The Banff and Buchan Collection

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Tape 1994.056 transcription

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[HL] Efter he got married he went there fur ???, or whatever.

[TM] This is Norrie?

[HL] An he's still there yet but he would jist live in the house, I widna think he would work, maybe he works but part-time in harvest ???, bit I widna like tae say, but he'd be an interesting lad tae get in touch wi.

[TM] What's his first name again?

[HL] Gordon, Gordon Norrie, eh, he's a brither, well he's two brithers in New Deer there, a good big family o them. There's two brithers in New Deer and two an one sister at least maybe two. I think that the other sister ??? I'm nae jist quite sure there's quite a big family o them. They were brocht up in a, well their father wis a miller,…a meal miller, I canna min where, but then they come up tae a croft at Belnagoak. An eh, I think there wis a family o Crichtons up ere and I think their mither would hae been a Crichton, one o them, I think, must hae got one o the crofts or something an come tae live there.

[TM] So there were quite a few people who used to sing or whistle or whatever.

[HL] Aye there wis a few aye. Christ I couldna tell ye off hand, but…for one, an it includes some stories an a' ye see? Oh there wis [laughs] jist some awfa stories [laughs]. But now Jock ??? played the whistle, eh there wis a boy used tae come fae somewey, I canna min where he come fae, he played the mouth organ. I canna min who he wis, I jist canna min. But he wis some local boy that came aroun ken an they'd wid hae gotten him up tae hae a blast on the mooth organ.

[TM] What about yourself, when did you start to play?

[HL] Well I didna…really play at that time, eh I bocht an aul melodeon fae somebody before I went tae the army, but then when I went tae the army it wis kinna forgotten about, but one time I wis home on leave an I says I'm taking ma melodeon back wi me so I took it back when I went back and I was stationed [pause] a wis stationed at [pause], it wis on the border between Scotland and England.

[TM] Was that…the Otterburn camp?

[HL] Well, oh I canna min the name o that place, it wis jist almost on the border of Scotland and England…. Then there wis that rumour bwe were gan abroad, we were gan awa tae Africa. Oh, I says, I'll sell is thing, so I selt it fur a fiver [laughs]. So it wis a lot o money, so I niver got anither een till o, lang, lang efter at ???…. Maybe when I come up tae Knaven second time. When I come back maybe I'll try oot. I niver hid much time, ere wis aye ower much work tae dee maybe on a Saturday nicht we'd hae a bit tunie an but I niver hid much time, didna go oot aboot playing, ye ken?

[TM] How did you learn?

[HL] Oh jist I dinna ken, I jist

[TM] Jist teaching yourself?

[HL] Teached masel, aye, oh aye, yes didna

[TM] Where would you pick up tunes?

[HL] Well you'd hear them on records, ye see, and try an follow them, ken? We used tae buy quite a lot o records. At with a' thing we bought in at Nethermuir shop, they sold records an needles, gramophone needles, ye ken?… He wis a lad fur the trade, ye see, he kent whit he wis aboot. He said eh, by jees there's a richt new record come oot, I'll pit it on and let ye hear it. So efter ye heard it, somebody's sure tae buy it [laughs]. Oh aye, oh aye he wis a great lad at; I wis jist speaking aboot him tae the aul cronies the ither day and I said what a money he must hae made in that shop, but he workit hard. He wis a shoemaker ye see, but he sat and drove in tackits intae boots an repaired boots, but he wis takin in bmoney a' the time ye ken, an he dealed wi bikes, aye, I bocht a bike fae him an he hid…a richt funny way when he wis selling ye a bike, he wid pit he's hand on the back o his heid an he'd hae scraped his heid like is. I'll pit it in tae you at sic-an-sic seeing its you [laugh]. It widna hae maittered wha it wis, it'd hae been still the same story [laughs].

[TM] Yes.

[HL] Aye but see you could buy a bike at that time for aboot a couple o poun or something. Oh aye, oh well that aul days is a' gone. That shop is mair or less closed noo aye, so I think.

[TM] Mm.

[HL] The petrol pumps, an a' thing, [I] used tae run across the road and pit in petrol an intae cars but I think it's a' [deen]. I hinna been up there fur goodness knows the time. I think it's mair or less closed, is it?

[TM] Yeah…. So did you ever play out and about with the accordion?

[HL] Aye well, some little functionies, ye ken, maybe somebody asked ye, will ye come doon the nicht and tak the box wi ye and hae a tunie. Eh as I say Norman Grieves, noo he wis a lad fur that he would a said…whit aboot coming up wi the box and we'll hae a tune. He played an a', ye see, he played the mouth organ as well, aye some fine evenings like, gies a tunie or twa and hae blethered awhile an hid a laugh aboot it [laughs]. Ye ken, aye it wis great, but as I say I niver really gaed oot, it's jist mair or less since I come intae this area that started gaan oot I gaed oot wi Arthur Campbell, ye ken, an Billy ??? ken him?

