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James "Jimmy" Shand Passes Away

Today in Masonic History James "Jimmy" Shand passes away in 2000.

James "Jimmy" Shand was a Scottish musician.

Shand was born on January 28th, 1908 in East Wemyss in Fife, Scotland. Later his family moved to Auchtermuchty which currently has a bronze statue of Shand. At a young age Shand started by playing the mouth organ and later moved to the fiddle. At the age of fourteen he was forced to leave school and begin working in the coal mines. When he was 18, in 1926, he was banned from returning to the mines when he played a series of charity concerts for the then striking miners.

Things started to change for Shand one day when he and a friend stopped outside a music shop in Dundee. His friend encouraged him to try the accordion which was displayed in the window. He started playing and the owner of store immediately offered him a job as a traveling salesman and debt collector. This gained him access to a van so that he could travel around to play gigs.

Leading up to World War II he had tried out for the BBC and was rejected because he kept time by taping his foot. From 1935 to 1940 he made 78s for the Beltona label. This was at a time when a gramophones were a luxury item in the few homes that you found them in. Most of his recordings with Beltona were solo albums, although he did experiment with working small bands.

During World War II, Shand was rejected for service due to a digestive problem. Instead he served during the war in the Fire Service.

In 1945, Shand made his first broadcast on the BBC with his show "Jimmy Shand and the Band." He made numerous shows and appearances for both television and radio with the BBC.

After World War II, Shand became a full time musician. He took on a lifestyle adopted by most rock bands. He traveled from Dundee to Iverness in the Scottish Highlands one night, then the next he was in London for a show and back to Dundee to sleep.

Shand semi-retired in 1972, playing out of the way venues for a reduced fee. In the course of his career he had more than 330 compositions. He recorded more tracks than the Beatles and Elvis Presley combined.

Since the 1950's the crowd has left Dunfermline Athletic Football Club to the sound of Shand's "The Bluebell Polka."

Shand passed away on December 23rd, 2000.

Shand was a member of Lodge Robert De Bruce No. 304, Ladybank, Fife, Scotland.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.