Jamie Allan, Northumbrian piper - article in The Northern Echo

Jamie Allan, Northumbrian piper - article in The Northern Echo

The Northern Echo newspaper recently published an article about the famous / notorious c18-19 Northumbrian piper Jamie Allan (aka Jimmy Allen) and also his father Will, himself a proficient piper. I thought the article interesting and informative enough to be worth putting up the link here, for anyone interested in this corner of history. Here’s the URL:

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/history/8857492.The_duke___s_piper/

Re: Jamie Allan, Northumbrian piper - article in The Northern Echo

Thank you for that.

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Re: Jamie Allan, Northumbrian piper - article in The Northern Echo

thanks Nicholas, a good read!

Re: Jamie Allan, Northumbrian piper - article in The Northern Echo

The article’s terminology regarding the pipes themselves is not conducive to identifying them with precision, but I don’t think that’s the fault of its author Keith Proud, who’s pretty good - I think it’s in the historical material itself. There seems to have been a lot of experimentation and hybridisation going on in bagpipe-making in Jimmy Allen’s time, even as there is today.

The concluding poem written about Jimmy Allen after his death must surely have been written by someone familiar with Burns.

Re: Jamie Allan, Northumbrian piper - article in The Northern Echo

Burns and Allen? Sounds familiar…

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Re: Jamie Allan, Northumbrian piper - article in The Northern Echo

Enjoyable read. Allan’s tunes attained far-flung popularity even into the late nineteenth century. Think saloon dance halls. All the bouncy tunes worked well when formated for anything from brass band; to piano — mechanical, or not; all the way to those strange, giant perforated steel disk nickelodeons. Allan being long since dead, royalties weren’t an issue. I’m sure very few people of the era knew or cared whose music they were strutting to. Then came the Can-Can, and Allan’s stuff couldn’t compete.

Re: Jamie Allan, Northumbrian piper - article in The Northern Echo

Atahualpa - I suspect you’re mixing up Jamie Allan with James Hill the fiddler. The former is not known for definite to be the composer of many - if any - extant tunes, while James Hill most certainly is.

Hill popularised the dotted 4/4 hornpipe. This form probably started in East Coast Scotland, where Hill came from. Hill sought his fortune on Tyneside as a youth, and lived, played and died there. He was later than Allan - their careers didn’t overlap.

The dotted 4/4 hornpipe became a staple of solo dance music in Britain and Ireland and I imagine the Anglosphere in general. I assume it got to American dance halls, one way or the other!

Re: Jamie Allan, Northumbrian piper - article in The Northern Echo

They got to the dance halls out here, sure enough. One large demographic represented in the hard-rock mining industry in California of the second half of the nineteenth century, would seem to have been men from N. Britain. The music reflects their tastes more than it does most anyone else’s. I’m not saying you’d feel right at home…All of those guys are dead now; and we’ve moved on from the musical tastes of that era, somewhat …The French Can-Can has made inroads…

Re: Jamie Allan, Northumbrian piper - article in The Northern Echo

Indeed, Atahualpa - a lot of men from the mining communities and maybe other places in North-East England went to California to try their luck in the gold rushes, and no doubt a number settled down to jobs in mines and quarries of a more everyday nature.

I suppose they’re still there.

Re: Jamie Allan, Northumbrian piper - article in The Northern Echo

Well, they themselves will be six feet under, but no doubt their descendants live on!