The Atholl Highlanders

By Jimmy Shand

Four comments

"Jimmy Shand: The Atholl Highlanders: ~

~ A Selection of Vintage Musical Recordings Performed by the Legendary Scottish Accordionist Jimmy Shand"
Ythan Music/Legacy Recordings, Aberdeenshire - LEGACY04CD

Beltona Record Company - the distributor
“Jimmy Shand: The Atholl Highlanders” - LEGACY04CD

“~ The digitally remastered tracks on this label were recorded by Jimmy Shand between 1933 and 1950 on the Regal-Zonophone, Beltona, and Parlorphone labels. Some are simple piano and accordion tracks, whilst others feature the full band. All are unmistakably Jimmy Shand, surely Scotland’s finest ever ambassador of music.”

“An extremely enjoyable collection of digitally remastered recordings made between 1933 and 1950. You will be delighted at the quality of the sound despite their years. The prewar recordings feature the legendary Scottish accordionist Jimmy accompanied by piano and bass. The post war selection are of Jimmy and his Scottish Dance Band.”

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There are some beautifully bare and raw tracks included on this compilation, with and without his left hand adding bass and chords. Tracks 8 and 9 are a hoot, “Hill Billy Round Up - Parts 1 & 2”, with the clopping of horses hooves throughout, made with either coconuts or a woodblock.

Sir Jimmy Shand ~ notes from the CD’s insert

Jimmy Shand was born in the village of East Wemyss, Fife, on January 28, 1908 - however he is probably best remembered for his association with Auchtermuchty where most of his adult life was spent.

He followed his ploughman-turned-miner father into the pits but after the General Strike in 1926 found a job with the Fife Power Company, then later as a salesman with Forbes Music Shop in Dundee. The shop owner recognizing Jimmy’s great talent encouraged him to make a recording and in November 1933 Shand made several tracks for the Regal-Zonophone label - beginning a recording career which would span several decades.

Between then and the outbreak of war in 1939 Jimmy made numerous radio broadcasts and a whole series of tracks for the Parlorphone and Beltona labels. During the war he served as a fireman and with the war over in 1945 he formed the ‘Jimmy Shand Band’.

The band were hugely popular and in the 1950s entered the top twenty with their most famous recording of ‘The Bluebell Polka’, the only Scots Dance Band ever to achieve this. The hit led to an appearance on ‘Top of the Pops’ and television broadcasts continued with ‘The White Heather Club’ and numerous ‘Hogmany Specials’.

Although he could also play melodeon, harmonica, and fiddle, it is naturally with the button accordion that Jimmy is best known. He combined his technical knowledge of the instrument and his understanding of Scottish Dance music to provide a specification from which The Hohner Company produced an instrument customised to this market - the highly acclaimed Shand Morino.

In recognition of his contributions to music, Jimmy was awarded the MBE in 1962. He appeared on ‘This Is Your Life’ in 1978, was awarded an Honorary MA Degree by Dundee University in 1985, and in the same year had a train named after him by British Rail!! Hopefully it kept time as accurately as Jimmy did. Finally in 1999 he was knighted for services to Scottish culture.

In a career spanning seven decades, Jimmy Shand sold millions of records, composed at least three hundred tunes, and worked tirelessly for charity. Sir Jimmy Shand passed away on 23rd December, 2000, aged 92.

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No information was given as to who had written these notes, well said and deserving a repeat here. I hope the author won’t mind ~ they are short and sweet and well said… I wish I’d had the pleasure of knowing Jimmy Shand, and yet I did, as his music reached far and wide and was an inspiration for many, musicians and dancers included…

This contribution precedes a plan to have another ‘Composer’s Week’, this time one dedicated to contributing a few of Jimmy Shand’s many compositions to the database here, a plan already shared with Nigel Gatherer… Next week?

“Jimmy Shand: The Atholl Highlanders" ~ track dates

1933 ~ 1 - 3 ~ !!! 🙂
1936 ~ 4 & 5
1945 ~ 6 - 10
1947 ~ 11 - 14
1949 ~ 15 - 16
1950 ~ 17 & 18

Re: The Atholl Highlanders

For music from such an early time period, the quality and re-mastering are great.