Monday 26 April 2010

The National Fiddle Championship, 1977

The National Fiddle Championship, 1977 (EMI Records NTS 130, 1977)

01 Yla Steven: Balmoral Castle/Glen Grant/The Gladstone (all Scott Skinner)
02 Yla Steven: Dunkeld House (Gow)/Lads o' Dunse
03 Iain Laing: Dean Brig of Edinburgh (Archie Allan)/Banks (Parazotti)
04 Donald Montgomery: Lament for James Moray of Abercairney (Gow)
05 Donald Montgomery: Leaving Glenurquhart/Bob Steel/Pretty Peggy
06 Donald Montgomery: The Valley of Silence (Scott Skinner)
07 Angus Cameron: Marquis of Huntly's Farewell/John McNeill
08 Angus Cameron: H Mackworth (Wm Marshall)/Eugene Stratton
09 Douglas Lawrence: Earl Grey (James Hill)/Waverley Ball (John Lowe)
10 Douglas Lawrence: Lady Charlotte Campbell (Macintosh)
11 Douglas Lawrence: Duchess Bedford (Marshall)/Miss Wharton Duff of Orton (Marshall)/Miss Wharton Duff's Jig (Marshall)/Bee's Wing (James Hill)

This competition was organised by Lothian Regional Council as part of the International Clan Gathering in 1977. Judges were Tom Anderson, the renowned Shetland fiddler, Bill Hardie from Aberdeenshire, and Jim Hunter. Douglas Lawrence from Banffshire, at that time a student, won the contest. He had been taught by the legendary Hector MacAndrew. Angus Cameron was runner-up and Yla Steven third. The standard of fiddling on the record is high, especially considering that it was recorded live in front of a capacity audience in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh.


Other albums featuring Yla Steven:

Other albums featuring Angus Cameron:

Thursday 15 April 2010

The Cotters (1969)

The Cotters (Page One Records FORS 030, 1969)

The Cotters were Alex Sutherland and Alistair ("Ali") Watson from Edinburgh, and they got together after meeting in a folk club. They were popular in Edinburgh and elsewhere, at one point recording a commercial for Carling Black Label beer. The name of the duo came about after Ali bought a second-hand mandolin which had "The Cotters" written on it, so they took on that name.

Ali Watson left the Scottish music scene in 1980 and emigrated to Western Australia. He had had several jobs including a deep-sea mariner. He became ill with cancer and died in 2001, after having visited Scotland the same year. After Ali went to Australia, Alex Sutherland, a piano-tuner by trade, teamed up with Ian Simpson and performed as The Alexians. He had also died of cancer by the mid-1980s.

As far as I know, this is the only recording they made.

01 Mingulay Boat Song
02 Killicrankie
03 Lowlands Low
04 Ye Jacobites
05 Charlie's Lament
06 McPherson's Farewell
07 Tramps and Hawkers
08 Bonnie Ship the Diamond
09 Wild Flying Dove
10 Standard On the Braes O'Mar
11 Fair and Tender Ladies
12 Night Errant

Alex Sutherland: guitar
Alistair Watson: guitar and mandolin


Wednesday 14 April 2010

Yla Steven, Solos and Duets (n.d.)

Yla Steven and Colin O'Riordan, Solos and Duets (n.d.)

1) The Fiddlers from Hoydalar
2) Lament for Archie Beaton
3) Mackworth/Mary Walker/Banks
4) Donald Macphersons lament
5) The Shetlander
6) The Coleburn
7) Edgefauld House/The Sands of Murness/Sandieburn Reel
8) The Wild Rose of the Mountain
9) Lady Charlotte Campbell/Robert McIntosh
10) Balmoral Castle/Glen Grant
11) The Academician
12) Chapel Keithack
13) The Tron Fiddlers
14) Lament for Lockerbie
15) The Hardanger
16) Niel Gow's Lament 2nd Wife
17) King Robert the Br/Craigellachie Bridge/The Devil and the Dirk
18) The Bonnie Lass O' Bonaccord
19) Back to Hills
20) The Duke of Fife's Welcome to Deeside/Tulchan Lodge/Left Handed Fiddle

I'm afraid I know very little about this recording, as I only had a copy on cassette. Yla Steven has been written about below; Colin O'Riordan was a highly influential music educator in Edinburgh who had a great love for traditional fiddle music. He took his own life in 2001 after becoming depressed about funding cuts. His only other fiddle recordings, as far as I know, are with the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra. All I have of the cover is a couple of poor quality scans.


Other albums featuring Yla Steven:

Yla Steven, Back to the Hills (1976)

Yla Steven, Back to the Hills (Scottish Records SR 142, 1976)

01 Back to the Hills
02 Duke of Fife's Welcome to Fife/Tulchan Lodge/Left Handed Fiddler
03 Caledonia's Wail for Neil Gow
04 Lady Charlotte Campbell
05 Glen Coe
06 Barren Rocks of Aden/Stirling Castle/Largo's Fairy Dance
07 The Valley of Silence
08 Queen's Welcome to Invercauld/Laird o' Drumblair/Deil Amang the Tailors
09 Dumbarton Castle/South of the Grampians/Marquis of Huntly's Reel
10 Ossian
11 Scott Skinner's Comps to Dr McDonald/The Iron Man/The Bungalow
12 Sitting In the Stern of a Boat
13 Beauty of the North/Geordie Affleck
14 Goodbye Gramin
15 Fyvie Castle
16 Balmoral Castle/Glen Grant/Gladstone

Yla Steven learned fiddle as a youngster in Edinburgh and Perthshire, and at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. She has been teaching fiddle in Edinburgh schools for many years now, and in 1983 formed the Lothian Schools Strathspey and Reels Society. Yla has won many fiddle championships, including the exclusive Golden Fiddle Award in 1976. As far as I know, she has released to albums of fiddle music: Back to the Hills in 1976, and Solos and Duets with the late Colin O'Riordan.


Other albums featuring Yla Steven: