Box and Fiddle
Year 22 No 07
32 Page Magazine
7 month subscription £10.00
Editor – Charlie Todd, 63 Station Road, Thankerton, Biggar, ML12 6NZ
B&F Treasurer – Mrs Margaret Smith, Smeaton Farm Cottage, Dalkeith, Midlothian, EH22 2NL
The main features in the above issue were as follows (this is not a comprehensive detail of all it contained. The Club reports, in particular, are too time consuming at this stage to retype).
Well we’ve reached the end of yet another season. Thanks to everyone who has contributed over the past 8 months. We’ve had some interesting articles and a lot of good photographs but we need to line up a lot more to keep things going so let me know your ideas.
Some of the features I started in my first season haven’t made much of an appearance this year. Composers Corner and Tune Titles are not forgotten. I had hoped for contributions from readers which don’t seem to have materialized (I can sense previous Editors nodding solemnly and saying ‘what’s new) but they will be back.
Congratulations to Neil Copland, Margaret Macari and their Committee members and their helpers on the day for producing such a memorable Musselburgh to mark its 25th Anniversary. The atmosphere at the Brunton Halls was truly marvellous – let’s hope we can maintain this level of interest and enjoyment in future years.
Thanks to Jim Henderson of Dunoon (formerly of East Klbride) for taking the time to give me a write-up on one of our outstanding pipers and composers, Pipe Major John McLellan D.C.M. of Dunoon. Jim hasn’t been enjoying the best of health since I spoke to him last October about doing an article but he tells me he’s on the mend now. Jim is the first to admit that there are a lot of gaps in what we know about the life of the Pipe Major so if any of our many readers can add anything they would be more than welcome to give Jim a ring on 01369 702471. Thanks also incidentally, to Ian Crichton who put me on to John Renton who in turn put me on to Jim in the first place. I would be interested in more life stories about our top pipe composers if anyone feels like putting pen to paper.
I hear that the Chairman is making a guest appearance in an August episode of ‘Rab C. Nisbet’ so watch out for that. Could be the box’s big break into T.V. we’ve been waiting for!!
I’m advised by the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama that the first recipient of the Sir Jimmy Sand Scholarship, which has been set up with funds donated by the Association, is accordionist Fiona Young from Inverray, Roybridge in Inverness-shire. Congratulations to Fiona who will be starting her BA (Scottish Music) course at the Academy in September of this year. This information has just arrived at the last minute so we’ll get some more details for the September issue.
Pipe Major John McLellan D.C.M. of Dunoon (1875 – 1949)
by P/M Jim Henderson, Dunoon
John McLellan, as I remember him, was a very shy and quiet individual not given to pushing himself or promoting the great talent he possessed. Besides being a quite outstanding bagpipe music composer, he wrote songs, was a poet of some distinction and had a great talent for painting in both water colours and in oils. On the few occasions that I visited his home I recall two pictures which hung on the wall of his room. The first was simply called ‘The Lochanside’ (the loch of the famous Retreat air) while the other was skilfully achieved by using white and khaki block blanco normally used for cleaning army belts and equipment. Old soldiers will know exactly what I mean. Some sort of red stain was also used. The picture was of a wounded soldier being attended to while lying on a stretcher. These pictures, and others, are still within the family. My late father, Neil Henderson, who was Jock’s nephew, told me that Jock would do almost anything rather than talk about himself. I believe this is part of the reason we know so little about the great man. I remember, as a boy, asking him about how he won his D.C.M. – all he would say was that it was ‘a long time ago’ and that he couldn’t remember. Fortunately I’ve been able to find out something about him from other sources, though not as much as I would have liked.
Before we go any further I must clear up a small matter of confusion that crops up from time to time. The late Capt. John A. MacLellan M.B.E. was no relation and was a much younger man. I have met people who thought that they were one and the same person. The two men knew each other quite well. Capt. John told me when I was studying under him at Edinburgh Castle that he had corresponded with the ‘Old Gentlemen’ for some years in the forties.
John McLellan was born in St Andrew’s Street, Dunoon on 8th August 1875. He was one of a family of six, all born in Dunoon, namely Sarah, Archibald, Margaret, John, Neil and Ann. Their parents were Neil McLellan and Mary Darroch McLellan who were born on Islay and Jura respectively. They came to the mainland in 1869 and were married in Greenock on 2nd June that same year. They set up their first home in Edward Street in Dunoon. Unfortunately Neil McLellan died at the very early age of 40 years and there is evidence that Mary Darroch McLellan took her young family back to her native Jura for a time. To have had six children and no husband must have been quite a struggle in those days. It is not known how long they stayed on Jura but eventually they returned to Dunoon.
I have not been able to find out much about the family between returning from Jura and when John joined the Highland Light Infantry at the age of 17 in 1892. Much to my surprise and disappointment I have not even been able to find out who taught him to play the bagpipes. Some say he may have been taught by Willie Lawrie but Willie was 8 years younger than John so this would seem unlikely. Some suggest John MacDougal Gillies may have had a hand in it, but again the timing is wrong. My late father told me that it had been suggested to him that John was self taught but this would seem to me to be very unlikely. I have come to the conclusion that he and his brother Neil may have been taught during their stay on Jura after their father’s death. If anyone can shed any light on this I’d be glad to hear from them.
In the early part of his service with the H.L.I. he was stationed in Malta. I think it was here that he started naming his compositions after places he had served, to commemorate events or battles, or naming them after officers or friends he had served with. While serving in Malta he composed a 2/4 march entitled ‘The Bells of Malta’. It’s not a competition march but a nice melody for all that, as many of John’s tunes are. It was published some years later in the 8th Argyll’s Book which I will refer to later. The H.L.I. seemed to move about quite a lot as they saw service in Crete, during the rebellions there, before moving to Egypt. His most famous melody at one time was entitled ‘The Burning Sands of Egypt’. More about this later.
In 1899 the H.L.I. were bound for the South African War as one of the units of the Highland Brigade. At its outset everyone assumed, as always, that it would be short and sweet. I think the Boer War lasted four years and the Highland Brigade were in the thick of it. It was at one of these famous actions that John won the Distinguished Conduct Medal (D.C.M.). He also composed the famous and well loved Retreat Air ‘The Highland Brigade at Magersfontein’ to commemorate the battle.
There were other less well known tunes composed by John around this time, possibly just after the war ended. One which comes to mind is a nice little two part strathspey called ‘Chasing De Wet’. General De Wet was one of the Boers more colourful Generals and was an expert in hit and run tactics. The British chased him for most of the war, unsuccessfully, and the tune seems to be a tribute to him from Jock.
‘Surrender of Cronje’ and ‘The Fall of Port Arthur’ were another two tunes written about this time. These two tunes are attractive two part 6/8 marches. All four tunes mentioned are published in The Cowal Collection of Modern Highland Bagpipe Music. I will refer to this book later.
John left the army in 1903 and joined the Govan Police Pipe Band. I believe his brother Neil was also a member of the band. Later this band became the City of Glasgow Police Pipe Band and eventually the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band. A number of John’s tunes were published in the old Henderson Books under ‘J McLellan Govan Police’. I’m not sure how long he served in the Police Band but it would appear he was back in Dunoon by 1904 or 1905.
On his return to Dunoon he started to teach and was probably the only teacher in the Cowal area at that time. His best pupil was one James Wilson whom I remember as a very good player. Two others who spring to mind were Charles and William Jeffrey both of whom I knew very well. Later on he taught my late father, Neil, and his brother Alasdair and John Henderson. I had the privilege to have lessons from his myself when I was a young piper.
In 1905 or 1906 John compiled and arranged The Cowal Collection. Most of the tunes in this collection were composed by John himself and being published for the first time, Lochanside, Heroes of Vittoria and Cowal Society amongst others. The book was published by a local gentleman called Joe Quigley priced at 1/6d (8p) – ah happy days! It should be pointed out that John McLellan was a very fine musician. The late Pipe Major Ronald MacCallum, 8th A&SH, told me John had attended the Army School of Music during his spell in the army which would account for his fine musicianship. Not many pipers had these skills at that time. Besides the bagpipes he could play the piano, the fiddle and my father told me he was a top class penny whistle player.
John joined the 8th Argyll’s (TA) in 1912. They were the successor to the old 5th Volunteer Battalion A&SH some of whom had fought in the Boer War. Two years later the 8th Argyll’s, along with all the other TA units, were mobilised and before long were sent to France at the start of the Great War. John was off to war again at the age of 39. One wonders why men of his age were allowed to go?
