The Banff and Buchan Collection

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Tape 1994.023 transcription

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[NF] As I see [singing] at's the melody, goes like at [sings again and hums].

Beautiful Ohio in vision again I see,
Memories of what use to me.

A beautiful thing at great, an Fats Waller used tae make a rare job o that one.

[TM] Oh yes.

[NF] Wi his rough and ready voice but he could put the feeling intae it in spite o that, and of course a great favourite o mine wis Hoagy Carmichael's Stardust, ye know it dee ye?

[TM] Yes.

[NF] Oh great melody, I used tae play at a lot, I loved it, Stardust.

[TM] So you used to hear people like Joe Venuti, and Grapelli and, and eh, jazz violin and things like that up here?

[NF] Oh it wis very very popular, especially eh Grapelli wi Django Reinhardt, the guitarist. At wis the Hot Club de France, or something, they called themselves, I think…. Oh they were very, very popular, an then of course during the war they were very popular entertainment. It wis amazing they said Django hid an injured han, did you ever hear that? And how, thon technique, my God.

[TM] That he had two fingers.

[NF] My God, my goodness how he could play yon passages, an it was so beautiful; there wis no electronics whatever. It was the beautiful rich natural tone o the guitar, an it wis beautiful some o his obligatos he used tae fit intae Stefan Grapelli's fiddle playing. His brother wis amon the group I think, he wis quite a good player too. Another very, very fine bass player with him, course the bass is the backbone tae every band ye see, an oh ye'd tae really be a good player, an he wis a special player at bass player wi the quintet. My goodness, aye. They gied it a licht na overdoin't, jist lovely, licht, perfect every note ye hear coming out…. The different chords ye know coming in fillin up. Oh the stars they're gifted really musicians. Grapelli's still playing, ye know.

[TM] That's right.

[NF] Same age as me [laughs].

[TM] Do you still play yourself at all?

[NF] No I widnae been able since I've been in hospital wi this. I wis very much sad, I wis sad I hid tae stop playing but I hurtet this arm, and the fiddles a very jealous instrument; if ye stop playing fur a day, ye go back a week. If ye stop playing fur a week, ye go back a month; if ye stop playin for a month ye go back a year, an I might as well stop. Oh no, ye've got tae keep playing the fiddle, practice. Very, very difficult instrument, the most difficult instrument of them all, of the stringed instrument. No guide on a fiddle, ye see, no frets or nothing o that kind.

[TM] That's right.

[NF] The notes are nae there, you've got tae make em. You'll practise and practise fur a whole day an you'll take up the fiddle tomorrow and the notes are nae there that you played yesterday; ye've tae start making a' ower again [laughs] It seems funny, but nevertheless it's true, isn't it?

[TM] That's right.

[NF] Oh aye ye hid some great melodies come across the pond in the old days, and of course the dancers loved em, ye see? They were so rhythmic and so, I remember when jazz began to come in, it wis very difficult because they…seem tae, couldna get the beat and gradually…. Peterhead used to lead the way, I Think, even afore Fraserburgh in that old days fur.

[TM] Different emphasis to the

[NF] Aye and we used tae play some o the Ellington numbers and then they gradually loved em, aye aye, Tire Rag[?], Rockin and Rhythm, and then of course a lovely thing Mood Indigo. Hiv ye heard it, oh slow foxtrot, it wis very, very poplar, very, very sad but nevertheless it wis great. Aye aye, some great singers: Louis Armstrong, have you some o his records an tapes. Ye like yourself some of the big bands?... Louis wis a great character wisn't he?

[TM] Yes.

[NF] Aye we hid a character somethin the same here ca'ed Nat Gonella. He wis a good trumpet player; he wis quite a poor boy brought up bi the Salvation Army and he learnt in the Salvation Army band tae play the cornet in at days and then he transferred tae the trumpet and oh he wis a very fine player and of course Louis, he wis the star, ye see, and he could play some o his improvisations as well. He's heard Louis, surely, ye see, because the theme wis jist there, which wis very good in fact, now, very, very good, cause he'd the technique tae do it.
Oh I mean ye've jist got to be dedicated; there's no doubt aboot it, just tae play from the heart and love it.

But it's always puzzled me how the fiddle started and the old Scottish fiddlers, man, they made fiddles, ye see, at's anither amazing thing, there must hae been a model tae go by, ye see.

[TM] They must have.

[NF] I know, so I wis looking back at some notes the ither day and I found that away back in 1555, there wis a violin maker in Lombardy ca'ed Carlino and he wis making viols…and then coming on again tae 1563, we find Gasparo De Salas[?] supposed be the first man tae make a violin as we know it theday. An there wis one o his fiddles bearing the date 1566, I think, sold in Milan in 1809. I think it wis, I jist wonder where that violin is noo. That wis Gasparo De Salas, believed to be the first Italian maker to make a violin as we know it today.

[TM] Mhm.

