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Soda Shoppe For young pipers, drummers, and others not quite old enough for the beer tent.

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Old 02-05-2016, 04:59 PM   #1
Michael Kazmierski Dunn
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Default Info on PM David Arthur Smith

Hey all,
I recently bought a collection of the old bagpipe records from Ringo Bowen and Tony Langford at the end of last schoolyear. I've been interested in the records since my Junior year of High school, and I just never got around to purchasing the whole CD collection until that point. One of the tracks is the Cock o' the North played by Pipe Major David Arthur Smith, assisted by Corporal White. It was recorded in 1917, and I can tell they used Hendersons because of that bass dominant sound. Also, in truth they had to use a second piper to play the drones in the acoustically recorded situations because the one piper's drones are not loud enough. I swear I hear two sets, even though for Willie Ross, for example, it doesn't give credit to the other guy playing drones. In the Smith recordings it says "assisted by Corporal White", and I have no idea who these pipers are. I know some info about Willie Ross, John MacDonald Inverness, Robert Reid and so forth, but D. A. Smith, the recordings just can't be beaten for tone and tuning in my opinion, so I would like to request some info about this piper and possibly whoever "Corporal White" is. Info like birth date, death date, what band he was Pipe Major, etc. I'm just afraid this info may be too obscure, and if so, I think we're missing info on one of the better pipers of that time. Yes, Willie Ross was superb, but D. A. Smith has better fingering and tuning than Pipe major Henry Forsyth by a long shot. Many years ago PerfDavid recorded the Cock o the North record on his record player, number HMV B980, although, not to offend, the CD version is much clearer and has no flutter (where the sound is shaky and vibratoy). If interested I have the recording so you can hear it. Also, it states on William Dean-Myatt's Scottish Vernacular Discography that he also recorded the Barren Rocks of Aden in addition to the Campbells are coming. I have tried to search for an audio recording of that on the internet, but to no avail. Does anyone know where these recordings can be found? Preferrably digital dubs from the record as opposed to being a recording of it playing on a record player in a room where echos may be introduced. Thanks and I'll try to send you the link to it on Dropbox as soon as I can. Thanks,
Michael
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Old 02-06-2016, 10:59 AM   #2
Roddy Livingstone
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Default Re: Info on Pipe Major David Arthur Smith

Possibly David "Dusty" Smith of the Scots Guards, later piping instructor at the Royal Caledonian Schools, Bushey, Hertfordshire, England. He was teaching at that institution around 1920 (and taught my first instructor!).
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Old 02-06-2016, 03:30 PM   #3
aboode
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Default Re: Info on Pipe Major David Arthur Smith

Smith was P/M of the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Scots Guards 1916-1919.
I am interested in knowing his year/place of birth and year/place of death, so that I can complete his details on my list of Pipe Majors. Can anyone help me?
Aad.
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Old 02-06-2016, 04:08 PM   #4
Michael Kazmierski Dunn
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Default Re: Info on Pipe Major David Arthur Smith

Thanks for the info you two. I'm sure to send the recordings sometime soon. Roddy, did your first teacher ever remember him playing half-doublings on F, and only F? Like from E, he would play a plain F followed by a G gracenote to F. This is what he does in both Cock o' the North and Highland Laddie. Again thanks. Aboode, where did you learn about this? Just curious, had I found it myself I would have been delighted to the nines.
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Old 02-07-2016, 03:38 AM   #5
Roddy Livingstone
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Default Re: Info on Pipe Major David Arthur Smith

Michael

Alas my first instructor died 35 years ago, although he is still fondly spoken of by those who knew him. In fact he came up in conversation only a couple of hours ago in respect of a (non-piping related) kindness he had shown a mutual friend many years ago.

In terms of technique, he had been taught 'old school' style which was perhaps not as intricately embellished as perhaps was played generally in the 1920s and 1930s (the legacy of GS McLennan perhaps?) but was insistent that I learned & played the more 'conventional' style which was the norm in the early 1970s when I was beginning.

