Alex Clarke was brought up in a tenement just off Dundee’s Hilltown - hence his signature song - We’re the lads fae the tap o the hill. His mother was a weaver in the jute mills as was his granny, his father an engineer. As a boy he started out singing Harry Lauder songs and was soon singing in concert parties. He was taught Highland dancing as a boy and later took up Scottish dancing, forming his own troupe for shows with Robert Wilson and Andy Stewart and appearing with the White Heather Club. His granny Clarke was a source of songs and old stories of Dundee, of McGonagall and the fall of the Tay Bridge. He was first discovered by Maurice Fleming in the 1950s and was later recorded on the Coorse and Fine LP of Dundee songs on Springthyme in 1985 (not yet reissued on CD).