CHAPTER 4: Dulcimers in the British Isles since 1800 > Dulcimers in Scotland


JIMMY COOPER - interviewed by Alan Ward - 4 of 11

The fiddle was looked on as a very unusual instrument... in fact you were looked on as a cissy if you played the fiddle... I knew one or two fiddlers but they never amounted to much.

Then there was a few pianists that learned by music so they could just play tunes that they could see... but never a right good busker. We never had a piano player with the band... It was songs that we played - Danny Boy and all these things. But the music was just plain and simple ... we all learned from one another. Somebody'd maybe learn something I'd done and I'd learn something somebody else done... The first (melodeons) used to be 'four spades' like the 'International Accordeon, that was the first accordeon... double-keyed with spades (on the bass) - two spades for the inside (treble row) and two spades for the outside. Well I played with that first. Then this player - he was good - he decided to get a box with bass notes on, and we thought we'd an orchestra when he'd this 19-button bass - it was really good - he had the chords which we'd never had before - it was an advance. Then he bought a cymbal!

There was some good accordeon players round about where I came from... That was the time of Mackenzie Reid. He played quite a bit in Coatbridge... And there was Muirhead of Shotts - he'd 5-row button - he was good. Then there was Willie Muir - he played a 5-row buttons. Then there was Bob Busby - he played a 5-row buttons. But one of the best accordeon players that's still playing in Coatbridge was Willie Tomley. He's now got an electronic box - but he's a wonderful player.

Then on from that to - the saxes came in - the jazz came in - and we were out! Finished us y'see. That would be about 1922, 23, 24... and drums got all the paraphernalia that they've got and all that... So I left it all, chucked it, gave it all up.