[NF] Then yon ither gentleman ca'ed Jean Paul ??? an there'd hae been some o his violins jist found recently. It's a bigger model…and then along came the old ??? family wi their talented sons, an of course one of their apprentices wis Antoni Stradivari, which called himself Stradivarius, an he perfected the instrument an one o his apprentices wis caed Joseph Guarneri an he, he followed his master rigorously and they never, never surpassed that Strad fiddles. They canna mak a fiddle like Strad at a' the day; it's amazing thing cause [the] great secret, it's in the varnish.

[TM] Mhm.

[NF] The sad thing is in the great fire o Cremona, aboot 1666, the secret o that varnish wis, no secret actually, in those days, because a lot o the furniture o the period wis made bi the same veneer[?]. But after the fire [it was] discovered that the secret wis lost and they couldna find it. Very, very sad as they thought that the base wis amber that ??? resin from extinct pine trees ye know, but jist nae sure could be amber in at.

[TM] Mhm.

[NF] And…Matthew Hardie hid very very fine varnish.

[TM] Yes.

[NF] Made bi a doctor in Edinburgh, Dixon.

[TM] The varnish was made in Edinburgh?

[NF] The, this varnish was made by Doctor Dixon in Edinburgh, and it's supposed to be very, very like the Stradivarius varnish, ye know.

[TM] Where was Matthew Hardie based?

[NF] Edinburgh.

[TM] Uh huh, cause there's a Hardie family up here of fiddlers as well.

[NF] Oh yes at wis the same family, aye it wid be the same relations. I think cousins of that Matthew Hardie would hae [bade] aboot, somewhere aboot Dunkeld, roon aboot Niel Gow country originally, and then some o them came up tae Methlick area up here, and they were good fiddlers, of course. Then there wis a James Hardie, he wis a very fine fiddle maker an I think, think he must hae maybe been a cousin o Matthew Hardie's father. It's difficult to trace back the connection, but they were the same gifted Hardie family, I Think. They'd been cabinet makers as well as violin makers, well they were accustomed tae the use o fine tools, ye see, an could execute sic a fine job. I mean the Matthew Hardie fiddles, beautiful instruments.

[TM] Mhm.

[NF] Very like the Strad model, of course.

[TM] Well, back to your boyhood just a minute, can you tell me a bit about what you used to do on Hogmanay?

[NF] When I wis a boy?

[TM] Mhm.

[NF] Well, it wisna the same then now. We'd tae be inside the hoose; we wis very, very disciplined ye see, we got eh, we hung up wir stocking on Hogmanay night, an ye'd been bedded early. There wis nae gan aboot at Midnight like whit they do now; ye'd been bedded the normal time cause the lamp, oil lamps, or the candles hid tae be blown out an athing'd tae be checked. The hens hid tae be…locked up and boards at the foot o the henhoose tae keep away the fox, or so forth, or so forth, and then in the morning ye'd waken and ye'd get an orange and an apple and a penny and I once got a sixpenny harmonica, a mouth organ, an I cherished that. I carried it with me for years [laughs]. I used tae play tunes on that; they got me in tae play tunes, Muckin o Geordie's Byre an so forth an so on, so at wis aboot our Hogmanay then, of course. Very poor, we were very, very poor; we'd tae go barefoot a' summer tae save yer shoes for the school. What do you think o that?

[TM] Mhm.

[NF] And then the ??? staying wi ma granny; we'd tae go away tae the wood when the woodsman hid been trimming the branches or something an pulled home sticks fur the fire. An ye ga'ed out, aye then aboot Hogmanay.

[TM] And Christmas wasn't celebrated at all, was it?

[NF] Well ye said yer prayers, an ye'd go tae the Sunday school. Probably there'd hae been whit ye called a soiree in at days,…which wis a Christmas show where the teacher would play and sing and probably some o the pupils could sing would sing some o the original Bible Christmas hymns, things like at…. There wisna a Christmas tree in my day, but there might, laterly might hae been a Christmas tree whaur yer name wid be on probably and ye'd get a little gift, ye see.

[TM] Did you hear about people going from house to house on Hogmanay?

[NF] No, none o that no. No, none o that no, no. There could hae been a bit o bawling and shouting an that bi the local drunks, probably getting too much and little things, like, which would hae spoiled the whole affair. There would hae been some o that, but nae much.

[TM] What about Halloween? Did people go around?

[NF] Halloween, well we didna do much o at; we wis really poor, but some o them, the better aff, had Halloween parties whaur they dipped for apples in a tub, do that in America?

[TM] Yes.

[NF] You do aye, so they'd probably done at, but there wis nae gan aboot wi fireworks an masks an at because it wis unheard o. They'd nae money.

[TM] Well thank you very much.

[NF] At's a pleasure, pleased to meet you.

[TM] And would it be alright if we published this article in The Broken Fiddle.

[NF] Oh my, I'd be highly delighted.

[TM] Oh well, very good.

[NF] Ye can pit in the music too, if ye wish, ye see.

[TM] Yes, yes, we will.

[NF] Will ye manage tae take it off o at copy.

[TM] Mhm yes.

[TM] Eddie South, I think, I think that might be right, I think that's right.

[NF] He wis a very good…fiddler.

[TM] And Stuff Smith.

