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Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009

Related threads:
Lyr Req: Moorlough Maggie (Stanley Robertson) (15)
BBC obituary broadcast: Stanley Robertson (12)
balladeer/storyteller Stanley Robertson gets MA (11)


BobKnight 03 Aug 09 - 07:38 PM
maeve 03 Aug 09 - 07:47 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Aug 09 - 07:59 PM
BobKnight 04 Aug 09 - 03:39 AM
BobKnight 04 Aug 09 - 03:41 AM
peregrina 04 Aug 09 - 03:44 AM
Valmai Goodyear 04 Aug 09 - 05:05 AM
Fred McCormick 04 Aug 09 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,Kathy Hobkirk 04 Aug 09 - 08:01 AM
TheSnail 04 Aug 09 - 08:21 AM
Folkiedave 04 Aug 09 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,Arthur IJdo 04 Aug 09 - 12:29 PM
RoyH (Burl) 04 Aug 09 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Liand And Sarah 04 Aug 09 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,padgett on lap top 04 Aug 09 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,gabrielle 04 Aug 09 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,one of stanleys loons- tony 04 Aug 09 - 02:55 PM
Jack Blandiver 04 Aug 09 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,Angela 04 Aug 09 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Mary the golden eagle 04 Aug 09 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Sammy Robertson 04 Aug 09 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,Albert & Margreet IJdo 05 Aug 09 - 04:03 AM
Northerner 05 Aug 09 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Kathy Hobkirk 05 Aug 09 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,Pauline Cordiner 05 Aug 09 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Peter Chand 05 Aug 09 - 03:51 PM
GUEST 05 Aug 09 - 03:53 PM
maeve 05 Aug 09 - 10:20 PM
GUEST,Gabrielle 06 Aug 09 - 08:31 AM
GUEST 06 Aug 09 - 06:08 PM
Effsee 06 Aug 09 - 10:20 PM
GUEST,THOMAS MCDONALD 07 Aug 09 - 03:52 AM
GUEST,Brian Wyllie - A lucky man 07 Aug 09 - 08:40 AM
peregrina 07 Aug 09 - 12:20 PM
BobKnight 07 Aug 09 - 03:56 PM
maeve 07 Aug 09 - 06:11 PM
Folkiedave 07 Aug 09 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,stanleys loon - tony 09 Aug 09 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,AR 09 Aug 09 - 05:36 PM
BobKnight 10 Aug 09 - 12:20 AM
GUEST,Kathy Hobkirk 11 Aug 09 - 04:35 PM
maeve 11 Aug 09 - 04:39 PM
Vic Smith 24 Aug 09 - 05:48 AM
Vic Smith 08 Oct 09 - 11:52 AM
maeve 08 Oct 09 - 12:06 PM
maeve 08 Oct 09 - 12:12 PM
Vic Smith 25 Nov 09 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,Stan´s awa´? 15 Jun 10 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Greetings, Gabrielle :) 15 Jun 10 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,maggie stewart's grandson james stewart 16 Oct 11 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,colin robertson 30 Jan 12 - 12:15 PM
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Subject: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: BobKnight
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 07:38 PM

Just heard that another traditional "great" Stanley Robertson died of a heart attack last night here in Aberdeen. Stanley had been ill for quite some time, but was cheerful and upbeat when I spoke to him a few months back. He was very encouraging to me when I came into the folk scene a few years back, but then I reckon there are many more than myself who could say the same thing. A very generous and caring person. My sympathies go out to his wife and family.


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: maeve
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 07:47 PM

I'm sad to see this; yet grateful for all of his music.

maeve


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 07:59 PM

Damn. One of the great ballad singers. Well, at least I had a chance to hear him and talk to him at Whitby last year. He'll be sorely missed.


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: BobKnight
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 03:39 AM

Funeral service at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Anderson Drive, Aberdeen at 12.30pm, and thereafter to Lumphannan Cemetery for the internment at 2.30pm. All friends respectfully invited.


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: BobKnight
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 03:41 AM

Sorry folks, I should have included the date - Friday, 7th August.


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: peregrina
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 03:44 AM

I'm very sad to read this--hearing Stanley had been one of the most special things at Whitby; I had just been thinking of him and looking forward to that.


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 05:05 AM

This is terrible news. Stanley was magnificent.