He was in the band at the beginning of the war under Pipe Major George Ross. Pipe Major Willie Lawrie took over the band in 1915. About this time John was wounded at Laventie in North West France. How serious his wound was is not known but for some reason or another he was away from the Pipes and Drums for some time. I recall conversations I had with two local men Dan Wardlaw and Toak Smart (who was in the trenches at the age of 15) who said they had served with him in a rifle section for some time. They related to me how he had written a poem giving each of the members of the section a verse to himself. I know this to be true as I have the original in my possession. John wrote many fine poems in his time, one of which is inscribed on the Memorial at Buzancy in France.
In 1916 Pipe Major Willie Lawrie died suddenly. Contrary to popular belief however, John did not succeed him as Pipe Major. The reason for this is unknown but the post was taken over by the aforementioned James Wilson of Dunoon, John’s pupil, who was at that time the youngest Pipe Major in the army at 19 or 20.
During, or just after the war, John composed many fine tunes commemorating battles and events or simply calling them after serving officers and friends. They include ‘The Taking of Beaumont Hamel’ and ‘The Bloody Fields of Flanders’.
John became Pipe Major of the 8th Argyll’s in 1919 and remained in post through the reconstitution to being a TA unit again and finally retired from the 8th in 1930. In 1932 Cowal Highland Gathering organised a competition for an original march, the winner to be entitled Cowal Gathering. One of John’s tunes took first prize.
After this competition the Cowal Highland Gathering Committee published the Fourth Cowal Collection containing the twenty best tunes, including the winner. No fewer than seven of John’s tunes were included in the book. ‘Cowal Gathering’ is a very fine 2/4 march and along with ’The Taking of Beaumont Hamel’, ‘South Hall’, ‘Bonnie Dunoon’, ‘Glen Caladh Castle’, ‘Colonel MacLean of Ardgour’ and many others these have become ‘standard’ tunes for bagpipe, box and fiddle. It may be of interest to note that the famous 6/8 march ‘Ballochyle’ was placed second in the competition composed by a very young Peter MacLeod Jnr, Glasgow.
On his return from the Great War John went to live with my grandmother, Margaret. I should point out that ‘Maggie’, as John called her, was his older sister. My grandfather Henderson had been killed in the war, so Uncle Jock seemed more of a grandfather to us than a grand uncle.
When John retired from the 8th Argyll’s his successor was Pipe Major George MacDonald. George had been a very successful Pipe Major with his previous band, Millhall Pipe Band winning the World Pipe Band Championships on three occasions at Cowal Games. Soon after taking over the 8th Argyll’s he set about publishing a book of pipe tunes composed by members and former members of the 8th. Of the 65 or so tunes published in this book, 40 were penned by John McLellan. I referred to one of those tunes in an earlier paragraph ‘The Burning Sands of Egypt’. Its original title, and that used in the book was ‘The Bens of Jura’ but nowadays we know it as ‘The Road to the Isles’. It was John McLellan who composed the tune for this world famous song.
During the thirties and forties John helped to teach the Dunoon Grammar School Cadet Pipe Band and sometimes helped out with the local BB band. During the Second World War the local Home Guard sometimes paraded a band of all sorts. I don’t know how much he had to do with this but he composed a tune called ‘Dunoon Home Guard’.
Between 1945 and 1949 was the time I knew John, if a boy of my age could really claim to know him. I cherish the lessons I had with him and knowing him albeit for such a short while. It was only after I joined the Army that I found out the esteem in which he was held. He died suddenly on 31st July, 1949 at Dunoon Cottage Hospital after a short illness. He was buried, with full Military Honours, in Dunoon Cemetery.
In 1972 friends and the Dunoon Town Council got together and erected a ‘Memorial Plaque’ in his honour. It is situated in the Castle Gardens in Dunoon, opposite the pier.
He was 73 when he died, not at all old in today’s terms, but I’m sure that readers will agree that his music will never die.
On the Road to Glendaruel (My Dream Valley)
Words and Music by John McLellan, Dunoon
In the gloaming by the river, there are scenes that haunt me ever
There is peace and love, as in Heaven above, in the sweet Valley of my Dreams
And there’s glory in the morning, dewy flowers the fields adoring
Love to share, with a maiden fair, in the Sweet Valley of my Dreams.
In the wild woods birds are singing, overhead the trees are ringing
With the cheerful song, from the feathered throng, in the sweet Valley of my Dreams
In the shadow of the mountains, silvery streams like fairy mountains
Dance their merry ways, to the salt sea bays, through the Valley of my Dreams.
By the sheiling pipes are sounding, pipes of peace with joys abounding
And I tap my feet, to the measured beat, in the sweet Valley of my Dreams
Tales of fairies oft have thrilled me, tales of ghosts with awe have filled me
And I here declare, that I saw them there, in the sweet Valley of my Dreams.
Compositions of P/M John McLellan D.C.M. Dunoon
(in alphabetical order)
01 8th Argyll’s Farewell to France (The) March
02 8th Battalion A&SH Farewell to the 51st Highland Division March
03 Angler (The) Reel
04 Ardgour Ferry March
05 Argyll and the Isles Slow March
06 Argyll and the Western Isles March
07 Argyllshire Highlanders (The) Retreat
08 Argyll’s Salute Slow March
09 Bells of Malta (The) March
10 Benmore March
11 Bens (or Paps) of Jura (The) Strathspey
12 Bloody Fields of Flanders (The) Retreat
13 Bogleha Reel
14 Bonnie Dunoon March
15 Burning Sands of Egypt Strathspey
16 Buzancy Retreat
17 Campbeltown Kiltie Ball Strathspey
18 Captain Alistair MacArthur March
19 Caves of Neiuville of St Vaast (The) March
20 City of Glasgow’s Own March
21 Clahan Fiddler (The) Strathspey
22 Colonel Campbell of South Hall March
23 Colonel Ian Campbell of Airds March
24 Colonel McLean of Ardgour March
25 Colonel Robin Campbell, DSO Retreat
26 Colonel Wilson March
27 Cowal Gathering March
28 Cowal Society (The) Strathspey
29 Crossing the Sound March
30 Dream Valley of Glendaruel Retreat
31 Dunloskin March
32 Dunoon Castle March
33 Fiddlers Joy (The) Strathspey
34 Glen Caladh Castle March
35 Glen Finnart March
36 Glenmorag March
37 Glenstriven March
38 Golden Mountain (The) March
39 Heroes of Vittoria Retreat
40 Highland Brigade at Magersfontein (The) Retreat
41 Highland Mary March
42 Hills of Cowal (The) March
43 His Majesty King George Vs Welcome to Edinburgh March
44 HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll March
45 In the Gloaming Retreat
46 Jock’s Farewell to the 8th Argyll’s March
47 John MacDonald (The Blood) CSM MBE,MC,DCM Slow March
48 Kirstie MacCallman’s Favourite Strathspey
49 Lads of Argyll Retreat
50 Lieutenant Lyon March
51 Lieutenant J. C. Buchan, VC March
52 Lochanside Retreat
53 MacBeath’s Farewell to the 71st H.L.I. March
54 Macrihannish Bay March
55 Maids of Jura Slow Air
56 Maids of St Kilda (The) Strathspey
57 Major Andrew Lockie March
58 Major Charles MacTaggart, MC March
59 Major Moir of Villevique March
60 Major Sandor MacIntrye, MC March
61 Mavis (The) Reel
62 Memorial Bells of Inveraray (The) March
63 Men of Argyll March
64 Mary Darroch Waltz / Slow March
65 Morag’s Fairy Glen Strathspey
66 Mount Saint Aloi March
67 Mrs James Cameron Strathspey
68 Mrs Marjory Kennedy Fraser Strathspey
69 My Hometown March
70 O’er the Hills to Inveraray March
71 Pass of Melfort (The) March
72 Pats Hat Irish Jig
73 Peaks of Arran March
74 Pipe Majors Banner (The) Reel
75 Queen of the Hebrides March
76 Road to the Isles Strathspey
77 Rookery (The) Reel
78 Rosneath Strathspey
79 Ruins of Arras March
80 Sheiling (The) Lullaby?
81 Shores of Argyll Retreat
82 Stronsaul March
83 Sunset Retreat
84 Taking of Beaumont Hamel (The) March
85 Thin Red Line (The) March
86 Trooping the Colour Slow / Quick March
87 Unknown Warrior (The) Retreat
88 Wild McCreas (The) Reel
89 Young Hamish Retreat
John Philip Sousa (Part 2)
Ruud K. Maas
Sousa’s life spanned the period of American history from pre-Civil War to the Great Depression. He was born in Washington D.C. in 1854, of a Spanish born Portuguese father and Bavarian mother, but his upbringing, lifestyle and sincerely held patriotism were wholly American. He died in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1932. During these years the United States was transformed from a country at war with itself to a world superpower, and it is more fact than cliché to say that the nation marched forward to the strains of Sousa’s music. He was a product of, and completely in tune with, his time; at the peak of his career he was without question America’s most celebrated composer and performer. His 136 marches form only part of his output, but they were almost the most popular, a fact he recognised without any bitterness. For Sousa, it was better to be ‘the composer of an inspired march than of manufactured symphony’, and while he never lowered his standards and was a musician of considerable talent, he was always at pains, as composer and performer, to give the public what it wanted – in the best sense, music for the masses.
