Jim Reid: Folk singer who celebrated the culture of north-east Scotland

Jim Reid was a singer and songwriter whose music had a strong flavour of his native Dundee and the Angus region. He sang, played guitar and mouth organ, and was particularly drawn to the traditional songs of Scottish travellers, (many of which he learned from the Stewarts of Blairgowrie) and also adapted numerous poems by the renowned Scottish poet Violet Jacob. A founder member and initially the leader of Arbroath's Foundry Bar Band, he eventually embarked on a solo career.

"He had quite a distinctive sounding voice, very warm, what I would call a traditional Scottish voice, and he sang very much in the Dundee and Angus dialect. He made no pretensions of being anything else other than a Dundonian," recalls Ian Green, founder of Greentrax records, the leading Scottish folk label for whom Reid made his final album.

Reid went to school in Dundee before working as a mechanic at Stobswell's Garage, a successful business owned by his father. This was interrupted by two years' National Service in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

On returning to Dundee, he worked for the soft drinks manufacturer Robb Brothers. By the late 1960s he had begun to cut his musical teeth with local band the Shifters, after which he formed the Taysiders, a duo with Jim Craig on melodeon. In 1971, they were joined by the multi-instrumentalist Ken McKay, previously of the folk band the Livingstones. It was during this period that Reid got to know Green, who sometimes booked them for "Fuzzfolk", the police folk club he ran in Edinburgh.

Reid then relocated to Arbroath to work for the Irn-Bru manufacturers A.G. Barr. During his lunch breaks he began to meet some of the musicians frequenting the Foundry Bar. In 1976, Reid and a number of these regulars played at the Kinross Festival, entering and winning the ceilidh band competition. Their success spurred them to form the Foundry Bar Band, which soon allowed Reid to pursue music full-time. Their marches, jigs, reels and songs proved popular at weddings, ceilidhs and clubs throughout Scotland over the next few years, and they became regulars at the traditional music festivals at Keith, Kirriemuir and Auchtermuchty.

Reid recorded three albums with them (all for the Springthyme label), The Foundry Bar Band (1981), On the Road With the Foundry Bar Band (1983) and Rolling Home (1988). In 1984 he released his first solo album, I Saw The Wild Geese Flee (also Springthyme), the title track of which was his most well-known song, based on a Violet Jacobs poem.

In 1990 Reid teamed up with the versatile accordionist John Huband for Freewheeling Now (Springthyme, 1990), and he established his own label, Greylag Music, to release The Better O' A Sang (1996) and Eh'm fae Dundee (meaning "I'm from Dundee") in 1999. After years of gentle chivvying from Green, he made his final solo album Yont the Tay for Greentrax in 2005.

The year before, he had published a book, also titled The Better O' A Sang, which included songs, tunes and stories he had collected over his life, and celebrated the culture of Scotland's north-east.

Reid also contributed to four of the 12 volumes of The Complete Songs of Robert Burns (Linn Records) and appeared on several albums by other artists, including the fiddler Paul Anderson's The Journey Home (1997) and A' The Bairns O' Adam (2003) an album made in tribute to the Scottish poet Hamish Henderson

In December 2005, he won "Scots Singer of the Year" at the Scots Trad Music Awards. Upon accepting his award, he appeared to have no comment, but when prompted, uttered the pithy pronouncement: "Nae afore time!"

He is survived by his partner Julia, his children Linda and Craig and grandchildren Craig, Megan and Kirsty.

Jon Lusk

James Crighton Reid, singer and songwriter: born Dundee 30 May 1934; one daughter, one son with partner; died Kirriemuir, Scotland 6 July 2009.

Suggested Topics
News
Brand said he
people
Sport
Adam Lallana, Juan Cala, Andy Carroll and Cameron Jerome
sportThe latest news and scores
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
tvGrace Dent on TV
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
The North Korean TV advert for Taedonggang beer, that became a YouTube hit
food + drinkAnd what did it take to set up a taste test back in Wiltshire?
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget rest of the year
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit