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The Corries - Scottish Folk Music Duo

Updated on October 9, 2014

Meet The Corries - The Utimate Scottish balladeers

When I was in my teens I was a folk singer and The Corries, who graced the Scottish folk scene from the early 1960s until Roy's sad death in 1990, were among my favorite people. Together they were the quintessential Scottish balladeers. Their music spoke to (and for) a generation at a time when the Scottish nation were re-examining their identity. Much of it is relevant today.

Roy Williamson and Ronnie Browne met Bill Smith and Paddie Bell while at Edinburgh College of Art in 1955. In a triving folk scene in Edinburgh Roy, Bill and another friend Ron Cockburn joined to form The Corrie Folk Trio and Paddie Bell. Ronnie joined when Ron Cockburn left. At that time he played no instruments so had a crash course to bring him up to speed.

Image courtesy of Amazon The Corries Bonnet Belt & Sword

Mingulay Boat Song - It's all about the music

a typical Corries performance in a typical setting - for those of us lucky enough to be there - MAGIC!

Musical Quote

"A person does not hear sound only through the ears;

he hears sound through every pore of his body.

~ from 'Mysticism of Sound' by Hazrat Inayat Khan ~

Buy The Corries music - More of my favourite Corries music

The Corrie Folk Trio and Paddie Bell - the early years of The Corries

very early years!

History of The Corries

Hoot-Nanny

Their fortunes changed when they were able to turn profession when the BBC introduced a TV show of Scottish folk music called Hoot-nanny - a very successful show intended to reproduce the atmosphere of a typical folk venue. The Corrie Folk Trio and Paddie Bell became the resident group for the series.

By 1966 Paddie left to spend time with her family and Bill returned to architecture.

and then there were two - Ronnie and Roy became the much loved Corries.

(HOOTENANNY: DEFINITION according to the Urban Dictionary: hoot'nanny

A party

Much like a shindig only with a hole lot of hoot and just a little bit of nanny

We are gonna have a hoot'nanny tonight! )

Singer and Songwriter

Roy's Music

Roy was the music genius of the duo. Multi-talented his playing included guitar, banjo, manjolin, bodhran,COMBOLIN, harmonica, flute, lowland pipes and tin whistle. His most famous composition is the Flower of Scotland now granted royal sanction to be used at all Scottish football and rugby international matches. Famiously the Princess Royal (Princess Anne) enthusicastically joined in the singing at Murrayfield in 1990.

Scotland's Rugby Anthem - Flower o Scotland

Roy was the music genius of the duo. Multi-talented, his playing included guitar, banjo, manjolin, bodhran,COMBOLIN, harmonica, flute, lowland pipes and tin whistle. His most famous composition is the Flower of Scotland now granted royal sanction to be used at all Scottish football and rugby international matches. Famously Princess Anne enthusicastically joined in the singing at Murrayfield in 1990.

The song is now used as Scotland's anthem for all international rugby games also for The Scottish Football Association and at other games including curling and boxing matches. In fact ... anywhere you find Scots competing.

... and how it Should be sung! - Go on, sing along. You know you want to.

The Writing of The Flower of Scotland

by Roy Williamson

Roy wrote this in the 1960s and was first played in front of Ruthven barracks in Scotland, in 1967,

It was adopted by the Scottish rugby international winger in 1974 - a time of increased interest in home-rule for Scotland. When the team returned from South Africa that year, they were voted Team of the Year by BBC TV and they sang this as their team song.

From 1990 onwards the Scottish Rugby Union have used this an an unofficial anthem at the beginning of games, even Princess Anne ( a keen rugby fan) was seen singing it. Roy always loved rugby and he lived to see his song commenorated in his favourite sporting arena.

Since Roy's death, Ronnie has continued to lead fans in the anthem from rugby to boxing to curling and in 1996 - as the official anthem for The Scottish Football Association.

Ronnie designed the Corries' tartan shown here to mark the 40th anniversary of the writing of this wonderful national song "Flower of Scotland"

taken from http://www.corries.com/news.php

photo of Ronnie wearing the Corrie tartan kilt. Photo credit to the Corries Official Website

Musical Instruments

Roy's creation - The Combolins:

Roy was the musician, the instrumentalist and also a skilled wood worker. Famously, they carried around a lot of instruments on tour that they would line up behind them on chairs. Roy had the idea of creating an instrument that would combine several instruments into one and The Combolins was invented. There were two - one which combined a mandolin and a guitar with four bass strings operated with slide. The other was a combination of a guitar and a bandurria, a Spanish instrument Roy was fond of.

In reality they never did replace all those instruments on tour, instead they were another two to cart around!

You can find out more detailed information on The Combolins on Wiki

Pictured here is David Sinton with a combolin.

http://combolins.com/index.shtml

Garten Mother's Lullaby - Showing off the Combolins

Ronnie Browne Biography

The Joker

Both Roy and Ronnie were art teachers when they turned professional. Ronnie became the business manager of the duo and he even ironed their costumes before each gig!

He was not in the original line-up but was asked to help out when one of the group became ill before a gig.

The more extrovert of the pair, Ronnie with his distinctive white hair and beard, provided vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica and bodhran. He also whistled!

On Roy's death Ronnie said he could never take another partner but he continued to promote Celtic music as a solo artist until his retirement.

Ronnie's Tribute to Roy

Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream - The Corries in anti-war mode

The Balladeers - Roy and Ronnie

The Corries were the quintessential Scottish balladeers. Rousing Jacobite songs mixed with quiet traditional songs and humour to provide entertainment second to none. Many may argue they took a romantic view of Scottish history which takes nothing away the music. Some of their most powerful songs were those of the Jacobite rebellions in Scotland and Bonnie Prince Charlie. History now shows it was more of a civil war than than at first appears: as many clans fought against Prince Charlie as those that fought him, and Charlie himself was a bit of a fop who spoke no English or Gaelic, only French and Italian. Nowtheless the songs remain poignant and rousing.

Scotland Will Flourish - Roy's answer that we Scots are always looking backwards!

UK Readers

The default settings for this page are for USA

to buy The Corries music in the UK

follow the link below

The Corries

Westering Home - An old favourite sung round many firesides

This always reminds me how much I miss them!

Which song is your favourite?

Which is your favourite?

See results

Birnie Bozzle - featuring the Bodhran Drums

Bodhran Drums Available on Amazon - Popularly used by The Corries

The bodhran is an Irish fold drum played with a wooden 'tipper'. Different sizes produce different sounds and the pitch can be changed by experienced players.

The Corries made this instrument famous in Scotland, giving their ballads an ancient and haunting rhythm as you can hear in the above video.

I had to try one - it ain't as easy as it looks!

Images

The images used throughout this lens came from

The Corries official website

picture gallery

© 2009 Ann

What do you think of the Corries?

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    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 2 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      yes me too! thanks for visiting

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 2 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      topical isn't it?

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 2 years ago from Liverpool, England

      I quite like their Parcel O'Rogues

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 2 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Love the Corries! This brings back memories of singing "Flower of Scotland" at Murrayfield in the 1970s when I was a student in Edinburgh.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

      Loved thier music and found this a very informative and interesting lens. THanks for a great lens

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Scottish folk music is among my favorite. You've highlighted their career and music so well!

    • waldenthreenet profile image

      waldenthreenet 5 years ago

      I live in a Scottish origin town in Northern Virginia with Celtic Music and Blue Grass still among favorites. I appreicate your topic. Congrads on yor Squidoo trophy. Am going for my next. Conversations helps with new ideas new topics. THanks.

    • TheLastResort LM profile image

      TheLastResort LM 5 years ago

      I've recently been fascinated with Scotland, and the Corries' songs only add to the mystery of Scotland as I perceive it. Thank you for sharing, this is amazing!

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed listening to these videos of the Corries!

    • SteveMcGUK profile image

      SteveMcGUK 5 years ago

      The Corries are an excellent example of Scottish folk music, perfect for my Herman quest!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Came back to give a SquidAngel blessing (still love the Corries!)

    • James M Becher profile image

      James M Becher 6 years ago from South Florida

      A great sound and a great lens. I'm lensrolling this to and featuring on my lens: American Folk Music, Past Present and Future.

