The Banff and Buchan Collection

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Tape 1994.009 transcription

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[Accordion music.]

[Accordion music.]

[BM] Is is fit happens ye see

[TM] I'm not looking.

[BM] I've been trying tae practice various keys, and it's affa difficult on the melodion.

More music. Loses the place. Starts again.

[BM] Nae comin aff.

[BM] Like music tae unwind ye. And I wis up at General Motors and I micht a hin a, a ?? machine wisnae workin right, or something wis gan rang ken, jist a tough day. And I come hame and wi hid the organ wis there at at time, and I wis sittin doon at it ten minutes! and ye jist got up a different kind from when ye sat doon.

[TM] Where did you learn to play the melodion?

[BM] Ach, I suppose it wis aff the mooth organ really.

[TM] And did you just pick up things by ear?

[BM] Aye, oh I canna read two notes of music! No, no.

[JMcK] That was when he was just, Bill canna read music and our son wouldna play withoot music, and if he heard the tune and he hadnae music for it, he used tae laugh, he used tae sit doon and write oot a the music, and then he played it (laughs). But, feel as it wis a bit silly but eh, but he jist, he jist wouldna play if he hidnae the music to read.

[BM] Oh, I can pick a tune o sorts oot o onything like.

[JMcK] Onything but the trumpet, ye couldna manage it!

[BM] Oh, I jist eens tried it (laughs)

[TM] That's more of an engineering feat that.

[JMcK] Yes!

[TM] But the tub trumpets have been sadly neglected.

[JMcK] Mm hm.

[BM] Ah but I'll mebbe tik it up yet, if ye ever, got a gey good trumpet lyin up ere like, £300 pounds worth foo many year ago. But I get on better an at like. ?? the same ye see. [Laughs.]

[TM] That was nice though, that MacFarlane.

[BM] Aye

[TM] Sounds nice on the melodion.

[BM] I can kinda manage at. But it's, it's it bein like the mooth organ, it's a dramatic scale ye see, and there's sik an affa difference, yer pushin for the note yer needin on one scale, yer pullin for the same note on anither scale, ken and it's…

[TM] Yes, plenty of pitfalls just waiting for you.

[BM] Aye, oh puir full of pitfalls. But I can, F, C, G, D and F and the two at the ??

[TM] Well these are the most useful ones anyway. C sharp minor as well, all that's useful.

[BM] At's the eens that I'm trying tae mak some use o like. I suppose ye only learn one tune and some of them nay bothered like, ye ken. Started off with F because it's, I didnae ken the reason but it seems tae be mair, eh, there's less pullin and pushin, for some strange reason.

[TM] Maybe it's designed to play in F and C more easily than the others.

[BM] C's, I couldnae mak much o C really, I mean, MacFarlane it wis on C like, but

[JMcK] How dae ye ken.

[BM] Eh?

[JMcK] How do you know if your playing in C. How do you know William?

[BM] Because it said so. Your handy black pouch with all the answers.

[JMcK] Yes. I was gan tae get a piano when I was twelve and I sat my first music exam at Peterhead Academy, and when my father saw the marks he said, no no.

[BM] I don't think so.

[JMcK] No. And then when our eldest son was about a year and a half he was singin away tunes, he was singin before he could speak, and so he was just aboot two and a half, and my father he said, now that's someone who'll use a piano! So he bought a piano tae him!. (Laughs)

[TM] Strange.

[JMcK] It's alright, it's just,

[TM] What do we have here. Ah yes! the buttons.

[BM] It's the keyboard.

[TM] And you know which notes you started on and so on.

[BM] Uh huh.

[TM] This is the chin end first?


[TM] Very good.

[BM] Alan Morrison wrote at oot till me. He's a crack musician, aye.

[TM] Uh huh, where's he?

[BM] He lives in Peterhead.

[JMcK] Aye, he bides in Catto Drive.

[BM] We tried him tae come tae the Heritage Society, but he said he hasna a proper accordion at the moment, but oh he's a great accordionist, just the accordion.

[TM] Does he play in a dance band?

[JMcK] No, he used to.

[BM] He used til ye see.

[JMcK] And then he started teaching children to play.