All credit to Sam Lee for being his apprentice and keeping much of his repertoire alive.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 06:15 AM

Oh God, another one. This last month or so has been about the worst I can ever remember for deaths and obituaries. When is the whirwind going to end?


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: GUEST,Kathy Hobkirk
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 08:01 AM

Our paths crossed from time to time over the years and it was an honour to spend time in his company. He was so encouraging to singers and knowledgable. My sympathes go to Joanne and his family.


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: TheSnail
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 08:21 AM

Wonderful man. I only discovered him in the last few years and it's hard to believe I won't be seeing him again.


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 08:28 AM

Great shame.


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: GUEST,Arthur IJdo
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 12:29 PM

My father in law has past away, he was the last of his kind.
Wonderful man, you'll be missed by me and many others around the country. Your stories will be treasured.
Sleep well!


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 12:57 PM

Yet another body blow for the folk world. Stanley was a national treasure. I got to know him during singing trips to Scotland, and always enjoyed his company A grand bloke. R I P Stanley. Condolences to his family.


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: GUEST,Liand And Sarah
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 01:08 PM

We Are His Grandchildren and we are going 2 keep the travelling spirt alive :D


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P.
From: GUEST,padgett on lap top
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 01:14 PM

Met and saw him at Whitby ff last year, with Sam Lee

Lovely bloke and so sorry to hear of his death

Ray


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,gabrielle
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 01:40 PM

I am Stanley's daughter thank you for all your lovely tributes to my father He will be sorely missed.


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,one of stanleys loons- tony
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 02:55 PM

hi folks

thanks for the tributes- my sisters and i will keep the tradition alive and our children are keen to become keepers of the lore.


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 03:03 PM

I met Stanley as a storyteller, maybe 15 years ago - a man who not only could tell you how to tell if a person was a ghost or not, but could also tell you if they were a good ghost or a bad ghost. Stanley told us The Wee Doo and predicted none of us present would ever forget the song - words or tune. Here it is from memory:

Me mammy kilt me; me daddie et me;
Me sister Mary picket ma banes,
an' buried me 'neath twa marble stanes;
And I grew and I grew intil a bonny wee doo-doo


Is that right? Forgive the spelling. I've still got the tune, cherished all these years...

A fond farewell to a truly great man.

Sedayne.


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Subject: RE: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,Angela
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 03:52 PM

I first met Stanley and his wife Johanne as a girl of seventeen he took me to St Machar's Cathedral and taught me the beautiful ballad Far over the Forth his singing,storytelling and teaching opened up to me a whole new world. He has left the world a beautiful legacy and I hope and pray his children will carry this on.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,Mary the golden eagle
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 06:20 PM

shall be sorely missed by all
much loved listening to him at the institute in our group sessions
unfortunatly he never visited cornhill but i still feel touched by him
rip stanley
rum scum scoosh!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,Sammy Robertson
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 06:48 PM

R.I.P Granda :( I miss u so much x


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,Albert & Margreet IJdo
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 04:03 AM

Dear Johanne, Gaby, Liana and other family,

We wish you all the strength to carry the loss of your husband,father,granddad and father in law.
For Stanley no more Fish-hooses.Maybe he flew throug Nyakim's Windows to the Land of no Death.
I will remember him by all the books I have and personally
as a Gentle man


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: Northerner
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 09:20 AM

I also was one of Stanley Robertson's apprentices and will miss our regular chats on the phone. Although he had been in poor health for quite some time I still find it difficult to take in that he has finally gone.

I first met Stanley in the early seventies when I lived in Aberdeen for a year. I used to hear his songs and stories at the Aberdeen Folk Club. I did occasional floor spots at the club and Stanley was always supportive of my singing. Just before I left Aberdeen I invited some of my friends round for the evening and many of us performed. Stanley told us one of his eerie stories. It was getting dark so I asked Stanley if I could put on the light - and he said No!   So we were all sat in the dark listening to Stanley telling a story about a body and a coffin. All of a sudden out of the dark came Stanley's voice - BOO!   And we all jumped!

I didn't see Stanley again until 2004 at Whitby Folk Week.   I had caught up with storytelling the previous year at Whitby. Now Stanley and I renewed our friendship and Stanley became my mentor. He taught me several of his stories, though the glimpse into the way of a traditional performer was just as important. We talked regularly on the phone and I went up to visit him. He recommended me to Whitby Folk Week, and I had the enormous privilege of being a guest performer there last year, performing alongside him.

