Just For Seumas

By Gordon Duncan

Two comments

Gordon Duncan

Given the huge respect that there is for Gordon, as a player and composer, it almost beggars belief that this solo recording of his could have been posted here - and sat here for 5 years !! - without any comment whatsoever.
I knew Gordon since he was about 16, and was at the Willie Clancy week in the early 1980s when he brought the street to total standstill playing his pipes on the street. The Gards had to tell him to stop, as he was causing gridlock in Miltown Malbay. 🙂
I’m of the opinion that that particular trip to Ireland opened Gordon’s ears to Irish music, and he was probably as responsible as any player for transposing traditional Irish music onto the great Highland bagpipe - sometimes with more success than others, in my opinion, but there you have it. In the years following that, most of the Grade 1 pipe bands would be including some transposed traditional Irish tunes in their medleys at the World Championships. [ In all fairness, two other pipers would deserve to be mentioned for this - P.M.Robert Mathieson, and Terry Tully ].
This recording features several of my favourite pipe-tunes, quite a few classic reels, jigs, strathspeys, and especially the hornpipe, “Jim Tweedie’s Sea Legs”, and also some of Gordon’s earliest compositions.
I’ve come to this recording here after a recent discussion on Gordon’s tune “Andy Renwick’s Ferret”.
I promised the poster of that particular thread that I’d tell the story of how this CD got its’ title, so here it is - this is a verbatim transcription taken from a piping programme on BBC Radio Scotland in 1993 :

Iain MacInnes [ programme presenter and producer ] starts -

“A week’s gone past now and time to reflect on the ”Scottish Pipers’ Association" knockout final recorded in Glasgow on the 27th of May. There were two finalists, Corporal Gordon Walker of the Royal Highland Fusiliers
and Gordon Duncan of Pitlochry, Walker a veteran of the competition circuit and the recital platform, Duncan a familiar figure around the folk scene and a wonderful exponent of ceilidh piping with a highly individualistic style.
An audience of about 260 cast their votes and decided that Corporal Gordon Walker was to be the winner of the 1993 knockout.
In presenting the “Piping Times” trophy, the Principal of the College of Piping, Seumas MacNeill made it known in no uncertain terms that the style of music performed was certainly not to his taste"

Seumas MacNeill - “The piping tonight, I don’t think there was a great deal of piping tonight, I hope so. I thought that some of it was very good, some of the march, strathspey and reel playing I enjoyed, but the rest of it…………..was garbage. If this is what piping has come to, I’m going back to the fiddle”.

Soon after this, Gordon brought out this recording “Just For Seumas”. The title track - #13 - is one of my favourite pieces of music of all time. It features Gordon multi-tracked, with a quartet of drummers, producer Jim Sutherland hitting just about any percussion instrument he can lay his hands on, and electric bass.
Don’t get mad, get even !

Posted by .

thanks Kenny, its nice to see the myth hasnt strayed too far from the actual incident.