[NF] In fact he once played solo, once or twice, wi Ellington, which wis probably unheard o, Ellington wi a fiddle, but I think he did.

[TM] Mhm.

[NF] If I'm right, still at wis Eddie South, brilliant player. But oh, ???, he wis a genius. My goodness, what a technique; to do that on a fiddle, really, ye're really a genius. My goodness the bow work and everything wis just beautiful. When he came along ye see.

[TM] Well I suppose the fiddle was mostly too quiet for him.

[NF] Yes aye, back tae the Strad. Big worry, the Strad, he went to a concert at Milan which had been conducted by some o the great young composers…. Them [that] wis alive at his period, I don't know, Mendelson, Wagner, or some o the rest o them. I mean quite young men then, and they say that he wis so ashamed that he hid himself behind a programme, because orchestrations were coming in, ye see, and he thocht the fiddle, ye could hardly hear it, the playing, so he shut himself off for a good twenty years and there wisna an instrument left in his workshop for twenty years, and then of course he brought out the Strad, the Strad.

[TM] A picture of the Strad.

[BAB] I used to quite like going to dancing and things like that and I got involved in the [Buchan] Heritage Society, an that's really jist how a started. I jist enjoy doing it.

[TM] Mhm.

[BAB] I enjoy the music.

[TM] Mhm, so you heard them first at the Heritage?

[BAB] The Heritage Society, mhm.

[TM] What were, who were the singers that you heard there?

[BAB] Well I think it wis Gordon Easton and em, people like that, an someone, she died recently can't remember her name Jean, Jean eh.

[MB] Duguid.

[TM] Jean Duguid.

[BAB] Mhm and whit's his name?

[TM] Robert Lovie?

[BAB] Yes, aye, Robert and em, och I've forgotten his name, he always sings the, the song about the girl, the girl called Belle.

[TM] Bogie's Bonnie Belle.

[BAB] [Joe Aitken], aye….

[TM] Did you know that Gordon sang so much before seeing him at the Heritage, it's just down the road but…

[BAB] No, no, nae really no, I didna really ken that he sang.

[TM] Mhm.

[BAB] Until I heard him.

[TM] Mhm.

[BAB] Heard him deein his diddling and athing as well.

[TM] Good, mhm. Have you tried diddling as well?

[BAB] No [laughs].

[TM] [laughs] And Isobel Easton was telling me that you're interested in dancing and

[BAB] Mhm.

[TM] Playing instruments as well.

[BAB] Mhm.

[TM] Fiddle, can you play?

[BAB] Fiddle, I try and em, the drum kit and em, bagpipes.

[TM] Mhm.

[BAB] And the keyboard.

[TM] Mhm.

[BAB] I would like, I would like to play the piano, but I can't find a teacher.

[TM] Mhm, ah well Elizabeth Stewart in Mintlaw's your person; she's very good on the piano [laughs]…. So have you done, you've done a couple of things out with Gordon?

[BAB] Mhm, aye.

[TM] Just a couple.

[BAB] Em a few concerts and I sang at the Heritage Society's AGM, that wis in, wis last year mhm.

[TM] And have you been to competitions through the summer.

[BAB] I sang last year it wis my first em, first shot at singing in competition at wis at Strichen.

[TM] Mhm.

[BAB] And I won, I won a trophy for the best local singer.

[TM] Mhm.

[BAB] An reciting as well an I won a trophy for at.

[TM] What sort of things do you recite?

[BAB] Well last year I recited Oh for Friday Nicht and whit wis the ither one, Dominie Dandy, as well.

[TM] And do you fancy reciting one of those?

[BAB] No [laughs].

[TM] No, OK.

[BAB] Well maybe, if I could find ma book.

[TM] [laughs] So you've learned most of these from Kerr's?

[BAB] Sorry?

[TM] You've learned most of these from Kerr's Bothy Ballads?

[BAB] Aye, uh huh.

[TM] Uh huh.

[BAB] I heard some o them on tapes and I tried to find the music fur them so I could learn them.

[TM] Mhm, so do you learn from the printed music?

[BAB] Mhm.

[TM] An do you ever pick up things by ear as well?

[BAB] Mhm, sometimes.

[TM] Mhm, em, back to the fiddling for a minute, do you play em is it dance music or classical or

[BAB] Aye it's Scottish music; I'm only playing Scottish music, but ma teacher disna ayeweys, like, he prefers classical music, but em jist get a mixture. I ayeweys try tae persuade him tae dee Scottish music sometimes.

[TM] Mhm, OK, well how about we'll have a go at that, over there, OK?

The gloamin winds are bla'in saft,
Aroon my lonely stable laft,
Amid the sky light dusky red,
The sunbeams wander roon ma bed.

The doctor left me in good cheer,
But something tells me death is near,
But time on earth his nae been lang,
My time his come an I maun gyang.

Ah me tis but a week the morn,
Since I was weel and hairstin corn,
As fu o health an strength and fun,
As ony man among the throng.

But something in my breast guid wrang,
A vessel burst and blood oot sprang,
And as the sun sets in the skies,
They'll lay me doon nae mair tae rise.

