The Banff and Buchan Collection

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Tape 1994.010 transcription

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I'm sorry I didna know the lad fae the Archive Society was coming, cause eh, all my folk songs are a bit modern you'd say. This is a song, I don't even think you could call it a folk song, but maybe in about twenty years time it'll be a folk song, and it's something that looking at the crowd in here, perhaps some o ye's 'll be able to relate tae in one way or another, it's hardly a folk song, but if you bear with me you'll see I'm sure you'll appreciate it.

She unscrews the top of a new whiskey bottle
Shuffles about in her candle lit hovel,
Like some kind of witch in her fingerless in mittens
She smells like the cat and the neighbours she sickens,
The black and white tv has long seen a picture
The cross on the wall is a permanent fixture,
The postman delivers the final reminders
She sells off her silver and poodles in China

Drinks to remember, I me and myself
Winds up the clock
Knocks dust from the shelf
Home is a love that I miss very much
The past has been bottled and labelled with love.

During the war time an American pilot
Made every air raid a time of excitement,
She crossed the ocean back home to his prairie
She married that Texan went off to his prairie
She learnt from a distance how love was a lesson,
He became drinker and she became mother
Knew that one day she'd be one or the other,
He ate himself older, and drank himself dizzy
Proud of her features, she kept herself busy.

Drinks to remember, I me and myself
Winds up the clock
Knocks dust from the shelf
Home is a love that I miss very much
The past has been bottled and labelled with love.

He like a cowboy died drunk in his slumber
Out on the porch in the middle of summer,
She crossed the ocean back home to her family
But they had retired to roads that were sandy,
Lived all alone without friends or relations
Lived in a world full of age reservation,
On moth eaten armchairs she'd say that she'd sod all
The friends that had left her to drink from the bottle.

Drinks to remember, I me and myself
Winds up the clock
Knocks dust from the shelf
Home is a love that I miss very much
The past has been bottled and labelled with love.


I'm afraid this is another modern song. This is a song by a guy called Don McLean, you may be a bit more familiar with this one. Hope I'm a bit more familiar with it!

No one can take your place with me
There's no place I'd rather be
Than at your place for the night
No time to ??? your ???
No moments steals away unfound
And a lifetime lived in such a dream
Falls like a feather to the ground

And for the first time I've been seein'
Things I never noticed without you
And for the first time I'm discoverin
Things I used to treasure about you

The birds like leaves on ???
Sing hopeful songs on dismal ??
They've learned to live life as they should
They are at peace with nature's ??
you are as natural as the night
And all that springs from you is good
And the children born beneath your light
Are like the birds ???

And for the first time I've been seein'
Things I never noticed without you
And for the first time I've discoverin
Things I used to treasure about you


Well done.

Tell you a wee story, I heard at the golf club, nobody here was at the Golf Club on Saturday night were they? It was a bloke that was doing the Burns, the immortal memory, and it was John McCritchie, he's a lawyer in Peterhead and I thought it was very good. He was saying he went home one night, well how could I do it, I'll do it myself going home, and my wife's lying on the bed, no clothes on. And I says to her, 'what you doing? What's happening?. She says 'I've nothing to wear, I'm not going out the house because I've nothing to wear'. But I says 'That's not true', and opened the wardrobe, and I says 'look you've got a blue dress, a red dress, a green dress, hello Dave'.


Now then, you're going to come up and do a wee poem, or a wee? You going to come up later. Get cold feet? Come on down the price is right. On you come.

[Missed beginning]

Echteen bob wis faither's wages that included overtime
My wir mithers they were brave, and the bairnies jist a slave
Whistled on tae the skweel in the mornin
Jockie's breeks would need a patch on the pairt he used tae scratch
Mither stitched on a bit o flannel, though the colour didnae match
And wi Jock as proud as punch wi his piece noo ???
Whistled on tae the skweel in the mornin.

Times hae changed Jock noo smokes fags
And his breeks are Oxford bags
To the Palais he goes jazzin and his claes he ca's glad rags
He courts a lassie if ye please wi her skirts far a ben her knees
And it's the fashion tae ging hame in the mornin

And there's Jessie o that ilk, smokin fags and dressed in silk
Mercy me, ye widnae think at she's cairried more than milk
She's a lady don't ye know, but she canna stitch or sew
Fit's ma mither for say's she, in the morning.

Ye may lauch, but my it's true and some day the words she'll rue
When the bairns turn up their noses if it's only Irish stew
When they put on their skweel bags, they'll be askin her for fags
That's the comin generation some fine morning.


Sair is the fecht o a plooman wife
And muckles have sorra forbye
Her works nivver daen nae day ower late
Nae metter foo hard she may try

A man a send tae watter and corn
Afore she gaed them a field
Five bairnies tae set tae the skweel every morn
And twa lambies tae keep ??

But it's cooking and cleanin and mendin and makkin

[Forgets words a bit.]

There's half sleeves tae pit in faither's aul sark
And stockins tae darn a wheel
I'll tak half an hoor at at sock ???
The wee eens? Their lessons be een

There's Meg's frock tae mak
And there's Tam's breeks tae patch
That's his bools at's gaen at the knees
Kate's ?? tae mend, the first clippins tae match
And the floor cloths tae mak intae chemise

Ower hard I try tae be thrift and duce
Tae mak a bit hame o this byre
I warrant six shillins tae paper the hoose
I may as weel hae flung tae the fire

For the wa's are sey rouch and rotten wi damp
The windaes the doors are a shame
The hoose isnae fit for a hoor nor a tramp
Nae as muckle as ca it a hame

For it's cookin and cleanin and mendin and makin
Dustin and darnin and bustlin and bakin
Feedin and fendin and raidin and rackin
And a wi twa haunds at's nivver deen achin

[Poor quality sound.]

