Two Lochs - an internet collaboration

  1. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Here is a new set put together by Dennis Nigbur (Gelsenbury) and me from our respective homes, he in the south of England while I am up here in Scotland.

    The original idea came from Dennis as he had become very attached to the Loch Ruan march and suggested it to me. Loch Ruan is a wee hill loch above Campbeltown in Argyll (where I was born and brought up) and at one time supplied a lot of the fresh water to the town. It is the home of Glen Scotia single malt whisky and both Dennis and I rate this as one of our favourite drams. I suggested we might pair the tune with Lochanside, which features Loch Loskin, right beside where I now live in Cowal. Small world!

    Dennis supplied the two tunes on mandolin via his Tascam, then I added in octave and guitar tracks, alternating between melody and harmony on the octave. Interesting set as the first tune is in 3/4 time and the second in 4/4, and both marches! You CAN march in 3/4 time even though it is generally thought of as waltz time.

    Pictures are of Loch Loskin (featured a lot in some of my other videos) and Loch Eck, as Loch Ruan is about 130 miles from here so not visitable at present.

  2. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Nicely done Gents. Very nice tones and harmonies. But John, I think Simon wants a turn with you too.
  3. Frithjof
    Very enjoyable, gents!
  4. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    I can march to that Very spruce and brisk, sounds like people who know where they are going.
  5. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Great to see Lockdown collaborations, and fine playing there. Sounds good.
  6. dustyamps
    Nice recording, congratulations to both of you.
  7. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, all. It was an interesting and very enjoyable venture putting the set together, with mp3s winging back and forward as we worked on the arrangement. Dennis was happy to let me do the visual material, and we each had a Glen Scotia malt yesterday evening in our respective homes.
    I never thought when I did my first collaboration a few years back with Michael Pastucha (The Furrow's End) that I would still be doing this, several times recently with Ginny and now with Dennis. It would be great to see some of our other regulars having a go at this, particularly while the group is showing a much higher level of activity over the past few weeks.
  8. Gelsenbury
    The essential ingredient is a good collaborator like you, John. I can only recommend this experience. It was fun to learn a bit more about harmony, arrangement and sound editing, and compressed audio formats make it easy to share files. It's like being in a virtual band, although John politely ignored my band name suggestion!

    It's also noticeable how different rooms have different acoustics - the difference between John's parts and mine is quite stark, but not a problem for this purpose.

    If you like whisky, raise a glass of Scotch with me to the health of John, who made this possible!
  9. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Beautiful music and pictures!
  10. bbcee
    Nice work, fellahs! Sounds & looks great.
  11. Bren

    Two of my favourite tunes, but I must confess I prefer Springbank.

    Open to persuasion though!
  12. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Christian, Bruce and Bren, many thanks for your support. Always great to hear from fellow players.

    Bren, Springbank is indeed a fine malt, and there is now Glengyle, so three distilleries producing fine malts in The Wee Toon. A big change from when there were around thirty stills (legally) operating in Campbeltown and around 1851 it was proclaiming itself The Whisky Capital of Europe!
  13. Gelsenbury
    Thank you! Springbank is an interesting one. I loved the first bottle I bought, but not the second a couple of years later. Perhaps my taste had changed in the meantime, or perhaps I'd bought two different whiskys without noticing!
  14. Bren
    Gelsenbury, I think something has changed with Springbank.

    the 18yo was my favourite whisky ever, and wife would get me a bottle at Christmas but the last few seemed to have lost something, or maybe it was me.

    I was talking to a whisky merchant in Edinburgh and he said Springbank had sold a lot to blended whisky makers or investors and the surge of popularity (after some review marked it best ever or something), caught them by surprise and they bought some back to fill demand . It was a local guy here in NE Scotland from Campbelltown who turned me on to it, and he also likes to play Loch Ruan on mandolin, a tune I'd picked up from sessions years ago without knowing the name.

    (note attempt to get back on topic ^)
  15. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    You guys just inadvertently talked me into ordering two totally off-topic bottles of Lagavulin D.E. and Ardbeg 10...
    I'll start opening them one at a time as soon as I'm finished with the Dalwhinnie currently under destruction.
  16. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Very nicely done -- thanks to both of you!

