Folk Singer Jimmy McBeath Remembered Through Music And Song

Folk Singer Jimmy McBeath Remembered Through Music And Song

Bothy ballads echoed through Portsoy recently as musicians gathered to remember the legendary late folk singer, Jimmy McBeath.

The event on Saturday 1 October was organised by the town’s Folk at the Salmon Bothy, to mark fifty years since McBeath’s passing in 1972.

One of Scotland’s most memorable and talented personalities, McBeath bequeathed a priceless treasury of songs as part of Scotland’s heritage.  Many of his songs such as Come aa Ye Tramps and Hawkers, The Wind Blew the Bonnie Lassie’s Plaidie Awa and The Bonnie Lass o Fyvie, have been adopted by internationally known folk singers, and are still valued and sung around the world today.

A group of twenty people, many who had known McBeath personally, gathered at Portsoy graveyard to celebrate the grand legacy of song left behind by McBeath.

David Denoon, who had known McBeath well, gave a moving tribute to ‘The Scout’ as he was known, prior to laying a wreath of autumn flowers at McBeath’s grave.

The day of celebration and remembrance continued in front of extended audiences.  An excellent presentation on McBeath’s life was given, compiled by Tom Spires and led by Arthur Watson. Songs and stories were contributed by Geordie Murison, Maggie Spiers and Scott Gardiner.

A number of bothy songs performed by local champion singers Doug Hay and Bill Gray kicked off the evening event, followed by a fantastic and moving performance of Jock’s Jocks, which brought tears to many eyes. The evening programme was brought to a close by Choras, who harmonised beautifully across a variety of songs.

Reflecting on the day, Bob Philips, chairman of Folk at the Salmon Bothy, commented, “The event was a fitting celebration of Jimmy McBeath, one of Scotland’s most talented and memorable personalities on the traditional folk music scene.  Performers and audience members alike shared both laughter and tears during a host of superb performances from talented musicians and singers throughout the day. The evening event concluded with all the performers and some of the audience singing A Parting Glass, which proved to be a very apt end to a day during which many a glass had been raised to the folk music legend that is Jimmy McBeath.”

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