Blackthorn Set 1 - Flaming Bonnets
Pipe Major J. McWilliams composed by
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Pipe Major Donald MacLeod MBE
Piper: Jack Lee
In this, the earliest known volume of The MacHugh Memoirs, the traumatized thirteen-year-old Rory MacHugh is taken captive by a band of Blackfoot. His tragic and strange life becomes even stranger as he matures into a Blackfoot Warrior — until the day he solves the tragic mystery that forces him to return to the whiteman’s world to seek vengeance.
Lieutenant Rory MacHugh, the British Army’s only Blackfoot Highlander, is about to depart the fortress of Almeida when one of the greatest man-made disasters in history turns him into a fugitive. Fate brings MacHugh together with a small band of fugitives, each with his own secret. Joined by a bewitching and mysterious Spanish widow, their perils increase until only three remain to take a vital role in the epic Battle of Bussaco.
Welcome to the website of James L. (Jim) McWilliams, historian, piper, novelist, composer, educator, and world traveler.
But first I invite you to listen to one of the world’s finest pipers, Jack Lee of Surrey, B.C. also the Pipe Sergeant of one of the finest bands in the world, THE SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY PIPE BAND. Jack was generous enough to let me include his rendition of “Pipe Major Jim McWilliams”, a great tune composed by the immortal Donald MacLeod and dedicated to me by the wee man himself.
The second tune, “The Sweet Grass Hills” is a wee part of the continuing mystery of Rory MacHugh, of whom more can be found on this website. By the way, this and several other pipe tunes you will find if you explore my web-site are “performed” by Robert MacNeil’s BAGPIPE MUSIC WRITER GOLD.
2013 for me has been and will continue to be a year of dramatic change. After contending with PMR (polymyalgia rheumatica) for over a decade, I managed to damage my old body even further by breaking my hip while in Saint Petersburg, Russia last August. Having thus wiped the long-awaited tour of Russia and the Baltic countries from our travel plans, Joan and I returned home to face a hip-replacement operation.
The repercussions were drastic: I was forced to step back from several of the most enjoyable and challenging activities I ever pursued. Piping with the VANCOUVER POLICE PIPE BAND was no longer possible, nor was guesting with BLACKTHORN, the west coast’s most exciting Celtic band. Fortunately, I had already published A PIPER’S WORLD, a collection of 99 tunes from my life and travels, and had been revisiting several historical adventure stories I had written decades ago. Consequently I was left with something challenging to do. So coping hourly with the three P’s -- pain, pills, and prednisone -- has been alleviated by the revival of an old, almost abandoned love, WRITING. So let’s get on with 2013 and my next seventy-four years!