    Lochanside has a run as on "Other tune" too: John's original version and my solo waldzither recording from a few years back are in the previous thread:


  17. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    A valiant effort at keeping to the topic there, Bren. Re Springbank - when I was a student back in the early 1960s I worked in a local hotel one summer and one of the directors was resident in the hotel. Each evening after having dinner he had a pint of milk sent up to his room and then he spent the evening in his room with a bottle of Springbank. Apparently the milk was taken as a lining for the stomach!

    Well, Bertram, you are certainly ranging through our whiskies there - two ordered from Islay and then a Speyside being got through! Obviously a man of great taste, but then we know that anyway. Time you got something new posted too; been missing your duets with Regina.

    I have actually been sitting this afternoon playing through more John McLellan tunes from his book.
  18. Mandophyte
    I'ved searched lots of times for Loch Ruan and never found it, so I assumed ot was ficticious.
    Its good to know it really exists, however I've looked on Google maps and still can't find a Loch Ruan, could it perhaps be the loch marked as Knockruan Loch, to the northeast of Campbeltown?
    Best Wishes,
    Another John
  19. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Lovely stuff John & Dennis! And now all this whisky talk has me reaching for a wee dram, though mine will be whiskey - Green Spot to be precise!
  20. Gelsenbury
    That's very interesting, Bren. So perhaps it's not just me, then.

    Bertram, you like your whisky smokier than I do. I must try Lagavulin someday. Glen Scotia (topical for this thread), Ardmore and the Irish Writer's Tears (topical for unrelated reasons!) are in my cupboard at the moment. I first tried the Glen Scotia at a whisky tasting in Edinburgh, where the rise and fall of Campbeltown as a major whisky region was explained.

    I learnt the Loch Ruan march from Dagger Gordon's book "The Scottish mandolin tutor". It's my favourite tune from that book, and the only one I learnt to play properly. It's largely unknown in the local sessions in and around Canterbury, but I've played it once or twice followed by Major Malley's March, and people liked it. John persuaded me to pair it with Lochanside here, and now I know - and love - that tune as well.
  21. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Who needs tunes to keep a thread going!

    John (Mandophyte), you are correct in saying that the wee lochan marked as Knockruan Loch is Loch Ruan. It sits beside Auchalochy (marked on OS Pathfinder 466 1:25,000 Campbeltown North map). George McIntyre, the composer of Loch Ruan, was a Campbeltown piper and composer. Campbeltown is known for its piping traditions and has produced many nationally-known players. Whisky and pipers from the same area? Surely not.

    Jill, good to hear from you, and I hope you enjoy your chosen tipple. You have whiskey and we have whisky, but they both hit the spot!

    Dennis, the persuasion to pair up the two lochs tunes has had a happy outcome, I believe, and you did not resist for too long. I had never heard of Major Malley's March till you sent me a link, and this is just how tunes become more widely known.
  22. Mandophyte
    Many thanks for the confirmation.
  23. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    Well done, gentlemen. I raised a glass to you last evening.
  24. Gelsenbury
    Because I'd previously put Loch Ruan together with Major Malley's March as a Burns Night recording (see, I was tempted to put the three tunes together as a potential session/folk club set. Here it is on solo mandolin:

    They aren't an obvious set, with different time signatures, moods, and tempos. But somehow they seem to go together as a kind of dramatic whole. They seem to want to tell a story. I'll certainly keep practising them and take them to a session when those things become safe to do again. Strange times.

    Yes, I did forget one of the B parts in Loch Ruan.
  25. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    These are nice tunes, Dennis and John, I like the nostalgic tones you’re playing on the posts.
  26. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    So, who doesn't need a collaborator, then? Those three go well together, Dennis, and I like the double stops in Loch Ruan and the tempo lift in Major Malley.
  27. Frithjof
    A nice Scottish set, Dennis. You played it with great tone.
  28. Gelsenbury
    Thanks, chaps. It's nice to know that it's not just me who likes these tunes together. I have some taste after all ... must tell my wife!
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