Operetta could have been his métier. His first instrument was the violin (worth recalling when considering his phenomenal gift for melody), and early on it looked as though he might have made his career in the musical theatre. In 1876 he played under the direction of Offenbach in the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, and he also acknowledged the influence of Sullivan. Only later did he start writing his own operettas; even the best of these are now sadly neglected, but they live on through the march tunes he extracted from them. Among them were The Devil’s Deputy (1893, unfinished) which provided the music for The Liberty Bell; The Bride Elect (1897);The American Maid (1913) from which he took the march From Maine to Oregon; and the most successful of all, El Capitan (1896), the story of a cowardly Spanish viceroy of Peru who masquerades as a rebel hero to lead the rebels to defeat. Operetta, however, took second place to his career as a bandmaster, for in 1880 he made the most important move of his life, when he accepted the appointment as Director of the US Marine Band, the fourteenth in its history. Up to this time he had written relatively few marches; now they were to become the most significant part of his output.
Under Sousa’s direction the standard of the Marine Band rose to new heights. His twelve years in the post also saw the composition of some of his most famous marches, including his first real hit in the genre, The Gladiator (1886). Sousa told the story of how, wandering down a street in Philadelphia, he heard a barrel organ “grinding out a melody which, somehow, seemed strangely familiar. As he listened more intently, I was surprised to recognize it as my own ‘Gladiator’ march”. I believe that was one of the proudest moments of my life, as I stood there on the corner listening to the strains of that street organ!”
Another great march from this time is Semper Fidelis, dedicated “To the Officers and Men of the United States Marine Corps”, whose motto provides the title. Not all these marches, however’ were written for military purposes. The Thunderer was written for a Masonic event of the Columbia Knights Templar, of which Sousa was a member; the title is probably the nickname of an unidentified fellow mason. It was for the award ceremony of a children’s essay competition organized by The Washington Post that Sousa wrote one of his finest marches. It achieved huge popularity as a military two-step, particularly in Europe, where its title became synonymous with the dance.
So successful was Sousa as a march composer and bandleader that in 1892 he left the Marines to form his own band, giving a series of hugely successful concerts and doing more than any other symphony orchestra to bring music to the people in cities and towns throughout the States. He recruited the finest possible players, and the programmes were eclectic, including his own arrangements of classics – Wagner, Richard Strauss, and even Debussy and Bach (for Sousa, the greatest of all composers) – as well as solo numbers for sopranos and lady violinists. Marches were rarely programmed, but instead became obligatory encores after each item on the programme. Sousa had standardized two march forms in the 1880’s, and with his great marches of the 1890’s the genre reached its apex. For him, the march was a vital, forward moving form; he never returned to the opening section, and the second half (from the trio section) was invariably in a key a fourth higher than the first, heightening the momentum. All the marches recorded here display these features. Manhattan Beach was written during a summer season at the popular New York resort, while King Cotton, one of a number of marches written for contemporary expositions, certainly helped rescue the 1895 Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta from financial crisis.
It was The Stars and Stripes Forever, though, that epitomized all that Sousa stood for. Written after a spell of homesickness in Europe, in a spirit of ardent patriotism, it became the most celebrated march of all time. Despite his family ancestry, Sousa was unswerving in his belief in the American Way, and this march achieved special popularity during the 1898 Spanish-American War over Cuba. It was in a spirit of recognition for America’s allies in that conflict that the composer wrote Hands Across the Sea, headed with the lines “A sudden thought strikes me – let us swear eternal friendship”. In a similar vein are the sentiments behind Hail to the Spirit of Liberty, written for the unveiling of the Lafayette Monument at the Paris Exposition on 4th July, 1900.
At the turn of the century, the Sousa Band was at the height of its fame. Tours of Europe in 1900, 1901, 1903 and 1905 put American music firmly on the map, and were followed by a world tour in 1910-11. Imperial Edward was the offshoot of a Command Performance at Sandringham in December 1901; a handsomely prepared copy was presented to the King and now resides in the British Library. In the Great War, Sousa enlisted in the US Navy, organizing bands and characteristically refusing promotion above the rank of lieutenant. It was for the fellow veterans of the American Legion that he wrote Comrades of the Legion. The Sousa Band became a victim of the Depression in 1931, but Sousa carried on with guest appearances. It was before one of these that he died of a heart attack. The last work he had conducted was, fittingly, the work that featured in all his concerts as an obligatory encore, The Stars and Stripes Forever. The ‘March King’ was dead, but through much of his other music, songs, incidental music and operettas have become dated and neglected, his spirit moves on in the arresting introductions, sparkling counter-melodies and sheer invention of his marches.
by Charlie Todd
Anyone who can appreciate the skill involved in good musicianship surely cannot fail to marvel at the precision and technical excellence of one of today’s leading exponents of the art of drumming, Gordon Smith. At the age of only 34 his broadcasts alone read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the best in Scottish dance music – John Ellis and his Highland Country Band, Bobby Crowe SDB, Neil Barron SDB, Oakbank Sound, James Lindsay SDB, Allan MacIntosh and the Heather SDB, Dennis Morrison SDB, Simon Howie SDB, Jim Johnstone SDB, Craig McCallum SDB, Alan Gardiner SDB and the Robert Black SDB.
Gordon’s drumming style is never intrusive. There never seems to be any conflict in his mind that the role of the rhythm section is to work together and to provide the backing for the front line. Determining his own style he chooses, unusually for a drummer, ti sit on a low stool with the drum sitting high in front of him. He is equally at home behind a full kit playing for rock music. Essentially drumming skills all come back to what are termed ‘rudiments’, the basic building blocks that eventually blend together to provide the perfect rhythm. A perfectly adequate drummer may be proficient in a dozen of these ’rudiments’ but I well recall talking to Gordon some 12 years ago when he rattled off the 48 he worked with at the time!! What road has therefore brought him to prominence?
Gordon was born in the East Lothian village of Tranent in 1965 and started drumming not as an infant, as you might have suspected, but at the age of 11. It was Grandpa Smith, the late David Smith from Tranent (known by everyone as ‘Drummer’ Smith) who tutored young Gordon. As well as running his own dance band ‘Drummer’ had played with the famous Johnstone Brothers Dance Band but additionally was responsible, over many years, for turning out many fine pipe band drummers in that part of the world.
The drumming skills were to skip a generation for purely practical reasons. On leaving school at 14 Gordon’s dad, Alex, became a cinema projectionist and his ‘unsocial’ working hours ruled out any involvement in playing with dance bands. In consequence however, Alex gave Gordon all the encouragement he could. Gordon’s rapid progress startled even his grandfather.
Introduced on to the Accordion and fiddle club scene in January 1977 Gordon rapidly developed his own unique style. Following in grandfather’s footsteps he also entered the pipe band world by joining Monktonhall Colliery Pipe Band, touring France and Canada with them. Gordon’s grandfather was a founder member of the band, which was originally known as the ‘Links’ Pipe Band and which continues today as the Prestonpans Royal British Legion Pipe Band. Although dance band commitments were eventually to force him to retire from the band Gordon still takes a keen interest in the latest developments in the pipe band world.
His first paid engagement in the dance scene came with George King, that well-known accordionist from Gifford. As well as playing with other local artistes Gordon became a member of the Border Reivers Band and the Peter Innes Band from Tranent. The line-up of the Border Reivers, incidentally, showed some remarkable foresight on the part of leader Robert Baird with Gillies Crichton on second accordion, John Gibson on piano, Andrew Knight on fiddle and the aforementioned Gordon on drums – not a duffer amongst them (well okay, other than Andrew). The pianist in both these bands was the late John Gibson and when Gordon was asked to join the John Ellis Highland Country Band in 1982 he was delighted to do so and upon learning that the band was looking for a pianist he introduced John to fill the position. So the partnership continued and you can hear them on Lismor’s ‘A Reel Kick’.
