THE NATIONAL Library of Scotland has received the final tranche of a collection of more than 10,000 sound recordings from music enthusiast, William Dean-Myatt.
A record collector based in the West Midlands, Mr Dean-Myatt amassed his collection of Scottish music over a 70-year period – he is now donating them to the nation.
His special interest in 78s of Scottish music stemmed from the music played by his relatives in Scotland. His research resulted in his book, The Scottish Vernacular Discography 1888-1960.
Any flat disc record, made between about 1898 and the late 1950s and playing at a speed around 78 revolutions per minute is called a “78” by collectors.
Mr Dean-Myatt said: “I have always been bemused as to why Scotland did not have a sound archive that recorded the commercial vernacular music of Scotland, rather than high art music.
“I want the collection to be heard and used by people in Scotland to listen and learn about historic Scottish music.
“By donating my collection to the National Library of Scotland, I am hoping it will be the foundation for something bigger and better.”
The Library’s Sound Collections Curator, Alistair Bell said: “Most of our collection of 78s comes from the Dean-Myatt Collection.
“What we have so far has been catalogued, and we’re digitising the recordings at the moment with a view to making them available online. Soon everyone will be able to access the fruits of Mr Dean-Myatt’s lifetime hobby.”
The final installment of the donation is approximately 7,500 shellac discs, adding to the 3,000 sound recordings already at the Library – mostly made up of shellac records, but also including vinyl, cassette tapes and a small number of wax cylinders.
The majority of the shellac records are mass-produced commercial copies, but the collection also includes a number of rare and unique items.
It includes Scottish music of various genres: Gaelic songs, recordings of the Scottish music hall, Border songs, fiddle and bagpipe music and dialect sketches.
Artists represented in the collection include Jimmy Shand, James Scott Skinner, Harry Gordon, Harry Lauder, Bob Smith, Tony Capaldi, Willie Kemp, Peter Wyper and Heloise Russell-Ferguson.