[BM] I worked wi Alan Morrison ???? before ??? many years ago.

[TM] What sort of age is he?

[BM] Eh?

[JMcK] Slightly younger than you.

[BM] Auler, he's a year auler than you.

[JMcK] That'd be 63.

[BM] And at that time he played a piana accordion, that he wis gan tae be changin tae a button key. Noo he nivver hid ony interest a his life, but music. He hid the music lessons a wee while when he wis at school but his father died when he wis young, and there wis nae means o gaen him music lessons ken. So he did it a wi courses and a the rest o it ye ken. And as I say he changed ower tae the button key accordion and he went intae a music teacher in ??? ??? he ca'd him, and he was supposed tae be a crack music teacher. Second time that Alan gaed intae him, ??? telt him he wis wastin his time that he kent mair aboot music than he did.

[JMcK] Probably too far ahead.

[BM] Mm hm.

[TM] Oh, I'd like to hear him.

[JMcK] We'll need tae try and get him roon. Once you hiv learned up at two songs, and we'll get you doon anither night and try Alan tae come roond. I mean he might come roon and play even though he hisna a decent accordion to go on a stage wi.

[BM] I think what's happened wi Alan, he still his his good accordion, but I dinna think he's got the, electronic eh, the speaker bit, ye ken.

[JMcK] So he can play unplugged. That's the new way isn't it! Unplugged.

[TM] I prefer it myself.

[BM] I jist hate is, age at they've got, a this electronic age, at's nae music.

[JMcK] Are you going tae tell Tom what you said aboot Rod Stewart. Aboot Rod Stewart's CD. The unplugged one, I got a loan o it, and I was playin it. And one of my sons was on the phone, and he said 'is dad there?' and I said 'yes', and he said 'and you're playin Rod Stewart'. He says 'has he said anything' and I said 'no', and he says 'well he will'. So I come through and I said, Ewan was wondering aboot me getting tae play Rod Stewart fan you were sittin there. And he says 'it's good music, I like ey music, if he wouldna wrap his vocal cords aroon his testicles afore he began tae sing'. So that wis Bill's opinion of Rod Stewart's voice.

[BM] Oh well, I like Rod Stewart

[TM] I like Rod Stewart as well.

[BM] Though would you staun up and sing, ken. See them wi voices that they certainly canna produce like.

[JMcK] But that's Rod Stewart at's the wey he speaks

[TM] Rod Stewart can do that though, that's his voice, it does that.

[JMcK] Aye, there is files when it is his voice, but quite often it's nae his voice. Ken

[BM] Fit's the other one, Slim Whitman? No, what's the other one. I canna min.


[ST] Right, good evening, and welcome once again to another Longside Folk Night. Sure we'll fill up a wee bit as the night goes on. There's a few musicians in here tonight anyway, knew you were going to say. So we'll kick off with three wee songs, I think, Dave's going to help me along here, and then we'll take it from there, get Peter and Jimmy up, bits and pieces. Feel free to sing along, stamp your feet, clap your hands, anything you want to do. You're recovering from a fair old weekend.

general chat - can't make out too well.

This is a Ewan McColl song, it's called Dirty Old Town, it's written from down where Peter's from.

I met my love by the gasworks croft,
Dreamed a dream by the old canal,
Kissed my girl by the factory walls,
Dirty old town, dirty old town.

Heard a sighin from the deep,
Saw a train set the night on fire,
Smelled the ??? of the smoky wind,
Dirty old town, dirty old town.

[Guitars plays tune.]

Clouds are driftin across the moon,
Cats are prowlin on their beat,
??? a girl on the streets at night,
Dirty old town, dirty old town.

I'd like to take me a good sharp axe,
Shining steel tempered in the fire,
We'll chop you down like an old dead tree,
Dirty old town, dirty old town.

Met my love by the gasworks croft,
Dreamed a dream by the old canal,
Kissed my girl by the factory walls,
Dirty old town, dirty old town.


Thank you.

This next song is written, it's a Fife song actually, Ainster Harbour, ye ken Ainster Harbour. Spent many a weekend sitting in Ainster Harbour, it's a nice spot up the east coast of Fife. It's a bonny site, it's a nice harbour actually, it's always written about anyway.

