Box and Fiddle
Year 22 No 06
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).
Would Secretaries of Clubs which meet over the summer…..
Apologies to ‘mystery drummer’ Dave Blyth who featured in the photograph with the Bert Shorthouse Band on the back page of last month’s issue. Dave is well known throughout Scotland having played with many of the country’s top dance bands (but unfortunately not in Thankerton!) Anyway it gave Mickie Ainsworth a good laugh, so every cloud as they say!
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this month’s issue and in particular to Gary Blair who as well as being an excellent exponent of the accordion is a keep collector of information on the accordion and accordionists in general. At my request, Gary produced three articles with such a spread of topics that they all appear in this issue. Incidentally he also says that he has quite a few copies of photo’s of his dad’s band and that any readers who would like one are welcome to send a s.a.e. to him at the address shown at the end of his ‘internet’ article……first come, first served!
For many readers the photos accompanying the Jimmy Blair article may be their first introduction to the Uniform keyboard accordion. Unfortunately it never caught on but Gary and myself would be interested in hearing from anyone who still has one. Billy Buchan, Jimmy’s second box player who is featured in one of the photographs still owns and plays his instrument I believe. If you’re reading Billy, I would be interested in hearing from you.
I would direct readers attention to the Galston Club report where they will see that the Club are celebrating their 30th Anniversary on Friday, 26th March with a ‘meal and a show’ at the Barr Castle Social Club. A limited number of tickets are available from David Ross.
The Life of Pietro Frosini
by Gary Blair
Born Pietro L. Giuffrida on 9th August, 1885, in Catania, Sicily, young Pietro began to play the accordion at the age of six. His father, a dilettante, taught him the first rudiments of the instrument. At seven Pietro graduated to the chromatic which had 33 keys on the bass and 37 on the treble. By the time he was 10 he had mastered the chief arias of ‘Il Travatore’, ‘Aida’, ‘La Traviata’, ‘Carmen’ and ‘Faust’. In addition he was credited with knowing, from memory, the musical scored of innumerable polkas, quadrilles and tangos. At twelve he composed a military march and through his effort was admitted to the School of Harmony at the Royal Conservatoire of Music under the great operatic composer, Maestro Paolo Frontini.
Because of local prejudice and ignorance of Italian music officials, the accordion was banned from the Royal Conservatoire. Therefore in order to take advantage of its educational offerings, Pietro, who had mastered the accordion to an extent that would have made adult musicians envious, applied to the clarinet the same dexterity with which he had coaxed artistry from the accordion.
During these years he laid the foundations for his now famous rhapsodies by composing a series of intermezzos and overtures. The name of Pietro Frosini became known in Catania as one who would make a great mark in the world of music. Two reasons have been given as to why he changed his name from Guiffrida to Frosini. The first was his admiration for one of his teachers at the Conservatoire in Catania already referred to above, namely Paolo Frontini. The other suggestion was that he revered the classical composer Rosini, which is the one that I would go with.
The Government, fully aware of the boy’s genius, offered him a scholarship to the Royal Conservatoire in Milan. But young Frosini, remembering the prejudices that are the property of musical tyrants and how these had kept him from his beloved instrument in his youth, declined the offer. In protest he joined the British Navy! In the next two years he traveled much. On his honourable discharge, he returned to Sicily, determined to follow the traditions of his father – to spread abroad the message of the accordion and its teachings. He settled in Malta and would have remained there had not American talent scouts for the Orpheum circuit discovered him.
With gilt-edge contracts, Frosini sailed to America. Upon his arrival one of his first acts was to visit an aged accordion maker, Bernadonna, who had a small shop on the East Side. Here Frosini blue-printed the design of an accordion similar to the one his father had played upon, but which at the time was a radical departure from the imported instruments. During the next months the manufacturer drew upon his every ability to meet the technical demands of the young maestro.
In spring, 1906, Frosini’s instrument was completed. It was his first accordion to be made in America. Round about then, he met up with another Italian accordionist by the name of Guido Deiro, and was greatly influenced by him. Prior to meeting Guido, Pietro only played classical music on the accordion, but was soon to change musical direction to a more varied programme.
Around 1913 Pietro moved to New York and sent for his family. His father Michael Angelo Giuffrida was a very poor farmer who could hardly support his family. He had three children in sons Pietro and Natale and daughter Rosa.
In 1920 Pietro married a Danish actress named Alfride Larsen, a marriage that was to last 29 years until Alfride’s death in 1949. They bought a house together on Long Island in 1924 and after that he started a career as a teacher of accordion, a profession he found he didn’t really like.
