MacDonald, Hilda MacPhee - Story about Jimmy Simmons | Bowing Down Home


File: macdonaldhilda-oh-jimmysimmons_M.mp3


HM – Hilda MacPhee MacDonald

GM – George MacPhee (Hilda’s nephew)

KP – Curator Ken Perlman

HM: Oh Jimmy Simmons, he was the best fiddler that ever was heard of I suppose, anywheres around. Yeah. Oh my God he was great to play!

KP: Where was he from?

HM: He's an older man, an older man. He was often at our place. I heard him play a lot. I used to play with him. I'd play the organ and he'd play the fiddle. Oh God, he was great to play.

KP: Where was he from? What district?

HM: Oh, I can't remember came from. Where'd he come from anyway? Where'd he belong to? He had a little place in Selkirk there. He used to do some shoe makin'.

KP: Uh-huh.

HM: He used to have this fiddle. He used to come up and get it. We didn't live very far from him. He used to come up and call around. "I'm gonna take my baby," he called it his baby. He'd go off to fiddle. He'd have it down there for about a month.

GM: He was a piper, too, wasn't he?

HM: Oh, he was great playin' the bagpipes. He used to - He'd walk up and down the sidewalk there and played the bagpipes, and he was great to play. Yeah. Oh my God, he was great to play.

KP: In Selkirk?

HM: Yeah, yeah. He was a great big tall man to white whisker -.Straight. He wouldn't play for everybody. He was pretty funny, you know. No sir, he'd play for me when I'd ask him. I remember Ronnie MacCannon was runnin' the store there and they'd be dyin' to hear him play and he wouldn't play for them.

GM: No.

KP: Why not?

HM: He'd get me to go in, get Jim to play, to ask Jim to play a tune.

KP: Uh-huh.

HM: So after I'd be in talkin' to him for awhile,"Jim will you play a couple of tunes?". He just picked – he'd have it hangin' on a nail. Pick up the fiddle and they'd be at the window listenin', you know. God was he great to play! Shake the bow, that shivers and shakes, oh my God, you never heard such music you could get out of the fiddle.

KP: Did you learn any tunes from him?

HM: Oh, I don't remember learnin’ any from him. I suppose I knew some at that time that he used to play. But I never tried to play a tune from him - Learning from him, though. Oh, I don't think you would have the patience learnin’ from Jimmy Simmons. If you’d make a mistake, he'd be wild (laughs). Ronnie Archie learned from him though and he played just like him. Yeah. Great to play.

KP: Now who was Ronnie Archie?

HM: Ronnie was cousin of ours.