2:03 pm
Thursday, 24 July 2014
Jimmy Shand playing his Hohner Morino 3-row button accordion
Jimmy made his first recording for Regal-Zonophone in the Abbey Road studios, London in 1933.
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Anecdotes - about Sir Jimmy Shand, MBE, MA

 
The Life of Sir Jimmy Shand
Just over 2 years ago, my wife was struggling for a speaker at her church guild and I offered to speak on The Life of Sir Jimmy Shand.

The subject has proved so popular that at the date of typing (31.07.09), I have now completed 64 talks with 24 talks to undertake, which leaves me in no doubt as to how popular this legend was with the public. I feel privileged to be asked to undertake these talks.

John (Ian) Thomson
Ceres, Fife, SCOTLAND

Shand the Keen Motorcyclist
Sir Jimmy Shand was a keen motorcyclist and followed the Isle of Man TT races with great interest, having attended the races on many occasions.

He also sponsored Dundee motorcycle racing champion, Jack Gow, son of Andrew Gow (Shand's travel bus driver) on a Manx Norton and various other racing machines during his career.

Sadly Jack Gow was killed in 1996 at the Classic Manx GP.

John Moffat
Culloden, Inverness, SCOTLAND

Grand Master of the Button-Key accordion.
I first had the privilege of meeting this Great Man on 30th August, 1956, while working in Newport on Tay and Jimmy when the band drove off the Dundee ferry on their way to Edinburgh.

Two years later I was working in Inverkeithing and met Jimmy and the band regularly as they stopped there to pick up Bert Shorthouse, the accordionist and bandleader, who lived in Dunfermline.

Jimmy invited me over to Edinburgh to listen to the very popular "Heather Mixture" radio series which was broadcast from the BBC studio in Queen Street.

This was a very successful series produced by Ben Lyons and there was always a fine friendly group of dancers along with Tom (Tam) Elliot, a retired P.E. teacher at the Morgan Academy, who kept everyone "on their toes"!

I was also privileged to attend the White Heather Club television programmes, including the Hogmanay shows in the BBC studio at Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow and also the "This is Your Life" programme in 1978.

We also enjoyed many short weekend breaks or day trips by car, visiting his many friends and fans, which Jimmy, Anne and David enjoyed immensely.

I always felt very humble to have been a close friend of such a great man over the years and it was indeed a very, very sad day for me on the 23rd December, 2000, when Sir Jimmy was laid to rest in Auchtermuchty cemetery.

Yes, Jimmy was a real and sincere gentlemen and as far as I am concerned he was the Grand Master of the Button-Key accordion and a very sincere friend.

To answer the frequently asked question - No, there will never be another Jimmy Shand!

John McDonald

Just a note to say that I miss Jimmy Shand very much. I loved his music.
At dances across Scotland over the years he as given me happiness and enjoyment. I remember him playing the Duke of Perth from Book 1 of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) and others.

Michael Craig
AYR, SCOTLAND

Memories of Willie Snaith
Many years ago, on a Saturday afternoon, I was present at an Association (can't remember its name) event being held in a hotel in Perth. Jimmy played during an impromptu session.

I took courage to approach the great man and asked if he would play my favourite tune of his, "Memories of Willie Snaith". This he gladly did and provided me with a wonderful memory.

Colin Fullerton.

Related to Jimmy
My Jimmy Shand story is, that my late mother loved his music and, when we were growing up in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, we always had to listen to Jimmy Shand on the wireless on a Saturday night.
As my mother's mother was also named Shand, we used to joke that we were related to Jimmy. I remember my mother queued up at a dance to get his autograph and she treasured it.
Well, now that it's possible to trace ancestors through computer websites, we have discovered that we are in fact related to Jimmy. Jimmy and my mother shared the same great, great grandparents and they would have been third cousins. My mother would have been delighted to know that. It's a small world!

Pat Reid, Edinburgh.

Sweet Pea and Race Horse
There is now a Sir Jimmy Shand Sweet Pea, the background being that, after the Sir Jimmy Shand Sculpture Unveiling at Auchtermuchty, one of the Sculpture Project Committee Members, Ian Collie, Retired Director of Education for Central Region, indicated that he would speak to a friend, Bobby Chisholm, who is a retired Headmaster, a very keen sweet pea enthusiast and a great Shand fan, about the possibility of him cultivating a new sweet pea and naming it Sir Jimmy Shand.

Some three years later, Bobby won a prestigious award, in England, for the sweet pea "Sir Jimmy Shand" and the seeds are now being sold.

Finally, as I feel sure you may know, a race horse, at the present time, is named Sir Jimmy Shand, the previous race horse, now dead, being plain Jimmy Shand.

