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FTX 389 - "If you will not open your door - we'll lay it flat upon the floor"

Each day I listen out to hear again some of the songs and tunes I encountered when I visited the islands for two weeks in 1955. So that others can enjoy what I heard nearly fifty years ago, I have put together a selection of my own favourites in the hope that they will spark off the memories of some of the present-day Orcadians. In doing so I would like to thank all the performers who so generously suspended fishing and farming in order to make, what I would call, important historical records.

1. THE CLIFF HORNPIPE played by Peter Pratt, Toab, on the tin whistle - 1.40"

2. SIR JAMES THE ROSE sung by PP (talk aft) - 1'34"

3. ARCHIE O' LAMBHOLM on fiddle by PP - 0'46"

4. THE GARDENER AND THE PLOUGHMAN: sung by PP (talk after) - 1'46"

5. MISS BROWN'S HORNPIPE played by PP (whistle) - 0'52"

6. TAM GIBB'S SOO: Annie Patterson (82) of Harray (talk by son) - 1'32"

7. THE RENDAL POLKA: John Fraser (fid), Birsay - 2'02"

8. WILL O' THE LUM: by Annie (talk bef) - 1'45"

9. GRIMSETTER POLKA: Jim Leslie of Rousay (melodeon) - 0'45"

10. THE GREAT SILKIE O' SULE SKERRY: John Sinclair, Flotta - 2'56"

11. HUSH-A-BY, PEERIE THING: Johina Leith, Stenness (talk bef) - 0'39"

12. SCAPA FLOW played by The Anderson Band: George Robson (fid) with Alan, Robin & Jim Anderson (accordions) & Jimmy Lloyd (piano-acc), Cara Point - 1'08"

13.THE STANDING STONES: John & Ethel Findlater, Dounby (with melodeon)(talk before & after) - 7'36"

14.HALF PAST TEN sung by Ethel Findlater (talk before) - 3'05"

15.NAPOLEON CROSSING THE RHINE played by John Fraser (fid) - 1'06"

16.THE POOR OLD MAID sung by John Findlater - 1'25"

17.WEDDING MARCH played by John Fraser (fid) - 2'46"

18. ORKNEY WEDDING CUSTOMS Talk by John Findlater - 2''49"

19. THE SCOTCH REEL: John Burgess & Tom Thomson (fids) S Ronaldsay (tb) - 1'08"

20. THE HAMMERS OF SYRADALE: Ethel Findlater (talk bef) - 3'30"

21. FOUR POSTS OF THE BED: Mary Omand (fid)(talk after) - 0'48"

22. ANDREW ROSS sung by John & Ethel Findlater (talk bef) - 6'49"

23. GRAND MARCH: John & Tom (fids) (title bef) - 0'46"

24. THE NOR-WEST SONG: sung by Johina Leith (talk bef) - 3'30"

25. PADDY CARTER (Polka Mazurka): Peter Pratt (whistle) (talk bef) - 2'12"

26. HOY'S DARK AND LOFTY ISLE: Davie Laughton, Upper Sanday - 3'12"

27. THE SPEAKING WALTZ: Jim Garson (fid), daughter, Iris (acc) & husband,, John Nicholson (gtr), Twatt-by-Kirkwall - 3'31"

28.THE NEW'R-EEN'S NIGHT SONG: Sidney Scott & ch, N Ronaldsay (talk bef) - 12'35"

Recorded in Orkney 1955 and edited by Peter Kennedy. First published on Folktrax Cassettes 1980.

The first I met, after crossing over from Scrabster, was Jack Tait, the tailor of Dounby, who became my guide. Jack introduced me to so many wonderful performers resulting in many informal music sessions. Recording in the early 1950s depended on using a large tape recorder, powered by my two car batteries, so not everything could be taped, such as one memorable occasion when I was marooned by fog on Stronsay and we danced through the night to the two bands, the North and the South Isle Band. To record on North Ronaldsay, I used a new kind of wind-up clockwork battery portable housed in a shoe-box, but, because of a stormy sea, the steamer had to lay off hooting impatiently, while I stood on the quay recording all 50 verses from a chorus of nearly every man on the island. I remember too, that before starting we not only had to appeal to the captain to stop hooting, but we had to drive away those outlying black sheep who were trying to join the Hogmanay party.



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