Fareweel my horse, my bonnie pair,
I'll yoke and lowse wi you nae mair,
Fareweel my ploo we you this han,
Will turn ower nae mair fresh lan.

Fareweel my freens, my comrades dear,
My voice ye shall nae longer hear,
Fareweel tae yonder settin sun,
My time his come and I maun gyang.

I've served my maister weel and true,
My weel deen work he'll never rue,
And yet forbye I micht hae striven,
Tae reach the pearly gates o heaven.

'Tis weel ma maker knows ma name,
Will he gie me a welcome hame,
As I should help in need afford,
Receive me in thy mercy lord.

[TM] Very good, em what made you want to learn that one?

[BAB] Well a jist thought it wis quite a nice song, it's a sad song, but it is, the words are really nice and the tune is quite melodic as well. I jist really liked it.

[TM] And you heard Robbie.

[BAB] And ? heard Robbie Shepherd singing it.

[TM] Oh.

[BAB] Mhm so I thought I would give it a try.

[TM] Mhm, when did you learn that one?

[BAB] Em, must have been last year, I learned it after the festival. I decided tae learn it, so that was about June, sometime, started learning it.

[TM] How many songs would you say you know, I mean if you had to stand up and sing them all [laughs].

[BAB] Em, without the words, em, probably three or four. There's a lot of songs that I know out the book. If I hid the book I could sing them, but I don't know the words, all of the words. but if I hid the book, I could, ye know, like, sight read.

[TM] Yes, or even if you had somebody sort of start the verses.

[BAB] Aye.

[TM] Sometimes you can.

[BAB] Sometimes ye can pick up.

[TM] Yeah.

[BAB] What comes next.

[TM] Have you ever learned any of these songs almost just by hearing them a few times.

[BAB] Well, em, The Alford Cattle Show, I learned it. I heard Robert Lovie singing it on his on one of the tapes I wis listening to, and I didn't actually learn it, as such, you know. I didn't sit down and learn the words, I jist kept singing it when I wis listening to the tape ??? in the car or if we were away somewhere and it jist got intae ma head and so I didn't really have tae learn it.

[TM] Mhm.

[BAB] And jist kept on singing it and ye know ye jist got to know the words and the tune.

[TM] Mhm it's a great help to hear it many times.

[BAB] Mhm.

[TM] And then ??? you realise you mostly know it [laughs].

[BAB] Aye, it does help, aye, much easier.

[TM] Mhm do you fancy a go at that one Alford Cattle Show.

[BAB] Aye hinna got the words for it but I'll try.

I'll ne'er forget the morning,
Fan the fermer said noo loon,
Ye'll get aul Bess a' deckit up,
And tae Alford ye'll gae doon.
Wi horse an fancy harness,
I'll think we'll hae a go,
To try and win the first prize,
At the Alford cattle show.

So if ye want excitement,
Ye'd like tae hae a go,
Jist come along enjoy the fun,
At the Alford cattle show.

We set oot on the stroke o nine,
Aul Bess wis like a queen,
Her tail a' tied in bonnie plaits,
Her skin wis fair a sheen.
But I heard the lad remarking,
She hisna long tae go,
As Bess an I proceeded tae,
The Alford cattle show.

So if ye want excitement,
Ye'd like tae hae a go,
Jist come along enjoy the fun,
At the Alford cattle show.

Noo fin we landed at the park,
I hid a look aroon,
An met in wi a foreman,
Fae a place they ca Asloun.
He said ye dinna stand a chance,
I said well that's nae so,
For we hope to win the first prize,
At the Alford cattle show.

So if ye want excitement,
Ye'd like tae hae a go,
Jist come along enjoy the fun,
At the Alford cattle show.

Ye niver saw sic bonnie beasts,
As whit I saw that day,
There wis prize bulls up fae Clunies,
Braw stotts fae Corsindae.
Oh there's sic a lot tae see there,
I'm sure I dinna know,
Whit wey folks dinna gyang tae see,
The Alford cattle show.

So if ye want excitement,
Ye'd like tae hae a go,
Jist come along enjoy the fun,
At the Alford cattle show.

Well a got a rude awakening,
Aul Bess took second prize,
And jist tae show she wisna pleased,
Lay doon and widna rise.
But a thocht I'd better dae ma bit,
To show I wisna slow,
So I entered for the sports events,
At the Alford cattle show.

So if ye want excitement,
Ye'd like tae hae a go,
Jist come along enjoy the fun,
At the Alford cattle show.

Noo efter I wis dennered,
I strippit tae the sark,
An jint in a the races,
Jist for a wee bit lark.
But the obstacles fair baet me,
And ma face wis fair aglow,
For I tint ma breeks gaein through a bag,
At the Alford cattle show.

So if ye want excitement,
Ye'd like tae hae a go,
Jist come along enjoy the fun,
At the Alford cattle show.

But I didna let that incident,
Upset my happy day,
And efter some refreshment,
I wis feeling kind a gay.
So fan the band struck up a waltz,
I thocht I'd hae a go,
So I oxtered up aul Freuchie's deem,
At the Alford cattle show.

