Davy Hutchison

Hutchison 2


Biographical memoirs of Davy written for us 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 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 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 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 don’t 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 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 staccato 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 / A Hundred PIpers

From 78 rpm record Beltona 1670 M13427.


Atholl Highlanders

From 78 rpm record Beltona 1669 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.

The following tracks were kindly provided to raretunes in 2021 by Andrew Bathe from his late father’s personal collection of 78 rpm records of traditional music.



Marquis of Huntly / Braes o’ Mar / High Level Hornpipes


From 78 rpm disk, Beltona 1671 M13428. Recorded Peckham April 1931.

Bonnie Strathyre / Pibroch o’ Donald Dhu / Leaving Glen Urquhart


From 78 rpm disk, Beltona 1671 M13429. Recorded Peckham April 1931.

Allegory / The Gay Gordons / The Lovat Scouts


From 78 rpm record Beltona 2259 M502. Recorded c. 1935, location unknown.

MacPherson’s Rant / The Four Posted Bed / The Queen’s Welcome to Invercauld


From 78 rpm record Beltona 2259 M503. Recorded c. 1935, location unknown.

In his Scottish Vernacular Discography, 1888-1960‘ [Draft/Preview Copy], December 2012, pp 26-27, Bill Dean-Myatt lists the following tracks. Those already featured here are in bold:

Recorded 62 Glengall Road, Peckham, London, mid April 1931

  • M-13418-2 The Portree man (James Mauchlaine); The Inverness gathering
    (trad) Bel 1666, BL-1666
  • M-13419-2 Abercairney Highlanders (Angus MacKay); Balmoral Highlanders
    (Angus MacKay); Road to the Isles (trad) Bel 1666, BL-1666
  • M-13420-2 Niel Gow’s farewell to whisky (Niel Gow); The piper o’ Dundee
    (trad); The black bear (trad) Bel 1667, BL-1667
  • M-13421-1 The black bear; The brown-haired maiden; Where
    gaudie rins (all trad) Bel 1667, BL-1667
  • M-13422- A man’s a man for a’ that; Bonnie Ann; Maggie
    Cameron and reel (all trad) Bel 1668, BL-1668
  • M-13423- Bonnie lass o’ Bon Accord (J. Scott Skinner); Lord Lyndoch
    (P. Agnew); De’il amang the tailors (trad) Bel 1668, BL-1668
  • M-13424-2 Auchten hoose (trad); Laird o’ Drumblair (J. Scott Skinner);
    Speed the plough (trad) Bel 1669, BL-1669
  • M-13425-2 Atholl Highlanders (trad); Highland Weddin’ (trad);
    Brig of Perth (Donald Dow) Bel 1669, BL-1669
  • M-13426- The drunken piper (John MacColl); Miss Forbes’ farewell to
    Banff (Isaac Cooper); De’il in the kitchen (trad) Bel 1670, BL-1670
  • M-13427- 92nd.’s farewell to Aberdeen; A hundred pipers (all trad) Bel 1670, BL-1670
  • M-13428-2 Marquis of Huntly (William Marshall); Braes O’Mar
    (John Coutts); High level hornpipe (James Hill) Bel 1671, BL-1671
  • M-13429-2 Bonnie Strathyre (trad); Pibroch O’Donald Dhu (trad); Leaving
    Glen Urquhart (W. MacDonald) Bel 1671, BL-1671

Recorded Kintore Rooms, 74 Queen Street, Edinburgh, ca l936

  • M-497 Marquis o’ Huntley’s fling (trad); Miller o’ Drone (Nathaniel
    Gow); Dan Watt (trad); Liverpool hornpipe (trad) Bel 2270, BL-2270
  • M-498 Craigmillar House; Miss Lyall; Loch Leven Castle (all trad) Bel 2270, BL-2270
  • M-499 Bervie Bridge (trad); Wee Neavie (trad); Mason’s apron (trad);
    Chicken reel (Joseph M. Daly) Bel 2280, BL-2280
  • M-500 Daft Donald (trad); The Paps of Glencoe (William Lawrie);
    Three quarters Cameron (trad) Bel 2258, BL-2258
  • M-501 I’ll gang nae mair tae yon toon; Bonnie country gairdens;
    The hills of Glenorchy (all trad) Bel 2258, BL-2258
  • M-502 Allegory (trad); The gay Gordons (trad); The Lovat Scouts
    (J. Scott Skinner) Bel 2259, BL-2259
  • M-503 MacPherson’s rant (James MacPherson); The four posted bed
    (trad); The Queen’s welcome to Invercauld (J. Scott Skinner) Bel 2259, BL-2259
  • M-504 The Glendhu Highlanders (Alexander Fettes); Dovecote park
    (James Braidwood); The Gordons hae the guidin’ oot (trad) Bel 2260, BL-2260 27
  • M-505 Peter’s tune (trad); Tullybardine (trad); Bagpipe polka (trad);
    Elspeth Campbell (Douglas) Bel 2260, BL-2260
  • M-506 March, strathspey and reel – Ruin o’ me; Bobbie’s favourite;
    etc; (all trad) Bel 2299, BL-2299
  • M-507 Forbes Morrison (J. Scott Skinner); Willie Mackay (trad);
    The auld wheel (J. Scott Skinner) Bel 2280, BL-2280
  • M-508 Hornpipes – Jake’s [sic] the lad; Derry; Flat Lancashire;
    etc. (all trad) Bel 2299, BL-2299