The Banff and Buchan Collection

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Tape 1994.050 transcription

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[Gordon Easton] Doon e road at the corner here, I hid it originally but the hooses were nae muckle use ti me wis jist the land I wis needin. We'll at's anither bit we hiv, number thirteen, it's aboot forty-two year ago since I bought it. I selt the hooses ti ma cousin. It's affa funny foo ye get involved, he selt his folks place ower aside South Blackhills, nae it, but next een, it wis an affa hilly place at his father hid. Well he was an agricultural lad himsel, Jim, ma second cousin really, he let it ti a lad cause it wis nae use ti him, he selt it tae another lad and is lad selt it ti Lovie cause Lovie's found oot they were sellin and gave em such big an offer he couldna refuse. Wi sellin it he hid naewey to keep his mither's auld furniture so he asked me if I wid sell him the craft hooses, and I said well they're nae use to me, so I got mair than half as much as I paid for the hale caboodle fir es hooses ti him and I hid the grun, super bit o grun.
     This Jim Wilson well he retired, second cousin, he stayed in Glasgow, nae family, married bit nae family, he wis gan to leave a the hooses to me in his will, it wis made oot bit wisna signed, he took cancer, in a the time he came up here he wis a poor thing, I dinna cane fit wey he managed to drive up, but his heart wis in Tyrie, native o Tyrie and buried in Tyrie. He drew up his will, thought I'll be better, I'll be back, en he niver got back, is new will wis niver signed, so I didnae get the hooses, it gaed till his widow ye see naturally, an it was up for sale fin she died, seen. Ah well, fin she wint into hospital, she lost her memory, ...she got as bad she couldnae stay hersel. ...

[Tom McKean] What estate was this and all the other farms part of?

[GE] Philorth Estate, Fraserburgh, Lord Saltoun-Fraser, Lady Saltoun bides at Cairnbulg Castle yet.

[TM] And that's who you grandfather bought it from when he bought this place?

[GE] Aye, it was bought in 1925, no it was bought from the Philorth Estates, at's when Philorth's selt aff maist o their estate. I suppose they'd come on hard times tae, but they kept a few of the better fairms jist close to Fraserburgh, ye see. Fraser's, named efter Frasers o Philorth, they've been lairds for lang enough. In Fraserburgh it wis the Frasers that Fraserburgh got it's name fae, ye see, and they used to stay at Philorth. There wis a mansion hoose at Philorth, but it wis a big estate within the estate, but it got burned doon so they eventually moved to Cairnbulg Castle, that belonged ti them as well, so at's far they've stayed fir long, long enough. The daughter o Lord Saltoun, the last Lord Saltoun, she's aboot oor age I wid imagine, she's the Laird yet ye see, bit they've selt nearly athin aff, they kept a few fairms on by the Broch, they hid a good hooses now they attend ti them, but the Broch Toon Council taen awa an affa lot o it, they wid hae gotten good revenue fae that ye see, oh they've 200 acre o land expanded tae the Broch over the last twenty-thirty year. It's jist wey things evolve ye ken.

[TM] Do you have any idea what the rent would have been on a place like this in 1866?

[GE] Here? Oh gosh, I've plenty documents bit nae here. Oh at one time it wis £24 but it wis higher than at, but the land court got it doon. I think it was £36 at one time, it wis stupid ye see, but at's a lot o money, en the land court got it doon to £24 I ken at much.

[TM] Do you know how much your granddad paid for it?

[GE] Aboot £300 I think, which wis a fortune at at time tae.

[They move to outside. Wind noise.]