It's got the biggest number of pubs per head of population in Scotland.

No that's the biggest number of drunks per head of population. [Laughs.]

Saw her walkin by the harbour where the fishin boats are tied
Saw light shining on the water, some were dancing in her eyes
Young men standing on the sea shore watch the waters ebb and flow
Old men standing on the quay side, telling tales of long ago.

Sailed my ship on ??? of summer, sailed her through the winter's blast
Ainster harbour holds me safely, home again at last.

All the colours of the world are fading as the sun sinks from the sky
Old men standing on the quay side, turn their heads as she goes by
Even now I'm singing softly, singing gently through the night
Dawn will break on many harbours, ??? by the morning light.

Sailed my ship on ??? of summer, sailed her through the winter's blast
Ainster harbour holds me safely, home again at last.

I have travelled far and lonely, beat against the raging seas
Anchored out beyond the islands, sailed with every rising wave
There between the scattered rock pools, ?? waters rise and fall
Watch the steps that guide me landwards, watch her feetsteps guide me home.

Sailed my ship on ??? of summer, sailed her through the winter's blast
Ainster harbour holds me safely, home again at last.

Sailed my ship on ??? of summer, sailed her through the winter's blast
Ainster harbour holds me safely, home again at last.

Now this one, last one of the set, this is one I kinda adapted to suit here, it doesn't really apply here, if the Murray's were that strict, but if the Murray's were that strict I suppose it might apply.

Lay down the borrowed guitar, lay down the fiddle and bow
You'd like one more drink at the bar, but the manager says you must go
And all the tunes in the world, are dancing around in your head
But the ???? says play time is ower, you'll just have to sing them instead.

Lay down wee Jimmy's ???, lay down your ???
No more from the big banjo man, the manager says that's the rules
And all the tunes in the world, are dancing around in your head
You'll just have to sing them instead.

The bar maid has put on her ?? And the bar man has emptied.

[End of Side A.]

But you know the rules of the game, it's time for the ????
And all the tunes in the world, are dancing around in your head
And ??? says party time's ower, you'll just have to sing them instead

And all the tunes in the world, are dancing around in your head
And ??? says play time is ower, you'll just have to sing them instead


Thank you.

Right, eh. Chicken vindaloo is it???? [Laughs.] No hold on. Right welcome up here is Peter and Jimmy, (no I don't think he is, he's chickened out).

General chat.

Right, ye gods I'm not used to this newfangled stuff. Right after a particularly hectic weekend which involved two Burns nights in quick succession, with no break in between I don't think, I'm going to start with something slow. It's a tune called 'Bill Charlton's Fancy' which is a pipe tune by a chap called Billie ?? and it's supposed tae be about rain falling.

[Flute tunes.]


Oh I feel a bit looser noo, if you pardon the expression! Right I'll do a song which I'm not going to need this for now. Since I had so much Burns in the last, what's wrong with Burns, I'm sick to death with bloody Burns, this is it this is the last Burns song I'm doing for a year at least, well until the 27th of next January anyway. It's a drinking song which Burns wrote, and doesn't mention women in it once, which is unusual for Burns as I've discovered since coming up here, he must have had something. It's called the Big Belly Bottle.

No churchman ?? for to rail or to right
No soldier or statesman to plot or to fight
No sly man of business contriving to sell
Oh the big belly bottle, the cure of ill

The puir I don't envy I'll give him his ??
I scorn not the present however so low
But a club full of fellows like those who are here
And the big belly bottle, the cure for all ills

(forgets words). Oh no, it's been a bad weekend.
Oh stuff it, I can't remember how it goes. That's how sick I am of Burns now. I'll do a tune that Burns would have wrote. If he'd still been alive today. [Laughs.] I'm sure he did.

Right eh, those of you that were here last month, will have been aware of my new year's resolution which was to play, which was to learn a new tune every month, what I didn't tell you was that I'm going to keep on playing it until I get it right. So take two! [Laughs.]

[Plays flute. Applause.]

And you're definitely going to get that one next month and the month after. Until I get it right anyway. Excuse me I'm going to tighten me bits, they're coming undone. See if I can get all the way through a song this time, without making a pig's ear of it.

