Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jim Reid, 1934-2009

With the death of Jim Reid, Scottish traditional music has lost a fine exponent. He was a beautiful singer, with a rich, warm voice which brought songs to life. In particular, his version of Violet Jacob's poem, The Wild Geese, has never been bettered. I'm a Scot living in England, and whenever I cross the border I play Jim's recording of this and sing along and allow myself, for a few minutes, to be a sentimental old fool.

"Oh tell me whit was on your road, ye roarin norlan wind
As ye've come blawin frae the land that's nivver frae ma mind
Ma feet they traivel England, but I'm deein for the north."
"Ma man, I saw the siller tides rin up the Firth o' Forth."

He also, for me, sang the definitive version of Up The Noran Water, a beautiful hymn to human decency, and also, like many Scottish singers, had a fine line in wicked humour, which came out most prominently in his work with the Foundry Bar Band in Arbroath. His music will live on.

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