[TM] No I don't, I've no met him, no.

[HL] Hiv ye nae?… He's sometimes at the club, but eh maybe he hisna been for awhile, maybe jist nae happened tae be when you were there, ye ken?

[HL] What were those other two names you mentioned? Box players in Longside here. You mentioned two others.

[HL] Oh aye, that's eh Ewan Rogue[?], he's the mechanic at Cairngall farm. Oh he's away; he's a good player, aye he plays in a three row box, aye. He's a good player that Jimmy Hislop; he started playing the big ??? box. Then there [are] a few lads that I know in Peterhead: Alan Morrison,…the best player there is aroon, aye, the button accordion, aye, the big button accordion, he plays. Well he plays piano accordion as well but the button accordion, he's expert on it, jis difficult tae get tae come oot like ye ken. Then it wis Ali Greg, but…he disna play much noo. He's nae young either, ye see. They're heavy at boxes, ye see. I mean, ye can rest em on yir knee, richt enough, but they're heavy. Aye if ye wis playing a haill evening it'd be lang enough. They used tae a' play in dance bands, ye see, at boys. Oh aye aye, I wouldna say for Ewan Rogue like, but Ewan, aye, he could gie ye a good tune. It's a wonder ye've niver heard o him doon here.

[TM] I have to look him up.

[HL] Aye he's an awfa nice lad, awfa nice lad. Ken when yer gan ootta Peterhead, pass the opening o the garage, ken, the Cairngall garage, gaan oot towards Peterhead, oot o here, and there's this bungalow jist facing ye on the corner. He lives there, but is I say he works an awfa lot o overtime. I think especially he keeps the tractor going. Ye see they hiv a lot o, well, they've moss an athing, ye see, the tractor fur the moss. He's a' that tae keep going, ye see, so he really's fairly busy, like, but see his van, well I wis doon nicht afore last I think I wis doon at Ali Greg and… [his] van wis at the door that nicht, ye ken, and probably hame tae his tea.

[TM] I'll have to look him up.

[HL] aye oh aye I coulda say if he's on the phone or no but eh you if you go up and see him he's an awfa fine lad he awfa ??? fine lad.

[TM] What sort of age is he?…

[HL] Well I would say he'd be thirty maybe, aye aye, a young chap. He disnae belong tae this area; he belongs like Fife or somewhere, work likely. Disna belong up here, but I think he wis at Haddo House Estate before he come here, so he's maybe been ower there fur awhile. No I didna ken him till I met him at the folk club, ye see.

[TM] Do ye fancy giving the box a try?

[HL] Oh dae ye want ma tae play a tunie?

[TM] Yes if you want, that'd be great.

[accordion music]

[TM] What was that first one of bthose?…

[HL] Stornoway, the ither wis Rowan Tree. This is Leavin o Lismore.

[accordion music]

[TM] You can try that one again.

[HL] Eh?

[TM] You can do that one again, Kirkwall Bay.

[HL] Kirkwall Bay, aye.

[accordion music]

[HL] Oh at's jist nae very good is't?

[TM] It's a nice tune though.

[HL] I aye forget, inclined tae fa ahin….

[accordion music]

[HL] Well did ye ken at een?

[TM] Yes, mhm.

[HL] Aye there's jist, I canna jist guarantee that its affa perfect [laughs].

[accordion music]

[HL] That's Granny's Hielan Hame.

[TM] Mhm, it's very good.

[accordion music]

[New interview]
[TM] OK, on you go.

[moothie music]

[TM] Right, take two.

[moothie music]

[GM] Mhm.

[Mrs. M.] Puffin a bit, aren't ye?…

[GM] That wisna jist affa good.

[TM] What's the second one, second tune?…

[GM] Oh now I dinna ken. Well it's Willie McGuire, again.

[TM] What were the first two again, the first set you played…the waltz an

[Mrs. M.] Well, whit were the names o them?

[GM] Oh, em, the waltz wis the [Hielan Cradle Song] and the ither een wis Willie McGuire's Compliments tae Jimmy and John Milne.

[TM] Right.

[GM] That's a waltz and Strathspey. Come a' Ye Tramps and Hawkers, I dinna ken if that's the richt name o it or no.

[TM] Oh I think so.

[Mrs. M.] I think so, aye.

[GM] There's maybe anither name for't. The Banjo Breakdown now, OK? That's it, OK?

