The Banff and Buchan Collection

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Tape 1994.032 transcription

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? Extraordinary. [can't make out tape.]


Thanks very much em. There were three reels there. And the first one was a tune called Spindle Shanks, the second one was a tune called The Crooked Road and the last one was the Ivy Leaf.

And we'll play ye a couple of slip jigs now. Slip jigs are just another form of dance. The first one's called 'Cuckanandy', and it's nothing to do with cannibalism or anything like that in obscure parts of Ireland, it's just a nonsense word where people called Andy had to look out for themselves. But no Cuckanandy is the first tune, and the second tune is a tune called 'The Dusty Miller'.

[Cuckanandy/ The Dusty Miller; slip jigs on flute, bouzouki, uillean pipes.]

Thanks very much. I enjoyed that. It's a lovely room to play in actually. Em, whos all up here. First time we've played to a balcony. The Gods, I hope they'll be kind to us, because we're going to sing a song in Gaelic, actually Scots Gaelic. And we got it out in Lewis, a place called Arnall, and we actually sang it there later on and he said, it's curious we tend to slip into Irish Gaelic you know, without sort of noticing it. So it's sort of… If you can imagine it's in some kinda Gaelic which should be there in the middle o the Irish sea between Scotland and Ireland, that's what it turns. It's also the Channel 4 version of the song, we'll be singing it with subtitles in English for the… and Desi here sings the subtitles.

It's the English that my mother used tae speak and you find it in and round the area of Loch ?? in County Down. Most people understand it there anyway. You'll have no problem with it, speaking Doric as you all do.

[Sings Gaelic]


We thought you were a big jobber whose pockets wis gold,
A jingle but then we spied yer auld pack,
Yer only the cut of a vagabond sailor.

[Sings Gaelic]


When the sea rose up in mountains toss her right over,
I asked o the skipper, what go down below,
And ye leave the wheel tae ???.

[Sings Gaelic]


Even though he was a ??,
He would do everyman's job for him,
He could plant herbs in the garden,
He could plant kale and cabbages

[Sings Gaelic]


He bought a white house in ?,
To the height of the mountain,
The stars and the ?? were crooked,
Likewise the bedroom.

[Sings Gaelic]


Some of the party were course,
And some were well bred and respectable,
Drinking MacEwan's strong ale.

[Sings Gaelic]


Alright we'll play a set o jigs fer ye now. The first one is called 'The Humours of Ballyloughlan.' Desi says Ballyloughlan is in Clare, but I don't think it is. I think it's in Limerick. But, not to put too fine a point on it. The second one is Liz Kelly's delight, and I think Liz Kelly was John Kelly's aunt, and John Kelly's a lovely fiddle player from County Clare.

Limerick's just beside it.

Limerick is just beside Clare, but he was from Clare, from Kilbacha[?] in Clare. And the third one is Dinny Delaney's. Dinny was a blind piper who flourished, as they say, his extant at the turn of the century.


Thanks very much. This is a song, if you want, mebbe yer sittin there lookin at us, and thinkin mebbe you'd like to be participatin yoursels. Now's your chance. I'm going to sing a song, where there's a chorus. The two lads are obliged to join in, because that's just the way it is--a moral obligation. You're not, but it would be nice if you would (laughs). This is a very appropriate setting, since your now arts centre was previously a church. So this is a moral lesson but in the form of a funny song if you like. It's a song, basically the story of Dives and Lazarus, and about good and evil, and heaven and hell and all that stuff, so maybe it's appropriate. I was thinkin about getting up into the pulpit to do it, but maybe I'll just stay where I am. The chorus is dead simple so if you want to join in feel free, feel free. Folk up there--if they'd a quite, soft spoken voice they'd be lost up there, which apparently is not a very common trait in Northern Ireland (laughs). Right here we go.

There was a rich man and his name it was Divisium,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
And he gave big feasts for the swanks in Jerusalem,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
Horajarum, ho-rajerum, skiddery-wink a doodle-um, skiddery-wink a doodle-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum.

Well there was a poor man, and he for work he was unable-e-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
And he begged all the crumbs from the rich man's table-e-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
Horajarum, ho-rajerum, skiddery-wink a doodle-um, skiddery-wink a doodle-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum.

Well, the poor man died and he went up tae heaven-e-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
And he boozed with the angels until half past eleven-e-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
Horajarum, ho-rajerum, skiddery-wink a doodle-um, skiddery-wink a doodle-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum.

Well the rich man died but he didn't do so well-e-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
For Aul Mick he came up and he dragged him down to hell-e-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
Horajarum, ho-rajerum, skiddery-wink a doodle-um, skiddery-wink a doodle-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum.