Stanley supported me as a singer, storyteller and writer. I am currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Teesside University. He has been a huge influence on me. Stanley has been my mentor, a very dear friend and a second father to me.

My condolences go to his family.

Diane Taylor


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,Kathy Hobkirk
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 11:49 AM

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland/Tributes-to-storytelling-folk-hero.5523087.jp


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,Pauline Cordiner
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 02:34 PM

Stanley will be sadly missed by all of us who he spent so much time teaching his stories and ballads to. I will think of him every time I tell a story he taught or song he sang


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,Peter Chand
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 03:51 PM

Dear Johnanne, and family, I am so saddened to hear of Stanley's passing-what a terrible loss to you all, and to all of his friends in the storytelling and folk world. We're all praying for you, and you are deep in our thoughts.

I first met Stanley and Johnanne at Whitby Folk Week in 2004 and remember Stanley, myself and another storyteller were taking turns telling tales at West Cliff School. Every now and again Stanley would whisper something funny or cheeky in my ear with that particular twinkle in his eye-it's how I will always remember him- a grown man with a great sense of fun and an even bigger heart.

Peace to you sir-life is harder now one of our elders has departed.

Peter Chand and family.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 03:53 PM

hi i am edward robertson, a family of stanley i was wondering f you contact me about arragements for the day on 07879247438 im sorry for your loss he was a great uncle and will truly be missed


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: maeve
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 10:20 PM

Thank you to the friends and family members who have posted to this thread. I never had the privilege of meeting Stanley, yet I do remember Lizzie Higgins telling me of his many gifts when I stayed with her on a song collecting trip.

maeve
      *************************************
GUEST Kathy Hobkirk's link in clickable form:
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland/Tributes-to-storytelling-folk-hero.5523087.jp
And the text of the same article in case it disappears:
    ***************************************
Tributes to storytelling folk hero who kept 500 years of history alive
Published Date: 05 August 2009 By Frank Urquhart
TRIBUTES have been paid to a "champion" of Scotland's travelling people, who kept alive oral traditions dating back more than 500 years.
Leading storyteller and ballad singer Stanley Robertson, who died of a heart attack in Aberdeen at the age of 69, left school at 14 and became a fish filleter. He went on to be awarded one of the most prestigious honorary degrees that can be bestowed by one of Scotland's oldest universities. Hailed as a "cultural ambassador of distinction for his people, for Aberdeen, and for Scotland in the world", he was a human repository for thousands of folk tales and ballads.

In November last year he was awarded the honorary degree of Master of the University by Aberdeen University in recognition of his achievements as a writer, storyteller and singer, and for fostering the traditions of the travelling people. Tributes to Mr Robertson were led by Dr Ian Russell, the director of the university's Elphinstone Institute, which is dedicated to the preservation of the culture of the north-east of Scotland.

Dr Russell said: "Stanley was hugely important to Scotland's storytelling tradition and the culture of the travelling people. "His oral memory was absolutely extraordinary. He could remember stories that would last well over an hour without forgetting a single detail.

"I never got to the bottom of his memory, and I never managed to ever record all the songs he knew or the stories he could tell. There were always more stories and more songs. Through his ballads and his stories, he was a link with Scotland over centuries to the 1500s."
Dr Russell stressed that, although Mr Robertson's own family had stopped travelling on the roads of Scotland following the Second World War, he remained steeped in the tradition of the travellers' way of life.

He said: "The travellers in Scotland are still very much looked down on, and they are much discriminated against and they have a constant fight every day to exist. But through Stanley they had a wonderful champion - somebody who could show what an amazing contribution travellers have made to Scotland's culture and traditions."

Mr Robertson worked at the Elphinstone Institute for three years as a research fellow and was the key-worker for the Oral and Cultural Traditions of Scottish Travellers' project at the institute, which ran until 2005.

Tim Neat, the author and expert on Scotland's folk-song traditions who has strong links to Scotland's travelling community, also paid tribute to Mr Robertson. He said: "In some ways, Stanley was not a typical traveller in that he looked rather like an insurance salesman.

"But behind that rather straight façade he was a very profound man with deep insight and very true traditional knowledge of Scotland's travelling culture. And he quietly delivered a great deal."