Tom Anderson from Shetland. It's called the 'Shlochit Light', which means a light that goes out ??? isn't it? Apparently it was kind of a lament for the people who were leaving Shetland, when he went back, I think the story was he went to Shetland, or back to Shetland and he noticed there was less and less lights on the various houses. That's the story down here about it!

[Music. Fiddle and flute.]

Right this next one is a set of something, a set of reels which we inflicted on the Burns night at somewhere.

[Guitar, fiddle, flute - various tunes.]


This first song is a song that I heard Dick Gaughan singing, and I'm not going to attempt to try and sing it like Dick Gaughan or I'll fail miserably. But eh, change it around a little bit but it's called 'The World turned upside down' it's about the clearances many hundreds of years ago.

In 1649 to St. George's Hill
A packin band they called the Diggers came to show the people's will.
They defied the landlords, they defined the laws.
They were the dispossessed reclaiming what was theirs.

We come in peace they said to dig and sow.
We come to work the lands and common to make the waste ground grow.
This earth divided we will make whole
So it can be common treasury for all.

The sin of property we do disdain.
No man has any right to buy and sell the earth for private gain.
By theft and murder they took the land
Now everywhere the walls rise up at their command

And they make those laws to chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven or they damned us all to hell.
We will not worship the God they serve,
The God of greed who feeds the rich while poor men starve

We work we eat together, we need no swords.
We will not bow to the masters nor pay rent to the lords.
Still we free men though we are poor.
You Diggers all stand for glory, stand now.

From the men of property the orders came
They sent the hired men and troopers to wipe out the Digger's claim.
Tear down their cottages, destroy their corn.
They were dispersed, only the vision lingers on.

You poor take courage, you rich take care.
The earth was made a common treasury for everyone to share.
All things in common, and all people one.
We came in peace. The orders came to cut us down.


Er, this next song is a song, a type of song I don't normally attempt to sing, but it's quite a fun song I got off a Nick Jones album from many years ago. It's a song about a sailor who'd been at sea a long time and comes to grief when he comes to land and sinks a few drinks too many.
Come gather round you sailors bold and listen to me song
A trick of late was played on me and I won't detain you long
I came from sea the other day and this girl I chanced to meet
Oh me friends will be expecting me to a dance in Barratt Street

I said "My young fair maid, I cannot dance so well"
Besides I am to Windsor bound where all my friends do dwell
Came to sea the other day, I've saved up thirty pounds"
Me friends will be expecting me this night in Windsor town"

"Well if you cannot dance me love then you will stand a treat"
"Have a glass or two of brandy and something for to eat"
"At six o'clock this evening I'll meet you off the train"
"So don't forget to give a call when I come to town again"

At eight o'clock that evening, the drinking did begin
And when we all had drunk our fill the dancing did begin
Me and me love danced all around to a merry tune
Then she says, "Let us retire into a chamber room"

So dancing being over to bed we did repair
And there I fell fast asleep the truth I will declare
Me darling with me thirty pounds gold watch and chain had fled
Left me here poor Jack alone, stark naked in bed

So I looked all around nothing I could spy
But a woman's shirt and apron all on the bed did lie
I wrung me hands and tore me hair crying oh what shall I do?
Fare thee well, sweet Windsor town, I'm sure I'll never see you

Well, everything being silent and the hour but twelve o'clock
I put on the shirt and apron and back to Crowman's Wharf
The captain says "Now Jack, I thought you were to Windsor bound"
"You might have got a better suit than that for thirty pound"

I might have got a better suit if I'd had got the chance
I met a girl in Barratt Street she took me to a dance
I danced me own destruction now I'm struck from head to feet
Swear that I won't go no more down in Barratt street

So all of you young sailor a warning take from me
Beware of all your company when you go out on a spree
And keep clear of Barratt Street or else you'll rue the day
In a woman's shirt and apron, they'll leave you all at sea

Right we'll have a short break now and do the raffle. Harry are you going to kick off the second half for us are you going to set up in this rickety school. We're looking for someone to write a song about Harry's rickety stool. It deserves something.

12, 13, 14
[Accordion Music.]


For some reason Rabbie Burns went up to Heaven and the Pope went doon by and he wasn't happy about this at all, and he says, he goes to St Peter and says look, he says, I shouldna be doon here, he says, you've got that rascal up in Heaven and I'm doon in Hell. And St Peter says the only way you can swap with him if Rabbie agrees to come doon. He says, I'll no see him the day, I'll see him tomorrow and see what he says. He come back the next day and says, Rabbie agrees, he says, he disnae like it up there really, he says, he will swap with you. So as they pass each other on the way the Pope stops Rabbie and says, I have to thank you for agreeing to go doon the road, so I could get up to heaven. Rabbie says that's alright, he says, that's nae problem. Because he says, all my life he says, I've wanted to meet the Virgin Mary. And Rabbie says, sorry pal, you're a day too late.

[Laughs. Applause.]

I've had a wee request we wrote on the back of a card one time when we were going to work. They were playing Rolf Harris, it was Rolf Harris week on Radio 1 or something, and they were playing all these records. Two Little Boys came on the radio going to work at St Fergus, and by the time we got to work we thought maybe we could do something …


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