Well the first thing that he called for was a brandy and a sody-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
But the Devil he soon told him, it wasn't a hotel-e-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
Horajarum, ho-rajerum, skiddery-wink a doodle-um, skiddery-wink a doodle-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum.

Well the next thing that he called for was some water to console-e-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
But the Devil he just called, shovel on the coal-e-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
Horajarum, ho-rajerum, skiddery-wink a doodle-um, skiddery-wink a doodle-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum.

Well the story that I'm telling ye's, the scriptures they is telling-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
And if ye's don't believe me, well ye's all can go to hell-e-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum,
Horajarum, ho-rajerum, skiddery-wink a doodle-um, skiddery-wink a doodle-um,
Glory, hallelujah, ho-rajerum.


Well done. Well sung, well sung, well sung. Mebbe it's not what was used to coming out of here on a Sunday morning, but that was very impressive. [Some chat, cannot hear.]

This tune, this tune, these two tunes are, well 'The Humours of Whiskey,' and 'The Drops of Brandy.' I don't know what the origins of these tunes are, but perhaps everybody could think of a story.


OK, well we're going to give you a chance to get some coffee. Ian's sticking on the kettle there. I hope our timing's right. We were warned of timing and concepts of time, before we came here you know. So we actually turned up something like five oclock, and he wasn't here (laughs). Sorry about that. No we are actually indebted to him for inviting us here to play in this hall, and it's a pleasure. We're going to finish up now this part of the evening, Tom's going to come back and sing more. But we're going to get a chance, there's buns and everything down there, and coffee, and we'd like some as well.

Tom's going to join us on the ?? as well.

Tom's going to join us on the last set of reels before the break.

So we're going to go for volume rather than subtlety.

I see they have goats and sheep in America as well. It's an American goat. So we're going to play a couple of reels: The Silver Spear and The Dublin Reel.


[End of Side A.]

[TM] Well hello everyone, welcome back. I hope you enjoyed the home-baking. I certainly did and I am looking forward to finishing off whatever's left, if I can get back there quickly. So I'll get this over with as fast as possible. This is another song from around here, this is actually from down in Alva and it mentions the Deveron, so it's about as local as you can get. It's called 'Mistress Greig'.

Twas at a certain fairm toon,
On the winding Deveron-Plaidy border,
Lived an auld wifie ca'd Mistress Greig,
And the servant girlies she kept in order.

O the weemin o this tired hae been,
And the suit o men's clothes they procured,
And they hae made a man o straw,
And in aneth the bed he wis buried.

As Mistress Greig wis gan her roonds,
Twas in aneth the bed she spied him,
Come oot o that ye villain, she cried,
And dinna think from yer fae me hiding.

The weemin they were pittin up,
Tae tak him oot fae fore he wis lying,
And they auld man placed at the fit o the stair,
Tae cudgel him whilst from them flying.

They've taen him oot and they've laid him doon,
And the auld man he wis for him ready,
But fan he laid on his sticks sae hard,
Bait the legs fell from the body.

Those weemin they were puttin awa,
For this ill deeds that they'd been doin,
And Mistress Greig and her old man,
Were left tae gaither his body thegither.

Oh Mistress Greig and her auld man,
Fair old bodies they neednae bother,
For fan he lays on his sticks sae hard,
Perhaps they'll maybe slay another.


[TM] Thank you. Well I always think that no folk music concert in Scotland would be complete without a song by Hamish Henderson. So here's a song he wrote in 1962.

Roch the wind in the clear day's dawin,
Blaws the cloods heelstergowdie ower the bay,
But there's mair nor a roch wind blawin,
Through the great glen o the warl theday,
It's a thocht that wad gar oor rottans,
A' they rogues that gang gallus fresh and gay,
Tak the road and seek ither loanins,
For their ill ploys tae sport and play.

Nae mair will oor bonnie callants,
Gang tae war when the braggarts croosely craw.
Nor wee weans frae pit-heid or clachan,
Mourn the ships sailin doon the Broomielaw.
Broken families in lands we've harriet,
Will curse Scotland the Brave nae mair, nae mair,
Black and white each till ither married,
Mak the vile barracks o their masters bare.

Sae come all ye at hame wi freedom.
Never heed whit the hoodies croak for doom.
In yer hoose a' the bairns o Adam,
Can find breid, barley bree and painted room.
When Maclean meets wi his freens in Springburn,
A' the roses and geans will turn tae bloom,
And the black boys fae yont Nyanga,
Ding the fell gallows of the burghers doon.