[moothie music]

[GM] The first een be a march, probably a 6/8 march, eh, Kenny Gillies, Kenny Gillies o Portnalong, start again.

[Mrs. M.] I think ye should jist tell em tae Tom.

[TM] Mhm, or write them first and then tell me what they are afterwards because if you don't know what's going to happen yet

[GM] That wis like Auchtermuchty, min, I played in this concert; I started, I telt them whit I wis going tae play and then started somethin else.

[plays Jew's harp]

[GM] Now that wis Kenny Gillies o Portnalong an I'll Aye Cry in by Yon Toon.

[TM] Mhm, very good.

[GM] I'll gie ye

[plays Jew's harp]

[GM] An eh that wis The Campbells are Coming and Miss Forbes Farewell tae Banff….

[Gordon Easton: moothie music]

[GM] That's a' that I can dee….

[TM] Eh now where did you get that second version of The Dying Ploughboy.

[GE] There's aye twa versions o it there wis aye the twa eh take yer pick some hae ae tune some the ither

[TM] Mhm, haven't heard that one,

[GE] Ye've niver heard it?

[TM] I've never heard anybody singing it anyway.

[GE] Oh no, but eh that wis een o the recognised tunes…. It's just completely different tempos, ye ken?

[TM] Do you know anything about the history of that song?

[GE] Aye, but I would affa sweir tae, I'll tell ye history but for God's sake I dinna think we should ging furrer.

[GE] There wis a ??? hoose ye ken doon in the den o ???.

[TM] Mhm

[GE] The big estate hoose, the ??? hoose and there wis this eh, they hid a' their servants an athing and this wis a lassie worked there kitchen maid or house maid or something, I dinna ken, laandry maid maybe, bI don't know but she wis an employee o the Ogilvy-Forbes at ???. And there wis a chappie fae Aberdour courted her, ye ken, naturally, fae Bonnyton Hill ferm, jist aboot a mile at this side o Aberdour…. There wisna mony bikes, that's a lang time ago [laughs]…. We a' used tae walk, I dinna ken whit it would hae been maybe two and half mile, three mile maybe at the very maist and he'd been seeing her a' nicht and he wis coming up. This hoose wis in the middle o the den o Boyndie, ye see, if ye understand, an…och the north avenue that he'd tae ging oot could hae been three quarters o a mile, maybe, leading oot tae the Boyndie side. The west side could hae been half a mile and there wis een oot tae, ye ken, [it] comes oot ontae the road doon by the school at Tyrie. There's three avenues intae the hoose…. Twas the north avenue that he wis going oot, could hae bin almost three quarters o a mile throu trees, ye ken, he wis walking hame and there wis somebody jumped oot on him wi a sheet ower their heid, scart him and possibly made a soun, I dinna ken aboot at. An he got a helluva scare and he took off, ye see, and he run a' the wey hame tae Bonnyton Hill. Well he'd overreached himsel and he niver courted at aat's true and he wis bedded…and well, obviously, intae his hairt and possibly blood vessels, I dinna ken. That's whit he says in the sang, ye see? No no, it's absolutely true an is is a lad that hid a grudge at this loon. In fact there micht hae been jealousy so at's as far as I'm going tae go wi it [snorts].

[TM] So who, who made the song. Oh it wis the Reverend Calder fae Glenlivet that composed it. Was he around here?

[GE] He must hae been a native afore he kent so much aboot it or he hid relations doon this airt.

[TM] Do know when it would have been, like 1870 or something like that?

[GE] Well Ord's book would tell ye, I imagine, but I dinna ken noo. No I winna say oh no it's since at time. Mhm. I dinna ken, start o the century sometime. 120 year ago, it would be aboot the start o the century possibly…. At's a guess but could be aboot it uh huh…. The man died here wi the son o the man that wis supposed tae and he wis eighty-six, eighty-seven , his father, ye see thirty years ontae that, at least 80-110 well that's jist roon aboot it .

[TM] Mhm. So what was his name, the son's name?

[GE] The son o this man, I'm nae going tae tell ye that, no, ye ken? Mr Burnie, we wis at a, oh I dinna ken whaur the divil we wis, we wis amon aul folk onywey, aye good company. [Someone] there wis singing The Dying Ploughboy. We wis jist discussing't going up in the car and I said. Well, he said, aye tell them the story, certainly if you wish,…but ye shouldnae mention names, ye see, because there wis still some, at that time there wis aye some o the relations alive, ye see, and there still is yet of course. A disgrace at, ye see? Oh well, no, I suppose no, but eh it's just something I dinna think this man wis niver.


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