About the Tunes
The Ackergill Tower Waltz - by Gordon Gunn
Gordon Gunn is one of Scotlands leading fiddle players. He has composed some very fine tunes. The "Ackergill Tower Waltz" is one of his most recent compositions. In fact he wrote it one night while playing at the tower.
The Rejected Reel by A M R Harper
The Rejected Reel was composed by Addie Jnr for a competition but had to be withdrawn for technical reasons. It is still a good tune though.
The Boyd Waltz by Sheena MacDonald
This tune was written by Alastair MacDonalds wife, Sheena. She struggled to come up with a name and called it this, which is named after the piano it was composed on. Incidentally the piano used to belong to Miss Margaret Henderson of Wick, who taught me the fiddle.
Pipe Major Bobby Coghill
It was away back in 1959 I wrote this one for Bobby Coghill of Milton, who I used to play with in the Milton Trio. After playing at a dance in Tannoch when I arrived home at 3 o'clock in the morning this is the tune that came to me on my button box. It has been in the house all that time since 1959 and it is a good one.
The Culag Pier
The Culag Pier was composed in the late 1950's after a dance held at the Culag Hotel, Lochinver. The manager at that time Colin Hughes became a very close friend of the band.
Cyril Scott of Connel by A M R Harper
Cyril was a very good friend of the band in the 1970s. Addie Jnr wrote this one in 1972.
I had just finished writing this one when Addie Jnr called in. I asked him to try it out. He got the accordion and tried it and found it rather difficult and said this is a real puzzler. I had no doubt about the title then and called it The Puzzle.
The Clan Gunn Silver Jubilee March
Composed in 1985 for the Clan Gunn Silver Jubilee celebration. It was held in The Mercury Hotel, Wick.
Round the Rockers by Sandy MacDonald
Written by Sandy MacDonald from Inverness, a good friend of the family. Sandy lived in Wick for many years and played the fiddle with me in the Wick Fiddlers. The Rockers are just off the coast near Blyth, Northumberland.
Fraser & Kevin MacGlynn Bob McLeod
Bob McLeod is a very talented accordionist from the Isle of Lewis. He is the Managing Director of Highlands & Islands Airports at Inverness. In his spare time he composes some very good tunes. This one, for a Canadian Barn Dance, is one of his best.
A Tribute to Nurse Betty Inglis
Betty Inglis was for over 25 years the senior nurse in the surgical (Bignold) ward of Caithness General Hospital. Her loving care was appreciated by hundreds of Caithnessians. An unforgettable smile made patients and visitors feel so much better.
Yvonne Karen Dunn
Yvonne is the only daughter of Moira & Leslie Dunn of Dunblane Police Station. I wrote this one when she was born in 1979 and havent seen her in years.
Torre Dorada A M R Harper
After having spent a very enjoyable holiday in the Torre Dorada Hotel in Benidorm, Spain, Addie Jnr came up with this one. While there he had borrowed an accordion from a Spanish friend and completed the first part. When we got home he then finished it off.
Isobel and Addie Harper of Wick by A Muir
It was Alexs intention to call this tune Isobel Harper of Wick but she wanted Addies name to be included in the title. Isobel has played the piano with me for over 30 years and has made her own special contribution to the sound of the band over this time. She well deserves this tribute.
Composed on the evening of the 10th November 1983 for Elaine Wink of the Parkmore Distillery, Dufftown for the celebration of her 18th Birthday Party. We were all at the party that night and had a very good night in the company of the Winks and presented Elaine with this tune.
Addie Donaldson the Saddler by A Donaldson
Addie Donaldson owned the saddlers shop in Wick at the bottom of the lane down to Jimmie Bains the barbers shop. He was a very good piper and I learned many a good tune from him. He composed this one away back in the early fifties.
Katie Jane of Lewis John Clark
When Katie Jane worked in the Stags Head Hotel, Golspie, her then husband to be, John Clark of Kylesku came up and played this tune at the end of a dance. A few days later I went down to Golspie and got Katie Jane to diddle it over. I wrote it out and we decided to call it Katie Jane of Lewis.
Sheenas Jig by A J MacDonald
This one was written by Alastair MacDonald for his wife Sheena. Alastair has been playing in the band with me for about 20 years. Alastair & Sheena are good friends of the family.
The Highland Barn Dance
The Young Traditionals were looking for a good West Coast Barn Dance Tune so I came up with this one and it suited them and they won many local competitions with it.
Aquas Del Mar
This tune is suitable for a square tango, a dance often performed at ceilidh dances throughout the county. It sounds good when played on guitar and was composed on guitar in 1959.
The North Coast Shuffle by A M R Harper
This tune was written many years ago by Addie Jnr. It was one of three quicksteps written by Addie Jnr and in the band we commonly called it the 3rd Quickstep. At school, Addie Jnr formed a band called The Northern Traditionals, with Gordon Gunn, Alastair MacDonald and Steven Cameron. The band played this tune on BBC Radio Orkney and many people asked for the title of the tune. It was decided to have a competition to chose the name, with the best name been chosen for the title. The title fits well with the tune.
Peter MacNab by D Topping & D Taylor
Composed by David Topping and David Taylor for Peter MacNab, a friend at the Scottish Police College at Tulliallen.
Charlotte and Johns Golden Wedding by K Gunn
Kevin Gunn is Pipe Major of The Thurso Pipe Band and is piping instructor for Caithness schools. He also plays accordion. He composed this one for his wifes grandparents, Charlotte and John Wares of Rhemullen, Dunbeath.
