Jim Gemmell

Jim Gemmell - Composed by John C Grant (https://johncgrant.com). Traditional composer from Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

“My first memory of the Scots language was from my grandfather. He was a miner who worked in the pits that surrounded Dreghorn and Springside. I can still hear the tone and rhythm of his voice as he recited stories and poems, holding me, my bother and my sister in rapt silence. In an accent dusted with the coal from a life spent underground he would bring these stories and poems to life.

Politics and poetry were his staple and while his favourite poem was Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘The Deserted Village’, it was Burns he would quote at every opportunity. He made the poetry of Burns relevant and vital. In 1991 I was working in a call centre in Bourtreehill, coincidently built on top of where Broomlands Pit No. 7 once operated, and, during the quiet of the nightshift, a colleague and I decided that we would learn Tam O’Shanter. In between customer calls we would fire those couplets at each other like two Scots battle rappers (the Timorous Beastie Boys?). The poetry of Burns became fun and entertaining.

One of his best is ‘Death and Doctor Hornbook’. With the action set by Willie’s Mill near Tarbolton, the poem has it all – social commentary, satire, great words like ‘spleuchan’ (look it up to get the full effect of the metaphor Burns uses!), and an appearance from Death himself, all described by a narrator slightly the worse for drink.

I love when people ‘hear’ Burns for the first time, the realisation that our dialect and accent has a musical quality to it, and that poems and songs written over 200 years ago still have something to say. Stories that are relevant, vital, fun and entertaining.” - Jim Gemmill

Jim Gemmell - Composed by John C Grant (https://johncgrant.com). Traditional composer from Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

A guide track for ‘Jim Gemmell’ is available below for listening: -

You can download a PDF of the sheet music here - or braille format here.

The track is additionally available within the following collections and sets: -

Associated Collections: -
4/4 Ayrshire Characters Bagpipe Strathspey The Tarbolton Collection