Born in Aberdeenshire into a travelling family in 1940, Mr Robertson spent the early years of his life on the road. His father, Bill, a noted piper, made a living collecting flax from farms on Royal Deeside.Music and storytelling were an integral part of his life. His aunt, Jeannie Robertson, from whom he inherited a huge repertoire of North-east ballads, was the legendary Scottish folk singer who was a pivotal figure in the British folk revival.

Mr Robertson, who is survived by his wife, Johnann, and children Robert, Anthony, Clifford, Dale, Gabrielle and Nicole, will be buried on Friday at Lumphanan cemetery, following a funeral service in Aberdeen.

The full article contains 602 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper. Last Updated: 04 August 2009 11:47 PM
Source: The Scotsman   Location: Edinburgh


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,Gabrielle
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 08:31 AM

Dad's Funeral is on Friday 7th August at the Church of Latter-day saints on North Anderson Drive,Aberdeen at 12.30pm. All Welcome.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 06:08 PM

We're all struck at the passing away of Stanley. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joanne and family at this moment.

My two most immediate memories of Stanley are, a good while ago, after an evening of storytelling somewhere, we all congregated in David Campbell's flat (Edinburgh) and it was one of those rare occasions when the late Duncan (Williamson) and Stanley were sitting together and Duncan put his arm around Stanley's shoulder and said "Cam oan baldie gee's us a song!" and Stanley began on his superb rendition of ''The Laird o' the Drum' during which Duncan listened intently with tears running down his cheek. It was a golden and precious moment in time. One I'll take to my grave.

One of the last things I ever heard Stanley say publicly, was at the Nordic conference last November at the SCC when he said: " When we used tae tell stories we niver thoucht aboot money, we just simply telt them or geed them as a kindness" That just about says it all.

That's how I remember Stanley, as kindly spiritual man.

Heerio auld freend,

Paraig and Ali


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: Effsee
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 10:20 PM

Sadly, I can't be there today to pay my respects,but my thoughts will be with you in the day.
RIP old friend.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,THOMAS MCDONALD
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 03:52 AM

SO SAD TO HERE OF YOUR PASSING, YOU WE SUCH A WONDERFUL MAN WHO WILL BE MISSED THE WORLD OVER.GOD REST YOU STANLEY. THOMAS/ARLEEN MCDONALD &FAMILY


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,Brian Wyllie - A lucky man
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 08:40 AM

I'm lucky because I had the pleasure to stand in the company of Stanley Robertson every day of the working week. I worked with him in Cliiper Seafoods Aberdeen. He told me that he was going to write a book. I said yeh right! Let me know when you're finshed and I'll come and get a signed proof copy from you. I left the factory and forgot about the book. Well guess what...a wee while later he sent me an invite to the book opening to Exodus to Alford. I've since read the proof copy many times. But the best bit was this...I already knew all the stories because Stanley would tell me them while we worked away day after day. Not only those stories either. Stanley could take a normal everyday situation and turn it into a great story. He will be sadly missed.
'My kingdom my kingdom for a horse - my kingdom for a scabby old nag'
RIP Stanley Robertson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: peregrina
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 12:20 PM

Just now I was listening to all the (few) tracks I have of Stanley singing and thinking of the times I got to hear him at Whitby; this makes me want to send sympathy and wish strength to his family and everyone who was close to him.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: BobKnight
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 03:56 PM

Stanley had, a very well attended funeral. Hundreds crowded into the church to pay their respects to him and his family. Tributes were paid from Professor Ian Russell, listing Stanley's tremendous achievements at home and abroad. His son, Tony had the church rocking with laughter as he recounted some of the amazing things his father had got up to with them as children. He has certainly inherited his father's ability to tell a good story. Not so much a remembrance service as a celebration of a life well lived, but sadly cut all too short.

The internment took place at Lumphanan Cemetary - a beautiful country kirk-yard, with a magnificant view over the village. The sun shone, there were smiles and tears in equal amount as we stood around the grave side and witnessed the internment. As the coffin was lowered, Grace Banks, one of Stanley's pupils struck up with "Yellow On The Broom" which was taken up by one and all. It's hard to sing with a lump in the throat, but somehow, emotions at breaking point, we managed to get through it. Nobody seemed to want to leave, and half an hour later there was still almost as many in the kirk-yard as there was at the beginning. A remarkable tribute to a remarkable man and his family.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: maeve
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 06:11 PM

Lovely. Thank you.

maeve


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 07:47 PM

A remarkable tribute to a remarkable man and his family.

Tears.......ta......


