

Pert & Dobbie were from Clydebank.

01 Chorda Cleich:-Until It's Time for You to Go
02 The Galloways:-Dainty Davy
03 Town Choice:-Kid's Colour Bar
04 Ailsa Craig:-Peggy Gordon
05 Eggplant:-Whiskey On a Sunday
06 Chorda Cleich:-Three Score and Ten
07 Ailsa Craig:-Johnnie Cope
08 The Gowries:-Call On Me
09 Pert & Dobbie:-Bogie's Bonnie Belle
10 Town Choice:-For Bobbie

Front and back covers included.

Other posts featuring Chorda Cleich:
Various Artists: Sandy Bell's Ceilidh (1979) (As Chorda)

Saturday 17 October 2009

SNP Folk

SNP Folk (Scotia Records SCO 248, n.d.)

Bit of a rarity this one. Various groups contribute to a fundraising LP sponsored by the Midlothian Constituency Association of the Scottish National Party. There is no date, but I would guess at between 1967 and 1969. Winnie Ewing writes the album notes, and the groups performing are:

The Livingstones
From the Hamilton/Blantyre area, The Livingstones recorded two LPs of their own in 1968 and 1969, and toured Britain and mainland Europe.

The group consisted of David Wright from East Calder, and Christine Hay, John MacKellar and Jim Nicholson, all from Midcalder. David has lived on Lewis since the mid 1990s, while the other three reside in the Livingston area. David, John and Jim later formed Reivers Galley, who were Fairly successful during the 1970s.

Tthe other groups are ones I know nothing about - any further information would be most welcome. They are:

The Albanachs, and The Newcomers.

01 The Livingstones:-Scotland Free
02 The Livingstones:-Because and the Reason
03 The Albanachs:-The Boys of Cardonald
04 Newcomers:-Scotland Stand Up
05 Lallans:-Legend of Scotland
06 Newcomers:-The SNP
07 The Livingstones:-Parcel of Rogues
08 Lallans:-Bonny Seat o' Hamilton
09 Newcomers:-Freedom
10 The Albanachs:-Scots Wha Hae

Front and back covers included.

Other albums featuring The Livingstones:

Folk Song Today

Folk Song Today (His Master's Voice, DLP 1143, n.d.)

This is an undated 10-inch LP of folksongs from the British Isles collected by Peter Kennedy under the auspices of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. A few of the best singers of the day are represented, including John MacDonald, Davy Stewart, Jeannie Robertson, Harry Cox and the Coppers of Sussex.

01 Rory & Alex McEwan:-Bonnie George Campbell
02 John MacDonald:-The Haughs of Cromdale
03 Jeannie Robertson:-My Son David
04 Davy Stewart:-The Barnyards o' Delgaty
05 Frank McPeake:-Will Ye Go, Lassie
06 Fred Lawson:-Dance to Yoiur Daddie
07 Bob Roberts:-High Barbaree
08 Shirley Collins:-Dabbling In the Dew
09 Harry Cox:-The Foggy Dew
10 Bob & Ron Copper:-The Twelve Days of Christmas

Front and back covers included.

Ayrshire Folk (1973)

Ayrshire Folk (Deroy Records DEROY 1052, 1973)

Subtitled "Songs from the Singers of Ayr Folk Club", this collection was paid for from the receipts of the club, who enjoyed an enviable success (I have heard stories of five to six hundred people attending some nights). The artists on the record are:

Four-piece close harmony group consisting of Fiona Campbell, Ken Lorimer, Mik Shaw and Geoff McColm. They have an excellent website with histories of the band and their members:

John Clegg and Dave Strathie
John Clegg was the organiser of the Ayr Folk Club, and indeed the producer of the Ayrshire Folk LP. With Dave Strathie he sang contemporary folksongs from Tom Paxton and the like, as well as more traditional Scottish songs.

Speedy and Ian
Alec "Speedy" Simpson and Ian McKinnon. On the album they sang Kris Kristofferson's Me and Bobby McGhee alongside American classic folksong John Henry and the more contemporary There Ya Go. The pair later teamed up with Dominic Boyce to form Company Policy who were successful for a time in the 1970s, frequently appearing on television.

Pete and Heather Heywood
Heather Heywood is a great singer of traditional Scottish folksongs and Ballads, still performing and recording today. Her husband Pete Heywood has been involved in the organisation of folk events for many years, and currently edits and published The Living Tradition magazine.

Dougie Bell
I know nothing of Dougie Bell. He sings three songs of the album, two by Gerry Rafferty (Humblebums, Stealers Wheel, solo) and one by Gordon Lightfoot.

01 Speedy & Ian:-Me and Bobby McGhee
02 Pete & Heather Heywood:-Land o' the Leal
03 Dougie Bell:-Steamboat Row
04 John Clegg & Dave Strathie:-Wild Flying Dove
05 Tanninzie:-Step It Out Mary
06 Speedy & Ian:-John Henry
07 Pete & Heather Heywood:-
08 Dougie Bell:-Christian Island
09 John Clegg & Dave Strathie:-Bonnie George Campbell
10 Speedy & Ian:-Little Tin Soldier
11 Tanninzie:-Three Score and Ten
12 Pete & Heather Heywood:-Busk Busk
13 Dougie Bell:-To Each and Everyone
14 John Clegg & Dave Strathie:-There Ya Go

Front and back covers included.