Interesting to note however, that when I later received tuition from Pipe Major JB Robertson (generally acknowledged as the greatest MSR player of the period between the two world wars) in the 1980s, he described many of Willie Ross's settings as 'ambitiously over embellished' and often insisted that I replaced a doubling with just a grace note or removed a grace note entirely. I well remember him saying that in the inter-war years "nobody played all the extraneous execution that Ross published in his books - not even Ross himself"!

Regards

Roddy
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Old 02-07-2016, 07:56 AM   #6
aboode
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Default Re: Info on Pipe Major David Arthur Smith

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Kazmierski Dunn View Post
Thanks for the info you two. I'm sure to send the recordings sometime soon. Roddy, did your first teacher ever remember him playing half-doublings on F, and only F? Like from E, he would play a plain F followed by a G gracenote to F. This is what he does in both Cock o' the North and Highland Laddie. Again thanks. Aboode, where did you learn about this? Just curious, had I found it myself I would have been delighted to the nines.
He is mentioned in the Succession Roll of Pipe Majors on page xv of the Scots Guards Standard Settings of Pipe Music (1954); his regt. number was 6495 and the precise dates are 25 Oct. 1916 to 12 Mar. 1919.
And I am compiling a list of Pipe Majors of military Pipes & Drums worldwide; he is also on my list together with over 2300 other Pipe Majors!
Aad
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:14 AM   #7
Scratcher
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Default Re: Info on Pipe Major David Arthur Smith

Listening to his Cock o' the North on youtube, he plays a really unusual setting.
it would be interesting to know if that was the Guards standard setting then. it certainly isn't now.
Cheers
Scratch
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:16 AM   #8
John McCain
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Default Re: Info on Pipe Major David Arthur Smith

Quote:
Originally Posted by aboode View Post
And I am compiling a list of Pipe Majors of military Pipes & Drums worldwide; he is also on my list together with over 2300 other Pipe Majors!
Aad
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:16 AM   #9
Michael Kazmierski Dunn
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Default Re: Info on Pipe Major David Arthur Smith

Well since it's currently Super Bowl day and the Internet is congested, somehow Dropbox won't let me upload the recordings! (sigh / groan). So does anybody want to PM me their Email address so I can attach the file, or if not, just wait until another day. Anyway, Scratcher you're right about the setting he uses. But the Youtube video suffers from poor sound quality it's far away, and the record player has a shaky sound that's not on the clear / digitally dubbed recording I've got. And I also remastered it with Audacity, just an equalization effect to smooth it out, rather than removing crackle which I can't do, as a dedicated software is not screen-reader friendly (stomp). I could email an audio specialist but that might take forever, so I'm just sticking with the crackle version if that's ok. If any of you have the Tony Langford collection, it's tracks 25 and 26 of volume 1. However, there is also a rare recording of David Ferguson circa 1902 from the Kilties Band of Canada playing the Cock O' the North followed by Miss Drummond o' Perth / Captain Jack Murray / Mason's Apron, and the setting Ferguson uses for Cock o the North is pretty similar. This isn't on the Langford collection, it's on the National Jukebox website, but the pitch is way off from where it should (i.e. Low A is at 512 HZ rather than say 450). Alright, thanks!
Michael
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Old 05-06-2017, 07:52 PM   #10
Michael Kazmierski Dunn
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Default Re: Info on Pipe Major David Arthur Smith

Hello,
I know I haven't posted on this topic in more than a year, but I finally managed to find a file server that I can upload my remastered recordings of D. A. Smith. But the one thing that surprises me is that nobody even bothered to upload these to Youtube. Sure, the horrible Victrola version is on Youtube, but it's definitely not as good as my remastered version taken from the record itself.
So, when I post the link to the file(s), is there anybody who doesn't mind uploading it to Youtube? I don't know how to synch a video to an audio file, and I've repeatedly tried to ask my friend Bri about this since she's super good at video editing, but I had no luck so far.
Also, by the way, I feel that this thread could be moved to History and Tradition, that might get more info on the gem of this piper.
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