There is a Scots saying that a Stewart is “either a tinker or sib to the King”. Nobody who knows the Stewarts of Blairgowrie, who spring from a long and famous line of Scots travelling folk, will feel like arguing the toss as to which of these possibilities confers the higher status. By general consent the Stewarts rank high among the singing ‘folk’ families of Europe and the world, and (as Robert Burns would have agreed) this and similar considerations of sense and merit confer the only patent of nobility worth a docken. The descendants of “auld Jimmy Stewart of Struan”, who crossed from Perthshire into Aberdeenshire via Glenshee and the Devil’s Elbow about the middle of the last century, are now scattered up and down the high roads and the low roads of Scotland, and there is a flourishing colony of them in Canada. There can be few more musically gifted clans or families in all Europe. Pipers, Fiddlers, melodeon players, tin whistlers can be counted among them in dozens, and you practically never encounter an indifferent performer. Alex’s father, old John Stewart, was one of the finest pipers in Scotland.

Alex, Belle, Cathie and Sheila Stewart recorded in 1965 by Bill Leader

1 Huntingtower
2 Caroline of Edinburgh Town
3 In London’s Fair City
4 Queen Amang the Heather
5 Dowie Dens o’ Yarrow
6 The Lakes o’ Shillin
7 Ower Yon Hill There Lives a Lassie
8 The Convict’s Song
9 Young Jamie Foyers
10 The Corncrake amang the Whinny Knowes
11 Busk, Busk, Bonnie Lassie
12 March; Strathspey; Reel

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