When Gordon left the Highland Country Band to join the Oakbank Sound he did so knowing that he had played with one of the finest bands ever.
In the late ‘70’s a very young Gordon met up with a young Neil Barron at Ormiston Accordion Club and formed a partnership which endured to this day through records, broadcasts, Accordion Clubs and dances. The Neil Barron SDB with its own unique sound is a favourite with Gordon’s dad. After a spell with Bobby Crowe and his band Gordon moved on to a new, exciting young band – the Craig McCallum SDB – who were leading the way for other young bands to follow, and follow they did.
When Craig moved to Aberdeen to live and work, Gordon joined up with Alan Gardiner and his band. With Alan on lead accordion, Keith Dickson on second accordion, Richard Currie on keyboard and Gordon on drums, they have provided pleasure for dancers and listeners alike throughout Scotland – and beyond. Long may it continue.
Having recorded in the ‘80’s with John Ellis, the Currie Brothers, the Oakbank Sound, Bobby Crowe, Neil Barron, Tommy Lees, Angus Murray, Dennis Morrison and Allan MacIntosh, Gordon moved on into the ninties – recording with Craig McCallum, Jim Johnstone, Scott Leslie, Blair Douglas, Alan Gardiner, John Carmichael and last but not least – Muriel Johnstone.
Muriel and her partner Bill Zobel who have a recording studio in Allanton, near Duns in the Borders, have favoured Gordon with seven recordings so far.
Bill, who is sound engineer, and Muriel musical director, provide a high standard of recording which is only equaled by the welcome you receive. A terrific wee studio and a smashing couple.
Gordon at the present time continues working with Alan Gardiner with additional gigs from Robert Black, Duncan Black, Neil McMillan, Colin Dewar and Neil Barron. The band section at Musselburgh this year provided him with his first taste of judging the Rhythm Section in a major competition. ‘Enjoyable but nerve racking’ he says ‘but judging by the audience response to the results I think I got it right’.
And what of the future? Although he presently works as a postman in his home town of Tranent (and has recently moved house to Gullane) with his all-round knowledge of drumming he, understandably, has a notion to become a full-time musician encompassing both playing and teaching. Like most of us he has done a little of the latter but is presently considering obtaining some ‘paper qualifications’ to make it official.
So there we have it, the story so far and I’m sure you’ll agree that if Gordon’s musical achievements in the next 23 years are as dramatic as they have been in the last 23 we’ll be hearing a great deal more about him
The Gordon Smith Gallery
The Reel of the 51st Division
By Michael Young
On 12th June, 1940, the 51st Highland Division, last remnants of the British Expeditionary Force in France, surrendered to superior German armoured forces surrounding them at St Valery-en-Caux. In this small fishing port, Major General Victor Fortune surrendered to Major General Erwin Rommel, who was to gain much fame later in the Western Desert campaign in North Africa.
Although part of the Division escaped by various means back to England, the great majority – some thousands of men, the pride of the Highlands – marched off into captivity, from which only the end of the war in 1945 released them.
Among the 51st Division prisoners was Lieutenant J.E.M. (Jimmy) Atkinson of the 7th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who had been captured a week before St Valery soon after the German breakthrough. He had done a little Country Dancing in his home town of Alloa before the war and as he was trudging along the dusty roads of Holland, he occupied his mind occasionally by thinking of Scottish Country Dancing.
The seed of an idea came to him and he formulated the basic outline of a dance, the centerpiece of which was balancing in line diagonally, this represented the St Andrew’s Cross, which members of the Division wore on their uniforms. The famous HD flash had been removed for security reasons before going to France to join the rest of the B.E.F. The diagonal movement was merely a variation of the opening bars of ‘Scottish Reform’ and the circle which followed it was straight out of ‘Hamilton House’.
After several weeks of weary travel through France and Belgium the prisoners arrived at Wesel, on the Rhine, and they were sorted and sent by train to a variety of Prisoner of War Camps in Bavaria, Poland and Germany. With a number of other POWs from the Highland Division, Jimmy Atkinson eventually arrived in Laufen in Bavaria, near the border at Salzburg. This was OFLAG VIIC, their home for some months.
Shortly after their arrival, Lieut. A.P.J. (Peter) Oliver of the 4th Seaforth (ex-London Scottish) started up a Highland Dancing class, which Jimmy Atkinson rather nervously joined and, although their detailed knowledge of Scottish Country Dancing was limited, they formed a Reel Club. They were well supported and the Club continued through the five years of captivity, even though the leading characters were moved between the different POW Camps.
In Laufen, dancing took place on the top landing of the prison hospital block; this was the only decent area away from the overcrowded areas of the rest of the prison. Officers met after lunch, normally three times a week, and although the poor prison diet limited attendance at first, about 20 appeared regularly after the Red Cross food parcels started arriving.
All musical instruments had been captured or destroyed by the Germans, so the leader either called out the tempo of the dance, or whistled the tune, not always accurately. When they were at Posen in Poland, chanters came through the Red Cross, and at Biberach a squeeze-box appeared, which greatly improved the musical accompaniment.
In 1940 it was a major problem to remember the steps of all the different Country Dances, and although the more standard dances were well known, some improvisation used to take place. To obviate any possible criticism of inaccuracies, it seemed to the POWs that it would be a good idea to write their own dances. Later in the war, of course, SCDS books were sent by post and the problem was solved.
About November, 1940, Jimmy Atkinson put his ideas for the dance to Peter Oliver, and together they worked it out on paper. A trial run was carried out by the Club members, with some success, on the concrete floor of the prison block.
By chance Atkinson and Oliver discovered among senior prisoners was a Lieutenant Colonel Tom Harris Hunter who had been the Commander Royal Army Service Corps (CRASC) of the 51st Highland Division until the Division was captured. Before the war he had been Chairman of the Perth Branch of the Society, and during the war his wife, an enthusiastic dancer and organiser, was Secretary of the same Branch.
Lt Col Harris Hunter willingly joined the Club, but because the steps of the opening eight bars did not accord with SCDS custom he suggested casting off three couples (because of the five couple set) and leading up to corners, patterned after the first eight bars of ‘Lady susan Stewart’s Reel.’ This appeared to be the best start for the dance and it was written in.
Hector Ross (4th Seaforths) who was both a piper and leader of the camp mouth organ band, composed a 6/8 tune for the dance, but unfortunately this has been lost. Dugald Stewart (8th Argylls) also composed a tune for the dance at the end of 1944, but it arrived back in the UK in 1945, too late to be accepted.
Just as the Reel Club was polishing up the dance, and learning quite a number of others under the knowledgeable tuition of Lt Col Harris Hunter, most of the junior officers in Laufen were sent to Stalag XXID at Posen in Poland, and later to Biberach in Bavaria. They eventually rejoined each other in the autumn of 1941 in OFLAG VIIB at Warburg in Westphalia.
At Halowe’en, the dance was demonstrated to Major General Victor Fortune in the No 2 dining hall. That was its first public performance, as a mark of esteem and affection felt by the Highland Division POWs for all the selfless work done by him on their behalf. The GOC approved the dance and its name ‘The 51st Country Dance (Laufen Reel)’.
Both Harris Hunter and Jimmy Atkinson sent details of the dance to Scotland, one to his wife in Perth and the other to his fiancée in Easter Ross. It was clear from the absence of comment in letter from home that the letters had not arrived and on investigation it was discovered that the German censor had delayed the, believing the hieroglyphics to be a cunningly coded message.
As Harris Hunter was ‘paymaster’ for the POWs he took advantage of his contacts and arranged for a demonstration of the dance to be given to the German security officer. Jimmy Atkinson’s letter never reached home, but Harris hunter’s reached Perth safely.
Mrs Harris Hunter, assisted by Miss M.M. Scrimgoeur, worked out the dance with their members in a small wartime club in Perth. Mrs Hunter had a number of copies printed and distributed and to her astonishment she began to receive requests for particulars from all over the country, even as far south as London. The sale of copies by Miss Milligan raised over £150 for the Red Cross, of which £60 went to Mrs Hunter who sent gramophones etc out to the prisoners.
It was about this time that the title of the dance was changed, and it now seems impossible to define details exactly. It is known that letters from Perth talked about ‘The St Valery Reel’ which probably sounded a more marketable name than the rather unwieldy original. For certain a wartime Blue Label record was produced which referred to the ‘St Valery Reel.’
