Perhaps Stan Hamilton was just the source but not the composer, and it is actually traditional?
I have it on good authority that Stan Hamilton was the composer. Stan was born in Auchincruive, near Ayr, but moved to Ontario where he became well known as a pianist and bandleader. His mother was the subject of the tune ‘Mary Hamilton of Auchincruive’ , which was composed by Stan’s father, James - though often attributed to Stan.
This comes via Laird Shepherd of Echt. Seldom wrong.
The title reminds me of a quip that came via Richard Robinson:
How do you know a Scottish boomerang?
You throw it and it sings about coming back.
Thank you (once again!) Weejie 🙂
James, Mary and Stanley Hamilton.
Mary Hamilton of Auchincruive was Mary Hamilton of Kirkhill Cottage on the Auchincruive Estate near Ayr. She was born at Hurlford in 1903. She was the wife of Jimmy Hamilton who was born at Tarholm near Annbank in 1904.
Jimmy was a fiddler and a fisher. He was as handy with the fly as he was with his fiddle. For years he had his own country dance band that played at the Pavilion and the Gaiety in Ayr. Stan (James Stanley Hamilton) is his son and he got his start playing piano with his father.
In the late fifties Stan emigrated to Canada along with his wife Anne who originally came to Scotland from Dauphin, Manitoba. Along with Stan and Anne went his childhood friend Bobby Frew who came from another musical family and was a great accordionist in his own right.
Once in Canada Stan and Bobby met up with another musician from their part of Scotland, Bobby Brown, who also played accordion, and together with Freddy Collins and Donny Woods on bass and drums formed a travelling Scottish Country Dance Band originally known as The Clansmen but later called The Flying Scotsmen. They were known for their strict tempo dance arrangements, arranged by Stan, and played with a distinctive bass vamp on the piano.
In 1966 Jimmy and Mary Hamilton left Auchincruive and moved to Canada to be with Stan but by 1968 they were back in Ayr and Jimmy was back doon the watter fishing. Jimmy died in Ayr after being out fishing to 3 O’Clock in the morning, in the rain, at Tarholm, when the river was in spate. He died of a heart attack in hospital that day.
Mary returned to Canada to stay with Stan and Ann in Orangeville.
Stan found, among his father’s things a tune that Jimmy had written on the fiddle and had called "Mary Hamilton of Auchincruive". He went on to pair it with Skinner’s Bonnie Lass of Bon Accord and recorded it as the Strathspey dance set "Saint John River" on his album "Scottish Dance Time Vol 5 " in tribute to his father Jimmy. That was the first recording of "Mary Hamilton of Auchincruive".
Stan and the Flying Scotsmen wer also well known for a tune heavily influenced by "The Orange Blossom Special" - "The Flying Scotsman".
I am Stan’s nephew, and the grandson of Jimmy Hamilton and "Mary Hamilton of Auchincruive"
As an aside - Jimmy Hamilton’s mother was Mary Millar McCroskie. The McCroskies include the late Gordon McCroskie, Drum Major of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and Bobby McCroskie, a keen piper and long time judge at international piping competitions.
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