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,stanleys loon - tony
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 03:03 PM

thanks to one and all for your tributes.thanks bob for your kind words about fridays events . we had a singalong tribute on friday night with the clark family , dr russell and his wife ,sam lee,nick hennessy.sarah reith and members of our family - the singing was buetifull from one and all - my father would have enjoyed himself

   my email if any one wants to get in touch
anthonyrobertson737@hotmail.com


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,AR
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 05:36 PM

Just found out last night - had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times and loved his singing. My condolences to his family.

Alasdair


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: BobKnight
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 12:20 AM

Thanks Tony - I'm truly sorry I missed the sing-around. I hope your heid, and your brithers, wisnae as badly sunburned as mine. :)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,Kathy Hobkirk
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 04:35 PM

Thanks for doing the blue clicky Maeve.

A few years ago when I was at Uni in Dumfries Stanley was always invited down for the ethnology class. He was magic as you can imagine. I was lucky enough to go for my tea with him and my lecturer.....it was a rare event which ended up with us having a crack about songs and singing.....and then he says "I've got a song that will suit you" Then he proceeded to teach a cracker of a song that I'd never heard him sing before......pure magic.

Danny Couper was only talking about him at Cullerlie and how he scared the lassies witless one night telling them ghostie stories


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: maeve
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 04:39 PM

You are most welcome, Kathy. It's important information. I wish I had met Stanley.

maeve


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: Vic Smith
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 05:48 AM

There was a obituary in The Daily Telegraph on Stanley and it appears on-line at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/music-obituaries/6068547/Stanley-Robertson.html

It was written by Jon Lusk though perhaps I ought to add that most of the information was derived by Jon from a long phone conversation with myself.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: Vic Smith
Date: 08 Oct 09 - 11:52 AM

It has taken quite a while to get there but an obituary on Stanley appears today in The Guardian. It is written by Derek Schofield and is on-line at http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/oct/07/stanley-robertson-obituary


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: maeve
Date: 08 Oct 09 - 12:06 PM

Obituary by Derek Schofield From The Guardian posted above by Vic Smith. For the Mudcat archives.

Stanley Robertson obituary

"Storyteller and folk singer steeped in Scots Traveller tradition
Stanley Robertson

Members of the Traveller community in Scotland have been vociferous guardians of oral culture: folk songs, ballads and stories. The singer and settled Traveller Jeannie Robertson, who died in 1975, was described by the American folklorist Alan Lomax as "a monumental figure in 20th-century folksong". Among the small number of singers to whom Jeannie taught the songs directly was her nephew Stanley Robertson, who has died of a heart attack aged 69. Although he never achieved the fame of his aunt, Stanley was nevertheless a highly skilled singer, with a seemingly unlimited repertoire, and a storyteller with a prodigious memory.

Stanley was the son of Jeannie's eldest brother, William, and William's third cousin, Elizabeth. By the time he was born, the family had settled in Aberdeen, although they continued the "summer walking", when Travellers took to the road and worked in seasonal agricultural trades. The annual exodus to Alford in north-east Scotland (which inspired the title of one of Stanley's books) to work in the flax fields allowed the family to escape from the prejudice then common among the city's residents.

Stanley left school at 14 and spent almost all of his working life as a fish gutter on the quayside at Aberdeen, where he frequently entertained his colleagues with stories and songs. He also played the bagpipes in the Territorial Army's pipe band.

His maternal grandfather, Joseph McDonald, provided further inspiration for Stanley's storytelling. His fairy-tales and tales of wonder, legends, religious and supernatural stories were first published in Exodus to Alford (1988), followed quickly by Nyakim's Windows (1989), two volumes of Fish-Hooses (1991), The Land of No Death (1993) and Ghosties and Ghoulies (1994). His final collection of stories, Reek Roon a Camp Fire, was published earlier this year. He told his tales in schools and was invited to storytelling festivals in Britain and the US. Some of his stories could last up to an hour, yet he told them with confidence, never faltering or forgetting the detail.

Stanley's storytelling inspired his playwriting, including The Burkers and Scruffie Uggie, written for children. The Edinburgh Theatre Workshop performed his Jack and the Land of Dreams in 2000.

