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Wee Magic Stane: Correction

RobbieWilson 09 Sep 13 - 11:18 AM
RobbieWilson 09 Sep 13 - 11:24 AM
Jack Campin 09 Sep 13 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Scabby Douglas 09 Sep 13 - 11:34 AM
Megan L 09 Sep 13 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Sep 13 - 12:11 PM
RobbieWilson 09 Sep 13 - 12:43 PM
Jim McLean 09 Sep 13 - 02:15 PM
Anne Neilson 09 Sep 13 - 03:54 PM
Jim McLean 09 Sep 13 - 04:05 PM
Anne Neilson 09 Sep 13 - 04:51 PM
Jim McLean 09 Sep 13 - 04:56 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Sep 13 - 10:37 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Sep 13 - 01:15 AM
Anne Neilson 10 Sep 13 - 04:44 AM
Jim McLean 10 Sep 13 - 12:06 PM
Anne Neilson 10 Sep 13 - 01:20 PM
Jim McLean 10 Sep 13 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,Dominic 28 Dec 13 - 12:30 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Dec 13 - 08:31 AM
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Subject: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 11:18 AM

I've been meaning to post this for some time now, ever since the last participant died earlier this year. The version of the final verse in the DT misses the point of the joke, about the bloke the wis turning them oot on a belt.

The final verse should read if ever you come oan a stane wi' two rings
sit yersel' doon and proclaim yersel King.

This may be because Norman Buchan's collection " 101 Scottish Songs" includes the same mistake.


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 11:24 AM

Does anyone here know of John McEvoy, the writer. Is he still alive, is it possible to get this confirmed?


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 11:29 AM

I've got three editions of the Rebels Ceilidh Songbook and they all have "a ring", singular.

Where did you get two?


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: GUEST,Scabby Douglas
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 11:34 AM

While it's true that the Stone of Destiny clearly has two rings and not one, Robbie, I have never once heard it sung as "stane wi two rings", and I have heard a lot of different people sing it.

Apart from the factual nature of your correction - have you any evidence that's what Johnny McEvoy wrote?


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: Megan L
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 11:51 AM

I found this mention of John McEvoy written in Frontline in 2010



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John McEvoy

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to correct you on one point which I think is important.

The Wee Magic Stane is written by John McEvoy my grandfather.

Ewan McVicar has informed me that Timothy Neat's biography of Hamish Henderson uses both spellings( McAvoy, McEvoy). For what reason I do not know. I would like to get to the bottom of this.

I don't know why his first name is given as Johnny. I have only ever heard my grandmother Ella call him John. In the family he was always called John. He may have been called Johnny in his younger days.

John is still living in Lynn of Lorne Nursing Home, though too old to speak out on this issue. To respect the man and his legacy I think it is more appropriate to call him by his name John McEvoy.

Ian Hamilton replied to my email and said he remembered John.

The article itself is very interesting. Before I knew much about the wee stane, John sang his song at the dinner table on a visit to New Zealand in 1990.

Regards,

Dominic Bowley from Auckland, New Zealand

Bill Scott replies:

Dear Dominic,

Great to hear from you. I didn't know that Frontline had such an international readership!

Absolutely no disrespect was meant by me when using "Johnny McAvoy" rather than John McEvoy. As I'm only in my 50s myself I had to use secondary sources and they vary in spelling your grandfather's surname as McAvoy and McEvoy, some even use both! For example see this German hosted website on traditional song which attributes the song's authorship to "Johnny McAvoy" -
On the other hand this site and several others give your grand-dad's name correctly as "John McEvoy".

I also, as you suspected, used Timothy Neat's bio of Henderson as a source and so have compounded the confusion. Happy for Frontline to carry a correction. Please accept my apologies for the mis-attribution. From now on if I refer to your grand-dad's song it will be correctly attributed to John McEvoy.

However I do think that some people may have called your grand-dad "Johnny" way back then as some of his contemporaries on the folk scene give his name as "Johnny" when referring to him in writing (e.g. Thurso Berwick/Morris Blythman does whereas Alex Campbell does not). I myself was "Billy" to everyone until I hit my mid-20s but friends made since then, including my wife, have always known me as "Bill" - however my family still refer to me as "Billy". Therefore if you asked my current friends if they knew a "Billy" Scott they'd probably say no. It may well be the opposite with your family where your grandfather was always "John" to them.

Regardless of all that speculation the real intention of the article was to tell a new generation of independence supporters about Ian Hamilton and co's reiving and also about the great song that was written about it. It's one of the first Scottish republican songs that I remember hearing (performed live by Hamish Imlach) and it's a great comic song. Your grand-dad has every reason to be proud of it (and therefore for it to be correctly attributed).

If you are in contact with your grand-dad please pass on my best wishes.

All the Best,

Bill Scott


So there is a chance that he may still be alive but apparently unable to help clear the matter


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 12:11 PM

Hi, Robbie. What you say makes sense, because anyone who searches for images of the Stone of Scone will see that it has two iron rings embedded in it. If the song didn't mention two rings, it should have.

I suspect the editors of the books simply popped the song in without ever investigating the Stone of Scone itself.


