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Jimmie Macgregor was born in Springburn, Glasgow, and grew up in a tenement and then a council house, about which he has said: "Our house was a focus for people to gather and make music.... I had aunties and cousins who were chorus girls." After doing his national service, he studied at Glasgow School of Art, graduating in the mid-1950s and becoming a potter and teacher.
In 1960 he formed a musical partnership with Robin Hall that would last 20 years. They appeared extensively on BBC Television - both on the Tonight programme and on the White Heather Club. Both also played as part of The Galliards with Leon Rosselson and Shirley Bland.
Hall and Macgregor recorded over 20 albums during their partnership, which ended in 1981. One of their most successful singles was the anthem "Football Crazy", released in 1960 on Decca Records.
Macgregor went on to make television programmes, many on long-distance walking. These included The West Highland Way, In the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie and Macgregor's Gathering, a long-running show for Radio Scotland. He has been involved in various conservation organisations, among them the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, and was awarded the MBE in 1994 for services to Scottish heritage and culture.