Jim MacDougall | Bowing Down Home

Jim MacDougall with Peter Robinson on bass: Summerside, Nov. 2006

Biography

Jim MacDougall was one of the founders of the Prince County Fiddlers. By 2006, most of the other founders were gone from the scene, and Jim was in effect serving as unofficial leader by example. He has something of a dual musical personality. Essentially, he plays Cape Breton tunes in a quasi-Cape Breton style, and old Prince County tunes – such as Farmer’s Reel, Growling Old Man, Ottawa Valley Reel, and Twin Sisters – in classic West Prince Style.

MacDougall grew up in a musical family in Grand River. His father Edward MacDougall played fiddle, and it was at their house that many of the community house parties took place. As a youngster, Jim used to station himself as close as he could get to the music at house parties and parish picnics, because he found listening to well-played fiddle music so pleasurable.

For outdoor dances, people around Grand River used to build platforms known as dancing booths (east of Charlottetown these structures were called dancing saloons). When Jim’s family held a wedding or wedding shower at their home, they borrowed a dancing booth from the church. During Jim’s youth the fiddler most in demand for playing at local weddings was Elmer Robinson.

Like many other Island players of his generation, Jim had to “sneak” his father’s fiddle in order to get hold of an instrument long enough to get started. He played his first dance at age 16, when locals in need of a fiddler came by in a horse and sleigh in the middle of the night and got him hauled out of bed.

At age 74, MacDougall still found fiddling and fiddle tunes new and fresh; he expects that attitude to persist as long as he does.

Of special note: On the jig medley beginning with Spin ‘n’ Glow, MacDougall is joined by fiddlers Jackie Biggar, Patsy Bolger, and Leith Thompson.

Tune Selections

MacDougall, Jim - Ainsley's Reel Accompanied by: Darlene Harding, pno; Ron Albert, gtr; Peter Robinson, bass
West Prince
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MacDougall, Jim - Farmer's Reel Accompanied by: Darlene Harding, pno; Peter Robinson, bass
West Prince
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MacDougall, Jim - Fisher's Hornpipe Accompanied by: Darlene Harding, pno; Ron Albert, gtr; Peter Robinson, bass
West Prince
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MacDougall, Jim - Growling Old Man Accompanied by: Peter Robinson, bass
West Prince
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MacDougall, Jim - High Level Hornpipe Accompanied by: Darlene Harding, pno; Ron Albert, gtr; Peter Robinson, bass
West Prince
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MacDougall, Jim - Irish American Reel / Sister Dolena Beaton Accompanied by: Darlene Harding, pno; Ron Albert, gtr; Peter Robinson, bass
West Prince
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MacDougall, Jim - Ottawa Valley Reel Accompanied by: Darlene Harding, pno; Peter Robinson, bass
West Prince
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MacDougall, Jim - PEI Ferry Crossing Accompanied by: Darlene Harding, pno; Ron Albert, gtr; Peter Robinson, bass
West Prince
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MacDougall, Jim - Pigeon on the Gatepost Accompanied by: Darlene Harding, pno; Peter Robinson, bass
West Prince
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MacDougall, Jim - Spin 'n' Glow / Regina Stubbert / JMacDougall Jig 1 Accompanied by: Darlene Harding, pno; Peter Robinson, bass
West Prince
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MacDougall, Jim - Tarbolton Lodge Accompanied by: Darlene Harding, pno; Peter Robinson, bass
West Prince
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MacDougall, Jim - Teviot Bridge / Cronin's Favorite Accompanied by: Darlene Harding, pno; Peter Robinson, bass
West Prince
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Tune Selections

Prince County Fiddlers' Society - Shandon Bells / Tuggerman's Jig / Belfast Jig Accompanied by: Ivan Bowness, pno; Austin Paynter, accdn
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Prince County Fiddlers' Society - Silver Star / Londonderry Hornpipe / London Hornpipe Accompanied by: Ivan Bowness, pno; Austin Paynter, accdn
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Oral Histories

He’ll always love fiddling You'll know he's dead when someone plays the fiddle and he doesn't get up info and transcript
Parish picnics in Grand River School dances & parish picnics in Grand River; once when Elmer Robinson was playing MacDougall lay down in the grass and spent the afternoon listening to the music; next day got two shingles and pretended he was Elmer info and transcript
Plays at first dance They came in a sleigh to get him out of bed to play at his first dance info and transcript
Sneaking the fiddle Takes fiddle when father goes to Summerside info and transcript
Wedding showers at home Wedding shower; borrowed a dancing both and set it up in yard; Elmer Robinson played; couldn't have a wedding without the fiddler info and transcript

Video Clips