Since then Frosini’s name has become a household word amongst accordionists all over the world. His compositions are widely known. In his rhapsodies, Frosini has emerged from pure simplistic to add inflections of an artistic brilliancy that vie with the piano masterpieces of Bach, Beethoven and Liszt. 75 of his compositions, long since listed among the Classics of Accordion Literature, have become the rule rather than the exception when it comes to students.
In the days when the instrument was struggling for the recognition it now enjoys, he achieved a record for constant activity which is still recalled in conversation whenever accordionists meet. For 25 years, with never a break in rigid schedule, this genius of the chromatic accordion, in good weather and bad never missed an engagement.
He was awarded a bronze status for his great innovations and his compositions in 1949. This was presented by none other than Pirtro Deiro, the brother of the late Guido Deiro.
In the last years of his life Pietro was very ill but insisted that music kept him going. Indeed he would have to be helped on to the stage at his concerts, but once he started to play he was a different person. He passed away in 1951 at the age of 66 at his home on Long Island, New York. Sadly for accordionists everywhere his death brought to an end a run of ‘light’ classical compositions which time has shown to be amongst his most enduring – famous works like Bel Viso, Bel Fiore and Bats at Sunset.
How many accordionists are aware of the fact that the late Frosini wrote music not only for the accordion. In this extract from an article by Hilding Berquist, published in America in 1948, we learn that the never-to-be-forgotten Frosini was a really great composer for other instruments.
“It may not be generally known that Frosini wrote, at one time or another, in all manner of musical media. Many of these works, written years ago, for orchestra, for piano, for violin, for band, for voice, music for religious services etc are still in manuscript.
“The Library of Congress in Washington has two of his early works, ‘The Chalice’ (Largo appassionato and andante religioso) for piano and published in 1908 and the same piece transformed into a religious love song with words by Edgar Selden, also published in 1908.
He later wrote two other songs which were published and recorded by various American modern dance orchestras – ‘The Rose and the Butterfly’ and ‘Just Because’ published in 1917.
His waltzes and other pieces for accordion were so cherished the world over, that they have been orchestrated for dance orchestras in Europe and many other recordings made of them. His greatest waltz, written in his early period for two accordions, was ‘Seneca’. It is a lengthy waltz written at a time when under the influence of Strauss waltzes and the melodic contents of some of the verses are so sweet and lovely in their originality as to be far superior to those of Strauss.”
Not many people are aware that Frosini played a B System chromatic accordion but due to the fact that ‘Vaudeville’ wouldn’t accept button accordions, he disguised it to look like a ‘triple manual’ (if you like) piano accordion. He called it the Italo-American keyboard.
‘The Frosini Society’ has many members in a variety of countries in Europe. The UK Frosini Society is run by Robert Rolston of ‘Rolston Accordions’ in Motherwell.
David Eunson - Obituary
With the death of David Eunson of Colster, Deerness, Orkney, popularly known as Deevick o’ Colster, Orkney Accordion and Fiddle club and Orkney S&R Society lost a very good friend and a very talented man. Davie was not only a fiddle player but also a fiddle maker, including Hardanger models. Some of his products are to be found worldwide.
A very modest man, Davie could turn his hand to many things in the agricultural line and practiced a bit of boat building in his spare time. His ability both as a player and composer has been acknowledged both locally and further afield and he will be sorely missed in the community.
Our sympathies go out to his family and grandchildren. His wife, Violet, predeceased him several years ago. She was a talented pianist and together they made the perfect couple.
Shand Morino Gathering - 17th January 1999
by Jim Cook
The Button-Key Accordion and fiddle club hosted the 4th ‘Shand Morino Gathering’ on Sunday, 17th January, 1999 in the Windygates Institute, organized to commemorate the creation of the Morino Button-Key accordion as designed and played by Sir Jimmy Shand. The day started at 1 p.m. and by that time the hall was almost full. The audience had once again come from near and far. From North, South, East and West. From London and the Emerald Isle, and of course many from our local surrounding area.
Morino Button-Key accordions were once again well represented and these were brought and played by the following –
Sandy Tulloch from Dundee,
Davie Simpson from Invergowrie,
Ritchie Ahearne from London,
George Rea from Doagh, Co. Antrim,
Davie Ross from Kilmarnock,
Angus Cruickshanks, Ian Cruickshanks and Dougie Milne from Kirriemuir,
Andy Greig from Pittenweem,
Bill Black from Stanley,
Bruce Lindsay, George Wilson and John Crawford from Freuchie,
Roy Magna from Markinch,
Angus Oliver from Peebles, Neil Smith from Glasgow,
George Work and Rod Brown.
