Mudcat Café message #4018100 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #48865   Message #4018100
Posted By: GUEST
09-Nov-19 - 06:24 AM
Thread Name: DTStudy: The Dark Island
Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Dark Island
Sadly it is hearsay.. all sorts of myths surround the tune. Whoever got it down in fixed form owned the copyright.   I re-iterate this letter, The MCPS were trying to establish whether it was a trad. piping tune. One of the other parties involved was W.Gordon Smith who wrote his own set of lyrics. "Dear Sirs, thank you for your letter of 26th October. It so happens that I know quite a bit about the tune now called 'the Dark Island'. Its original name was was 'Doctor MacInnes's Farewell to South Uist', and it was composed about 7 or 8 years ago by Ian Maclachlan of Benbecula. There is no question of its being a traditional tune. Mr. W. Gordon Smith is totally mistaken in thinking that any piper knew this tune earlier than about 1958.   To my knowledge there about three sets of lyrics at present being sung in Scotland to the melody and perhaps one of these that I have heard belongs to W.Gordon Smith. Yours sincerely... (photo copy signature unclear... E M (?) Laughlin pp Seumas Macneil College of Piping Glasgow.
Received by MCPS 23 November 1966.   My father Stewart Ross got ripped off for many thousands of pounds due to confusion over the tune's copyright status when he wrote a well known lyric to an altered version of the tune. Had he been able to prove the rumour he would have had a far stronger case, though he did win directly against one record company. After decades of argument his lyric is now formally registered as Stewart Ross with music bv Iain Maclachlan. The butchered version of his lyrical arrangement is on the Digibase but some cloth eared person has written it down with cock ups, and fitted it to the wrong tune variant.   I don't mind giving credit to the late Iain Maclachlan, more irritating is to see MIke Oldfield having fully claimed in his registration to have written the instrumental. as it at least dates from when he was in short trousers!