[GE] ...That's Whitebog, e middle een, is is Greenburn. Whitebog far Isobel's folk wis and far George Wallace wis. There grun wis right doon ti e dyke, right along ti at trees, e moss is right awa up, ye see, great sklyter. Is es the moss I wis telling ye aboot, ye see the black jist tae left o this tree, so they gaed right awa up ti e back o it. Es is Mcknagran, the hill, at's Mitchell's. The grun goes right ower ti the back road and a bit below the road.      Auchentumb wis straight up es road aboot a mile fae here, but jist ower the horizon.      Mains o Blackhills, ye canna see it, great big sheds jist in the right o them trees, they hid great big sheds builds en they enlarged the hoose. The road they go in is at at trees doon the hill, so athing wis in aboot a mile a radius, that's the layoot.

[GE] [Looking at photograph of the Fetterangus Strathspey and Reel Society] This 's Ian; that's Jimmy Matthews he would come fae Ellon;... is is Johnny Sangster, he wis a grocer. I canna mind Ian's name, bit I have it written doon, bit I'm nae rakin for it enicht. This is Andrew Burnett, he wis a soutar;

[TM & GE] That's Ian's, I canna mind his name, he wis jist a young chappie; No 4 is John Sangster; Andrew Burnett (7); John Watt, he wis Jessie's[?] employer and related through marriage, but John hid the fairm, son still in e hoose yet, they hiv a hoose en a steading but selt the grun--Johnny died a while ago. This is Jimmy Youngson, the conductor (12). This is Johnny Geddes, he wis a tailor (13) fae Lonmay; Is es Sandy Barron (14), no relation to Gavin Barron, he repaired fiddles at lad. That's the lad Reid (19) fae Ellon, at's him at back; is is Ned Stewart (20). Adam Reid would be at fella at back (19). That's Jimmy Massie, he hid a garage at e top o the brae at Ellon. Canna tell ye at man's name; that's me (5); at's a man Murray, oh there wis twa Murrays, Bert Murray; that's Jessie; es is he played the cornet, Harry Hepburn, he stayed in Stuartfield; is is Bert Shand; is is Jimmy Mutch, he hid a pub at Bucksburn in Aberdeen; is is another brither o this lad's now (Andrew Murray), Wallace I think ye ca that chappie here; I dinna ken at en. That's as muckle as I can dee.

[GE] It wid hae been the same night, but jist the haill company taen in, were a' standin much e same place, we hiv shifted though a wee bit ti let the accordions come in aboot. In was Dan Urquhart, I aye mind his name, he wis a juggler. This lads are a' sitting in e same formation. That's Ned, is lassie is sitting on his knee, ye ken, and that's Jean ere.

[TM] And there's a bass player back there, whose that playing the double bass?

[GE] Oh no I canna gie ye that, no way. And that's Jean here, Elizabeth's mother. This is a' pupils, an the majority o that lassies hid red hair.

[TM] Do you know if any of them are still about now?

[GE] Oh no, I canna tell ye that. In fact we jist kent them, saw them once a week, jist occasionally a these lassies tee ye see. Because is wis Jean's pupils ye see.

[TM] So that would have been 1946 roughly?

[GE] Well possibly, I'm seventy-one noo past ma birthday.

[TM] And you were born in 1923.

[GE] Aye. We were married bit nae affa lang. 1946 we were married. ...It's an affa thing minin back sae lang. Wis twinty-three fin I wis married, so that wid roughly aboot the time Tom, but I jist winna swear....

[Tape off and on.]

[TM] Who was the best players of the lot?

[GE] I wid say Andrew Burnett, the soutar, he wis an affa shy man. Ned Stewart wis a damn good player, bit he jist hid his ain like Jimmy Dickie. Well he gaed to Jimmy Dickie a good lot en he developed at style a wee bittie, en it didna take the judges eye, cause often we wid go ti Banchory an compete in the festival there. We hid een at Mintlaw, I think, a festival, before Banchory hid, maybe jist twa held at Mintlaw--Fetterangus company. Then Banchory started, I've got it written doon, but I'm nae raking. Aberdeen wis first, I think Fetterangus wis before Banchory, but this wis an affa successful society.

[TM] There quite a number of fiddles there.

