Thursday, August 05, 2010

Jock Troup and Duncan McNeill on

Jock Troup Boy Singing.jpg

Photo © Jim Mayne, of Jock Troup leading a children's mission, circa 1920.

Thanks again to Jim Mayne from Bangor for lending me some of his old 78 collection some weeks back. I have digitised these and cleaned up some of the crackle; they have now been incorporated into the Scottish music archive

Jock Troup (1896 - 1954) was a very famous evangelist of his generation and spent much time preaching in Ulster. He is only known to have ever recorded two songs - "He Did Not Die In Vain" and "Unanswered Yet" (Beltona 1584). In 2002 George Mitchell wrote an excellent biography of Jock Troup entitled Revival Man - The Jock Troup Story. Recently, Sharon Wilkinson from North Carolina also sent me a biographical booklet by her father, a preaching colleague of Jock's called James Stewart, entitled Our Beloved Jock - Revival Days in Scotland and England - the Story of a Fisherman Revivalist.

Duncan McNeill / M'Neill (not sure of dates of birth or death) was described as "Scotland's Sweetest Gospel Singer" and "The Scottish Skylark", and for a time was also pastor of Bridgeton Baptist Church in Glasgow. Among Jim's 78s were two by McNeill - "Thou Remainest" & "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" (Beltona 1460) as well as "Don't Be Downhearted" & "The Gospel Ship" (Beltona 1620). I am not sure if he spent any time on this side of the water, but his records and his hymn book were certainly enjoyed here. Any information you might have about him would be appreciated.

With Jim's permission all of these tracks have been sent to Stuart Eydmann who runs the website, to add to his collection there. RareTunes is an excellent growing archive of rare Scottish recordings.

Troup and McNeill, along with others like Seth Sykes, Charlie Mayne, W.E. Tocher and many others were all Scottish preachers who made a big impact on Ulster in the early 20th century. Another great example is the "Old Tent Evangel" which was founded in 1922 and moved around different areas of East Belfast - it was nicknamed "The Cloot Kirk" (the Cloth Church). In addition to their spiritual legacy they also left a collection of songs, hymns and childrens choruses, some of which used Scots language words and expressions. Perhaps the close relationship of the Belfast and Glasgow shipyards was a factor, but these are all evangelical evidences of how Scots speech was once a frequent feature of the working class life of Belfast.

NB - you can hear the Troup and McNeill recordings here, in the column on the right entitled "Latest Recordings". An excellent history of the halls and missions of Belfast is Belfast's Halls of Faith and Fame by Victor Maxwell (Ambassador 1999)

NB again - Jock Troup's understudy / successor as Glasgow's most renowned open air preacher was Raymond McKeown. His parents, Joseph and Margaret McKeown, were Ulster folk - Joseph had been in the Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary but they moved to Glasgow in the 1930s because of the threat of terrorist attack on the family.


Philip Robinson said...

Check out these colour photos from America in the 30s and 40s.