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 12:43 PM

I always took the point to be that the real stone had a ring in it but got put on a conveyor belt putting rings into stones to fake the original. Otherwise where is the joke or the point of the last two verses.

I remember this song from even before my Dad brought home the little Rebel song books and long before he went to the launch of Buchan's book.


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: Jim McLean
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 02:15 PM

I have a copy of "Sangs o' the Stane" which preceded the Rebel Ceilidh songbooks and the line in question read "So if ever you come on a Stane wi' a ring..."
The drawing on the front cover show a square stone with two rings but writing/singing "a Stane wi' two rings" is not as easy on the ear as "a Stane wi' a ring". Should we sing "a Stane wi' TWA rings" as distinct from the English TWO?
I have never heard the verse sung with TWO in it and suggest it is a pedantic nod to the actual stone but totally incorrect in so many ways.


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 03:54 PM

I'm with Jim on this -- I've been singing this song since the late '50s, and it was always "a stane wi' a ring", as Jack Campin points out when he quoted the various Rebels Ceilidh Songbooks.
It just feels much tidier on the tongue, and easier on the ear.

And, to assure Leeneia and Robbie, the authors of the books mentioned ( the Ceilidh Songbooks and Norman Buchan's '101 Scottish Songs') were well aware of the actual appearance of the Stone of Destiny, so there was no carelessness in their transmission of John McEvoy's great song, and I'm absolutely confident that this is what he wrote.


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: Jim McLean
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 04:05 PM

The booklet I have, Sangs o the Stane, was printed in 1951 by the Scottish National Congress and its main contributor was Morris Blythman who gave me the booklet. I'm sure this was the first printing of John McEvoy's song and Morris would have got it from him.


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 04:51 PM

And Morris and Norman were always most punctilious about attributions.

(As best man to each other, they surely shared the same outlook, not to mention political affiliations and moral obligations.)


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: Jim McLean
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 04:56 PM

Also, the phrase "a stane wi' a ring" and the title " The Wee Magic Stane" was McEvoy"s humorous dismissal of the so called power of the stone. He could have written "the rectangular stone of 2 foot by ... made of red sandstone with two rings ..." and he would have been very accurate but ..


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 10:37 PM

okayeeee...


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Sep 13 - 01:15 AM

A ring "much tidier on the tongue, and easier on the ear" ~~
.,,.,.
Indeed so ~ not least because 'ring' rhymes so much better with 'king'.

...'rings' would jangle.

A matter of yer-old poetic-licence?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 10 Sep 13 - 04:44 AM

For what it's worth, my first edition copy of The Wee Red Book (Norman Buchan's '101 Scottish Songs', from 1962) has 'The Wee Magic Stane' attributed to John McEvoy. The verse in question has "a stane wi' a ring" and the notes at the back of the book say "When the Stone of destiny was removed on Christmas Day, 1951, from Westminster Abbey it seemed for a time as if all Scotland was busy writing songs about the incident. Some of these songs were pulled together in a small publication called 'Sangs o' the Stane' (Scottish Secretariat). Of them all it is 'The Wee Magic Stane, written by Johnnie -sic- McEvoy, which has passed most quickly into popular currency."

And the acknowledgement page thanks FILMUSIC PUBLISHING CO. LTD. for the song.


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: Jim McLean
Date: 10 Sep 13 - 12:06 PM

Anne, Just a point about Morris and Norrie's outlooks etcetera. They diverged some time ago when Norrie left the Communist party and eventually became a Labour MP. He dropped any pretence at believing in Scottish Independence/Republicanism which Morris not only clung to but pushed via the Rebel Ceilidh songbooks and our combined efforts which produced the Ding, Dong, Dollar LP, Anti Polaris and Scottish Reublican Songs. We were all still friends up until Norrie died but politically we differed totally.


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 10 Sep 13 - 01:20 PM

Apologies, Jim -- that was a lazy remark of mine; I think what I wanted to say was that they shared their early political affiliations as well a continuing sense of moral obligation.

Gosh -- wasn't that a grand time to be around!


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: Jim McLean
Date: 10 Sep 13 - 02:08 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed meetings with Morris and Norrie. One main difference was that admittance to Morris's evenings usually meant a half bottle of Glen Grant, whereas drink was forbidden at Norrie and Janey's! but as you say, it was an exiting time.


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: GUEST,Dominic
Date: 28 Dec 13 - 12:30 AM

John McEvoy was born in Springburn and died March 2010, aged 84.
He was an Actor and Folk singer and was married to Ella Ward. He became friends with people like Hamish Henderson and Morris BLythman in the late 1940's

Hamish and other friends called him Johnny. I sent the Frontline Message to Bill Scott, I think, manly because I was a little peeved to see his name often misspelt.

More recently his song has been published in Ewan McVicars book on political song and Louis Stott's Scottish History in Verse.

To hear John singing visit Tobar an Dualchais Kist o Riches


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Subject: RE: Wee Magic Stane: Correction
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Dec 13 - 08:31 AM

My family were strong supporters of both Scots and Irish independence
I can remember as a youth, an occasion when an uncle (not interested in politics in any form, declared, "They've found the stone"
Immediately interested, my father asked, "where".
"Outside Dan Murphy's door" came the reply.
Jim Carroll


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