It is equally known that the POWs did not wish a defeat to be recorded in the title of their dance, but they felt that the 51st Division, would never be forgotten. It is therefore likely that when Miss Milligan wrote to Harris Hunter to ask him what he wanted it called, the view was that it should be called the ‘Reel of the 51st Division’ . This was certainly a more proper name for a dance written by soldiers for soldiers.
To begin with, the SCDS would not accept the dance, but the dance received a lot of press publicity. It is commonly believed that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth now the Queen Mother, saw the reel danced and that, being interested in the reel and its stark but romantic origins, she expressed the hope that the Society would incorporate it in their next book. Unfortunately it is not now possible to confirm the authenticity of this belief any more that it is that the dance was demonstrated before Her Majesty in the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Queen Mother was approached in 1980 on these matters but she cannot recall any personal involvement.
The Executive Committee felt that, in victory year it was most appropriate to include the dance in their book (the 13th). It was at this time that the decision was made to bring the dance into line with SCD custom, and it was adapted for a four couple set. No longer did the dancers cast off three places.
In the same way as the title changed several times, the tune also changed. As has been mentioned, Hector Ross composed the first tune and towards the end of the war Dugald Stewart composed another which has never really been used. For most of the time the POWs danced the reel to ‘My Love She’s but a Lassie Yet!’ The tune which has become associated with the dance, however, is ‘The Drunken Piper’ which almost certainly was the one used by the Perth Branch during the war, and is now the ‘recognised’ tune for the ‘Reel of the 51st Division’.
It’s All Very Hush Hush But….
While reading ‘Station X – The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park’ by Michael Smith I came across the following on Page 89 –
“More erudite tastes were catered for by the Bletchley Park Recreational Club which included a library, a drama group, musical and choral societies as well as bridge, chess, fencing and Scottish country dancing sections.
“Hugh Foss, one of the old Broadway codebreakers and Head of the Japanese Section, was in charge of the Scottish Country Dancing in which Denniston himself took part. “I used to do choral singing and Scottish Country Dancing in the evenings which was wonderful exercise”, said Valarie Travis, “with Hugh Foss, who was a member of the Chelsea Reel School in command, we did it properly. I danced an Eightsome Reel with the 51st Highland Division at one of the Wrenneries. The Wrens held marvelous dances out at Woburn”.
Bletchley Park was the ‘Government Code and Cypher School’ (GC & CS) which evolved over time into today’s GCHQ, the ‘Government Spy Centre’ as it is usually referred to in the Press. It’s outstanding achievement during the Second World War was to break the German ‘Enigma’ codes.
Since the above was written we now have access to the wonders of Wikipedia which tells us -
Hugh Foss - Early life and education
Foss was born in Kobe, Japan, one of five children of the Rt Revd Hugh Foss, Bishop of Osaka and his wife Janet Ovans. As a child of a missionary family stationed in Japan he developed fluency in Japanese from an early age.
Foss was later educated at Marlborough College and graduated from Christ's College, Cambridge in 1924.
Career as a cryptanalyst
In December 1924 he joined the Government Code and Cipher School. He recalled learning of two models of the Enigma machine in 1926: the large non-reciprocal typing B model, and the small index C model. In 1927 Edward Travis gave him a small (reciprocal) machine to examine, and he wrote a paper, "The Reciprocal Enigma", on solving the non-plugboard Enigma. The small [C Model] Enigma was developed by the German services; the standard World War II British Typexmachine was also developed from it. In September 1934 Foss and Oliver Strachey broke the Japanese naval attaché cipher. In November 1940 he was the first person to break a day's worth of the German Enigma code, deciphering 8 May 1940 by the method of Banburismus. In honour of this feat, 8 May is referred to as "Foss's Day".[by whom?]
At Bletchley Park in World War II, Foss headed the Japanese Naval Section (Hut 7) from 1942 to 1943. In December 1944 he went to Washington and worked with U.S. Navy cryptographers on Japanese ciphers. A sandal-wearer, he was known as "Lend-lease Jesus". Gordon Welchman was told that Foss was highly esteemed by the Americans, and says that "before the war he was one of the most brilliant of the professional cryptographers of the Government Code and Cypher School".
Foss' paper "Reminiscences on Enigma", written in 1949, is included as chapter 3 in Action this Day.
Foss devised many Scottish country dances, including Fugal Fergus, John McAlpin, Polharrow Burn and The Wee Cooper O'Fife.
He retired from GCHQ in 1953 and died in St. John's Town of Dalry, Scotland, in 1971.
By D.C. Thomson & Co Ltd, Dundee
Martha Wallace, affectionately known as Blind Mattie to thousands of Dundonians used to wander the streets of Dundee singing songs like ‘My Ain Folk’ or ‘Hame o’ Mine’ and accompanying herself on the melodeon.
Martha was born in Main Street, Dundee, in 1875, the daughter of the boot closer, a man who sewed the uppers of boots in winter, but felt the sting of unemployment in summer when nobody required such footwear. Adding to his worries, his child was born blind.
Mattie was just a lassie when her mother died. For two years she attended Dundee’s School for the Blind where her ear for melody was sharpened even more.
The first time she ventured outside with her melodeon, she sang her way round the back green, reaching her finale in the washing house. There, as she recalled in 1951, she came a cropper. “The tune was Over the Garden Wall” an’ I fell ower a bar o’ soap”,
Led by her friend Maggie Nicol, a Stirling lass who had come to worki in dundee’s mills, Mattie went into the streets of Dundee, playing for the pennies that kept their little home together.
She was a tiny figure, almost too small for her powerful voice, and the weight of her melodeon soon gave her a marked list, a sloping left shoulder.
When your platform is the Hilltown on rainy Saturday nights or a closie in Commercial Street in winter, the weather goes for the joints, of both instrument and player. And Mattie frequently stood out in the sleet and the rain and went home soaked to the skin.
Her wanderings occasionally took her over the municipal boundary into Invergowrie. But she never liked to be away for long from the Dundonians whose kindness brought her between £3 and £4 a week – at a time when the pound was worth something.
Blind Mattie was ‘lifted’ once when a shopkeeper complained that his doorway was being turned into a ‘music hall’. She was escorted all the way to Bell Street by a uniformed officer, nichnamed Soordook, who was promptly told by the tolerant Desk Sergeant to turn round and walk her straight back home to St Mary’s Street.
Mattie used to boast that she could fill the Caird Hall with her voice which was perfectly honed on snuff. She was an inveterate talker. In 1949 she almost got the opportunity to fill Heaven with her voice when she stepped off the pavement in front of a double-decker bus in Ferry Road. Her melodeon was flattened, but Maggie got off with little more than shock.
The city’s Welfare Chaplain advertised in The Courier “Wanted – New Melodeon for Mattie”. He got ten replies, as well as numerous gifts for her. Friends gathered around and arranged funds to provide her with a new instrument. She chose the Hohner Black-Dot Double-Ray and continued her ‘career’, once encouraging the entire Town Council to join her in a chorus of ‘Oh, But I’m Longin’ For My Ain Folk’.
Mattie and her lifelong friend Maggie eventually became too frail to look after themselves and moved into The Rowans Eventide Home to spend their last days of their 70 year friendship together. In the Visitors Book she wrote : Martha Wallace, Employment – Street Singer. Relatives – None.
Dundonians living overseas who did not know her real name but who knew of the small white-haired woman who roamed the streets squeezing a melodeon as she sang, sent letters and gifts, addressed simply, Blind Mattie, Dundee. In the early 1950’s she was visited by the international Footballer Billy Steel. She thought the Dundee and Scotland star was ‘a braw chappie’ and together they did a waltz around the sitting room of the home.
Despite ill-health, Mattie never lost her cheeriness and pawky sense of humour which got her a standing ovation when she made her last public appearance at the Johnny Victory Charity Concert in the Caird Hall in May, 1958, when she sang her favourite song ‘My Ain Folk’.
Maggie Nicol died in 1956. Ironically, having once been paid three shilling a week by Mattie’s father to act as guide to his daughter, she herself became blind.
Mattie died six years later in 1962, aged 86, just a few months after learning by heart the words of The Scottish Soldier after hearing it on the radio. At the funeral service the Minister put into words what the two old friends had felt for each other for so long…”Whether thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God”.
There were floral tributes from the Lord Provost on behalf of the city.
A portrait of Blind Mattie and her music box was given to the collection of the McManus Galleries in Dundee. The black Hohner melodeon became one of the most popular features in the Here’s Tae Dundee Exhibition in 1986. It is currently on permanent display in the local history collection in the museum’s ground floor – a fitting tribute to a remarkable woman and one of the city’s most popular worthies.