Not being a guitar player I normally have to practice for months before I can get a tune, either that or I've got to be extremely drunk. I'm neither at the moment.

Oh sister Josephine what do all of these policemen mean
By coming to the convent in their green limousines
While you sister Josephine sitting with your feet up on the alter screen
Smoking your last cigar, what a funny nun you are!

The policemen say that Josephine is a burglar in disguise
Big, bad Norman, fifteen years on the run
The sisters disbelieve them, no that can't be Josephine
Just think of all her tenderness towards the younger nuns.

Oh sister Josephine found her on the convent pontoon team
They're searching through your bundles of rare magazines
After sister Josephine
While you sister Josephine take a last sip of Benedictine
Before your au revoir, what a funny nun you are.

Admittedly her hands are big and hairy and embellished with a curious tattoo
Admittedly her voice is on the deep side
And she seems to have to shave more than the other sisters do
Oh sister Josephine, they're searching through the places where you've been seen
In the nooks and crannies of the nun's canteen, after sister Josephine

While you sister Josephine, sitting ????
Smoking your last cigar, what a funny nun you are.
No longer will her snores ring through the chapel after prayers
Or a lustful morning's fill the stilling night
No empty bottles of cloister wine come clinking from her cell
No longer will the cloister toilet seat upright.

Oh sister Josephine, slipping through their fingers like vaseline
Leaving them to clutch at your empty crinoline
After sister Josephine

While you sister Josephine sprinting through the suburbs when last seen
Dressed only in your wimple and your rosary
A bloody funny nun you seem to be.

There y'are that's it.

This is putting everybody off. As you can see the tape recorder here, this is, don't know if you've met him, this is Tom McKean. Tom McKean's a runner. He's a resident Banff and Buchan traditional music person. No, he'll tell you what he's doing himself, I think he's forming up an archive of music in the North East area.

That's right, collecting all kinds of true stories. Well I'll start off with a song from the Borders song, I guess, it's 'Willie's gone to Melville Castle'.

Willie's gone to Melville Castle, boots and spurs and all
To bid the lassies aw fareweel before he gaes awa
Willie's young and blythe and bonny, loved by one and a
Oh what will all the lassies do when Willie gaes awa

The first he met was Lady Kate, she led him through the Howe
And wee a sad and sorry heart, she let the tear doon fa
Beside the far stood Lady Grey, she ne'er a word ava
She thocht that she wis sure o him efore he gaed awa

Willie's young and blythe and bonny, loved by one and a
Oh what will all the lassies do when Willie gaes awa

Then ben the hoose comes Lady Belle, good troth tae me ma ??
Maybe the lad will fancy me and disappoint ye a
Doon the stairs tripped Lady Jane, a flo'er amongst them a
Oh lassies trust in providence and you'd get husbands a

Willie's young and blythe and bonny, loved by one and a
Oh what will all the lassies do when Willie gaes awa

When on his horse he rode awa they gathered around the door
He gaily waved his bonnet blue, they sit up sich a wa
Their cries and tears brought Willie back, but he kissed them one and a
Oh lassies bide till I come hame and I will wed ye a

Willie's young and blythe and bonny, loved by one and a
Oh what will all the lassies do when Willie gaes awa


Well I'll try one of the bothy songs, I've just been learning this one so we'll see how far I get before something happens-it won't be unprecedented.

The nicht was fine, twas efter nine, the meen by cloods wis hidden-o
When in the dark, ower moss an park, came Jock at Katy's biddin o
At seven Jock had suppit his brose, and changed his claes fu cheery-o
Pulled ower his queets, his Sunday beets, and aff tae meet his dearie-o

The road was lang, but Jock I sang, o Katy is my chairmer-o
Next Whitsun time she'll be ma bride and leave the hungry fairmer-o
She's me tae thank for in the bank a hundred pound is lyin-o
I'm nae sae daft, I've taen a craft, oor fortunes will be tryin o.

But comin through Auld Meldrum toon, aroon bi the inn come Tammy-o
Sae Tam and Jock at acht o' clock set doon tae hae a drammie-o
Oh sic a time the plooman had wi ale and fusky cheery-o
They drank a lot and Jock forgot that he'd tae meet his dearie-o.

