Death of Jim Reid

July 21, 2009

By Ian Green, Greentrax Recordings

I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jim Reid early on Monday, 6th July. I had known Jim for very many years and always enjoyed his frank, no-nonsense approach to life. He was also a most entertaining and reliable artist to book and I was proud to call him friend.

Jim Reid was regarded as one of Scotland’s finest singers and was certainly one of my all-time favourites. He sang in a natural ‘couthie’ style to guitar accompaniment and handled his ‘mouthie’ in the Scottish style. I booked The Taysiders, one of Jim’s early groups, into the Police Folk Club (‘Fuzzfolk’) on many occasions and these were always exceptionally fine evenings. Jim also gained wider fame with the wonderful Foundry Bar Band.

In the 80’s when I was running my first business enterprise, Discount Folk Records, Jim’s first solo album “I Saw The Wild Geese Flee” was consistently our ‘best seller’ over several years. The album included the evocative “The Wild Geese” (“Norland Wind”) and Jim was never allowed to do a gig without performing this song. Robbie Shepherd played it regularly over the years on The Reel Blend.

When I launched Greentrax Recordings on my retiral from the police in 1986 I had Jim on my ‘must record’ list but time passed and Jim had by then started his own record label – Greylag Music – and it was not until 2005 that Dr. Fred Freeman and myself persuaded him to record an album for Greentrax. This followed the publication of Jim’s own book “Songs, Tunes and Life Stories” (Taigh na Teud), which included his own compositions, traditional songs and many of Violet Jacob’s poems which Jim lovingly set to music.

I was delighted with Jim’s album – “Yont The Tay” – and was so pleased he chose to re-visit “The Wild Geese”, a personal favourite. At the end of the recording Jim profusely thanked engineer Peter Haigh , Dr Fred Freeman and myself for being given the opportunity to record the album and generously expressed the view that this was his finest recording experience.

Jim was a lovely man and he will be greatly missed by his partner Julia, family and friends. Jim’s passing will also be a huge loss to the traditional music community. There have been far too many such losses in recent years.

Jim, goodbye and thanks for the music.

The funeral arrangements and a service was held at Mid-day on Monday, 13th July, in Letham Parish Church, Angus, followed by burial in Dunnichen Cemetery.

Ian Green,

Greentrax Recordings Ltd.

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