Sandy Still

Rod Hall

Allen Miller

Jim Jack


Jim Jack





Jim was born in Stonehouse in Lanarkshire,Scotland – his father’s homeland – but the tattie scone famine of 1948 forced a family move south of border when all he could say was ‘Och aye’.  When his parents heard him picking out tunes on the piano by ear (a distinctive way of playing the instrument), a year’s piano lessons followed.  Sadly, the piano teacher went to the great concert hall in the sky and his lack of commitment to practice – a skill which has never deserted him – meant the end of all formal instrumental training.  However, opportunities to sing with school choirs and in church encouraged the vocal side, moving from striking soprano to tremulous tenor.

A half share in a £7.00 guitar at the age of 19, Bert Weedon’s ‘Play in a Day’ and some unusual opportunities to sing and play (such as playing in Durham Prison- as part of a concert party!) provided a platform for the involvement in folk music which took off through the links and incentives arising from working at an inspirational school in Darlington and the people met there.  Combining enjoyment of teaching with the musical opportunities, coaching and playing hockey, running a chess club along with learning to cook, wash and iron etc meant the newly acquired B & M 12 string sat in the corner waiting to play more than the three chords it was used to, the key only varied by the strangulating effects of a Jim Dunlop capo.

Relief came from the acquisition of a Neopolitan mandolin for £5.00 from a junk shop, a 5 string banjo (exchanged for a Dansette record player), an 8 bass Hohner accordion, and then the 120 bass accordion from Bob Smedley – all purchased on the principle that when the practice gets hard, get a different instrument!  The practice set of Northumbrian pipes is now a few years old and G is sounding good.

The musical folk roots are three fold- a love of Scottish folk music – no doubt coming from the land of his birth; an enjoyment of learning and performing Tyneside songs, having grown up in Newcastle; and the unique dales music which are a focus of much of Fourum’s repertoire.  ‘I love good tunes, memorable words, interesting harmony, arrangements which lift the song – but, most of all, enjoying creating music for fun in the company of good friends, especially building news songs with Fourum.  I hugely admire the talent of others - especially my wife’s commitment to practising the piano . We both take great pleasure in the fact that all three children enjoy and play music too – together with the fact that they’re all in permanent work and don’t ask us for money!!’

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