Stanley visited his Aunt Jeannie regularly in the last years of her life. She taught him many of her songs, but had exacting standards. "Sing it right, sing it proper and sing it real," she used to tell him. With his work commitments, and a family of six children, the opportunities for Stanley to sing beyond north-east Scotland were limited until the 1990s. He recorded an album of traditional songs, A Keeper of the Lore, for the North East Folklore Archive in Scotland (1991) and was featured on the two CDs of Travellers' Tales (2005). Appearances at the Fife Traditional Singing Weekends led to his inclusion in the resulting albums, FifeSing 1 and 2. He also made regular visits to the National Folk Music Festival in Nottinghamshire and to Whitby Folk Week in North Yorkshire. In 2003, Stanley was one of the contributors to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington.

In 2002, the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen, established to study, record and promote the cultural traditions of north-east Scotland, obtained a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to research, archive and promote the oral and cultural traditions of Scottish Travellers. Stanley was employed by the university to work on the project, which finally allowed him to leave the fish houses. As part of the project, the Elphinstone Institute released a double CD of songs and stories from Stanley's childhood, Rum Scum Scoosh! (2006). A further double CD of ballads, The College Boy, and a DVD of his singing, Live at the Blue Lamp, are due for release soon.

In recent months, Stanley had been tutoring a young London singer, Sam Lee, in much the same way that he had been tutored by his Aunt Jeannie.

He was a committed Mormon and abstained from alcohol and tobacco. He is survived by his wife, Johnann, and children Robert, Anthony, Clifford, Dale, Gabrielle and Nicole, who all continue to sing and tell the family stories.

• William Stanley Robertson, folk singer and storyteller, born 8 June 1940; died 2 August 2009"


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: maeve
Date: 08 Oct 09 - 12:12 PM

Simnilarly, theis obituary for which a link was provided by Vic Smithortant for the Mudcat archive. Written by John Lusk with information from Vic Smith, it appeared in The Daily Telegraph

"Stanley Robertson, the ballad singer, storyteller and writer, who has died aged 69, was recognised as a wellspring of Scottish travellers' lore; renowned for his phenomenal memory, he could recall ballads and stories dating back through 500 years of oral history, and his ability to hold audiences spellbound with lengthy tales was unrivalled.

Published: 5:48PM BST 21 Aug 2009
Stanley Robertson
"He had the ability to transport you to another world, to another place," said Vic Smith, a folk club organiser who knew him from the early 1970s, when Robertson began to make an impact with his appearances at events such as the Whitby Folk Week. "And [with] his ballads, he had that feeling of authenticity about the whole nature of Scottish traditional culture. Along with Sheila Stewart, he was the greatest living exponent of it."

William Stanley Robertson was born on June 8 1940 in Aberdeen. His father made a living collecting flax from farms, and during Stanley's early childhood the family lived an itinerant lifestyle, going up the Dee and down the Don river valleys each summer, while staying in Aberdeen during the long winters. After the Second World War, however, they became more settled.

As a teenager Stanley learned from his father to play the pipes, and picked up a more military repertoire while playing in a local cadet band. He left school at 14, and was to spend most of his working life in the fish filleting industry. He later recalled this period in his book Fish Hooses: Tales from an Aberdeen Filleter (1990), a collection of humorous stories collected and experienced on the job.

There were several other publications, the most recent of which was Reek Roon A Campfire (2009), a collection of travellers' tales that ranged "from fairy folks to supernatural happenings to tales of everyday life".

His recorded legacy includes The Keeper Of The Lore (North-East Folklore Archive, 1999), and two volumes of ballads and stories with Duncan Williamson (another Scottish traveller) on the Kyloe label in the early part of this decade.

Robertson's family was steeped in the folk tradition; and although the importance of his cousin, Lizzie Higgins, and of his aunt, Jeannie Robertson, was acknowledged in the early days of the British folk revival, recognition for Stanley came only later. When it did come, he was, from 2002 to 2005, a research fellow and key-worker in the Oral and Cultural Traditions of Scottish Travellers project at Aberdeen University's Elphinstone Institute.

In conjunction with his work for Aberdeen University, the Elphinstone Institute also released the double CD Rum Scum Scoosh!, partly devoted to children's' playground songs, some of them in cant (travellers' argot).

Recordings of Robertson's ballads also appeared on the series Voice Of The People, which showcased the most important performances of 20th-century folk music from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

In 2007 Robertson suffered a stroke and a heart attack, but made a good recovery, and was once again in fine voice last September on a short tour of several English folk clubs. He was always generous in sharing his knowledge of travellers' folklore and an inspiring teacher and mentor to younger singers – recently taking on that role for Sam Lee, a rising star of traditional English song, who paid monthly visits to see Robertson in Aberdeen.

