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BRUCE MACGREGOR - The Highlander’s Revenge: Tunes And Tales From A Blazin’ Fiddler 

BRUCE MACGREGOR - The Highlander’s Revenge: Tunes And Tales From A Blazin’ Fiddler 
Private Label 

Born in Inverness, Bruce MacGregor is a fiddler and broadcaster best known as a founder of Blazin’ Fiddles and a presenter of Travelling Folk on BBC Radio Scotland. With the release of The Highlander’s Revenge, a book of tunes and memoirs, he can now add “author” to that list of careers. It features 50 of his compositions, along with stories of the context of their origins, as well as a nice range of photos from the years of touring with Blazin’ Fiddles.

There are plenty of stories of partying and gigging, the wonderful opportunities, the synchronicities, the unscripted nature of touring, the joys of dressing up, as well as the tender moments. MacGregor is a storyteller with a touch of humour and some self-deprecation. Throughout, he is clearly grateful for the gift of his craft, the people he has played with, and the audiences who have supported him.

Having a memoir and a tunebook bound together is a nice combination. One can read through some background and history, and then play the relevant tune. And it certainly helps in deciphering the logic of certain tune names. The music notation is clear, and it includes chords for accompanists.

Early in the book, Bruce talks about his fiddle teacher, Donald Riddell, and how he really appreciated “the stories he [Riddell] told me about the tunes; the composers, the places and people that inspired the music. For Donald, traditional music needed context.” This book follows Riddell’s directive, as it offers context for the tunes MacGregor has written, and documents the adventures that MacGregor’s fiddle has led him into (and sometimes out of).

Ivan Emke


This review appeared in Issue 137 of The Living Tradition magazine