[TM] [laughs] that's good.

[BAB] Em which verse did a jist dee, een aboot, he grabbed the wifie.

But I didna let that incident,
Upset my happy day,
And efter some refreshment,
I wis feeling kind a gay.
So fan the band struck up a waltz
I thocht I'd hae a go,
So oxtered up aul Freuchie's deem,
At the Alford cattle show.

So if ye want excitement,
An ye'd like tae hae a go,
Jist come along enjoy the fun,
At the Alford cattle show.

Noo as the nicht wis weerin on,
I said noo Mary Jane,
I'd like to hae the last waltz,
And then I'll see ye hame.
But that wis my undoing,
I'd like ye a' tae know,
We got mairrit nae long efter,
That Alford cattle show.

So if ye want excitement,
Ye'd like tae hae a go,
Jist come along enjoy the fun,
At the Alford cattle show.

[TM] [laughs] good…. Mhm, nice version of it, that's just picked that up from Robert Lovie.

[BAB] Mhm.

[TM] That's a long song to pick up just like that.

[BAB] A listened till it heaps o times.

[TM] What's that?

[MB] At's Oh For Friday Nicht.

[BAB] Oh right.

[MB] Better using the book in case she gings wrang but

[TM] [laughs]

Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday--hame and hummin!
Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday's lang o comin!

Noo let's hae Geography!
Whit's the toon for jute?
Sit at peace Jemima!
Kirsty, dra yer snoot!
Hey there, Wullie Wabster!
Stop powkin in yer breist!
What? a horny-gollach!
Gweed be here, whit neist!

Faur's the Granite City?
Weel, Georgina Broon? [phone rings]

Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday--hame and hummin!
Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday's lang o comin!

Noo let's hae Geography!
Whit's the toon for jute?
Sit at peace Jemima!
Kirsty, dra yer snoot!
Hey there, Wullie Wabster!
Stop powkin in yer breist!
What? a horny-gollach!
Gweed be here, whit neist!

Whaur's the Granite City?
Weel, Georgina Broon?
Glesgae? Haud yer weesht, quine!
Glesgae's just a toun!
Buckie? Hoots an havers!
The Broch? Preserve us a'!
Hey there, Geordie Gammie!
Pit that preen awa!

Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday--hame and hummin'
Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday's lang o comin!

Noo lat's hear yer spellin's!
Fut? Ye got nane oot!
A'richt--Nature Study!
Whit gars tatties sproot?
Heat and moisture--fairly!
Fut mair, Wullie Gowk?
Fairmers! Gweed preserve's man!
Fairmers dinna work!

Dod, tak in the bottles!
Fa wants milk the day?
Gweed be here, fit's wrang, Jock?
Needin anither strae?
No! Weel, man, fut gars ye
Stan there and gowp and glower?
Twa deid fleas in ye bottle!
Be thankfu there's nae fower!

Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday--hame and hummin!
Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday's land o comin!

Fae wid like some singing,
A'richt en souch awa,
The Smith's a Gallant Fireman,
Or Charlie's Noo Awa.
Sing oot Susie Simmers,
Rax yer memlike mou,
Mercy me Jean Tulloch,
Yer lowin like a coo!

Noo for Table Mainners!
Specially you, Jock Broon!
Dyod, man, fin ye're suppin,
Sic a slobberin soun!
And you Bill Bowie Baxter!
As far's ye're maybe able,
Try and haud yer elbucks
And spleeters aff the table!

Noo tak oot yer pencils,
Draw the aul kirk spire,
Whit's that Jock?
Ye're wintin tae draw the skweel on fire?
A'richt, fire ahead then,
Gar the biggin bleeze.
Gweed be here Jean Gordon!
Whit gars ye scatch yer knees?

Dod far's Meggie Mitchell?
Doon aneath her seat?
Tint her sweetie boulie,
Jock hud in yer feet
Hing in noo Jean Calder,
You tae Mugsie Wuggs,
Mercy me, Bill Boddie,
Fan did ye wash yer lugs?

Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday--hame and hummin!
Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday's land o comin!

Govie Dick--the Register!
Fa's nae here the day?
Jockie Todd--the nickum!
Granny's washin day.
Jeannie--German measles!
Thomas--twa blin lumps!
Jamie Tough? Whit's that, Jean?
His mither's takin mumps?

Noo the acht times table!
Weel deen, Wullie Flett!
Man, ye'll be Director
O the coonty yet!
Whit's that? No ye winna!
Weel, weel, please yersel!
Dyod, it's time for lowsin!
Wullie, ring the bell!

Geordie, shak the duster!
Jean, pit past the chalk!
Whit's that, Willie Wabster?
A wyver on my back!
Jock, the aspidistra,
Tak it tae the sink!
Canny wi't, ye gommeril!
It's auler then ye think!

Noo, a word o warnin
Afore ye tak the road!
There's twa Inspectors comin
Haud yer tongue, Jock Todd!
Twa Inspectors comin
Whit's adee, Jean Squires?
Yer mither's mebbe comin?
Wha the deevil cares!

