In the Virginia courts of 1624, a suit was filed for slander, in which the angry Mr. Utie claimed the said Wm Tyler did call the said Mr. Utie a ffidling Rogue and Rascall… (Oh, horrors!)
And in Scotland, an elderly fiddler stomped from the dance floor, exclaiming he’d kept decent company his whole life, but “at this moment Jamie Duncan’s playing ‘Moneymusk’ in four flats, and I say that the man that would do that is fit for any kind o’rascality!!” (Here! Here!)
And now a rascally lot of fiddlers and string pluckers is here to provide you with a past history of the very roguish composers and music of Scotland, from the 17th century to the present day. Unlike most traditional music, Scottish fiddle music was written down and published, particularly from the 18th century onward.
The sampling of Rogues and Rascals includes one of the earliest identified town fiddlers, Patrick Birnie (1635-1721), who held court from a local ale house. His portrait graces the cover of this recording, and he is described as having a face that mingled “cleverness, drollery, roguery and impudence.”
And our next fiddler, James Macpherson, plays his own farewell prior to being hanged for being a “wagabond, soroner (sorcerer) and Egyptian.”
Other fiddler/ composers include Johnny McGill, John Riddell, Niel Gow, Daniel Dow, Red Rob Mackintosh, William Marshall, Nathaniel Gow, Robert Petrie, J. Scott Skinner, John Turner, and more.
Chief of the playing Rogues on this album is John Turner, a 10-time U.S. National Scottish Fiddling Champion and prolific composer in the Scottish style. John directs the Jink & Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling, and has performed throughout the U.S., Virginia, as well as around the world. He traces his musical roots and style to the Gow family, through his teacher and friend, the late Hector MacAndrew. On this album, he plays fiddle, recorder, mandolin, and vocals. Peter Bahler plays bass fiddle; Bill Burdette plays percussion and rocking chair; Charles Glendinning plays fiddle, bagpipes and parlour pipes; Tom Marshall plays harpsichord, virginal, hanging man, and piano; Bill White plays fiddle, flutes, hammered dulcimer, mandolin; and Cliff Williams plays guitar.