[TM] Thanks very much. Well I'll finish off ma wee spot now with a bit of mouth music, and in this one I'll travel from the East coast here off to the West coast in a blink of an eye.



[TM] Thanks again, and this time I'd like to welcome from the back of the hall--not Fort William, Cran for another set.


Thanks Tom. We'll start off with two, with one reel on two flutes. This is a D flat flute, like an alto classical flute, and Desi's playing an E flat flute. With a bit of trickery you won't notice the difference.


Thank you. That was a reel called ?? Reel.

Now, what'll we do? What'll we do.

Well I'll play you a tune that doesn't come from either Ireland or Scotland, it doesn't really particularly matter. Then Ronan will play you a lovely big haunting Irish slow air on the uillean pipes so you can get the full sound of the drones and the regulators and all the business. Shaun and I will play you a tune, a couple of tunes from eh, one's from Brittany. Eh, there's a bit, the peninsula sticks out there in France, at's a tune called an An Dro. Dance tune from there, and we'll follow it with a tune from Romania. There's only two parts in this tune, but there's about ten parts in it in Romania, but since we don't live in Romania we usually get away with playing the two parts. Since there's no Romanians around, mebbe a, I wonder if, perhaps there's a Romanian quarter in Macduff I don't know, but if there's any Romanians here we apologise in advance. But I'm going to play this in case we haven't got the turn right! This is a Romanian tune, a Breton tune followed by a Romanian tune.



Thanks very much. We'll just invite Ronan up now to do his party piece.

This is a slow air from the south west of Ireland, from Kerry. An island off the coast called the Blasket island. There is a few islands Blasket islands. And I think the last people to leave the islands to go to the mainland went in the fifties and they brought this tune with him, and it's called 'Port na mBucai', and I don't know if you have boats in this area like that which they have in Ireland. A frame, a timber frame with canvas stretched over them and then painted with tar. Do you have the same thing? Stony silence. It's uniquely Irish. I'm not going to carry on. So what the story is is that the lads were out fishing in these boats and they heard eerie music, this is many many hundreds of years ago. A long, long time ago. And they thought it was the music of the fairies, a little bit enchanting and a bit worrying. But they learned, they heard it so often they learned to play it and made a big tune around it. And the theory is that what they were actually listening to was whale song, that whales will gaggle, or whatever whales do, will pack, will pack under a boat and follow alang underneath the boat, and they were humming whale tunes and the canvas timber frame boat was acting like a loud-speaker and the sound was coming up. I don't know if that's true, but it's very interesting anyway. So you can close your eyes and listen to the whales doing their thing.


Okay, we're going to sing a song, it'll be as near as you get to I suppose a sea shanty. It's a song which it comes from, I think that comes from a women who used to live not too far away from Shaun in Drogheda, County Louth. We represent more or less the eastern seaboard of Ireland. I'm from Belfast, one of a very symbolic group of harmony and communication etc. I'm from Belfast, he's from Drogheda and he's from Dublin. So we're going to sing a sea shanty and it's called 'Willie Taylor', basically it's an Irish song that's found throughout the English speaking world, so there may well be a version of it up here too. I wouldn't doubt it for a minute. You'd be the man that would know that. So okay. So we'll sing this song Willie Taylor anyway, which comes originally from the singing of a lady called Mrs Carlin, who leaved near Drogheda in County Louth.

'Willie Taylor'

Willie Taylor and his youthful lover,
Full of mirth and loyalty,
First they went to the church to be married,
He was pressed and sent to sea.

She dressed herself in her man's apparel,
Got on board of a ship o war,
Her pretty little fingers so long and tender,
She gave them all a smear o tar.

Once on board there was a skirmish,
She did fight among the rest,
A silver button came off her tunic,
And exposed her snow white breast.

Said the captain to this fair maid,
What misfortune had brought you here,
I come in search of my true lover,
Who you pressed the other year.

If you are in search of your true lover,
Pray come tell to me his name,
Willie Taylor they do call him,
But Fitzgerald is his name.

If you are in search of Willie Taylor,
Willie Taylor's he's not here,
He has found him a rich young lady,
Worth ten thousand pounds a year.

If you rise early in the morning,
Early at the break of day,
There you'll spy your Willie Taylor,
Walking along with his lady gay.

So she rose early in the morning,
Early at the break of day,
There she spied her Willie Taylor
Walking along with his lady gay.

She called to her a brace of pistols,
That was brought at her command,
There she shot poor Willie Taylor,
With his bride at his right hand.

When the captain came to hear it,
Of the deed that she had done,
He made her a ship's commander,
Over a vessel for the Isle o Man.



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