Probus club hit the right note
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