Davy Hutchison

Hutchison 2


Biographical memoirs of Davy by members of his family can be read here and here.

A man’s a man for a’ that / Bonnie Ann / Maggie Cameron / Reel

From 78 rpm disk Beltona 1668 matrix M13422.

This track attracted the following observation from Sean Macutcheon in October 2010:

This is a typical recording by David Hutchison and as usual he gave terrific value for money. He starts off with a song by Robert Burns and plays in strathspey time. Note here that he has transposed Burns’song from D major to the lower octave of A major. Done no doubt to enable him to move without hesitation to his second tune the pipe march Bonnie Anne, which, that too he has transposed from A major with a natural G to D major with a natural C. Remarkable in itself for a man who could not read a note of music. Then he plays Maggie Cameron in the written key of A with a natural G in the style of a Scottish fiddler. Note his fiddle style chords and ornamentation. Then he finishes with Lord Macdonald’s reel in great style, body and fervour. I just don’t know how he did it.


Bonnie Lass o’ Bon Accord / Lord Lyndoch / De’il amang the tailors

From 78 rpm disk Beltona 1668 matrix M13423.

This track attracted the following observation from Sean Macutcheon in October 2010:

There are two reasons why a button box sounds better than either a piano or a continental button accordeon when used for Scottish or Irish music.On the button box,the treble keys have a different pattern for every scale, enabling the player to vary the music produced,and even more important, because there are two notes for every treble key on a button box,(press and draw) not only does this physical act give the music a kick,it varies the notes produced. David Hutchison uses the above two facts to maximise musical effect. The Lass o Bon Accord by James Scott Skinner is played in beautiful Strathspey time here by David Hutchison, and so too is the pipe march Lord Lyndoch, you will never hear this style and body produced by David Hutchison, by anyone else, and as usual,he hurries to finish with a reel.


Auchten House / Laird o’ Drumblair / Speed the Plough

From 78 rpm record Beltona 1669 Matrix M13424

This track attracted the following observation from Sean Macutcheon in September 2010:
When I first heard a recording of David Hutchison I really believed I was listening to an orchestra.To my astonishment it was an accordeon solo. I still find it hard to believe. His first tune here Auchten Hoose, presented as a march, fills the air with a variety of sounds you dont expect from a little button key accordeon. His second tune The Laird O Drumblair is a James Scott Skinner classic. Note Hutchison’s imitation of the Scottish fiddle is out of this world. His third tune. Speed the plough, is in fact a Geordie air, possibly made famous by James Hill who wrote The High Level, and done justice here when played as a reel by David Hutchison.


Drunken Piper / Miss Forbes Farewell to Banff / De’il in the Kitchen

From 78 rpm record Beltona 1670 Matrix M13426

This track attracted the following observation from Sean Macutcheon in September 2010:

I’ve read the memoir by the son Jack of the late David Hutchison whose title was well earned, and will never be repeated. Lets take his first tune: The Drunken Piper.This is a cracker of a tune, and as the title suggests,its a Highland Tinker, sitting at his camp fire, desperately trying to get a tune right. Struggling with the first measure it seems the tinker is playing the same bar over and over in A and then G and again A and G. Its repetitive. The composer was a genius. The second and third measures are similar to the first and sound a little off key…but when the tinker reaches the fourth measure…he gets it right…shows off his skills to his audience…and returns to the first measure…by which time the audience are with the composer. David Hutchison does not play the written music. He plays it different. He plays what the composer was trying to do. The second tune here is the reel, Miss Forbes Farewell to Banf…David Hutchison plays this on E major, instead of D. He has caught the air, his staccatto bases are like drummers marching with him, sadly he made a mistake, but he carried on. Finally lets take a look at his last tune: The Devil in the Kitchen which is a fiddle/ pipe strathspey. There are not many fiddlers who can play this tune. Nor have I ever heard an accordeonist play it. This man David Hutchison was not simply an accordeon player…he was a master of Scottish music.


92nd’s Farewell to Aberdeen


Atholl Highlanders

From 78 rpm record Beltona 1669 Matrix M13425

This track attracted the following observation from Sean Macutcheon in September 2010:

Our first tune here is The Athol Highlanders Farewell to Loch Katrine. Note Hutchison’s effortless playing with a variety of chords, harmonics and decoration. Recorded in 1936? when there was no electronic gadgetry to body up the musician.I just don’t know how this man did it. His second tune is Highland Wedding. He’s toying with the tune. Showing off his skills. His third tune is the Brig o Perth. A pipe strathspey. Note his fervour, his tireless enthusiasm and his fiddle style ornamentation? On a button box…?

Hutchison 1

Recordings of Davy made by Hamish Henderson are to be heard on the Tobar and Dualchais platform:

  • Track 74606.
  • Tracks 74605 (Moray’s Welcome), 74615 (Unknown March) and 74616 (Unknown Strathspey).
  • Track 74613/5 (dialogue on Davy’s biography).
  • Track 74606/3 (dialogue on Davy’s biography and the accordion).

These recordings are discussed by Dr Stuart Eydmann in Chris Wright Tobar an Dualchais – Ulaidh Nàiseanta [Kist o Riches – A National Treasure] (Sleat, 2014) pp. 105-108 and can be read here.