b. 1901 d. 1972
Davie Stewart was born into a family of travelling tinsmiths and hawkers in the Buchan area and was to follow the traditional traveller occupations of horse-trading, pearl fishing, casual farm work, rag and scrap iron collecting, hawking and, by the age of ten, busking as a street singer.
During the Great War, at sixteen, he joined the Gordon Highlanders and was wounded in action three times before he was transferred to a pipe band. He later went back to the travelling and busking life with accordion and pipes now supplementing the singing. A couple of years later he met up with another of the great traveller singers, Jimmy MacBeath and they formed a friendship that would last the rest of their lives. Sometimes, they travelled together, the one ‘bottling’ as the other performed, sometimes going their separate ways.
He moved to Ireland in the 1930s, where he married Molly, and returned to Scotland in the 1950s when he lived in Dundee.
In the early 1960s he moved to Glasgow living in Maryhill and Possilpark, busking cinema and football queues and tenement back courts. Having been ‘discovered’ by Hamish Henderson he was a major component of the 1960s folk revival in Scotland.
Barnyards o’ Delgaty
From record Folk Song Today HMV DLP 1143. Recorded by Peter Kennedy c.1955.