Kenneth McKellar - Song Of The Clyde

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Music samples


(July 2010) 18 tracks (49 mins): The Road To The Isles * An Eriskay Love Lilt * The Cockle Gatherer * Bonnie Mary Of Argyle * The Star O' Rabbie Burns * Scotland The Brave * Roamin' In The Gloamin' * Bonnie Wee Thing * Westering Home * Afton Water * Song Of The Clyde * Keep Right On To The End Of The Road * The De'il's Awa Wi' The Exciseman * There Was A Lad Was Born in Kyle * Mary Morrison * She Moved Through The Fair * My Ain Folk * Skye Boat Song.

Well known Scottish songs from the late celebrated tenor singer, with orchestral arrangements.

Kenneth McKellar was one of the most accomplished classical tenors of his generation, spending the majority of his career performing the popular and folk songs of his native Scotland on radio and television.

The Song Of The Clyde was a modern song written in the folk tradition by R Y Bell and Ian Gourlay. McKellar's recording of it featured in John Schlesinger's 1963 film Billy Liar, and it was also the first track to be broadcast on Radio Clyde in 1973.

Kenneth McKellar made his first broadcast from the BBC studios in Glasgow while still a Forestry student at Aberdeen University, where he was a member of the university choir. He joined the Forestry Commission to survey Scottish woodlands after graduation, but after two years as a forester decided to take up a scholarship at the Royal College of Music in London.

An early 'booth' recording led to the release of several singles on EMI's Parlophone label. He joined the Carl Rosa opera company, where his performance of the opening aria from Rossini's Barber of Seville resulted in his promotion to principal tenor. He went on to make more than 30 LPs between the mid-1950s and the early 1980s. These ranged from mainstream classical and religious songs, through Broadway musicals to the Scottish popular tradition of Robert Burns and Harry Lauder.

McKellar occasionally wrote songs too, including the comic piece The Midges and the patriotic The Tartan. Along with Jimmy Shand, Andy Stewart and Moira Anderson, he will always be associated with The White Heather Club, the Hogmanay BBC TV show of the 1950s and 60s. He also performed the British entry for the 1966 Eurovision Song Contest (A Man Without Love).

Kenneth McKellar died of pancreatic cancer in April 2010, aged 82. He will be remembered as a larger-than-life character who loved his country and its music.

"Kenneth McKellar had a wonderful voice, but above all he was an outstanding human being, with a sparkling sense of humour..." (Sean Connery)

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