Armadale A&F Club’s 21st Birthday
by Margaret Davidson
The Club’s first meeting was held in 1978 at the Menzies Social club in Bathgate. Stewart Lochie, the founder member, decided to start the Club to fill the gap when the Linlithgow Club wound up. Our very first guest artiste was Alan Roy. In 1979 we moved to the Masonic Arms Hotel in Armadale, finally ending up at the Masonic Hall where we have been ever since.
During the 80’s the Club was supported by around two dozen young players on a regular basis. A Committee was formed and regular dances helped to finance the Club.
Most of our young players were pupils of Wilson Wood at Whitburn. Many of these players went on to form bands in their own right – Jennifer Forrest, Karen Higgins, Graham Edwardson, David Wilson and others.
We celebrated our 21st Birthday on Thursday, 4th February, 1999 in front of a very packed hall (apologies from the Committee to the listeners who had to stand). Our first players for the evening were Karen Higgins, Norma Brodie and Ian Sneddon on accordion and Colin Sneddon on drums. They entertained us for 30 minutes. We than had tea and raffles.
Our President, Stewart Lochie, then cut the cake. A big thank you to Colin Sneddon who made the cake, Betty Livingston who did a baking for the evening and John Sneddon, Alice Sneddon, Jack McLeish and all who did so much for the evening.
Our guest artistes for the evening were Jim MacLeod and his Band. To a delighted audience Jim and the band played for an hour and a half – playing in his own very special way. At the request of the company Jack McLeish sang ‘My Wee Laddie’.
The evening was a huge success. For the last hour of the evening we had John Livingston, Bob Wight, Richard Smith, Kevin Gardiner, Jim Brodie, Charlie Thomson, Mogar Robertson and Jimmy Divers. On fiddle was Ian Robertson and on drums Jack McLeish.
Here’s to the next 21 years.
Rothbury Accordion Club’s 25th Anniversary
The 25th Anniversary meeting of Rothbury Accordion club was celebrated in the Queens Head Hotel on Thursday, 4th February. Neil Telfer, the compere, gave a word of welcome to everyone.
First in stage were Alan and Margaret Cockburn accompanied by Tommy Wilson on drums with vocals by Peter Renton. The next local artiste on stage was Robin Cowens on accordion with Margaret Cockburn keyboard and Jock Wilson on drums. Joan Kirk, accordion with Gillian Birnie, fiddle were next to entertain then Bob Widdrington, mouth organ and last of the local artistes for the first half was Stuart Barron accordion accompanied by Margaret Cockburn and Tommy Wilson.
Our guest artistes for the evening were the Sandy Legget Trio with Sandy on accordion, his wife Shauna on keyboard and Alistair McBeth on drums. They presented a varied selection of tunes which included Irish jigs, waltzes, the Kerrera Polka, pipe reels and music of Rabbie Burns.
The Chairman, Bob Herdman, gave a vote of thanks to the many people who had contributed to making the evening such a success and then cut the cake. A buffet supper, which followed, was most enjoyable. A very large raffle was drawn, with 23 prizes!! The toast to the Club was given by Tommy Edmondson, the Founder Chairman.
The second half then got under way. Local artistes included Tommy Edmondson, Mungo Riddell and Norman Foster on accordion, Ernie Gordon and Willie Atkinson, mouth organ, and Andrew Davison, Northumbrian pipes.
The guest artistes then took over for the rest of the evening playing Continental numbers, Shetland reels, pipe marches, hornpipes, Gaelic waltzes and sing-along tunes.
A great evening of entertainment which will be remembered for a long time.
by Neil Copland
What a day! – Saturday, 6th March, 1999 – the 25th Annual Musselburgh Festival in the Brunton Halls, Musselburgh. A few changes from the regular arrangements were in evidence following continuing alterations and refurbishment to the Brunton Halls complex, but these didn’t detract too much from a tremendous day
Under 12 Traditional Accordion Solo – Pentland Cup
1) Elizabeth Stirrat, Paisley
2) Kirsty Johnston, Currie
3) George Stewart, Dingwall
12 and Under 16 Traditional Solo – Jim Johnstone Cup
1) Liam Stewart, Galston
2) Ross Fleming, Blairgowrie
3) Tom Orr, Lanark
Junior Accordion Solo Pipe Music – Bill Black Cup
1) Brian MacDonald, Ayr
2) Graeme MacKay, Inverness
3) Nicky McMichan, Lockerbie
Junior Traditional Duet – Angus Howie Cups
1) Fiona & Kirsty Johnston, Currie
2) Sarah Downie & Luke Brady, Dundee
3) Graeme & Donna Davidson, Banchory
Senior Traditional Accordion Solo – Clinkscale Cup
1) Michael Philip, Cardenden
2) Lyndsey-Ann Allan, Paisley
3) Ian Shepherd, Dalkeith
Senior Accordion Pipe Music Solo – Bill Powrie Memorial Cup
1) John Burns, Falkirk
2) Alex Morrison, Forres
3) Fraser Burke, Dundee
Senior Overall Accordion Champion - The Bobby MacLeod Trophy
Ian Shepherd, Dalkeith
Open Buttonkey Accordion Solo – Windygates Trophy
1) Graeme MacKay, Inverness
2) John Weaks, Glasgow
Trios – Jimmy Blue Trophy
1) Balgay Trio, Dundee
2) Lindsay Weir Trio, Livingston
3) The Johnston Trio, Currie
Bands – Overall Winner - Iain MacPhail Cup
Colin Brown Ceilidh Band, Edinburgh
Band – Rhythm Section - Arthur Easson Memorial Trophy
Scott Gordon Band, Galston
Own Composition – Willie Wilson Cup
1) Maureen Rutherford, Perth
2) Michael Philip, Cardenden
3) Nicol McLaren, Blairgowrie
Under 12 Classical Solo – Kelso Cup
1) Elizabeth Stirrat, Paisley
2) Karen Ferguson, Dunlop
Under 14 Classical Solo – Aberdeen Cup
1) Tom Orr, Lanark
2) Derek Muir, Airdrie
3) Lorna Allison, Carluke
Under 16 Classical Solo – Dundee shield
1) Ross Fleming, Blairgowrie
2) Neal Galbraith, Paisley
3) Neva Burns, Penicuik
Open Classical Solo – Clinkscale Shield
1) David Nisbet, Earlston
2) Rachel Kerr, Carluke
3) Gillian Campbell, Paisley
Under 13 Classical Duet – Beith & District A&F Club Cups (Willie Wilson Memorial Trophies)
1) Tom Orr (Lanark) & Kirsty Johnston (Currie)
2) Johnathan Brown (Wishaw) & Lorna Allison (Carluke)
3) Amy & Mairi Johnston, Currie
Under 16 Classical Duet - Alex MacArthur Cups
1) Kirsty Findlater (Hamilton) & Lisa McKennan (Newarthill)
2) Brian & Craig MacDonald, Ayr
Open Classical Duet – Dunfermline Cup
1) Paul chamberlain (Bowden) & David Nisbet (Earlston)
2) Alison Carswell (Biggar) & Alastair Dunnet (Tranent)
Under 10 Classical Polka Solo – The Todhills Trophy
1) no entrants
Under 14 Classical Polka Solo – Newtongrange Shield
1) Elizabeth Stirrat, Paisley
2) Kirsty Johnston, Currie
3) Derek Muir, Airdrie
Open Classical Polka Solo – Tign-Na-Gorm Cup
1) Lyndsay-Ann Allan, Paisley
2) Elizabeth Stirrat, Paisley
3) David Nisbet, Earlston
Under 14 Classical Musette Accordion Solo – John Laidlaw Memorial Trophy
1) Craig MacDonald, Ayr
2) Matthew MacLennan, Kiltarlity
3)Tom Orr, Lanark
Open Classical Musette Accordion Solo – Christine Hunter Memorial Trophy
1) Colin Brown, Edinburgh
2) Lyndsay-Ann Allan, Paisley
3) Paul chamberlain, Bowden
Under 12 Fiddle Solo – NAAFC Musselburgh Festival Trophy
1) Erin Smith, Aberdeen
2) Donna Davidson, Banchory
3) Jennifer Watson, Dundee
Junior Fiddle Solo – MSR – Strathspey and Reel Association Cup
1) Ingrid Hammond, Dundee
2) Graeme Davidson, Banchory
3) Fiona Johnston, Currie
Junior Fiddle Solo – Slow Air – Dougie Welsh Cup
1) Patsy, Reid, Knapp
2) Fiona Johnston, Currie
3) Donna Davidson, Banchory
Senior Fiddle Solo – Slow Strathspey, MSR – St. Boswell Cup
1) Iain Anderson, Edinburgh
2) Claire Gullan, Banchory
3) Stuart Robertson, Alford
Senior Fiddle Solo – Slow Air – Ron Gonella Cup
1) Claire Gullan, Banchory
2) Iain Anderson, Edinburgh
3) Perdy Syers-Gibson
Open Fiddle Championship – Banchory S&R Society Trophy
1) Patsy Reid, Knapp
2=) Claire Gullan, Banchory
2=) Stuart Robertson, Alford
Senior Fiddle Overall Champion - The Angus Fitchet Trophy
Iain Anderson, Edinburgh
Open Fiddle Groups – Lesmahagow Quaich
1) Banchory Fiddlers, Banchory
2) Tayside Youth Group 1, Dundee
3) St John’s Stringers, Dundee
Youngest Girl Competitor – John McQueen Medal
Katherine Brooke, Newmachar
Youngest Boy Competitor – John McQueen Medal
Malcolm Watson, Dundee
Alan Gardiner SDB – Scottish Country Dances Vol 7 – Highlander Music
Roy Hendrie SDB – Valley Gold
Declan Aungier – Shades of Ireland Accordion Style – ASCD103
Sandy Brechin – Out of His Tree
Letters to the Editor
Many thanks for the copy of the Box and Fiddle. Reading about Rab Carruther’s and the band brought back lots of happy memories. The mention of how busy we were reminded me of one Marathon Weekend in particular.
