…of Gaelic airs and grace notes in the Park Bar in Glasgow…

…this cutting from The Oban Times, dated around 1970, sent to me recently by Eric Macintyre, the youngest son of the incomparable Angus Macintyre, my Manager at the Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank branch in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull… Angus was a legend in the ceilidh circuit in Argyllshire and beyond… the article has my passport-version English name ‘Jim’... the ‘Seumas’ evolved from the Gaelic after becoming a successful Mod multi-medal winner for Celtic singing back in the day… the piece evoked mem’ries galore, not the least of which was the regular visits to Glasgow, where the famed Park Bar was a magnet for all visiting and Glasgow-based Scottish Highlanders and Islanders…

…every evening featured ad hoc ceilidhs, with usually always several people present who had won singing medals at local or National Mods in their time… there was little in musical accompaniment, the Gael being well able to carry a song without instruments, although on occasion an accordionist or fiddle-player would turn up to add to the party…

…there was no formal leader… sumb’dy would say, ‘hey, Seumas, give us a song’, or ‘Mhairi, how about a duet’, and off it would start… one of the regulars who turned up was the marvellous Donald Macrae

…what a tenor voice… no ‘big-shotism from any of those who joined in, many with singing achievement credentials that would have made their Mammys proud… the songs of the glens and the islands rang loud and lilting, with that communal camaraderie that defines the Scot… of course, added to the mix, the ubiquitous ‘electric soup’ was quaffed in splendid quantity… when the barman’s ‘last drinks please’ call closed the ceilidh, often the ‘after-ceilidhs’ in sumb’dy’s digs sprouted easily… the next morning’s hangovers were a small price to pay for such superb entertainment… I miss it greatly, but I can still conjure up in my head the resonance of Donal’ Macrae’s’ Dark Island’, and Calum Kennedy’s ‘Mo Mathair’ … have a wee nostalgic listen here…

…and I am partly sated… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

4 responses to “…of Gaelic airs and grace notes in the Park Bar in Glasgow…

  1. Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Seumas reminisces…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just beautiful, Seumas. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

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