The Corries


Although Roy Williamson and Ronnie Browne first met each other at The Edinburgh College of Art in 1955, their musical relationship didn't begin until 1962. In the autumn of that year, a folk group, The Corrie Folk Trio, consisting of Bill Smith, Ron Cruikshank, Paddie Bell and Roy Williamson was appearing at the Waverley Bar in Edinburgh.  Ron Cruikshank subsequently left the group and Ronnie Browne joined. In 1965, Paddie Bell left the group to have her child. Roy, Ronnie and Bill Smith continued as the Corrie Folk Trio. On New Year's Eve 1966, Bill Smith left the line-up, leaving  Roy and Ronnie to decide whether to continue on as a duo.

After playing as The Corries , at the Royal Jubilee Arms Hotel in Cortachy (Roy armed with guitar and Ronnie with his moothie) to an enthusiastic audience, they made the firm commitment to continue on as a duo. Who can envy the task that faced the duo? With Ronnie having to learn how to play guitar, the banjo, the incredible combolins, all to the exacting musical standards of his partner, and Roy having to develop from the shy retiring musician into a stage performer, who delivered one-liners as well as any stand up comedian.

Through club, television, radio and concert appearances they developed into a multi-instrumental group, playing accompaniments on guitars, mandolins, boranns, banjo, flutes, whistles, harmonica, concertina, Northumbrian pipes, bandurria, combolins, 28 string guitar, psaltry, English guitars ,fiddle etc. During the years they recorded a number of albums, made countless TV performances, and even performed at the 1970 Edinburgh commonwealth games.

Together they helped banish the myth that Scottish music was all kilts and haggis, bringing new life to "tired" Scottish favourites like Annie Laurie and The Bonnie Lass O' Fyvie. They sang songs of great battles, of dark deeds, of love, sometimes with new melodies and strange instruments, all intermingled with humorous stories and songs, with an intense energy and fantastic stage presence.

In 1990, Roy Williamson sadly died of a brain tumour. Ronnie enjoyed a successful solo career for a few years until repeat throat infections sadly forced him into retirement. However, their music is very much alive and enjoyed by many throughout the world. Now, with many of the old recordings being re-released on CD, Roy's song "The Flower of Scotland" set to become the national anthem of Scotland - it looks like The Corries are going to be popular for many a year to come.

Nick Guida and Robert Murray