The afternoon started with a tribute to Sir Jimmy Shand by Bib McIntosh M.B.E. referring to his great contribution to the promotion of Scottish Country dance music throughout the world, with over 300 tunes composed by him, culminating, at long last, in his having a Knighthood bestowed upon him, in recognition of his work, in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
Sandy Tulloch then conveyed a personal message from Sir Jimmy to say how sorry he was at not being able to attend the Gathering due to failing health, but sent his best wishes to all for an enjoyable and successful day.
With as many players as possible on the stage, Sandy then led a stramash playing three selections of Jimmy Shand tunes to start off the musical entertainment for the day.
We listened to Ian Cruickshanks and the Kirrie Lads, Angy Greig and his band and the Bruce Lindsay band, and in between their performances, the other individual Morino players played their selection of tunes throughout the afternoon accompanied by the group of their choice. We listened to some wonderful music which, of course, continued to include many of the ‘Great Man’s’ compositions and favourites.
The accompanying musicians included the following :
On five row button-box - David Rea from Doagh, Co Antrim
On piano accordion – Tommy Lees from London (ex Kirkcaldy), Fred Harrott, Eric Martin, Lex Keith from Lenzie, Mac Kinnear from Dundee and Bob Jarvie from Kirkcaldy.
On fiddle - Jack Stalker, Jean Ann Callender and Willie Cameron.
On piano – Willie Cormack and Tommy Lees.
And on drums – Alan Dewar, John Ireland, Jock Stewart and Dave Taylor.
We also had the pleasure of listening to some lovely singing from the great bass/baritone voice of Marshall MacIntyre.
At the end of the day votes of thanks were given to all the players who had come along, to our Committee for all the hard work in organizing the day and especially to our ladies in the kitchen for providing the soup, tea and sandwiches, to Bruce Lindsay Snr for arranging and organizing the afternoon’s entertainment, and to everyone who came along to make a superb audience, which all contributed to the great success of this memorable occasion.
Forres A&F Club’s 21st Anniversary
We had over 300 at our 21st Birthday party on January 13th, some of whom compere Andy Ross recognised from the earliest meetings of the Club.
Andy and the present Chairman, George Hutcheson, cut the birthday cake decorated with the Club logo, and it was served to the company along with a finger buffet provided by the Club.
Outlining the Club’s history, George paid tribute to the many people who had helped to make it a success over the years – members of the original Committee Mrs Gray and Mrs Reid, Fred Donald, instigator along with the late Ray Mackenzie of the idea of a Club in Forres; Jim MacIntosh, Sandy Strathdee and Andy Ross, first Chairman and now a Life Member; subsequent Chairman Ian Anderson, Bobby Gibson and Garry Mackintosh; Jack Cameron, photographer; James Gordon, auditor, and the Armour brothers, Ian and Charlie, who owned the brig hotel when the Club first started.
Guest artistes for the evening were the six-piece Graeme Mitchell SDB. Graeme was the Club’s first guest in 1978, just after becoming Scottish Champion, and he played again at our tenth anniversary.
He is the only original member in the present line-up, the others being Gordon Duguid on second box, Susan MacIntosh on fiddle, Brian Cruickshank on bass guitar, Duncan Christie on drums and Scott Gordon on piano.
We all know Graeme as a staunch upholder of traditional music, and there were plenty of rousing pipe marches in his programme, including two great Ian Crichton tunes, ‘Norman Yorston Williams’ and ‘Captain Ian MacDonald of Toronto’. His 6/8’s ‘Dovecote Park’ and ‘Locheil’s Welcome to Glasgow’ were, he said, the set he used for his one and only TV appearance – what’s wrong with these TV folk we wonder?
There was so much of the programme that was memorable, though we can list only a few titles – Graeme’s own waltz for his parents, ‘Sandy and Aileen Mitchell’, a jig set with some of Fergie MacDonald’s tunes, and another of Graeme’s, ‘Bill’s Legacy Lives On’, a slow air in tribute to the late Bill Smith of Banchory. This was a lovely blending of Susan MacIntosh’s fiddle with the richness of the accordion and piano backing, and deserves to be heard more.
As always our Club players sustained the rest of the programme, though there wasn’t so much time for solo spots on the occasion. Bill Brian, fiddle, and Ena Anderson on piano, gave us an appropriate selection – tributes to founder member the late Ray Mackenzie and the late Bob Watt, to Andy Ross and Donnie Mackenzie, ending with Bill’s own tune, ‘Forres Accordion and Fiddle Club’s 21st Anniversary’.