John (Ian) Thomson


Shand the Composer
As a close friend of Sir Jimmy, I was the instigator and Secretary of the Sculpture Project and my favourite story involves the composing of the tune "Memories of Willie Snaith".

Jimmy, as he was then, was en route from the Hexham area to his home, having attended Willie Snaith's funeral and stopped at the Hotel in Biggar, run by the late Alex McArthur.

While waiting on tatties and mince being made, he composed "Memories of Willie Snaith" for Alex to play at Perth A.F.C. that night - demonstrates the man's brilliance as a composer as well as his other great talents.

I was present at the Accordion Club that night when Alex told the story which I later had confirmed when, on asking Jimmy if the story was correct, received the answer "Aye son, that's right." No wonder we all loved him.

John (Ian) Thomson


A Better Life
I remember Sir Jimmy Shand when I was a boy. I loved his music. His music helped me to live a better life.

I live in Australia and I listen to his music when I'm homesick. I feel as if I have lost a friend.

(George McKelvey)


Heather Mixture
Whenever we danced at the Queen Street Studios in Edinburgh for the recordings of "Heather Mixture", Jimmy continuously watched the dancers very carefully while he was playing, so that he could precisely match the music with the dance.

At the end of the recording session he always made time for us to get his autograph and to have a wee chat about the dances.

Week after week - he was so considerate and pleasant to everyone! This was a man who showed that he really cared about his fans.

(H. A.)

Click to see an autographed sample of one of those BBC "Heather Mixture" programme recordings.


Auchtermuchty
When Jimmy's golden labrador died (the one that is featured on the cover of the record "Back Hame tae Auchtermuchty"), his son Erskine approached me to train a young black labrador as a replacement. It was to be a surprise for Jimmy.

I will never forget the sheer delight on Jimmy's face when I delivered the young dog to his home in Auchtermuchty and he saw the dog for the first time.

He took to it instantly and the dog was immediately at ease with him. That was one happy man!

Jimmy spent two hours with me that day in his home, even though the phone never stopped and he had so much other business to deal with.

He and his wife Anne were just the best of hosts and were so friendly towards me - a stranger - whose chest was bursting with pride at being in the company of such a great man.

(H. A.)


Tivoli Theatre Aberdeen
I just visited your website on Jimmy Shand and it brought back such wonderful wonderful memories.

You see, I'm an Aberdonian by birth, though many years ago I emigrated to Canada. While I was growing up, my father (who worked with Aberdeen City Police) played fiddle with the City Police Scottish Country Dance Club.

I played a mean eightsome reel on the piano! Many times, when their pianist (another police woman) had to work, I accompanied the band on the piano. This was a truly special time in my life.

Also, around that time, an aunt of mine owned the Confectioners Shop around the corner from the Tivoli Theatre, and I often used to help her there after school.

At that time, I started collecting autographs of a lot of the artists playing the Tivoli - and believe it or not, young Jimmy Shand and his band members - George McKelvey (Piano); Syd Chalmers (violin); Owen McCabe (Drums); John Whyte (Bass) and Norman Whitelaw (Piano) all signed my book. I have it to this very day.

Jimmy Shand was a grand master and a kind and gentle man - as seen through the eyes of a child. I'm sure he never changed, bless his heart.

Thank you for reading my message - I enjoyed your website very much and all the tributes to a great Scot!

(Sheila Veh)


Very Special Music
Dear Sir,
In respect of Jimmy Shand, from an Englishman, what a great performer Jimmy Shand was, even playing CD'S of his, they sound as fresh as ever.

Thank You, Jimmy for spreading your very special music, not just in Scotland, but worldwide.

(Bridgewoodwell)


Eye Drops for Jimmy
I remember in the sixties Jimmy used to stay with us at Penrith with his driver Andy Gow.

My mother had to put drops in Jimmy's eyes due to the smoke at dances, but this would not stop him playing into the early hours.

Every new recording, we would get the first copy signed, which we still have.

Most are old 78's but they are like gold to us and could never be replaced.

(D. Richardson)


Thank you old friend
As a young lad I grew up on the music of Sir Jimmy Shand, listening to the New Years shows on TV.

Jimmy was the greatest performer Scotland ever knew. I still play his records to this day.

I live in St Monans, Fife, not too far from where Jimmy was born and recently I had the great honour to visit Auchtermuchty to see the statue of the great Sir Jimmy.

Thank you old friend for the years of beautiful music.

(Don Kinsman)


If you have any favourite stories or anecdotes about Jimmy Shand, please send them to us and we will publish them to the web site for everyone to read and enjoy.
 

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