Stanley Robertson died on August 2, and is survived by his wife, Johnann, and their four sons and two daughters."


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Nov 09 - 07:35 AM

Derek Schofield brought this to my attention - Belated Obituary to Stanley by Ken Hunt in today's The Independent :-

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/stanley-robertson-storyteller-and-folk-singer-who-chronicled-scots-traveller-histor


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,Stan´s awa´?
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 02:13 PM

Hello, everybody! I´m a Dane whom Big Stan taught storytelling when I visited him on Marchburn Drive & around the glens. When I left, he´d say "The laddie´s awa´".
    Since in Denmark we have no surviving tradition for storytelling, I was happy to get Stanley´s blessing as a storyteller. I guess you have lots of material with him, but if you are interersted in more, I have a tape I did for Danish tv, featuring Stanley at a happy ceileadh that we had.
    Stanley taught me how to decrease the self-centeredness of city folk, enabling me to encounter a.o. ghosts like the Black Dog that each night runs to the "Vi" in my city of Viborg; I first glimpsed this spectral hound in a dust-devil at the old holy mount over here, but half an hour later I saw it (almost) entirely: Green light pulsating from its dis- & re-appearing bodyparts, it looked back at me and Sue Grandquist, a second-sighted Asa-priestess from Seattle, through eyes of green fire and a flaming mouth. Stanley taught me how you must respect the denizens of Faërie, too, because they have their own agendas which shouldn´t be crossed by us human folk.
    Just like he was so kind to Brutus, his "monster" dog which I patted, remarking: "He´s very peaceable", to which Stanley replied. "Na, he´s very bitesome" - but there was an inherent understanding between Stanley and other beings, making him remark the moment when Brutus died, from far away ...
    He also told me how one night his soul was carried out of his body by an angel ("It had no body, and angels don´t lie; only a demon from Hell will appear by the lie of a seemingly physical body"), carried down the road and into the Heavens - easily crossing the narrow bridge which spans the chasm between the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead, he was greeted by Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. But, just as Stanley was about to drink the Water of Forgetfulness, this gate-keeping saint told him to go back and live once again.
    Wish we still had Big Stan over for a next ceileadh. But I guess he will be waiting for us to finish our chores in this life, before we enter the light beyond the darkness.
    We must all try to carry on, but we are on our own now ... Stanley´s awa´ ...

Sincerely mourning,

Lars Munk Sørensen,
storyteller


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,Greetings, Gabrielle :)
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 02:18 PM

Remember me, the flaxen storyteller at your father´s ceaileadh, years ago? I have a tape of the ceilaedh which I can copy and send you - or give it to you personally when I visit Aberdeen sometime in the near future?

You can reach me at this e-mail: lars17a@hotmail.com


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,maggie stewart's grandson james stewart
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 08:45 AM

I went up to lumphanan to look at my great gran aunty Helen Mcarthur's daughter's grave. Helen regesterd her childs name Betsy Mc Phee b. up the Cairnie in 1877 and berried in lumphanan. Stanley Robertson and my grandmother maggie stewart told storys of a old travelling women called ALD BETT that smoked a clay cutty smoking pipe and her name was old Bet. this was the same old women my grandmother maggie stewart talked about in her storys.

when maggie was comeing out of aberdeen with her father and her mother, maggie was aged 10 years old. ALD BETT she is berried under, the name ELIZABETH STEWART when she should of been named under MC Donald. she is berried up beside the wall across from Stanley Robertson's grave. ALD BETT - Elizabeth Stewart, was Maxie Mc Donald's grand mother, my grand father james stewart, (Big Ma Hungery) he was Called amung the Traveller's. James was a Cousin to Maxie MC Donald. Helen Mc Arthur was the oldest sister to Cathrine (Kate) McArthur B. 1870 Elgin. She was my grandfather, James Stewart's Mother, james his grandfather was James McArthur and his grandmother was Mary Ann MCPhee.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stanley Robertson. - R.I.P. - 2 August 2009
From: GUEST,colin robertson
Date: 30 Jan 12 - 12:15 PM

Met stanley when he came to cyaak to see my mither and father nice man weve lost a national treasure in stanley and his story telling my fathers name was Neil Rbertson and chrissie mothers maiden name stewart all the best Colin


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