Carol Cook, home on holiday from Ohio, where she is studying viola, showed her expertise on fiddle with a couple of pipe marches and a set of reels and the beautiful slow air ‘Coleburn’ by local fiddler William Macpherson. It was a delight to listen to her expressive interpretation and masterly use of the bow.
The Club has produced a booklet with photographs, outlining highlights of the past 21 years, and over 100 of these were sold during the evening. The Club players’ new tape, recorded in September, was also selling well.
Players were reminded that the annual trios competition for the Ray Mackenzie Memorial Trophy and money prizes, will be held at the March meeting of the Club, when judges will be guest artistes the Nicol McLaren SDB.
Dave McLeod (1918 – 1999)
Dave McLeod of 1 Viewfield Street, Harthill, a well-known 5 row accordion player and composer, died at St. John’s Hospital, Livingston on Tuesday, 9th February, 1999.
Dave was born at 1 Viewfield Street, Harthill in 1918 and stayed in the same house all his life. When it came time to start work Dave, like the majority of young lads in the area at that time went to work in the pit at Polkemmet, repairing bells. He stayed until 1961 when he left to become an Insurance Agent. Dave carried on in this occupation until he retired in 1984.
As a young boy Dave had piano lessons – then played piano accordion before switching to the 5 row which he decided was right for him. He was a staunch member of the Livingston A&F Club where he served on the Committee for a number of years. When playing on Club nights he had the support of daughter Rona, on accordion or piano, and his wife Mary in the audience.
To celebrate the Club’s 21st birthday a tune competition was held within the Club and Dave not only won the 1st place Trophy (from an entry of 14) for a catchy 4/4/ march called Loch Coulter, he ran off with the second place Trophy for a bonny wee two-step, Rona’s Teo-Step.
These two tunes and another 21 of Dave’s own compositions are included in a book ‘Music for Dancing’ by Dave McLeod which was published a couple of years ago.
Dave was happiest when he was playing for Country Dancing – whether it was when playing on his own for the Marjory McCrae Clountry Dance Class in Bathgate or playing with the Fidra Ceilidh Band for dances. He enjoyed these activities until about 1995 when his fingers started to become troublesome, and sadly his playing days came to an end.
Dave McLeod was a character and will be missed by his many friends in and out of the Club. Condolences to Mary and the family.
Highland A&F Club Celebrates 25 Years
by Rory MacLeod
It was a grand occasion indeed at the Drumossie Hotel just outside Inverness. The turnout for the evening was very impressive with a full capacity audience in attendance to enjoy the music of our very special guest artiste, ‘The Jim Johnstone SDB’. Jim’s band helped launch the Highland A&F Club back in 1973 and returned to the Club as guest artiste for its 21st Anniversary celebrations. We were honoured that Jim agreed to be our guest artiste once more for our 25th Anniversary celebrations.
The Highland Club’s founder and first Secretary, Alastair Watters, attended the evening as a special guest to cut the birthday cake. “It was Alastair who thought about forming the Club”, recalled founder member and present Chairman Rory MacLeod, who until a few years ago was the voice of Scottish music on the late lamented BBC Radio Highland.
“Al came into the area from Perthshire where they had a very successful club and put the idea to some of the players he met in Inverness. We formed a Committee under his leadership and got it under way. It was one of the first in the North and since we opened a lot of other clubs have been formed in other parts of the Highlands. Unlike a S&R Society which is predominantly and in some cases exclusively fiddles, A&F Clubs welcome players of both. In Inverness, we invariably attract more accordionists because our Club night clashes with Inverness Fiddlers Society’s weekly rehearsal – but they come along when they can and we are always glad to see them”.
Soon after its formation, the Highland A&F Club moved from the Cummings Hotel to the Ice Rink’s function Suite where shortly afterwards Ian Redford took over as Chairman. Ian, who was a Kirriemuir man, played button accordion and kept us all in order until his death in October, 1988.
Among the star guests who have appeared at the Club over the years are Bobby MacLeod, Ian Powrie, Jimmy Blue, Dermot O’Brien, Ron Gonella, John Huband, the Hamefarers and the Wallochmor Ceilidh Band. There was even a record made at the Club in the mid-80’s, which featured John Huband and the band and a number of local artistes. BBC Radio Highland also broadcast a typical Club night.