Oh for Friday nicht!
Friday--hame and hummin!
Oh for Friday nicht!
It's been gey lang o comin!

[TM] Very good, it's a very dramatic one, where did you first come across this ???[v. faint on tape].

[BAB] Em I heard people reciting it at Heritage again, and em I've been tae a concert, a concert in Fraserburgh, a tribute tae him we wis at it.

[TM] Oh yes, mhm.

[BAB] And eh, well its jist the poet that I hid heard of an so I jist decided tae learn some o his poems.

[TM] Mhm.

[BAB] Mhm.

[TM] So when your just talking amongst yourselves do you speak more broadly than you do to me?

[NF] Oh aye [laughs].

[BAB] Aye definitely [laughs].

[TM] [laughs] Oh well feel free, cause I understand it perfectly well [laughs].

What about another song?

[BAB] Right I'll try this een.

Afore that I be tyrannised as I this while hae been,
I'd raither run fae here tae Birse,
Wi peas in baith ma sheen,
I'd raither dee for wint o breath,
Than pine fur wint o love,
And it's a' because Mcfarlane married Susie.

Susie's cankered faither wi mine could niver gree,
And aye when I gang ower that gate he'd set his dog at me.
So I sent my freen Mcfarlane doon tae see whit he could dee,
Mcfarlane o the Sprots o Birnieboozie.

I dinna like Mcfarlane I'm safe eneuch tae state,
As luck would cast a shadow ower a sax fit gate,
He's saft as ony goblin and slippery as a skate,
Mcfarlane o the Sprots o Birnieboozie.

Mcfarlane spak nae word fur me, but plenty fur himsel,
He reesed up the lassie's barley scones her kebbuck and her kale,
Till her faither cried oot Sprottie man ye should try yer luck yersel,
Mcfarlane o the Sprots o Birnieboozie.

Though Mcfarlane is the grimmest chiel fur twinty mile aroon,
They buy his photograph tae fleg the rottans fae the toon,
He kittled up his spunk at this and speirt gin she'd come doon,
And be the mistress o the Sprots o Birnieboozie.

I dinna like Mcfarlane, I tell ye it's a fact,
His nose fur splitting hailsteens an a humphy back,
He legs like guttapercha ilkae step his knees gang knack,
Mcfarlane o the Sprots o Birnieboozie.

He said that he wis able baith tae play at cowp-the-ladle,
Wi a ladder ower a treacle cask and ca the churn forbye,
Anither o his winners wis sawdust mixed wi sinners,
Wis the spice fur feedin hens at Birnieboozie.

An educated ostrich fae the zoo at Timbuktu,
He hid fur scrattin up his kneeps and hidna them tae pu,
I niver heard the like o that come oot o ony mou,
Mcfarlane o the Sprots o Birnieboozie.

I dinna like Mcfarlane, it's affa, but it's true,
A pewter speen wis tint in Jock Mcfarlane's mou,
He couldna weel be grimmer, sups his brose wi a skimmer,
Mcfarlane o the Sprots o Birnieboozie.

Oh a dirl o the teethache's nae particularly sweet,
But loves the only pain on earth that ever garred me greet,
Its like haein chilblains roon yer heart instead o roon yer feet,
They were aggravated wi the sicht o Susie.

Noo freens and kin philosophers ye've heard what me befell,
Niver lippin tae the middleman but dae yer work yersel,
Or a bet ma hinmost yarkit[?] that ye're a day ahint the market,
As when I sent Jock Mcfarlane roon tae Susie.

I dinna like Mcfarlane I'm fairly aff o Jock,
A dinna like Mcfarlane nor Mcfarlane's folk,
May his Susie be nae turtle but bring the porridge spurtle,
Doon ower the head o Jock o Birnieboozie.

[TM] Clever song [laughs].

[MB] Made a mistake ere lassie.

[BAB] A ken.

[MB] First time I've heard some o at lines.

[MB] [Laughter] trouble is tape recorders don't lie.

[TM] I wouldn't worry about it.

[MB] No.

[TM] So that's one you started on recently.

[BAB] Started, started learnin it but I haven't got very far only the first verse.

[TM ] Mhm so do you learn verse by verse just learn one verse an sing it for a while.

[BAB] Aye I learn it and just try sing it over in my head for a while and then maybe spend a few weeks doing that and then a start on the chorus and then next verse-chorus and so on.

[TM] Mhm then eventually it's there [laughs].

[BAB] Eventually it's in my head I hope. [laughs]

[TM] [laughs[ Yes how about Drumdelgie. I heard you do Drumdelgie.

There's a ferm toon up in Cairnie,
It's kent baith far an wide,
It's ca'ed the Hash o Drumdelgie,
On bonnie Deveron-side.

Its five o'clock that we get up,
An hurry doon the stair,
Tae get wir horses corned and feed,
Likewise tae stracht their hair.

Half an hour at the stable,
Each tae the kitchie goes,
Tae get started tae wir breakfast,
Which generally's brose.

We've scarcely got oor brose meal supped,
An gien wir pints a tie,
Fan the grieve, he says, hello my lads,
Ye'll be nae langer nigh.

