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Willie Kemp

 

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Willie Kemp (JPEG)Willie Kemp was born in 1889 in Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire and first performed publicly at his parents' hotel. When radio arrived in the 1920s Willie quickly became popular, and like others of his generation, went on to record many records (on the Beltona label) which sold extremely well.

In addition to composing and singing bothy ballads, he played tin whistle, trump (or Jew's harp), and ocarina. He recorded many songs and tunes with accordionist Curley MacKay. A book of his songs came out in 1950, Kerr's Cornkisters (Bothy Ballads), and during the 1960s an 12" vinyl LP called The Cornkisters featuring tracks by Willie Kemp and Tom Wright (another bothy ballad singer) was released. The tracks are made up from old Beltona sides.

I could understand this sort of material might not be to everyone's taste, in the context of traditional music, but I find the development of bothy ballad singing interesting, from genuine folksong to music hall and cod bothy ballad singers, 78rpm records, radio and television (Andy Stewart for example), and in many cases, back to folksongs (a lot of bothy ballads in oral tradition were in fact composed by the music hall artistes such as Kemp, G.S. Morris, and so on).


Willie Kemp Material

This list of Willie Kemp's songs and instrumentals is compiled from the sources listed below. I would be very interested to hear of any other material relating to Willie Kemp (email me). A more detailed list of material which includes dates etc can be found here.

KEY
Code Description
78 78rpm records in my collection
vCK 12" LP, "The Cornkisters" (Beltona Records LBA.36, n.d.) From original masters.
cKG Cassette, Willie Kemp, King o' the Cornkisters Sleepytown Records, 2000
cLM Cassette, A Lark at the Mike with Willie & Friends Sleepytown Records, 2000
cMF Cassette, Mair Fun wi'Willie Sleepytown Records, 2000
bKR Book, Kerr's Cornkisters J S Kerr, 1950
cdSB CD, Sook and Blaw Ythan Music Trust, 2001. A compilation of 78rpm recordings.

WILLIE KEMP MATERIAL
WILLIE KEMP (vocal) acc. unknown (piano)
c. 1932
My Name Is Donald Blue
(arr. Kemp, Shand)
78   bKR
The Smiling Orkney Isles [lyrics]
(Kemp)
78
WILLIE KEMP (vocal) acc. unknown (piano)
Date unknown
The Weddin' o' McGinnis To His Cross-Eyed Pet
(Thomson/Kemp)
vCK   cKG   bKR
McFarlan' Is My Darlin'
(Davidson/Thomson)
vCK   cKG
The Dying Ploughboy
(Rev. Calder/Shand)
vCK   cKG   bKR
A Shillin' Or Twa
(trad/Willie Kemp)
vCK   bKR
Ball of Kirriemeer
(trad arr. R Wilson)
vCK   cMF   bKR
The Wee Toon Clerk
(Kemp/Walker)
vCK   cKG
Boyndlie's Braes
(trad)
cMF
The Guise o' Tough
(trad)
cMF
At the Bottom o' Oor Stairs
(Thomson/Davidson)
cMF
The Cornkister Jines the Swads A Feein' Market Scene
(Kemp)
cMF
The Road and the Miles Tae Dundee
(trad)
cMF   bKR
The Goat of the WRI
(Kemp)
cMF   bKR
Jock Bruce o' the Fornet
(trad/Kemp)
cMF   bKR
Sowens Jean
(Kemp)
cMF
The Barnyards o' Delgaty
(trad)
cMF   bKR
The Laird o' Tomintoul
(Thomson/Davidson)
cMF
The Iron Horse
(trad/Kemp)
cMF   bKR
The Jolly Ploughboys
(trad/Kemp)
cMF   bKR
Drumdelgie
(trad)
cMF   bKR
A Shilling or Twa
(Davidson/Thomson)
cLM
Aye Kneipin On
(trad)
cLM
Johnny Cope
(trad)
cLM
The Scaffie
(A Wilson)
cLM
The Hikers
(arr. Kemp)
cLM
Imm-Hmm
(Davidson/Thomson)
cLM
The Battle of Harlaw
(trad)
cLM
Auld Grace
(A Wilson)
cLM
The Tinklers' Wedding
cKG
The Bonnie Lass o' Fyvie
cKG   bKR
The Baker Man
cKG
McGinty's Meal and Ale [Lyrics]
cKG   bKR
Wi' Ma Big Kilmarnock Bonnet
cKG
Ye Canna Pit It On Tae Sandy
cKG
It Fair Cowes the Cuddy
cKG
It's Afa Like It's Faither
(Kemp)
cKG   bKR
The Muckle Gawkit Type
cKG
McFarlane o' the Sprots
(Thomson/Kemp)
cKG   bKR
Tipperty's Meg
(Kemp)
bKR
By Yon Auld Quarry Knowe
(Kemp)
bKR
The Conversazione
(Kemp)
bKR
I Maun Gang Tae the Garret
(trad)
bKR
Jean the Kitchie Deem
(Kemp)
bKR
The Banks of Sweet Dundee
(trad)
bKR
The Muckin' o' Geordie's Byre
(trad/Kemp)
bKR
In My Young Day
(Kemp)
bKR
Mormond Braes
(trad/Kemp)
bKR
My Wife's First Man
(Kemp)
bKR
O Gin I Were Where Gadie Rins
(trad)
bKR
Willie Gillander's Goat
(Kemp)
bKR
WILLIE KEMP and CURLY MacKAY
Date unknown
King of the Cornkisters
(Willie Kemp)
vCK
Mackenzie Highlanders/The Inverness Gathering
cMF
Cock o' the North
cdSB
Aye Kneipin On
(trad)
cLM
Set of Reels
(trad)
cLM
WILLIE KEMP with Curly MacKay (accordion), George S Morris (concertina), unknown (fiddle)
Date unknown
A Lark At the Mike
(arr. Kemp)
vLM
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