So back to the evening itself. Our MC Rory MacLeod introduced a very special guest, none other than Robbie Shepherd and the Take the Floor team from BBC Radio Scotland. With his well-kent voice, Robbie remarked that the last time he was in Inverness, he was on his honeymoon and that was over 30 years ago. He also remarked that he was delighted to be attending this very special evening. The TTF team recorded parts of the evening which included local artistes and the Jim Johnstone SDB which was broadcast on TTF on Saturday, 19th December, 1998. Some of the youngsters who were featured must have been thrilled to hear their performances broadcast to the nation.
The players who entertained us for the evening were Richard MacDonald on accordion, Graeme and Stephen Mackay on midi button accordion and fiddle, Jonathan MacKebdry on accordion, Bob MacLeod on button accordion, Sandy Ross on a black Shand Morino with Mike Shaw accompanying on piano and Jock Stephens on drums. Following on were the MacKenzie Family Band with Heather Fraser on drums otherwise known as the female Billy Thom of the North.
Finally Ali MacGregor from Tain played his midi accordion and Jock Stephens accompanied him on drums. Ali, incidentally, who is a member of the Tain SDB, jetted off to India would you believe, as part of the Tain SDB to help celebrate Burns Night in Bombay and Bangladesh.
Dance bandleader and piper, Bobby Coghill from Wick, attended the evening and it was very nice to see him.
Rory then introduced Jim Johnstone and the band. Jim appropriately started the evening with one of his own compositions, a very popular tune played by a lot of the dance band leaders, which was dedicated to our very own Rory MacLeod, namely ‘Rory MacLeod’s Welcome to Strathcarron’.
A highlight of the evening was a tune written by Alastair Watters especially for the Highland club’s 25th birthday anniversary called ‘The Highland Polka’. Jim and the band played it extremely well and the audience clapped enthusiastically at the end because it was such a catchy tune. It was an honour that Alastair dedicated this composition to the Highland Club.
At half-time everyone helped themselves to a delicious buffet laid on by the Highland Club and once everyone had settled back into their seats for the second half, Jim and the band entertained us for the rest of the evening.
Jim has a great sense of humour and had the audience laughing with some of his funny stories and combined with the superb music helped to make the Highland Club’s 25th Anniversary a memorable one indeed. Jim finished off the evening by thanking everyone and remarked that the highland Club was a strong and well-known Club and hoped that it would continue for many years to come.
The Highland A&F Club would like to take this opportunity to thank the Jim Johnstone SDB for their excellent performance, Robbie Shepherd and the TTF Team for taking time out of what must be a very busy schedule to attend and record our anniversary celebrations, the Committee of the Highland A&F Club for all their hard work and dedication, and finally to all the players and club members who have supported the Club over the years and made the Club the success that it is.
Here’s to the next 25.
Jimmy Blair (1920 – 1981)
by Gary Blair
Jimmy’s accordion history started at the age of eleven when he first ventured to take his father’s small melodeon down from its hallowed perch and attempted to squeeze out a few bars of one of the current hits! Unfortunately, his father found out and was none too pleased. For some time after that, a battle of wits ensured as he left his instrument is such a position that Jimmy could not always replace it after use without his father (also called James knowing). However, he was successful on most occasions, and by the time he was presented with his own instrument, he had a fairly sound knowledge of melodeon technique.
Shortly after this he joined the Territorial Army and was called up 2 days before WW2 broke out. Needless to say, his instrument went with him! Rigorous infantry training followed, and he had little time for practice, but in 1940 he was posted to the Merchant Navy as a machine gunner and was able to have some really intensive practice (on accordion, not machine gun!) Jimmy soon found the melodeon’s limitations and soon after he returned to his unit, he bought a five row Chromatic accordion. This was more to his liking and he was soon playing at Army Concerts and dances etc and guesting at ENSA shows.
In March, 1942, he was sent out on a reconnaissance patrol to see if the Germans had left a village. They had, and to his delight they had left a full-sized piano accordion behind! Even though they were on a forward position, his Company Commander, a Canadian, insisted on having a party at Company H.Q. that night. The Germans must have thought they were trying out a new secret weapon as he had little or no experience of the piano keyboard.
Every spare moment after that was spent in mastering that keyboard. He had two tutor books at the time (one in Dutch and one in German) and it was just as well that he could speak five languages.
More concert work followed, plus Regimental dances in all sorts of queer surroundings, and when the war was over he felt quite at home on the piano keyboard. He received the Croix de Guerre from the French authorities, and he insisted that it was not for his accordion playing!