[GE] An affa lot o fiddles. A lot o young fiddlers, but they a came up ti be good fiddlers en a big turnoot every year--twenty wis average, maybe up ti aboot thirty. I think I've telt ye afore, it was most enjoyable, especially for us ye ken, every winter we got guests, good players, maybe once a fortnight.

[Joe Aitken] I'll start aff wi Dave McFadzean, seems a lang time ago [laughter]. Great performance, more contacts between the songs, nonetheless.
     Douglas Dawson--the first song you sung is affa difficult when you're nervous. Good overall performance Douglas.
     Alan Laing--Great performance I could hae listened ti a lot mair.
     Brian Miller--Great performance as usual.
     Thomas McKean--Ye said ye learnt the twa songs fae Jane Turriff, Jane wid hae been proud o ye. Great singing Tom.
     Rod Mason fae Tyrie--Singer efter ma ain heart. Wi bit o a stutter, but I ken how ye feel, I've done it a' masel. Great stuff.
     Peter McNeill--This caused me a wee bit o a problem, although I didnae understand the words, I probably enjoyed the singing.
     Scott Gardiner--Well I've watched Scott progress ower the years, gets better a' the time, very mature performance today. I've heard him singin though his voice breaking, great joy for me to see a young lad like that coming on.
     Martin Jeffcoat[?]--Enjoyed both your songs, felt maybe just a wee bit more feeling, I was struck with three singers, but I felt you could do with a bit mair heart gan into it. Nae jist quite enough to sing the words, ye've got ti really feel it.
     Arthur Ramage--Both songs were sung, again I felt there wisna enough contrast between the two o them, the rules say two songs that contrast in nature.
     Jock Duncan--Great expression, this is what I was speaking aboot, feeling the song. I wis at engrossed in it I jist aboot forgot to write the marks doon (he his to be difficult dis he?) [laughter].
     Johnny Bissett--A good all-round performance.
     William Brattan--Caught him short o breath I think. Enjoyed the singing jist the same.
     Stanley Robertson--Well there's naebody sings the big ballads quite like Stanley, that wis a great performance once again Stanley.
     Peter McNabb--Two great songs, but you cut one a bit short, I wis sitting waiting for the other verses.
     Robert Elder--A good all round performance, you're a fine singer.
     Jim Duke fae Dundee--Another wee bit stutter there, but a fine performance.
There wis nobody who completely forgot their words this afternoon. Only two folk really hid a wee blip, jist a blip.
     We'll hae the results now. Third place tie between Brian Miller and Alan Laing. Believe me there was 19 points separating first fae last. I think the first seven or eight wis within 6 points. Second place--Stanley Robertson. The local winner was Robert Elder. Overall winner, because he put so much intae it--John Duncan.

[JA] I would like to thank a' the singers, a' the workers, and the audience, because when the singers were on were getting the best attention, I've had a difficult job, but I enjoyed listening to this, and thank you very much.

[TM] He's gan tae his lady gaen,
As he has done before-o,
Sing madam I maun keep a tryst,
On the dowie dens o Yarrow.

Oh bide at hame ma lord, she said,
Oh bide at hame, ma marrow,
Or my three brothers will slay thee,
On the dowie dens o Yarrow.

Oh haud your tongue, my lady dear,
Fit's all the strife and sorrow,
For I'll come back tae thee again,
Fae the dowie dens o Yarrow.

She's kissed his cheek, she's kissed his hair,
As she has done before-o,
Gied him a brand doon bi his side,
And he's awa ti Yarrow.

Noo he's gone up yon Tennies bank,
Awite he gaed wi sorrow,
And there he met nine armed men,
On the dowie dens o Yarrow.

Noo come ye here ti howk or hound,
Or tae drink the wine sae clear-o,
Or come ye here ti pairt your land,
On the dowie dens o Yarrow.

I come not here ti howk nor hound,
Nor ti drink the wine sae clear-o,
Nor come I here tae pairt ma land,
But I'll fight wi you on Yarrow.

