Fitchet was born in Dundee in 1910 and became one of Scotland's foremost
fiddlers and Scottish Country Dance Bandleaders.
He began playing at the tender age of five. Then, at the ripe old age of
twelve, he stood-in for an absent violinist at a local cinema showing silent
films and was soon making five shillings a week doing this. He wrote his
first tune, the March, ‘Mr Michie’, at the age of 16 in 1926.
In 1932 he married Matilda Speirs Rowan, but sadly this union was ended by
1932 Marriage Angus W. Fitchet And Matilda Spiers Rowan
The marriage certificate shows that his father’s job had been that of
'Scavenger', but it is known that he too had been an accomplished fiddler.
His son in later life, clearly in memory of his father, composed and played
a 'Two Step' called 'The Dancing Dustman'.
Writing tunes in fond memory of his closest friends was a feature of his
work .... and these rank among the loveliest of his compositions.
In the late 1930s he went to Largs to join a five-piece orchestra in a
restaurant there. He also played in the Winifred Bird Mathew Band in Dundee,
and then later appeared with accordionist Will Starr.
He joined Jimmy Shand’s Band in 1945 and this gave him a real taste for
Scottish band work. So much so that in due course he formed his own highly
successful Scottish Dance Band, and drove all over Britain in an old Dodge
Red Cross ambulance run on half petrol, half paraffin (!) to play at
dances large or small. During this time, his band also made many live
wireless broadcasts and records.
Eventually Angus returned to playing solo fiddle, and toured with Will Starr
and Robert Wilson. He was renowned for his note-perfect sweet tone despite
having a very modest fiddle. He was known to describe it as “an auld bit o'
stick”. However, he did insist on a having an excellent bow.
He was in his late sixties when he joined Jimmy Blue, whose band travelled
full time with Andy Stewart. Andy loved Angus' humour and many a time "dried
up" onstage because of Angus' witticisms. Andy indeed wrote a twenty-three
verse poem in his honour entitled ‘On Angus Fitchet’. Although suffering
from arthritis and deafness, he continued entertaining, and was often a
guest with Bobby Crowe and his Band at venues all over Scotland and in the
North of England.
Amazingly, he was still performing in his early eighties, and even completed
a broadcast for the BBC c.1991. His reel, "J.B. Milne", has probably been
broadcast more than any other Scottish tune.
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