By 1947 he had spent every day polishing up his technique and study of harmony, counterpoint etc. When he felt completely at ease on the piano accordion, having waded through Magnante books 1 and 2, he decided to become a teacher. He soon had as many pupils as he could handle and formed the Scotia Accordion Club in the same year.
Around the same time, he received literature from the U.S.A. on the uniform keyboard (invented by John Ruther) which interested him greatly. When they became available in the U.K., he tried one and soon realised that this was the keyboard he had been looking for. It was the perfect compromise between the chromatic button and piano keyed keyboards, and as soon as he became proficient (within weeks) some of his pupils changed over to the new system.
It wasn’t too long before Jimmy started up his own Scottish Dance Band, using four fiddlers from the Scottish Symphony Orchestra and one of his own pupils (Billy Buchan) on 2nd accordion. They soon became famous throughout the U.K., and were booked solid to play form the R.S.C.D.S. and at weddings, ceilidhs, etc. He was soon to appear on Scottish Television’s ‘Jigtime’ as the regular bandleader, and this carried on for a good number of years (his son Gary has three of the shows on video). Although he was very busy performing at these functions, he still loved to teach youngsters the accordion. He built up a wonderful Accordion School in which he was aided by his wife, Loretta, also an accordionist. It wasn’t long before his pupils started to win competitions by the barrel load, going on to represent the school at national level. Many of his pupils were crowned British Champions (including his son Gary) and many of them are still playing as professional / semi-professional accordionists to this day. It wasn’t long before he was teaching 4 nights a week, on Saturdays during the day, and conducting his Accordion Orchestras on a Sunday! His Orchestras were the U.K. Champions on several occasions.
He recorded loads of records with his band and even recorded with the violinists from the Scottish Radio Orchestra under the title ‘Scottish Strings’. Jimmy’s band became popular throughout the world and he was in big demand to appear in countries like Australia, U.S.A. and even France. Although he was active in the Scottish dance scene, Jimmy’s love was for accordion music in general, be it Scottish, classical or Continental. He made many friends in the accordion world and could count the likes of Marcosignori, Toralf Tollefsen and many other world famous accordionists amongst them.
Jimmy Blair passed away in November 1981 and even at his funeral, many former pupils were there to pay their last respects. His ashes were scattered at the 15th Scottish Division Memorial at Tourville-sur-Odon in Normandy, France.
The Jimmy Blair Gallery
Jimmy Cassidy – Accordion Excellence - SMR084CD
Don & Kathleen MacDonald - Eriskay Lilt Just a Little Bit – CDITV650
David Hall SDB – Sounds of Feolin – DIH002CD
Hector McFadyen SDB – SMR085CD
Ian Holmes – Ian in Switzerland – MMCD9802
The Dumfries Collection – Vol 1 – 41 Original Compositions by Ian Holmes
Letters to the Editor
Your correspondent J. Campbell is aiming at the wrong ‘target’ in his near diatribe regarding the presenter of Scottish Dance Music items on radio – the real culprits are the Controllers of Radio Scotland.
I crossed swords with two of them in the past regarding the deterioration of programmes but they would not listen, they are the ones who changes the schedules and programmes time-wise.
With regard to changing presenters to allow someone with a musical / band background to become involved, we had such a programme, it was called ‘Shepherd’s Fancy’ on Monday nights at 8 o’clock. Also on TTF on Saturday night as usual at 6.30pm, but the last 30 minutes I have to admit have been chopped and changed too much. The Reel Blend used to go out at 10am Sunday, but now it is 11am, also the Shepherd’s Fancy is now added to Sunday morning, with nothing on Monday or any other weekday.
I argued the case for a midweek programme but to no avail, they are the ones to target. I can assure S.C.D. enthusiasts that the TTF team do a great job promoting events, they gave us a lot of encouragement when needed to enable dancing to continue in Princes Street Gardens when the Council denied us the use of the arena and dancing took place on the paths and grass.
Some of the TTF team made the trip down from Aberdeen in their own time, and it was greatly appreciated by the Committee and I expect by the bands who play at the bi-weekly meetings, so with no thanks to the Council or the High Heid Yins at BBC, a leisure activity which started more than 50 years agois able to continue and we have had outside broadcasts of TTF from the ‘Gardens’ when I was assured that it was not possible by Controller Neal Fraser. But the TTF team proved otherwise, so instead of being ultra critical of this tried and tested team of splendid professionals please give credit where it is due.
Change, I have found is not always for the best so let’s appreciate what we have.