Noo fower he's hurt an five he's slain,
On the bloody dens o Yarrow,
Till a cowardly man fae him behind,
And pierced his body through-o.

Gae hame, gae hame ma brither John,
With all the strife and sorrow,
Gae hame and tell ma lady dear,
That I sleep sound in Yarrow.

So he's gaen up yon high high hill,
As he has done before-o,
And there he met wi his sister dear,
She wis coming fast tae Yarrow.

I dreamt a dreary dream yestreen,
God keep up all fae sorrow,
I dreamt I pulled a birk sae green,
On the dowie dens o Yarrow.

O sister I can read your dream,
And I know it has come sorrow,
Your true love he lies dead and gone,
He was killed, he was killed in Yarrow.

[Jane Turriff:] You've learnt it, there's only two bits that ye wint wrang wi. I dinna ken fit wey ye didna win, you're a good singer.

[TM] Was it alright?

[JT] Aye, ye sung like at fin ye were ere? Well I dinna ken fit wey ye didna win, because you're a good singer. You've a good voice.

[TM] I don't think I have the turns quite right, ye know. ...

[JT] Aye you put in the curly bits, the...twisted notes, ti make the feel the song.

[TM] I'm not so good at those curly bits.

[JT] Did ye nae get second or nothin, there must hive been a lot o them a' singin?

[TM] There were eighteen people. Jock Duncan was first and Stanley Robertson second.

[JT] You're a better singer than him, min. Aye are ye. Fit wis he singin, it maybe depends on the song maybe; that's a good song.

[TM] Jock Duncan sang 'Harlaw' and he also sang 'Glenlogie'. Stanley, I can't remember what he sang.

[JT] 'Glenlogie''s a bonnie song. Stanley kens a lot o songs an a'. Lot o good songs. You're a good singer, that's e first time I've heard ye singin, an I understand a' yer words. Ye jist hid two wrang wordies, but ye'll maybe mind on the words again.
     That's a true song. I learnt Clive and he got first, he's won wi that. He's a good singer too, but I understand your words better. Clive's a good singer, but I understand your way o singin. An yet I understand yer words fit yer saying ken.

And eh, whit een did ye sing again?...

[TM] I sang that at Keith actually. I'll have a go at that.

O my wee doggie has learnt me a trick,
To go a-huntin when it wis dark,
To go a-huntin when it wis dark,
A-huntin wi ma wee dog and I.

I hadn't went far on my way,
When a nice girlie she was going my way,
I asked, pretty maiden whit brocht ye here,
And I courted that young maid like ony man could do.

She said, I love apples and I love pears,
And I love these cherries that grow on thon tree,
And I love my true love and he loved me,
So begone young man, begone, for I don't love you.

So he's taen thon high road and she's taen thon glens,
And aye he whistled an aye she sung,
And the song that she sung was a threid o blue,
Sayin I love my true love, but I don't love you.

O lassie, lassie dry up your tears,
For it's my bad behaviour has caused you to mourn,
For the world it is wide my love and we'll gang side,
An the whole world will ken that thy love is mine.

O lassie, lassie, ye dry awa yer tears,
And for you an your bairnie ye need nae fear,
Though the world it is wide my love, we'll gang side,
And the whole world will ken that your bairnie's mine.

[JT] That's a beautiful song. My granny used ti sing at an ma mither.

I wis singin a song the other mornin, I never learnt it, fit a beautiful song:

I'm jealous of you, of all things you do,
I'm jealous of you, night and day,
For some pretty face may take my place,
That's why I'm jealous of you.