We had an Annual engagement in Mull, where the Contract was to provide a Concert starting at 7.30 p.m. (we also provided the artistes). After the Concert the Hall was cleared for dancing which kept us going till 1.30 a.m. When we first started this job, the local inhabitants would provide an evening meal and bed and breakfast, but after a couple of visits this practice was stopped simply because we were always invited to a party at one house or another and we felt it would have been rude to refuse.
On the weekend in question we left Mull on the Saturday morning, drove to Biggar where three of us Rab, Davy Ewart and myself played light background music for a Garden Party, then on to Rab’s house for a wash and brush up and tea provided by Jean, then on to Broughton to play at the Saturday night dance. I finally arrived home at 1.30 a.m. Sunday, then on duty at the church where I played the organ. Happy Days!!!
Keep up the good work and best wishes to all your readers.
Charlie Anderson, Ormiston
Ex Andrew Stoddart’s Glenesk SDB
Take the Floor – Saturdays at 6.30pm with Robbie Shepherd
3rd Apr 99 – Marian Anderson SDB
10th Apr 99 – Lynne Gould SDB
17th Apr 99 - Jim MacLeod SDB
24th Apr 99 – Jennifer Forrest SDB
1st May 99 – Ian Muir Sound from Troon concert Hall
8th May 99 – Lindsay Weir SDB
15th May 99 – tbc
22nd May 99 - tbc
Aberdeen (Dee Motel) – 26th Apr 99 – The Currie Brothers
Alnwick (White Swan Hotel) – members only 14th Apr 99 – Graeme Johnston
Annan (St Andrew’s Social Club) - 18th Apr 99 – Andy Greig SDB
Arbroath (Viewfield Hotel) - 4th Apr 99 – Aberdeen A&F Club
Armadale (Masonic Hall) – 1st Apr 99 – Andy Greig SDB
Ayr (Gartferry Hotel) –
Balloch (St. Kessog’s Hall) – 18th Apr 99 – Graeme Mitchell SDB
Banchory (Burnett Arms Hotel) – 26th Apr 99 – John Bone
Banff & District (Banff Springs Hotel) – 28th Apr 99 – The Burns Brothers
Beith & District (Hotel de Croft, Dalry) – 19th Apr 99 – David Sturgeon SDB
Belford (Community Club) – 29th Apr 99 - tbc
Biggar (Municipal Hall) – 11th Apr 99 – Colin Dewar
Blairgowrie (Moorfield Hotel) - 13th Apr 99 - tbc
Bromley (Trinity United Reform Church) - 13th Apr 99 – David Hall & Judith Smith
Button Key (Windygates Institute) – 8th Apr 99 – Donal Ring
Campbeltown (Royal or Argyll Hotel) -
Campsie (Glazert House Hotel) - 6th Apr 99 – Willie Simpson & Gordon Pattullo
Carlisle (Border Regiment Club, Carlisle Castle) - 1st Apr 99 – Border Blend Duo
Castle Douglas (Ernespie House Hotel) – 20th Apr 99 – Seamus O’Sullivan
Coalburn (Miners’ Welfare) - 15th Apr 99 – Jimmy Lindsay (3 row)
Crathes (Crathes Hall, Banchory) - 11th Apr 99 – All players welcome
Crieff & District (Arduthie Hotel) 1st Apr 99 – Ian Cruickshanks Trio
Dalriada (Argyll Arms Hotel, Lochgilphead) 20th Apr 99 – Morag Robertson Trio
Dingwall (National Hotel) – 7th Apr 99 – Colin Garvin & Friends
Dunblane (Westlands Hotel) – 20th Apr 99 – John Douglas SDB
Dunfermline (Headwell Bowling Club) – 13th Apr 99 – Club Night
Dunoon & Cowal (McColl’s Hotel) Season ended
East Kilbride (Sweepers, Cambuslang) – Season ended
Ellon (Station Hotel) – 20th Apr 99 – Dick Black Band
Fintry (Fintry Sports Centre) – 19th Apr 99 – Nicol McLaren SDB
Forfar (Plough Inn) - 25th Apr 99 – Bill Black SDB
Forres (Brig Motel) – 14th Apr 99 – Simon howie SDB
Fort William (Alexandra Hotel) –
Galashiels (Abbotsford Arms Hotel) – 1st Apr 99 – Gordon Pattullo
Galston (Barr Castle Social Club) – Season ended
Glendale (Black Bull Hotel – Wooler) – 15th Apr 99 – AGM
Glenfarg (Lomond Hotel) - 7th Apr 99 – Colin Dewar
Glenrothes (Victoria Hall, Coaltown of Balgownie) - 27th Apr 99 - tbc
Gretna (Halcrow Stadium) - 4th Apr 99 – Wayne Robertson Duo
Highland (Drumossie Hotel) – 19th Apr 99 – James Coutts SDB
Inveraray (Loch Fyne Hotel) - 6th Apr 99 – Donnie McGregor SDB
Islay (White Hart Hotel) -
Isle of Skye – (The Royal Hotel, Portree) - 8th apr 99 – Simon Howie SDB
Islesteps (The Embassy Hotel) – 6th Apr 99 – Jim Johnstone SDB
Kelso (Ednam House Hotel) – 28th Apr 99 – Nicol McLaren SDB
Kintore (Torryburn Hotel) – 7th Apr 99 – Jennifer Forrest SDB
Lanark (Masonic Hall) - 24th Apr 99 – Dance to Cameronian SDB
Langholm (Crown Hotel) – Season ended
Lesmahagow (Masonic Hall) – 8th Apr 99 – West Telferton Cale SDB
Lewis & Harris (Stornoway Legion) - 1st Apr 99 - tbc
Livingston (Cairn Hotel) - 20th Apr 99 – Lomond Ceilidh Band
Lockerbie (Queen’s Hotel) - 27th Apr 99 – Gary Blair
Mauchline (Sorn Village Hall) Season ended
Montrose (Park Hotel) – 7th Apr 99 – David Cunningham Trio
Muirhead (Belmont Arms, Meigle) - 18th Apr 99 – Local Artistes
Newtongrange (Dean Tavern) – Season ended
North East (Royal British Legion, Keith) – 6th Apr 99 – Nicol McLaren SDB
Oban (McTavish’s Kitchen) – 1st Apr 99 – Iain MacPhail SDB
Orkney (Ayre Hotel, Kirkwall) –
Peebles (Green Tree Hotel) – 29th Apr 99 – Ryan McGlynn Band
Perth (Salutation Hotel) – 20th Apr 99 – Ian Muir Trio
Premier NI (Camlin Function Rooms) - 6th Apr 99 - tbc
Reading Fiddlers (Piggot School) -
Renfrew (Masonic Hall, Broadloan) – 13th Apr 99 – Alan Gardiner Duo
Rothbury (Queen’s Head) - 1st Apr 99 – Ian Hutson Trio
Selkirk (Cricket Club) - Season ended
Shetland (Shetland Hotel, Lerwick) -
Stirling (Terraces Hotel) - 11th Apr 99 – Graeme Mitchell SDB
Sutherland (Rogart Hall) - 17th Apr 99 – Club Night
Thornhill (Masonic Hall) - 14th Apr 99 – David Vernon
Thurso (Pentland Hotel) – 5th Apr 99 – Lomond Ceilidh Band
Turriff (Royal Oak Hotel) – 1st Apr 99 – Lothian Dance Band
Tynedale (Hexham Ex Service Club) – 6th Apr 99 – Ray Carse
Wick (McKay’s Hotel) – 20th Apr 99 – Gordon Pattullo
Yarrow (Gordon Arms) - 21st Apr 99 – Marian Anderson SDB
THERE WERE CLUB REPORTS FROM :-
10. Button Key
13. Castle Douglas
16. Crieff & District
19. Dunoon & Cowal
20. East Kilbride
29. Isle of Skye
35. Lewis & Harris
40. North East
CLUB DIRECTORY AS AT OCT 1998
(Clubs didn’t necessarily notify the Assoc when they closed so the following may not be entirely correct. Only the clubs submitting the reports or in the Club Diary above were definitely open.)