They sat and newsed and aye they boozed till shuttin time they chappit-o
And in a haze fair Jock arase and very nearly drappit-o
Sine aff he fustled ower the rigs, for weel he kent the stable-o
For oft he'd wait tae meet his Kate as seen as she wis able-o.

Jock feelin queer, the fairm drew near, syne in a close he landed-o
Nae mean that glint, his wey he hae tint in a midden he got stranded-o
But he crackit spunks and found his wa, roon by the byre's gable-o
Wi sharnie feet and dubbie queets at last he reached the stable-o.

Jock stood and thocht the whisky brocht the drink cuid fairly maister-o
A workin steer was standin in near, so roon the neck Jock clasped him-o
Oh Kate my dear, you'll vow richt here that none but me you'll marry-o
But Lord ma toot, ye've turned tae coo, ye're affa roch and hairy-o.

Syne in come Katie wi a licht, she lauched as she wis greetin-o
She thocht her lad had fair gone mad, they ne'er had sic a meeting-o
The workin steer he lookit gey queer, but he never gave a guller-o
Nae doot he thocht, he'd never brocht wi sich an ??? collar-o.

Kate glowered at Jock, Jock glowered at Kate, the stott wis fair dumbfoonert-o
Jock slackened his hud, an wi a thud he and the foresta foonert-o
But sine the sport wis broken short by Katie's kind compassion-o
She nivver thought tae see her stot dressed up in sich a fashion-o.

She clasped her airm aroon Jock's neck tae the kitchie she did guide him- o
She vowed that she strong tea wid gie and nivver aince would chide him-o
Bit noo they're marriet, baith man and wife, and lang may they be able-o
Tae laugh at fate and ne'er forget the coortin in the stable-o.

Well I'll finish off with one of Hamish Henderson's songs.

Roch the wind in the clear day's dawnin
Blaws the cloods heelster-gowdie ower the bay
For there's mair nor a roch wind blawin
Through the great glen o the world the day.
It's a thocht that would gar oor rottans
A' the rogues that gang gallus fresh an gay
Tak the road and seek ither loanins
For their ill ploys tae sport and play.

Nae mair will wir bonny callants
Mairch tae war when oor braggarts crousely craw
Nor wee weans fae pitheid an clachan
Murn the ships sailin doon the Broomielaw.
Broken faimilies and lands we've harriet
Will curse Scotland the Brave, nae mair, nae mair
Black and white ane till ither mairriet
Maks the vile barracks o their maisters bare.

So come a' ye at hame wi freedom
Nivver heed what the hoodies croak for doom
In your hoose a' the bairns o Adam
Shall fined breid, barley bree and paintit room
When Maclean meets wi his friends in Springburn
A' the roses an giens will turn tae bloom
And the black boy fae yont Nyanga
Dings the fell gallows o the burgers doon.

Thank you.

Well everybody's relatively inebriated, that was brilliant by the way, for an American to sing that middle song, I couldn't sing it. Terrific, absolutely terrific.

Makes a change fae a Scotsman singing with an American accent.

This is a video that's now available. There's a list on our noticeboard, and it's off the community day that we had here last September, and it incorporates all the stalls, and the afternoon concerts and all the workshops so if anybody is interested it is £5 for the video, so if you put your phone numbers on there I'll get one to you. This one's for the raffle so if you buy raffle tickets you might get one for 50p. Two things we're going to have an AGM in about two months time, and one of the things we are talking about it is changing to a Friday night, I don't know.

We were wondering whether or not people would feel better about having meetings on the first Friday of the month. Think about, and what we're doing, our AGM is the time to think and talk about these things, it's in about two months time. It'll be on the board. If you have any thoughts about it then come along or let us know.

Aye, well a lot of people had said.

We think you'll get drunker you see, you'll be able to ? work the next morning.

While I remember this thing of Crawford's in the raffle, I was in Peterhead, this is a strange story, because I went into Crawfords and I was looking aboot, and I says, maybe get something tasty to put in the raffle and I says to her can I have a strawberry sponge - and she gave me this. [Laughs.] It's true.

Right Mr Dave Cherry.


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