I've heard ma mother singin that, but fit the rest o the verses is, I couldna tell ye.
     There wis another song now I came oot wi the other mornin, God ma mind goes way back ti ma mither. I'm old and I still ca ma ma, 'ma ma', queer, is it? I've heard ma mither singin. My sister in Aberdeen's the same, thinking aboot our parents, loved them dearly an we hid a hard dad, didna batter or hit ye, but we hid to take a telling, answer him. Our father wis a good da, if we were nae weel, he jist looked at ye, syne ye maybe wipin or blowing oor nose and he'd say, ye're biddin in e night, you're nae gaen oot in e caal. Ye see, looking efter ye, get ye a toddy, made wi whisky, and make it up wi sugar and warm water, ti make ye sleep. Oor da wis a good dad, but he made us take a telling, he didna let us get aff wi things.
     Nowadays the kids are nae the same. They get aff wi athing noo, and ye don't get ti correct your children now. I think a dad should always be a father, always protect their children. What is a dad for, but the boss o the house, look after bairns, nae bad-usin them, a good dad ti them, but a dad is the heid o the house. He looked after us, cared for us and I really miss my mum and dad yet, very much. I'm always away back, maybe a song will come ti me. I'd think I heard ma ma singin at, it's wonderful.

[TM] Things you never really learnt, but just heard a lot.

[JT] I heard it aye, heard it. My goodness, I aye think o ma ma, ma sister's the same in Aberdeen. We all think aboot our parents. See if anything happened to me now, Billy is mammy's loon in a ken, he aye comes up ti see how I am, ma this, ma that. He'd say I looked in the window today ma, were ye sleeping, I didna bother ye, see. If anything happened to me, I think he'd break his heart an a'. I miss my parents an affa lot yet, because I wis disabled--I fell and hurt ma leg--then I wis always wi ma parents, niver awa fae them. I loved ma parents an affa lot, and they cared for me. An yet I'll say sometimes it didna look like they cared aboot mi, because they hid other kids ti look after. Many a time they wint away for a fortnight and left me wi a' the hoose o bairns.

[TM] Were you the oldest?

[JT] I'm the oldest one, aye, yet I am the one that is more lively among them a'. I've hid sometime, I'm goin tae let ye hear, all my sisters and the whole family in my mother's house all happy singing.

[TM] I'd love to hear that.

[JT] It's a great tape I've got. I've got ma ma singing, all happy, everyone in the house. I mine is wis at a weekend, and my sisters, we were a' married, and my sister stayed in Aberdeen--I've two sisters stay in Aberdeen. I hid another sister, she died nae an affa time ago, she wis the youngest quine, she wis a great singer hersel, aye whistlin. We were a' married and a' used to come through to see ma ma and da at the weekend. Now I stayed ower the road fae ma mother and I wid gang ower e road and she'd get ma sisters and brothers coming through to see my mum and dad, and I'd come fan they were a' there. The piano wis going; I started playing the piano--a' the tunes o the day, nae only the old ones, but the hillbilly ones and the old songs too. It's a wonderful tape, a big roond tape, and how happy in that house, you've never heard the like o it.

Now I've another tape and I've niver heard this een. I've a big tape and my tape recorder winna play it because the tape I got fae this lad is too big. Now I could maybe halve the tape on ti a smaller wheel, en see fit's on it cause is boy invited me and my husband one time in Fetterangus, maybe thirty years ago and I've niver heard it.
     You know Grey's o Fetterangus, it's a work place[?]. Is boy, he's dead now, the laddie, invited me and ma husband up tae his mither's hoose for a sing-song. We went up and he must hiv hid a tape recorder because he recorded me and ma husband. He come down two-three nights after at, he'd written ontae it "Radio Scotland" and oor names an a', makin on he wis a recorder, BBC, or something like that. I looked at the tape and knew it widna play on ma tape recorder because the wheel's too big. Must be an affa lot o singing and chatting on it, but I dinna ken fit I'm gan ti dae wi it.

[TM] I could take it to Edinburgh for you and make a copy of it for you.

[JT] I dinna ken, fit I wis thinking wis I wis going to buy two wheels for the tape and I could maybe play the half onto a wheel, and half again on the other wheel. Far wid I get two wheels to buy?


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