It sax o' clock the mill's pit on,
Tae gie us a stracht work,
And twa o us his tae work at it,
Till ye could wring oor sark,
At acht o' clock the mill's taen aff,
And we hurry doon the stair,
Tae get some quarters through the fun,
Till daylicht disappear.

The cloods begin tae gently lift,
The sky begins clear,
And the grieve, he says, hello my lads,
Ye'll be nae langer here.

Its sax o you'll gang tae the ploo,
And sax tae ca the neeps,
And the owsen they'll be efter ye,
Fan they get on their theets.

An pittin on the harness,
And drawin oot tae yoke,
The drift dang on sae very thick,
That we wis like tae choke.

The drift dang on so very thick,
For the ploo she widna go,
It was then the cairtin did commence,
Amon the frost and snow.

Drumdelgie keeps a Sunday school,
He thinks it is but richt,
Tae teach the young and the innocent,
The way fur tae di richt.

So fare-ye-weel Drumdelgie,
I bid ye a adieu,
And I'll leave ye,
Just as I got ye, a maist unceevil crew.

[TM] Very good and why, why did you learn that one?

[BAB] Again I heard it on a tape and I liked it. I thought it hid a sort a catchy sort o tune. I felt the words were quite good as well so I just decided tae learn it.

[TM] Mhm, do you feel a connection with the life that's in a lot of these songs?

[BAB] Yes, a sort of relate tae quite a lot o them, ma upbringing and where I live, ma lifestyle and everything is connected to them and I also find them quite interesting because their historical, you know, and I'm quite interested in that, as well.

[TM] One of the remarkable things I find about driving around here is that every road sign you see could be a song [laughs].

[BAB] [laughs] Aye.

[TM] There's a song about nearly every wee farm, or little croft or all sorts of things, em, so you can feel that that they relate to.

[BAB] My lifestyle.

[TM] Your present lifestyle.

[BAB] Ma present lifestyle aye.

[TM] Families past lifestyle, mhm.

[BAB] Has the family been here for many generations?

[MB] '37, 1937.

[TM] Mhm.

[MB] We came here.

[TM] From?

[MB] We belong tae this area, we moved down from Banchory ???, in Banchory in 1746 roughly, an we were here. We've been around here in this area, the Burnetts. The Eastons have been here, well, ye see, she's an Easton.

[BAB] I'm related tae Gordon.

[MB] Helen and Gordon are second cousins.

[TM] Oh I see.

[MB] So we're, ye know, as I said here yer nae recording, it disna matter like…. If ye kick one backside the rest rattles [laughter]. It's a Buchan sayin [laughs] cause they're a' interlinked and related, ye know, second cousins, third cousins, fourth cousins.

[TM] Yes.

[BAB] We're a' related.

[MB] I mean ye get that ?? cause ye just married the neighbour's daughter and

[TM] We have a saying at home as well.

[MB] Aye aye,…I mean Helen comes fae Dundee but her father is an Easton who went down there cause he wis a nurse.

[HB] Jist ???.

[MB] Just the one up from Gordon's, but Gordon's place is the home o the Eastons.

[BAB] Aye the original house, not, not the house that's there just now, there wis anither house before.

[MB] So ye know wir roots are here, an wir stayin ye know we've lived in this area for three hunner odd year, maybe longer, but that's, ye know, as far as we can trace back tae 1745 an the Eastons ging back till aboot the same. And ma mither side's a Park, and they've lived in this areas for, ye know, hundreds o years so we're really Buchan people. We've got, because o Helen coming up from south, she speaks aye a bittie posher than us, so we've learnt tae speak posh because o her, but we're quite broad, but because o her movin in….

[HB] Ye know sort o two dialects, but I'm very broad now compared to, ye know, a normal Dundee accent. But my father, he used to speak a lot about his grandfather, was it old Tam Easton they used ca him, and he was a great little old man who held musical evenings down at Gordon's house, the old house down there, and my dad spoke a lot about him and he encouraged them all to sing. Like my dad sang bothy ballads an what else ??? Gordon's mother, his cousin, she used tae play the fiddle an they'd have great musical evenings down there you know, cause I can remember my dad speaking about that a lot, so there're happy memories. You know it must have happy house cause a' the grandchildren.

[MB] It wis a meeting place. There was various meeting places for the farming people and Wellhead was one and this wis anither een here, cause I can min, when I was little, a lot of folk come in aboot here. Maybe I've seen three-four fiddles in aboot, an aye hae a musical evening an singing going on an that wis pre-television days. It's the TV at's killed a' this sort o thing, unfortunately.

[HB] Aye cause Mitchell's older brother, you know, he's dead now,…he wis intae, very much intae fiddle music.

[MB] Oh aye.

[HB] Highland dance.

[MB] As ye say he'd a band an aye dancin. Ma mither wis daft aboot dancing; in fact we hiv one o her medals still. I got a chain put on it for Barbara-Ann. She won it up at the Strichen show in the days when Strichen hid a show, ken a' the areas an agricultural shows an a' the girls would hae danced at it, so she hid this medal there.

