Featured Album: (Sunday 31st March 2019)
Ron Kerr and his Scottish Dance Band
“Play the St Andrews Ball”
“Play The St Andrews Ball” from Ron Kerr and his Scottish Dance Band is the featured album this week on the Real Ceilidh. It was released in 1999.
The band members are:
Ron Kerr Fiddle
James Lindsay Accordion
Iain MacPhail Accordion
Richard Currie Keyboard, Bass and Piano
Max Ketchin Drums
Sleeve notes from the CD:
“As promised, we have pleasure in presenting this dance recording by Ron Kerr and his Band. This album is intended for the dancer and the listener alike. Ron’s regular appearances at dances held int The Younger Hall, St Andrews, organised by the Fife Tourist Board in conjunction with the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society summer school, have earned him a reputation as one of the most respected bandleaders in this field. Again, he is supported by some of the most able musician in the land”.
Ron Kerr was eight years old when he started fiddle lessons. His first tutor was Mr Morrison Reid of the Dundee School of Music. In those days he was in the Boys Brigade and with a few boys formed a band. They played at Scottish Country Dances in the High Kirk, St Paul’s Church, East House Maryfield and many others and also did broadcasts on Children’s Hour on B.B.C. radio.
When Ron was 10, he passed an audition for solo fiddle for Children’s Hour and played on many programmes. Concluding his association with the children’s programmes, he was invited to do a spot on national B.B.C.T.V. in a programme “All Your Own” , from Limegrove Studios in London. This was a very exciting and busy time on the Scottish music scene and it was about this time that he and his brother, Cameron, formed the Cameron Kerr Scottish Dance Band with Tom Clark on lead accordion.
In the mid-sixties, the music scene in Scotland changed a bit. Scottish music seemed to lose a little of its appeal, temporarily, and he formed the Cameron Kerr Trio.
In the 70’s there was a bit of a revival in the Scottish music scene and Ron found himself doing a lot of session work on radio, T.V. recording and even a film for M.G.M. The bands he worked with in those days were Jimmy Blue, Rob Gordon, Jim Johnstone, Andrew Rankine and Lindsay Ross. When Ian Powrie left for Australia in 1966, Jimmy Blue asked Ron to join him. It was with Jimmy that he was involved in the M.G.M. film. The music was recorded at Shepperton Studios in London and the cast included Peter O’Toole and Susanna York. .
In the early 80’s Ron decided to have a rest from the semi-professional playing for a couple of years. During this “rest period”, he decided to go back to study and had classical tuition from Mr Morrison A.R.C.M. of Broughty Ferry. He was practicing two hours a day and this led to a re-discovery of the importance of bowing technique and he felt a real benefit from the tuition. Ron’s interest in the band scene was rekindled when he got an offer from Iain MacPhail to do some work with his band including T.V. radio and records. The MacPhail band work makes heavy demands on the ability and technique of a fiddle player, and he found the experience very enjoyable and a new interest. Ron was back on the band scene again, and with a greater interest than ever.
Reflecting On His Career
Reflecting on his career, Ron often looks at his fiddle and says “Thank’s pal”. It has taken him from Truro in the South, to Wick in the North, Aultbea in the West, to London, Ireland and all over Shetland. Village Halls to ballrooms, pubs and clubs, studios of radio and television, as well as film studios. It has also taken him to castles and mansions, but most of all his fiddle has made him real and lasting friendships.