The Laird of Drumblair
This is the best known of J Scott Skinner's many strathspey compositions.
The tune was composed by Skinner in honour of William McHardy, Laird of Drumblair near Huntly, who had given Skinner a rent-free cottage to live in. Skinner wrote that the tune 'flashed into his head' one night. He composed it in the cottage, wrote it down on a piece of soap-paper and sent it to McHardy. McHardy responded with a thank-you cheque to Skinner every Christmas for the rest of his life.
Skinner wrote that 'I jumped out of bed [looking for music manuscript paper]... but a search produced nothing better than a piece of soap paper, and on this I promptly dashed off 'The Laird o' Drumblair.' And the tune was dispatched as it had been written.'
'Ye’re no’ gaun tae send that awfy-like paper tae the Laird,' protested his wife; 'he’ll jist licht his pipe wi’ it!'
It was sent anyway!
Listen to 'The Laird of Drumblair' played by Willie Hunter (fiddle) and Violet Tulloch (piano).
Listen to 'The Laird of Drumblair' played by Jimmy Shand on the accordion in 1951.
From the Alan Lomax Collection at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. Used courtesy of the Association for Cultural Equity.
Hear 'The Laird of Drumblair' as performed by a group from Plockton.