Davie Stewart: Go On, Sing Another Song

(
Rounder Records
)

Recorded in 1957 by Alan Lomax
Notes by Hamish Henderson and Ewan McVicar

Street musician and wandering troubadour Davie Stewart (1900–1972) came from a long line of Scots hawkers, and tinkers. His formal schooling ended at nine and by the age of ten he was on his own, busking, living in bothies, and learning songs wherever he went, a lifestyle he maintained to the end of his life. In World War II, while still a teenager he enlisted as a piper the Gordon regiment in France, and after the war he traveled in Scotland and Ireland, going from fairs to sporting events, with melodeon or sometimes a bagpipe, often in the company of his old friend, Jimmy MacBeath. “McPherson’s Rant” and “The Dowie Dens of Yarrow” were staples of his repertoire. Alan Lomax recorded Davie Stewart before he became a feature of folk festivals in the early 1960s. His dramatic, hard-surfaced vocal style and utterly singular accordion playing are captured memorably in this collection, which includes Davie’s reminiscences of hard times and good times as one of Scotland’s Traveling people, and even a lesson in their secret language.

“I can honestly say that I have never listened to an album that has given me more pleasure than this one, either just letting the sounds drift over me or trying to analyse carefully, it is amazingly rewarding listening.” —Musical Traditions