    • profile image

      WeirdStuff 6 years ago

      Wonderful music, thanks for introducing them!

    • profile image

      Positivevibestechnician 6 years ago

      very entertaining.. they just don't make em like that anymore..

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      lovely music. i enjoyed this lens.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Very nice! Thanks for introducing them to me :)

    • profile image

      sabinamiller 6 years ago

      Nice lens... Good info...

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @jptanabe: you lucky thing you - thanks for visiting

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Love the Corries - remember them well from my years in Scotland. And yes we sang Flower o' Scotland at the rugby matches at Murrayfield, stirring memories!

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @Lemming13: thanks so much Lemming - I've added them just for you. and thanks for the lovely blessing.

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @junecampbell: thanks Nightcat

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I've not heard of the Corries before but I absolutely love the videos you have here. Great lens,

    • Lemming13 profile image

      Lemming13 6 years ago

      I love the Corries, but you missed my favourite songs - Westering Home and Gartan Mother's Lullaby. Great lens all the same, blessed and enjoyed.

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @RuthCoffee: I can understand that - the only music I don't like is impro jazz - thanks for visiting.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 6 years ago

      Enjoyed all of the music here. My husband enjoys any type of musical event, but the ones I enjoy the most are traditional Irish and Scottish music, BlueGrass, and I suppose classical music. (odd combination, but it's what I enjoy performed live)

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @anonymous: thanks Jenny

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love this website. Love Scotland and Scottish music, will be back to listen at leisure. Thank you for educating us about this wonderful folk duo.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love this website. Love Scotland and Scottish music, will be back to listen at leisure. Thank you for educating us about this wonderful folk duo.

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @John Dyhouse: glad you liked them

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 6 years ago from UK

      thanks for that, I enjoyed reading about The Corries, I knew the name but did not know very much about them. I am certain to be back for a more in-depth look and more of the music.

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @helen6488: thanks Helen that means a lot

    • profile image

      helen6488 6 years ago

      Love your lens, I m impressed.

      Keep it up

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @LizMac60: thanks for visiting x

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Love them. Great musicians

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @Petstrel LM: me too :-)

    • Petstrel LM profile image

      Petstrel LM 7 years ago

      I love the Corries :)

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @LisaMarieGabriel: thanks for visiting - I tried the bodhran with not much success so you have my full admiration, I still play the guitar a bit though ;-)

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      I first saw the Corries on TV when we were living at Grantown-on-Spey. Hearing them made a huge impact on me, particularly with their Jacobite songs and bodhran playing. So much so that I learned to play it myself. A wonderful duo! Blessed today :)

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @anonymous: thanks Tipi - they are great but not so easy to play as they look x

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I gotta say that those Bodhran Drums look great. I'm going to have to look into them.

      Very good lens my dear. x

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @teamlane: thanks for visiting x

    • teamlane profile image

      teamlane 7 years ago

      Well done lens annmackiemiller! :)

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @Linda BookLady: :-))

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I love the music, Ann! I've been to this page before, but it's been a while...

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @Stazjia: oh thank you so much, Stazjia - I'm thrilled. x

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 7 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I love Celtic music and you have chosen such wonderful examples. Blessed by an Angel.

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @Virginia Allain: thanks so much Virginia, much appreciated

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @LisaAuch1: you're welcome Lisa

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 7 years ago from Scotland

      thank you for a visit to my childhood - my father played the Corries on a Sunday All Day!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 7 years ago from Central Florida

      I'll bookmark this so I can come back to listen to their lilting tunes again. I've lensrolled it to my Celtic Music That I Love lens.

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @norma-holt: thanks skiesgreen - I am one lucky lady. x even when I am an eggcow

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @LoKackl: oh thank you so much, I really appreciate that. x

    • LoKackl profile image

      LoKackl 7 years ago

      Thanks for introducing me to the Corries! Blessed.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      I am all for anything Scottish. Great tribute lens and music. *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust and also on How to Make Good Music.

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      thanks Kim and Liz

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 7 years ago

      Very nice lens... Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great lens. thanks for visiting mine!!5* and favourite