Monday 17 May 2010

Will Powrie - 78s

William Powrie, Scottish Melodeon from 78 rpm Recordings (early 1930s)

This collection of recordings from 78s from the 1930s is Scottish traditional music at its best, in my opinion. Will Powrie, from Forteviot in Perthshire, was a recording artist on Beltona Records, first recording his "ane to sax" series of sides in June 1932. The following May he recorded thirteen duets with his son Ian Powrie on fiddle , eight of which are presented here. Later in the same year - 1933 - Will entered a melodeon competition in Perthshire, coming third (first was Davie Raitt of Dundee, second was one Jimmy Shand of Fife - I wonder whatever happened to him?). Will's solo recordings are a treat, but in the "ane to sax" sides there is a background sound which has been presumed to be piano. It's not, and I've come to the conclusion that it is a foot gong, played by Powrie himself.

Powrie had two musical sons. The previously mentioned Ian, who went on to play fiddle in Shand's band, and formed his own successful dance band before emigrating to Australia. Now 86, his mind is still alert. Bill Powrie played piano accordion, and also forged a successful career in the Scottish Dance Band scene.

I can't recommend these recordings highly enough. They're an insight into what was being played in Scotland in the 1920s and 30s, and a rare opportunity to hear one of the tradition bearers of the time.

1) Highland Wedding-John McAlpine-Inver Lassies
2) Petronella-The Rose Tree-My love Is But a Lassie Yet
3) Jigs: Rory O'More-The Blackthorn Stick-Stool of Repentance
4) Scotch Reform: The Banks of Allan-Jackson's Jig-Captain White
5) Highland Fling: Marquis of Huntly-Monymusk-Miss Drummond of Perth
6) Old Style Waltz: Grannie's Hieland Hame-Come Under My Plaidie
7) Sword Dance: Miss Stewart-Whistle O'er the Lave O't-Wha Saw the 42nd?
8) Strip the Willow: High Road to Linton-Speed the Plough-Mason's Apron-Mrs Mcleod

9) The Scottish Lilt: Hundred pipers-Pibroch o' Donald Dhu-Blue Bonnets O'er the Border
10) Original Eightsome Reel: Reel-Soldier's Joy-Wind That Shakes the Barley-Rachael Rae
11) Ane - March, Strathspey & Reel: Elspeth Campbell-Willie Cook-Speed the Plough
12) Twa - March, Strathspey & Reel: Drunken Piper-Highland Whisky-High Road to Linton
13) Three - Highland Quickstep: Inverness Gathering-Willie McLennan
14) Fower - March, Strathspey & Reel: Dovecote Park-Tulchan Lodge-Mason's Apron
15) Five - Highland Marches: The Marchioness of Tullibardine-The 93rd's Fareweel to Edinburgh
16) Sax - Highland Schottische: Orange and Blue-Laddie Wi' the Plaidie

17) Auld Songs Medley: Dying Ploughboy??-My Bonnie-Banks of Sweets Dundee?? BL 2093
18) Auld Songs Medley: Haughs of Cromdale-The Back o' Benachie-Peas Brose Again??-What's a' the Steer Kimmer