Page 76 - A Visit with Ray "Mac" MacDonald: In Honour of the 50th Year of CJFX Radio
ISSUE : Issue 64
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1993/8/1
where did they come from all of a sudden? Where did they get the 170 fiddlers? I mean, they weren't all kids. (But these were old people. The kids wer? en 't playing.) The kids were playing. (Not a whole lot of kids.) I think they were.... (Well, it seemed that for years and years you had Angus Chisholm, you had Dan Joe Maclnnis, Joe MacLean, Bill Lamey, Scotty --and that was it!) Yeah. That's fair enough, but you see in those days it was only the better ones. And there's something in the Scottish. There were a lot of closet fiddlers. They were everywhere, and they felt they wer? en't as good as Angus Chisholm or Bill La? mey, so they didn't play in public. (But that's where you needed to hear them. Otherwise you got the idea that these were old guys, they were going to die and who was going to take their place?) WE CAN HELP YOU REALIZE YOUR DREAM OF HOMEOWNERSHIP! FOR A MORTGAGE TO BUY, BUILD OR RENOVATE, SEE THE LOCAL EXPERTS League Savings 8 Mortgage 235 Charlotte St., Sydney,N.S. BIP6H7 Phone: 539-8222 t . f Well, there were lots of them there, that's obvious. The point is, I never believed it. I don't say that to demean anyone. I feel at best that the film "The Vanishing Fid? dler" gave the music a shot in the arm when it might have been on the low end of the cycle. But I never felt the music was van? ishing. It was more a case of the CBC and others discovering what was already there. Because the music is so deep-rooted. It was "saved," long before "The Vanishing Fid? dler." And the two things that saved it I had nothing to do with. Bernie Maclsaac of Antigonish gathered the best around to be recorded (for his Celtic Records label). And when CJFX came on stream in 1943, they played the records and have never stopped playing them. Had there been no records and no CJFX, then the music most likely would have vanished. I don't claim any credit for this. It hap? pened twenty years before I came here. But I have tried to keep it going.... Bernie MacIsaac's records were made in Mon? treal. (So, he didn't have a studio here in Antigonish then?) Not that I know of. I think (the fiddlers) were paid a flat fee of $50 each, which was a fair amount of money in those days. But they would have looked after their expenses, the train ride, and the hotel. But the train fare, Bernie told me one time, was $11 or some? thing like that for one person. And there's the very famous story that you hear on CJFX--that Mrs. Bess (Siddall) MacDonald (the piano accompanist for these first re? cordings) mentioned when they got in the hotel in Montreal they had to do some prac? ticing and the boys liked to tap their feet--she called them "the boys"--Angus Chisholm and all those guys. And they were tapping their feet something awful, I guess. So much so that the management came up and told them to stop or they would be on the street. So Mrs. Bess MacDonald said. OWEN i/jy 423 Charlotte St., Sydney, N.S. PHOTOGRAPHY, 562-2321 Portraits, Weddings, Industrial, Cape Breton Scenes, Passport Photos in 10 min.. Industrial Video Only Color Laser Photo Copier in Cape Breton Midway Motors Ltd. Now with Two Locations: HEAD OFFICE 'W. NEW OFFICE Middle River wg Port Hastings 295-2290 '"' 625-3641 We've Been CHRYSLER Since 1926
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