Read about Song-Collector Alexander Campbell, in ‘Thirsty Work and Other Heritages of Folk Song’ Conference Papers

I’ve just received my own copy of a new publication by Ballad Partners, Thirsty Work and Other Heritages of Folk Song, which contains my most recent Alexander Campbell article: ‘Alexander Campbell’s Song Collecting Tour: ‘The Classic Ground of our Celtic Homer’. There’s a section on Campbell and his musicianship – an entirely new angle which I spent some time contemplating during lockdown.

The book is Ballad Partners’ third book of Folk Song Studies.

I have just catalogued a copy for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Library – I listed the contents there, so I’ll repeat the list here for your interest. If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, please visit the Ballad Partners’ website. (I’m unconnected with the publishers – I am just one of the contributors!)


Thirsty work: traditional singing on BBC Radio, 1940-41 / Katie Howson — From Tyneside to Wearside: in search of Sunderland songs / Eileen Richardson — Sam Bennett’s songs / Elaine Bradtke — Newman and Company of Dartmouth and the song tradition of Newfoundland’s South Coast / Anna Kearney Guigne — Railwaymen’s charity concerts, 1888-89 / Colin Bargery — Picturing protest: prints to accompany political songs / Patience Young — ‘That is all the explanation I am at liberty to give in print’: Richard Runciman Terry and Songs from the Sea / Keith Gregson — Drawing from the well : Emma Dusenberry and her old songs of the Ozarks / Eleanor Rodes — Alexander Campbell’s song collecting tour : ‘The Classic Ground of our Celtic Homer’ / Karen McAulay — ‘Don’t let us be strangers’ – William Montgomerie’s fieldwork recordings of Scottish farmworkers, 1952 / Margaret Bennett — ‘No maid in history’s pages’ : the female rebel hero in the Irish ballad tradition / Therese McIntyre — Who is speaking in songs? / David Atkinson

Bruce, Clements and Co.

This is another posting that I put on the Facebook Glasgow Music Publishers page a couple of days ago. I wonder if anyone can provide any pointers to this firm, currently a bit of a mystery to me?!


My study of historical Glasgow music publishers may need to embrace other Scottish music publishers too. (A metaphorical, socially distanced embrace, obviously.)

So. The first question is, who WERE Bruce, Clements & Co, who traded in Edinburgh circa 1921-1937, published quite a bit by W. B. Moonie and a significant work – Dirge for Cuthullin – by Cedric Thorpe Davie? I’ve only looked at Jisc Library Hub Discover and the British Newspaper Archive so far, but although I can find out what they published, I don’t know who they were – sometimes they called themselves Bruce Clements & Co., and other times Bruce, [COMMA!] Clements & Co. – though I do know they traded from 30 Rutland Square.

W. B. Moonie – YouTube of “Perthshire Echoes” played by pianist P. Sear

I don’t have access to Post Office Directories in Libraries – and they’re too “modern” to be in the National Library of Scotland Digital Gallery – though appropriate directories might yet tell me more about Mr Bruce or Mr Clements! At the moment, it’s just a question arising from my insatiable curiosity, but I should still like to know, because you never know what connections firms had with other firms or individuals.

I have had a couple of responses – Jack Campin tells me that Davie’s son was Tony Davie, computer scientist at the University of St Andrews.  And I am sure there will be plenty of material about Cedric Thorpe Davie himself at St Andrews’ research repository, so that could be an interesting angle to pursue.

Meanwhile, another respondent pointed me in the direction of a couple of directories available via the Internet Archive, so I now have their address, (You’d be surprised how many firms I’ve traced at Rutland Square, which plainly housed more than one company at a time. The Boy Scouts Association were there, for starters. But I digress!

Interestingly, Thorpe Davie’s choral work, Dirge for Cuthullin, published in 1937 and admired by Vaughan Williams (four letters survive at, was subsequently taken over by Oxford University Press in 1946. (See notes on manuscripts at St Andrews University Library.) I have a feeling Bruce, Clements and Co published very little, if anything else, by Thorpe Davie, and I believe the firm fizzled out in the very early 1940s. (I’d still like to know who they were!)