There are significant new additions to the Piping Press Audio Archive today. We are grateful to Mr Iain Duncan, formerly librarian for the RSPBA, for passing them on. They are from his own personal collection.
We start with a recording of the iconic Shotts & Dykehead drum corps from 1959 playing a salute by the legendary leading stroke Alex Duthart. The picture above shows L/D Duthart and his corps in 1957.
Still with the drummers there is the opportunity to hear another great from the drumming world of the past, Jimmy Catherwood, like Duthart a devotee of Dr Fritz Berger and a winner of the Worlds with City of Edinburgh Police in the 50s. Read more about him in the January 2015 Pipe Band Magazine. The recording of Jimmy is from 1949.
To the full band now and we have a recording from 1981 of the Toyota Pipes and Drums under the leadership of P/M Hugh MacInnes (above) from 1981. Toyota played in Grade 2 but may have made it in to Grade 1 at some point. We’d be grateful for any info. The recording is from an EP – an extended play disc. On one side the tunes are the marches Captain Lumsden and the Heights of Cassino. On the other is a Japanese tune ‘Mt Fuji’ clearly a promo for their sponsors. Both have backing musicians supporting the pipes and drums, a pity in the case of the marches. In his solo career Hugh Macinnes was an outstanding player of ceol beag. He began his band career in the Glasgow Cleansing Department band and later joined Lanarkshire Police under P/M Campbell McGougan later joining Toyota, and British Caledonian Airways as P/M.
Still with the bands, there is a recording from the 1956 World Champions Muirhead & Sons under P/M Jackie Smith. It was recorded shortly after their success in Belfast that year. This is not a great recording but is of historical importance showing as it does the distance pipe bands have travelled in the past 60 years. The tunes are Scotland the Brave, Far O’er the Sea and the Meeting of the Waters.
Finally there are two 2/4 marches from ‘wee’ Donald Maclean recorded in 1984 when he was 72. Given his age, the playing is commendable. Donald introduced his two tunes himself. They are the Braes of Brecklet and the Duke of Roxburgh’s Farewell to the Blackmount Forest. Donald Maclean was born in Ballachulish in 1912 and was taught by the blind piper Archie MacNeill and John MacColl.
It is he who is the subject of the famous march Donald Maclean’s Farewell to Oban. The tune was written by Archibald MacNeill and commemorates an occasion when Donald was disgruntled at not getting a prize at the Argyllshire Gathering telling the composer ‘I won’t be back at Oban’. Donald was styled ‘wee’ to avoid confusion with ‘big’ Donald MacLean of Lewis, Gold Medallist and outstanding composer.