The Blind Piper’s Eight Part Version of the Classic Strathspey Maggie Cameron

I came across this while cleaning out some old piping manuscripts, writes Peter Aumonier. It is parts 5-8 of Maggie Cameron.

As readers can see, the parts come from the pen of Archie MacNeill, the blind piper. It was given to me years ago by Jock Low at the Vancouver Island Piper’s Club, Victoria, British Columbia.

By Peter Aumonier and Jack Lee

Jock Low did the P/M course during WW2 and he and Jimmy MacMillan, Jack Lee’s teacher, were contemporaries and competed against one another. Jimmy also did the course at the Castle under Willie Ross.

Jock also gave me an Angus MacKay book that was given to a Donald MacIver by DC Mather. There is an inscription in the book.

Peter Aumonier

Jack Lee: I was in Jimmy McMilllan’s house hundreds of times when I was taking lessons for many years – mostly in my teens and early twenties.  

Jimmy would very often refer to Archie MacNeill (the Blind Piper) as the most influential person in his piping career.  When Archie MacNeill died he left his pipes to Jimmy rather than his famous nephew, Seumas MacNeill.  

So, I heard ‘Blind Piper’ stories for years and always enjoyed that part of our lessons.  I do not recall Jimmy ever telling me that Archie had written four more parts to the great strathspey, Maggie Cameron.

Peter and I both grew up in British Columbia.  At that time there were quite a few nice older pipers that we would see regularly at the games.  

Champion Piper Jack Lee has recorded the 8 part version of Maggie Cameron. Visit Jack’s shop here

They were very encouraging to all the young pipers and sure helped to make BC a fun place to play bagpipes.  

One of those folks was Jock Low from Victoria.  Somehow Jock Low had possession of the extra four parts and left it to Peter.

Peter sent me the hand-written copy of the extra parts from Archie MacNeill.  I entered it in Bagpipe Music Writer and recorded it this week.  

Peter & I thought your readers might enjoy all this. Here is the PDF plus recording of the full 8-part setting of Maggie Cameron.

Jack Lee plays Maggie Cameron, eight parts
Maggie-Cameron-8-parts

  • Piping Press is very grateful to both Peter and Jack for sharing this important piece of piping history with us. If any reader has more on Jock Low or other BC stalwarts of his time, please forward.

2 thoughts on “The Blind Piper’s Eight Part Version of the Classic Strathspey Maggie Cameron

  1. Great article. Pleasing to see. Interesting variations, particularly the seventh turn.
    Reminds me of the style of extending the tune to eight parts, on a version we used to play of Willie Cummings’ Rant.
    Great that Jimmy McMillan got those pipes, and indeed somewhat peculiar that “…When Archie MacNeill died he left his pipes to Jimmy rather than his famous nephew, Seumas MacNeill.” Perhaps even more of note is that didn’t go to his son Alex, or Granddaughter Sheila. Distance, I suppose.

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