1. Aberdeen A&F Club (1975 – present)
2. Alnwick A&F Club (Aug 1975 – present)
3. Annan A&F Club (joined Assoc in 1996 but started 1985 – present)
4. Arbroath A&F Club (1991? – present)
5. Armadale A&F Club (Oct 1978? or 80) originally called Bathgate Club (for 2 months) Closed
6. Ayr A&F Club (Nov 1983 – per Nov 83 edition) Closed
7. Balloch A&F Club (Sept 1972 – per January 1978 issue – present)
8. Banchory A&F Club (1978 – present)
9. Banff & District A&F Club (Oct 1973 – present)
10. Beith & District A&F Club (Sept 1972 – per first edition – present)
11. Belford A&F Club (joined Sept 1982)
12. Biggar A&F Club (Oct 1974 – present)
13. Blairgowrie A&F Club (
14. Bromley A&F Club
15. Button Key A&F Club (
16. Campbeltown A&F Club (
17. Campsie A&F Club (Nov 95 – present)
18. Carlisle A&F Club (joined Sept 1993 -
19. Castle Douglas A&F Club (c Sept 1980 – present)
20. Coalburn A&F Club (
21. Crieff A&F Club (cSept 1981)
22. Dalriada A&F Club (Feb 1981)
23. Dingwall & District A&F Club (May 1979 – per first report)
24. Dunblane & District A&F Club (1971 – present)
25. Dunfermline & District A&F Club (1974 – per first edition)
26. Dunoon & Cowal A&F Club (
27. East Kilbride A&F Club (Sept 1980)
28. Ellon A&F Club (
29. Etterick & Yarrow (Jan 1989 -
30. Fintry A&F Club (Dec 1972 – reformed Jan 1980 – present)
31. Forfar A&F Club (
32. Forres A&F Club (Jan 1978)
33. Galashiels A&F Club (joined Sept 1982 - present)
34. Galston A&F Club (Oct 1969 – per first edition – closed March 2006)
35. Glendale Accordion Club (Jan 1973)
36. Glenfarg A&F Club (formed 1988 joined Assoc Mar 95 -
37. Glenrothes A&F Club (Mar 93?
38. Gretna A&F Club (1991) Known as North Cumbria A&F Club previously (originally called Gretna when started in June 1966 but later had to move to venues in the North of England and changed name. No breaks in the continuity of the Club)
39. Highland A&F Club (Inverness) (Nov 1973 – present)
40. Inveraray A&F Club (Feb 1991 - present)
41. Islay A&F Club (23 Apr 93 -
42. Islesteps A&F Club (Jan 1981 – present – n.b. evolved from the original Dumfries Club)
43. Isle of Skye A&F Club (June 1983 – present)
44. Kelso A&F Club (May 1976 – present)
45. Kintore A&F Club (
46. Ladybank A&F Club (joined Apr 98 but formed
47. Lanark A&F Club (joined Sept 96 – present)
48. Langholm A&F Club (Oct 1967 - present)
49. Lesmahagow A&F Club (Nov 1979 – closed May 2005)
50. Lewis & Harris A&F Club (Aug 1994 -
51. Livingston A&F Club (Sept 1973 – present)
52. Lockerbie A&F Club (Nov 1973 - present)
53. Mauchline A&F Club (Sept 1983 - present)
54. Montrose A&F Club (joined Sept 1982 - present)
55. Muirhead A&F Club (Dec 1994 -
56. Newtongrange A&F Club (joined Sept 1977 - present)
57. North East A&F Club aka Keith A&FC (Sept 1971 - present)
58. Oban A&F Club (Nov 1975 - present)
59. Orkney A&F Club (Mar 1978 - present)
60. Peebles A&F Club (26 Nov 1981 - present)
61. Perth & District A&F Club (Aug 1970 - present)
62. Premier A&F Club NI (April 1980)
63. Renfrew A&F Club (1984 -
64. Rothbury Accordion Club (7th Feb 1974) orig called Coquetdale
65. Reading Scottish Fiddlers (cMarch 1997
66. Scottish Accordion Music – Crathes (Nov 1997 -
67. Selkirk A&F Club (
68. Shetland A&F Club (Sept 1978 - present)
69. Stirling A&F Club (Oct 1991 - )
70. Sutherland A&F Club (
71. Thornhill A&F Club (joined Oct 1983 – see Nov 83 edition – closed April 2014)
72. Thurso A&F Club (Oct 1981 - present)
73. Turriff A&F Club (March 1982 - present)
74. Tynedale A&F Club (Nov 1980 - present)
76. Wick A&F Club (Oct 1975 - present)
Not on official list at the start of the season (closed, did not renew membership or omitted in error?)
77. Acharacle & District A&F Club (cMay 1988)
78. Bonchester Accordion Club (Closed?)
79. Bridge of Allan (Walmer) A&F Club (Walmer Hotel, Bridge of Allan) (c March 1982)
80. Brigmill A&F Club (Oct 1990) Closed
81. Buchan A&F Club
82. Callander A&F Club (
83. Campbeltown & District A&F Club (c Dec 1980)
84. Cleland (cNov 1981 – March 1985) originally called Drumpellier A&F Club (for 2 months)
85. Club Accord
86. Coquetdale A&F Club (Feb 1974 or c1976/77 – 1981/2? – became Rothbury?)
87. Coupar Angus A&F Club (cSept 1978 - ?)
88. Cumnock A&F Club (October 1976 - forced to close cDec 1982 - see Jan 83 Editorial)
89. Denny & Dunipace A&F Club (Feb 1981)
90. Derwentside A&F Club
91. Dornoch A&F Club (first mention in directory 1986)
92. Dumfries Accordion Club (Oughtons) (April 1965 at the Hole in the Wa’)
93. Dunbar Cement Works A&F Club (Closed?)
94. Dundee & District A&F Club (1970? – 1995?)
95. Edinburgh A&F Club (Apr 1981) prev called Chrissie Leatham A&F Club (Oct 1980)
96. Falkirk A&F Club (Sept 1978 - )
97. Fort William A&F Club (21st Oct 1980 – per Dec 1980 B&F)
98. Gorebridge (cNov 1981) originally called Arniston A&F Club (for 2 months)
99. Greenhead Accordion Club (on the A69 between Brampton and Haltwistle)
100. Kirriemuir A&F Club (cSept 1981)
101. M.A.F.I.A. (1966 – 1993?)
102. Monklands A&F Club (Nov 1978 – closed cApril 1983)
103. Morecambe A&F Club (joined Sept 1982)
104. Mull A&F Club
105. Newcastleton Accordion Club
106. New Cumnock A&F Club (cMarch 1979)
107. Newton St Boswells Accordion Club (17th Oct 1972 see Apr 1984 obituary for Angus Park)
108. Ormiston Miners’ Welfare Society A&F Club (closed April 1992 – per Sept Editorial)
109. Renfrew A&F Club (original club 1974/5 lapsed after a few years then again in 1984)
110. Straiton Accordion Club (c1968 – closed March 1979)
111. Stranraer & District Accordion Club (1974 – per first edition)
112. Torthorwald A&F Club (near Dumfries)
113. Tranent A&F Club
114. Walmer (Bridge of Allan) A&F Club
115. Wellbank A&F Club
Full Page - £120
Half Page - £60
Quarter Page - £30