[TM] What type of dancing was it?

[MB] Highland dancing.

[TM] Is that the type you do?

[BAB] Mhm.

[MB] So, aye well, we're jist rural folk, but unfortunately the rural scene is disappearing fast. I would say it's quite sad, but ach well it's jist one of those things that's happened. I mean at one time the Picts lived up here an their language his disappeared and oors'll just disappear the same and the TV and newspapers hiv Anglicised and we canna really go back. [I] dinna think wir language will ever, OK you boys are doing somethin for it, it'll still live, but it, eh.

[TM] In a different way.

[MB] Aye it'll live on tape and it'll live on records, but that'll be it. I would think in twa hunner years we winna spiking it at a'.

[BAB] It'll jist be pure English maybe.

[MB] I would say, well broken English, we're speaking that already. I mean there's a lot o words I ken that I dinna use like, ye know, queets fur yer ankles and that. I niver spik aboot hivin a sair queet.

[TM] Would you have when [you were young] or.

[MB] [Sigh] Probably no.

[TM] Your father would have.

[MB] My father, Rab, he would hiv used a' these words; he spoke aboot his 'k-nee' he niver said a knee…. Bashed his k-nee, or his k-nife. He aye used the, ye know as it's spelt, ken.

TM Do you still use words like skweel?

[MB] Oh still usin skweel, we still spik aboot the skweel. I jist noticed in that song far Drumdelgie.

[BAB] Aye I often say skweel, but it's actually printed school.

[MB] Aye ye see that's wrang, ye see a lot there.

[BAB] In here it's printed as school not as skweel.

[TM] Ah yes, Sunday school, yes.

[BAB] When I sing it without the words I usually say school, but it's because I wis reading it.

[TM] Just how it comes.

[MB] An that's how wir language is being diluted; when they print it, they slide in the odd word probably because they canna spell the Buchan version o it and it jist gets lost.

[TM] Yes, or perhaps it should be that spelled the same but just pronounced differently.

[MB] Aye aye…. Tis difficult tae read, though, the written Doric.

[HB] Oh the real Doric's difficult tae read. [chatter]

[MB] I ken,…ye know Robbie Shepherd, [it] takes me langer tae read his bit than it does tae read the rest o the paper [laughs]. [chatter]

[TM] You'd understand it easily enough.

[MB] Oh I can understand it alright.

[TM] Just have to read it aloud.

[MB] It's recognising the words and makin them intae, ye know sense.

[TM] Mhm [laughs]. Are you sort of required to speak 'properly'?

[BAB] Yes, in school, aye, we've always been.

[TM] So you have to speak English too.

[BAB] Yes we have to.

[TM] That's a pity you can't jist speak. [laughs]

[BAB] Yeah it is, because I mean ye'd probably get intae trouble if ye spoke Doric instead of English tae yer teachers; ye'd probably get intae trouble ye know, it's sad.

[MB] Nae sae much noo as they did in the past, in my day ye got the strap.

[BAB] No no.

[MB] I mean ye got the strap in my days an ye would hae spoke tae the teacher in Buchan but nae noo, they're nae daein that. Hid a Doric programme going, but its niver been aff the ground really.

[TM] …It's like trying to make everybody like French people with an hour of French a week [laughs], doesn't work .

[MB] No. There's very few schools teaching Scottish poetry and I think that's a great source of the language.

[TM] Do you get any of that in school now?

[BAB] Only when we're doing the odd poem, at Standard Grade English, that's all.

[TM] Right, do you ever do anybody like J. C. Milne.

[BAB] No, we've never done anything like that.

[TM] Mhm, nothing actually local just.

[BAB] No, the first time I ever saw poetry like that was when I started learning it, an ye know heard it we niver done anything like that at school.

[TM] What do your other friends in school think of you learning all this.

[BAB] Em, I suppose they think I'm different, cause they're not really interested in this sort of thing, ye know they're more the disco type the rave scene an all that kinna thing that's not me though [laughs].

[TM Are they mostly farm kids as well.

[BAB] No well, some of them are and then others live in the town.

[TM] I wonder if that makes a difference because here you're so close to it all, you know. There's Gordon Easton, the living past, right down the road.

[BAB] That's right…. Jist a different environment. The people who live in the town are not used to ??? an our ways of life.

[TM] Would you like to continue to farm?

[BAB] Well.

[TM] Would you like to stay around locally.

[BAB] I would to stay here, but I mean I wouldn't like to run the farm there's not a living in it really. [chatter]

[MB] ??? if we leave it to her, maybe fill it o trees so's that she could get a crop every thirty year. that way she could keep it. As land ye couldna keep it.

[TM] Right that's true.

[MB] But eh, in trees its something that could be, ye know, ye jist hire somebody tae cut them, and just hire somebody tae replant, and its ready for the next generation, and it's nae that big, we only hiv thirty-four acre, so it's nae like a thoosan acre where it's too much o a hassle, but thirty-four acre o trees wouldna be a lot tae ye know…. I would hope it could continue, but och well, ye don't know [laughs].

[TM] No, you never do know….

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