Hugh Matheson of Baleshere by Alex Muir
After leaving Caithness in 1991, Alex became minister of Carinish, North Uist. Hugh Matheson of Baleshare, a township in the parish, is senior elder of the congregation. A retired crofter and shepherd, he was also gamekeeper of the South Uist and North Uist Estates. This march is a tribute to a man who represents, in a unique way, the life and culture of the Uists.
You Need Na Run by Robbie Harper
Composed by my father, Robbie. This tune has been broadcast and recorded many times by The Wick Scottish Dance Band. It was one of their favourite tunes.
Annes Whisky Jig - by Alastair J MacDonald
This tune was written by Alastair one Christmas evening after visiting their neighbours, Colin & Anne Sutherland of Stempster. Anne pours very large drams need I say more.
Robbies Favourite by Robbie Harper
This one by Robbie was surely one of his favourites he played it on the fiddle every day over and over.
The Eann Nicolson Reel
After having played together in the band for over 26 years I decided to write a tune for Eann and this is the one I came up with. Its a good going reel the type of tune that Eann enjoyed playing and when he was at his best. He was a brilliant and talented musician and underneath that solemn look on his face he was full of fun. He told many a good story and this made the long journeys south never seem long. He was quite a composer himself and wrote tunes such as Crossing the Pentland, The Twins Reel and Jim Hamilton of Sandwell. He and I were good friends and shared many secrets.
The Archiestown Reel
It was in the 1950's that the band played at a marquee dance in the village of Archiestown for Jack Garden. It was a great night and I composed this tune to mark the occasion. We have broadcast and recorded it many times.
Carol Winks Polka
Some people say they can write a tune in minutes - I'm sorry but I can't. I started this one about 12 years ago and finished it only days before this book was published. So here we are with Carol Wink's Polka and I hope you like it. Carol has been a close friend of the family for many years and is a very talented piano player. She is the second daughter of Ronnie and Margaret Wink, formerly of Parkmore Distillery, Dufftown.
Alistair MacLennans Farewell to Wick by A M R Harper
Composed by Addie Harper Jnr on the occasion of Alistair MacLennans retirement from the police.
Alnwick Rum is a drink produced in Northumberland. When playing down there I bought a bottle of the stuff, took it home and tried it. After a few glasses I felt in the mood for composing and came up with this Northumberland style reel Alnwick Rum.
The Old Mill at John OGroats by Alex Muir
At Newton, John OGroats, there is an old but still functioning water mill. It is owned by the Houston family who have farmed in the area for generations. The tune is a tribute to the miller, the late Magnus Houston, and his family whose friendship and enthusiasm for local history were greatly appreciated by Alex during his ministry in Canisbay.
The Pentland Fishermen by Alex Muir
This is a tribute to all the men, past and present, who have fished the stormy waters of the Pentland Firth. Long ago, cod and herring could be caught. Nowadays these fish have gone but there is still creel fishing for crabs and lobsters and the Pentland Fishermen continue to display great skill, hardiness and courage.
The Covenanters traditional, 2nd part J R Riddell
Originally this was a hymn tune for "The Lords My Shepherd". James Ross Riddell from Kirkhill, Inverness wrote the second part.
Sally Across the Sea J R Riddell
This is another by James Ross Riddell and is called after his cousin in America. It goes well with "The Covenanters" for a Gay Gordons.
The Acharacle Midgie by A M R Harper
The Acharacle Midgie is one of the fiercest beasties in the world. He gets into your ears, head, up your trouser legs and makes a great nuisance of himself biting his way into wherever he goes. We experienced him at his worst one warm night when playing at Acharacle. It was so hot that we opened the window and in came the midgies. We put up with it for a few minutes but then he got the better of us. We had to give up playing. It was then that Addie Jnr composed the tune The Acharacle Midgie in honour of the most hated insects in the world. I wonder how Fergie puts up with it.
Duncan Jamieson of Carluke by A M R Harper
Duncan was the person who organised the Carluke Highlanders dances in the Eighties. Addie Jnr composed this tune for him around that time.
Ton and Mimas Golden Wedding
Composed by Alan McPherson of Sheilfoot, Acharacle. He composed this one for Fergie MacDonald's father and mother on the occasion of their Golden Wedding.
A Tune for Jimmy
Composed for James Peat from Lairg who is a very close friend of the family. His father George was a very fine saxophone player and will be remembered for his many fine performances throughout the north. James himself plays the accordion and is a perfectionist. I wrote this one for his fiftieth birthday.
Dr R McCrae of Wick
Dr R McCrae was one of Addie Jnrs first tunes, written in 1976. He recorded it about that time with Gordon Patullo. Dr McRae was a close friend of the family. Addie Jnr decided to write this one for him as he was the doctor present when he was born.
The Primrose and the Daffodil
My father and mother always looked forward to the springtime when the primrose and the daffodil came into bloom. It is a beautiful time of the year and I wrote this tune especially for them.
The Unshackled Lord of the Hills
Written for a young lad who had a longing to climb high hills. He wanted to climb a hill himself but got lost in the hills above Loch Fyne he was found late that night worn out, tired, weary and sunburnt, but still played at the dance in St Catherines that night. That young lads name was Addie Harper Jnr. He never wanted to climb the hills again and we named this tune after him The Unshackled Lord of the Hills.