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TITLE
The 'Singing Molecatcher of Morayshire' (6 of 6)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_JOHNMACDONALD_06
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
John MacDonald
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2060
KEYWORDS
ballads
diddling
audio

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The late John MacDonald of Pitgaveny, Elgin, was a ballad singer, whistler, diddler, and melodeon player. He was known as the 'Singing Molecatcher of Morayshire'.

In addition, from the 1940s to the 1980s, he was a correspondent for "World's Fair", a weekly trade newspaper for the circus and fairground industry. Writing under the pen name "WellWisher", he reported on events and developments in Scotland in a column entitled "Notes from Scotia".

John also made puppets and put on shows for children. In this audio extract, recorded after a performance for a crowd of children at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, John shows some of his puppets to Bill Sinclair.

Interviewer: How old are some of your -

John: Oh, there's some -

Interviewer: - things you have got there?

John: Well, the oldest one here, Ah got it from Dane Wolf (?) of late - of Aberlour Orphanage - Sadie, the acrobatic dances, been a great puppet tae me and she'd be goin on for fifty years old, aye.

Interviewer: Well that's really wonderful, seeing all these different things and I think the children must really enjoy - D'you must get a terrific thrill -

John: Oh I do, yes.

Interviewer: you know -

John: Now, let's see -

Interviewer: - telling them all about the things you have?

John: That's puppet wis made - There was a great ballad singer - Jimmy MacBeath - an that's made of - Ah made that face maself o Jimmy MacBeath - as like him as life - an I do the singing like - it's old bothy ballads that he sang. He was the greatest singer that ever lived, o bothy ballads.

Interviewer: And did you sing a bothy ballad when you had this, you had out?

John: Aye, I did it today, a bit for the bairnies. Coulter's Candy.

Interviewer: Would you like to do it again for me now? Just a wee bit, just a wee bitty of it, just to give the feel of what you would do with the children here?

'Ally, bally, ally ally bee
Sitting on my mammy's knee
Crying for another bawbee
Tae buy some Coulter's candy

Little Jean wis awfa awfa thin
Wee pick o bones wrappit up in skin
Noo she's got a dooble chin
Frae eating Coulter's candy

Ally, bally, ally ally bee
Sitting on my mammy's knee
Crying for another bawbee
To buy some Coulter's candy'

Image Copyright - Elvis Payne. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.

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The 'Singing Molecatcher of Morayshire' (6 of 6)

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

1980s

ballads; diddling; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Singing Molecatcher of Morayshire

The late John MacDonald of Pitgaveny, Elgin, was a ballad singer, whistler, diddler, and melodeon player. He was known as the 'Singing Molecatcher of Morayshire'. <br /> <br /> In addition, from the 1940s to the 1980s, he was a correspondent for "World's Fair", a weekly trade newspaper for the circus and fairground industry. Writing under the pen name "WellWisher", he reported on events and developments in Scotland in a column entitled "Notes from Scotia".<br /> <br /> John also made puppets and put on shows for children. In this audio extract, recorded after a performance for a crowd of children at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, John shows some of his puppets to Bill Sinclair.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: How old are some of your - <br /> <br /> John: Oh, there's some - <br /> <br /> Interviewer: - things you have got there?<br /> <br /> John: Well, the oldest one here, Ah got it from Dane Wolf (?) of late - of Aberlour Orphanage - Sadie, the acrobatic dances, been a great puppet tae me and she'd be goin on for fifty years old, aye.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Well that's really wonderful, seeing all these different things and I think the children must really enjoy - D'you must get a terrific thrill - <br /> <br /> John: Oh I do, yes. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: you know - <br /> <br /> John: Now, let's see - <br /> <br /> Interviewer: - telling them all about the things you have?<br /> <br /> John: That's puppet wis made - There was a great ballad singer - Jimmy MacBeath - an that's made of - Ah made that face maself o Jimmy MacBeath - as like him as life - an I do the singing like - it's old bothy ballads that he sang. He was the greatest singer that ever lived, o bothy ballads.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: And did you sing a bothy ballad when you had this, you had out?<br /> <br /> John: Aye, I did it today, a bit for the bairnies. Coulter's Candy.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Would you like to do it again for me now? Just a wee bit, just a wee bitty of it, just to give the feel of what you would do with the children here?<br /> <br /> 'Ally, bally, ally ally bee<br /> Sitting on my mammy's knee<br /> Crying for another bawbee<br /> Tae buy some Coulter's candy<br /> <br /> Little Jean wis awfa awfa thin<br /> Wee pick o bones wrappit up in skin<br /> Noo she's got a dooble chin<br /> Frae eating Coulter's candy<br /> <br /> Ally, bally, ally ally bee<br /> Sitting on my mammy's knee<br /> Crying for another bawbee<br /> To buy some Coulter's candy'<br /> <br /> Image Copyright - Elvis Payne. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.