Probus club hit the right note

East Kilbride News - - DISTRICTS - KEN LAW­TON

East Kil­bride Probus Club were given a talk on fa­mous Scot­tish band leader and ac­cor­dion player Jimmy Shand at their De­cem­ber meet­ing.

Af­ter Pres­i­dent John Walker had con­ducted busi­ness, he in­tro­duced the speaker, Bill Young, who was orig­i­nally from the Bor­ders and stud­ied elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Ed­in­burgh, grad­u­at­ing with a BSc.

Mar­ried, liv­ing in Largs, he took up play­ing the ac­cor­dion which led him to that fa­mous Scot­tish band leader Jimmy Shand who played tra­di­tional Scot­tish dance mu­sic on the ac­cor­dion.

Mr Young went on to tell them that Jimmy was born in 1908 in East Weymss in Fife, son of a farm plough­man turned miner and one of nine chil­dren.

His fa­ther was a skilled melodeon player and Jimmy started with the mouth or­gan and soon played the fid­dle.

At the age of 14 he had to leave school and go down the mines.

One day Jimmy and a friend were ad­mir­ing the in­stru­ments in the win­dow of a mu­sic shop in Dundee and Jimmy walked in and strapped on an ac­cor­dion.

The owner heard Jimmy and im­me­di­ately of­fered him a job as trav­el­ling sales­man and debt-col­lec­tor.

He soon ac­quired a van and drove all over the north of Scot­land. He switched to the Bri­tish chro­matic but­ton ac­cor­dion, an in­stru­ment he stuck with for the rest of his life.

His first record was made in 1933 en­ti­tled a A Set of Reels and af­ter one other record he moved to Bel­tona Records in 1935 through to 1940.

Mean­while, he had met his fu­ture wife, Anne Hen­der­son, and was mar­ried in 1936.

Three years later World War Two had bro­ken out and so he vol­un­teered for the RAF but was turned down ow­ing to the early years in the mines which had led him to hav­ing a di­ges­tive dis­or­der.

On New Year’s Day morn­ing in 1945 he made his first broad­cast with “Jimmy Shand and his Band” hav­ing just turned pro­fes­sional.

This was the first of many such BBC ra­dio and tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ances. Although, cu­ri­ously, he failed an au­di­tion ini­tially for the BBC be­cause he kept time with his foot.

Soon af­ter the war he be­came a full­time mu­si­cian and adopted a pun­ish­ing life­style later adopted by rock bands.

Mr Young con­cluded by ex­plain­ing in 1972, Shand went into semi-re­tire­ment.

From then he played only small venues and be­came Sir Jimmy Shand in 1999 and at the age of 88 he recorded an al­bum and video with his son, Dancing with the Shands.

He passed away in Perth Royal In­fir­mary in 2000 aged 92.

The vote of thanks was given by Ian Ross who said that he had recog­nised the pas­sion that Bill Young had for his sub­ject and that they had been for­tu­nate to lis­ten to an in­for­ma­tive speech with mu­sic, clips and slides.

Prin­ci­pals Ian Ross, who gave the vote of thanks, speaker Bill Young and pres­i­dent John Walker

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