Jim and Grace Duncan
I would like to comment on Mr Campbell’s letter in the February issue of the B&F re the current format of TTF and the ‘Reel Blend’. This letter was not particularly constructive in its criticism but more a personal attack on Robbie Shepherd and being the man he is, he will not deign to answer to answer this slight in these columns, I shall.
Speaking personally, I know that he cares passionately and sincerely not only about the dance music but the whole cultural scene. Never is he prone to make disparaging remarks about the performing artistes be they bandleaders/soloists and his research is extensive and thorough before his broadcasts. He is an extremely skillful interviewer, and never embarrasses and interviewee, because he is trusted. Hence they come over quite naturally as they are ‘off the cuff’ and completely unrehearsed.
Many bandleaders have a ‘go’ at Robbie but it is mainly in jest and certainly the ones that I know have a great admiration for him and for what he is doing to enhance the dance music scene. A number of years ago I was present at a fund raising event in Lochgilphead and Robbie traveled down from Aberdeen to be there at the invitation of his friend and verbal adversary Fraser McGlynn. He entertained superbly and his rendering of The Buchan Bobbie, albeit in the Doric, was received with great applause. He left for home at 2 a.m. to complete a round trip of 500 miles. All this was done gratis and free of charge, which is a measure of the man. In a word, he is sincere.
I believe Robbie has done more than most in the last decade to further the cause of Scottish dance music. Remember he is only the presenter, not one of the mandarins which Douglas Muir so ably describes in his letter in the same issue of the B&F. I would respectfully suggest it is to these people that Mr Campbell should be directing his points of view.
Take the Floor – Saturdays at 6.30pm with Robbie Shepherd
6th Mar 99 – Donald MacLeod SDB
13th Mar 99 – Nicol McLaren and the Glencraig SDB
20th Mar 99 – Sandy Nixon SDB – OB from Marryat Hall, Dundee with guests Sheena Wellington and Deirdre Adamson.
27th Mar 99 – The Lomond Ceilidh Band
3rd Apr 99 – Marian Anderson SDB
10th Apr 99 – Lynne Gould SDB
17th Apr 99 - Jim MacLeod SDB
24th Apr 99 – Jennifer Forrest SDB
Aberdeen (Dee Motel) – 29th Mar 99 – Morag Robertson Trio
Alnwick (White Swan Hotel) – members only 10th Mar 99 – Marian Anderson SDB
Annan (St Andrew’s Social Club) - 21st Mar 99 – George Stirrat SDB
Arbroath (Viewfield Hotel) - 7th Mar 99 – AGM and Club Night
Armadale (Masonic Hall) – 4th Mar 99 – Iain Anderson SDB
Ayr (Gartferry Hotel) – ?
Balloch (St. Kessog’s Hall) – 21st Mar 99 – Sandy Legget SDB
Banchory (Burnett Arms Hotel) – 29th Mar 99 – Jim Johnstone SDB
Banff & District (Banff Springs Hotel) – 24th Mar 99 – John bone Duo
Beith & District (Hotel de Croft, Dalry) – 15th Mar 99 – Jock Fraser
Belford (Community Club) – 25th Mar 99 - tbc
Biggar (Municipal Hall) – 14th Mar 99 – Gary Donaldson Trio
Blairgowrie (Moorfield Hotel) - 9th Mar 99 – Gavin Piper
Bromley (Trinity United Reform Church) - 9th Mar 99 – Alastair Forbes SDB
Button Key (Windygates Institute) – 11th Mar 99 – Lex Keith
Campbeltown (Royal or Argyll Hotel) - ?
Campsie (Glazert House Hotel) - 2nd Mar 99 – Jim Johnstone SDB
Carlisle (Border Regiment Club, Carlisle Castle) - 4th Mar 99 – Walter Beattie Trio
Castle Douglas (Ernespie House Hotel) – 16th Mar 99 – Tom Alexander
Coalburn (Miners’ Welfare) - 18th Mar 99 – Brian Griffin Duo
Crathes (Crathes Hall, Banchory) - 14th Mar 99 – All players welcome
Crieff & District (Arduthie Hotel) 4th Mar 99 – Jimmy Lindsay (Amulree)
Dalriada (Argyll Arms Hotel, Lochgilphead) 16th Mar 99 – Ian Hutson SDB
Dingwall (National Hotel) – 3rd Mar 99 – Andrew Gordon Trio
Dunblane (Westlands Hotel) – 16th Mar 99 – Hector McFadyen SDB
Dunfermline (Headwell Bowling Club) – 9th Mar 99 –Morag Robertson
Dunoon & Cowal (McColl’s Hotel) 12th Mar 99 – McColl’s Weekend
East Kilbride (Sweepers, Cambuslang) – 25th Mar 99 – Club Night
Ellon (Station Hotel) – 23rd Mar 99 – Jim Johnstone SDB
Fintry (Fintry Sports Centre) – 22nd Mar 99 – Sandy Nixon SDB
Forfar (Plough Inn) - 28th Mar 99 – Steven Carcary Duo
Forres (Brig Motel) – 10th Mar 99 – Trio Competition & Nicol McLaren SDB
Fort William (Alexandra Hotel) – ?
Galashiels (Abbotsford Arms Hotel) – 4th Mar 99 – Jock Fraser
Galston (Barr Castle Social Club) – 8th Mar 99 – Michael Philip Duo
Glendale (Black Bull Hotel – Wooler) – 18th Mar 99 – Bill Black SDB
Glenfarg (Lomond Hotel) - 3rd Mar 99 – Jim Crawford – Vintage Accordion Night
Glenrothes (Victoria Hall, Coaltown of Balgownie) - 30th Mar 99 - tbc
Gretna (Halcrow Stadium) - 7th Mar 99 – David Vernon
Highland (Drumossie Hotel) – 15th Mar 99 – Jennifer Cruickshank SDB
Inveraray (Loch Fyne Hotel) - 2nd Mar 99 - tbc
Islay (White Hart Hotel) - ?
Isle of Skye – (The Royal Hotel, Portree) - 4th Mar 99 – John Renton SDB
Islesteps (The Embassy Hotel) – 2nd Mar 99 – Hector McFadyen
Kelso (Ednam House Hotel) – 31st Mar 99 – Ian Cruickshanks & Davie Stewart
Kintore (Torryburn Hotel) – 3rd Mar 99 – Bill Black SDB
Lanark (Masonic Hall) - 22nd Mar 99 – Robert Whitehead Trio
Langholm (Crown Hotel) – 10th Mar 99 – Pentlands Ceilidh Band
Lesmahagow (Masonic Hall) – 11th Mar 99 – Andrew Gordon SDB
Lewis & Harris (Stornoway Legion) - 4th Mar 99 – tbc
Livingston (Cairn Hotel) - 16th Mar 99 – David Wilson SDB
Lockerbie (Queen’s Hotel) - 30th Mar 99 – Tom Alexander
Mauchline (Sorn Village Hall) 16th Mar 99 – Duncan Black SDB
Montrose (Park Hotel) – 3rd Mar 99 – Billy Anderson & Albany
Muirhead (Belmont Arms, Meigle) - ?
Newtongrange (Dean Tavern) – 29th Mar 99 – Sandy Tulloch & Friends
North East (Royal British Legion, Keith) – 2nd Mar 99 – Julie McRitchie Trio
Oban (McTavish’s Kitchen) – 4th Mar 99 – McAllister Brothers
Orkney (Ayre Hotel, Kirkwall) – ?
Peebles (Green Tree Hotel) – 25th Mar 99 – David Vernon
Perth (Salutation Hotel) – 16th Mar 99 – John Renton SDB
Premier NI (Camlin Function Rooms) - 2nd Mar 99 - tbc
Reading Fiddlers (Piggot School) - ?
Renfrew (Masonic Hall, Broadloan) – 9th Mar 99 – Bruce Lindsay SDB
Rothbury (Queen’s Head) - 4th Mar 99 – Roger Dobson SDB
Selkirk (Cricket Club) - 11th Mar 99 – Ian Muir
Shetland (Shetland Hotel, Lerwick) - ?
Stirling (Terraces Hotel) - 14th Mar 99 – Pentland Ceilidh Band
Sutherland (Rogart Hall) - 20th Mar 99 – Bobby Coghill
Thornhill (Masonic Hall) - 10th Mar 99 – Seamus O’Sullivan
Thurso (Pentland Hotel) – 1st Mar 99 – Tom Alexander
Turriff (Royal Oak Hotel) – 4th Mar 99 – Lomond Ceilidh Band
Tynedale (Hexham Ex Service Club) – 2nd Mar 99 – Robert Whitehead
Wick (McKay’s Hotel) – 16th Mar 99 – Bobby Coghill SDB
Yarrow (Gordon Arms) - 17th Mar 99 – Robert Whitehead
THERE WERE CLUB REPORTS FROM :-
8. Button Key
10. Castle Douglas
15. East Kilbride
22. Isle of Skye
31. 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