The Banff and Buchan Collection

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Tape 1994.057 transcription

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[GE, re. 'The Dyin Ploughboy'] Is man wis niver prosecuted for it, ye see.

[Tom McKean] He didn't really commit a crime.

[GE] I widna think so, no, but it turned oot tragic. No, I suppose there wis nae blame attached ti it. But it's somethin nae many folk wid be proud o.

The gloaming winds were sighin soft,
Aroon my lonely stable loft,
And through the sky light dusky red,
The sunbeams wander roon my bed.

I dinna like that een so good, it's maybe jist the words.

[GE plays moothie]

[TM] What was the last two tunes there?

[GE] God knows [laughs]. O 'The Rowan Tree' and 'The Auld Hoose' were twa, 'The Road and Miles Tae Dundee.' I canna tell ye the first one. I've lost teeth since the last, so possibly that's against it an a'.

[GE plays another type o moothie and follows with a song]

My name is Jimmy Raeburn fae Glasgow toon I came,
My place o habitation I hid to leave in shame,
Fae my place o habitation noo I'm gaen awa,
And leave the bonnie hills and glens o Caledonia.

It wis early in the mornin afore the dawn o day,
Our keeper he came roon ti us and tae us did say,
Arise ye hapless convicts arise ye een an a',
This is the day that ye maun stray fae Caledonia.

We mounted the coach and oor hearts were full o grief,
Our parents, wives and sweethearts could grant us no relief,
Our parents, wives and sweethearts their hairts were broke in twa,
Tae see us leave the hills and dales o Caledonia.

Farewell my aged mother I'm grieved for what I've done,
I hope there're neen cast up ti you the race that I hae run,
The Lord he will protect you when I am far awa,
Far frae the bonnie hills and dales o Caledonia.

Farewell my honest father, ye are the best o men,
Like wise ma ain true sweethairt, it's Catherine is her name,
Nae mair we'll walk by Clyde's clear streams or by the Broomielaw, Nor see again the hills and dales o Caledonia.

If we never meet on earth again we'll meet in heaven above,
Where hallelujas will be sung to Hhim wha reigns in love,
Nae early judge shall judge us then but He wha ruleth all,
Far fae the bonnie hills and dales o Caledonia,
Far fae the bonnie hills and dales o Caledonia.

[GE] There's a fairm toon up in Cyarnie that's kent fae far and wide,
Tae be the great Drumdelgie on bonnie Deveronside,
The fairmer o yon muckle toon he is baith hard and sair,
On the cauldest day that ever blaws his servants get their share.

At five o'clock we quickly rise and hurry doon the stairs,
We get oor horses corned and fed likewise tae straik their hair;
Then efter working half an hour each day the kitchie goes,
Tae get started wi oor breakfast which is generally brose.

We scarcely got oor brose weel supped and gien oor pints a tie,
When the foreman says, hello ma lads ye'll be nae langer nigh;
At sax o'clock the mill's pit on tae gie us a' stracht work,
It takes four o us to make ti her till ye could ring wir sark.

Then the water is shut aff, we hurry doon the stair,
Tae get some quarters through the fan till daylight dis appear;
The clouds begin ti gently lift and the sky begins to clear,
An the foreman says, hello mi lads you'll bide nae langer here.

It's sax o ye'll gang ti the plough and twa ti ca the neeps,
An the owsen they'll be efter you wi strae raipes roon their queets;
When pittan on the harness and gan forth tae yoke,
The drift dang on sae very thick as we were like tae choke.

The frost it bein so very hard, the ploo she widna go,
In soon were cartin days began amon the frost and snow;
Wir horses bein both young and sma the shafts they didna fill,
An we sometimes notted a tracer lad to help them up the hill.

But we will sing our horses praise though they be young and sma,
They far outshine the Broadland's eens that gang sae full and braw;
But it's farewell from Drumdelgie for I maun gang awa,
It's farewell Drumdelgie yer wintry weather an a'.
It's farewell Drumdelgie I'll bid you a adieu,
And I'll leave ye as I got ye a maist unceevil crew. [End of Side A.]

[Gordon Easton] Course an affa courtin gid on, there wis nae transport. At's why there a inter-married, within a locality. Same wi the fishin folk, nae si much as there used to be, but the fairmin folk, if ye hid a bike ye could bike a bitty, but if ye were walkin ye wis restricted. There wis nae television, nae radio, courtin wis the only natural thing that would happen ye see.

Ae market day in Huntly toon it's there I did agree,
Wi Bogieside yon fairmer as six month for tae fee,
No Bogie wis a surly carle and I knew that fu well,
Bit Bogie hid a daughter braw and her name it wis Belle.

Noo Belle she wis the bonniest lass in a' the country wide,
And very soon I lost ma heart ti the Belle o Bogieside,
And often on a summer's nicht I'd wander wi ma dear,
Tae watch the trooties loupin in Bogie's water clear.

Now efter some five month hid gaen auld Bogie came ti me,
An says wi face as dark as nicht it you I want to see,
If fit my daughter says is true we canna lang agree,
And doon the road ye hae ti gang without a penny o yer fee.

Says I, O man, ye're fairly richt and hung ma heid in shame,
But I will marry Belle the morn an gie ti her ma name,
Wi that he cursed and swore and spat an said that rather he,
Wid see his daughter leein deid than married unti me.

Noo me being jist a fairm chiel, I thought he wis gey sair,
With the thocht o havin ti part wi Belle I didna say nae mair,
But I packed mi case and left the toon, ma Belle I didna see,
And doon the road I gaed withoot a penny o ma fee.

Noo they say she's married a tinkler chiel, his nickname's Soutar John,
She hawks his pans and roosers aroond bi Fogieloan,
And they say auld Bogie rues the day that he did rave and yell,
Bit it wis me first won the heart o Bogie's bonnie Belle.

[GE] At a lyrical craft upon the hill,
Roon the neuk by Sottie's Mill,
Ran a' the ??? the time ti kill,
Wis Geordie MacIntyre.
He hid a wife as sweir's himsel,
An a daughter as black as Auld Nick himsel,
There wis some fun, haud awa the smell,
At the muckin o Geordie's byre.

Fin the graip wis tint, the besom wis deen,
The barra widna row its lien,
It's nae muckle winner, the graip wisna clean,
At the muckin o Geordie's byre.

Noo the daughter started tae strae a neep,
The auld wife started tae swipe the graip,
An Johnny fell skite on a rotten neep,
At the muckin o Geordie's byre.
En ben the ??? come Geordie's soo,
And she stood up ahint the coo,
The coo kickit oot an oh fit a stew,
At the muckin o Geordie's byre.

Fin the graip wis tint, the besom wis deen,
The barra widna row its lien,
An siccan a sotter as iver wis seen,
At the muckin o Geordie's byre.

Now the aul wife she wis bowin doon,
The soo got kickit on the crown,
It showed its heid on e wifie's goon,
An ben through Geordie's byre.
The daughter came through the barn door,
An hearin her mither gied oot a roar,
Ti the maiden she ran and fell ower the boar,
At the muckin o Geordie's byre.

Fin the graip wis tint, the besom wis deen,
The barra widna row its lien,
It nae muckle winner the graip wisna clean,
At the muckin o Geordie's byre.

Noo the boar he leapit the midden dyke,
And ower the rigs wi Geordie's tyke,
The boar run in tae a bumbie's byke,
At the muckin o Geordie's byre.
The cocks and hens began ti craw,
Fin Betty astride the soo they sa,
The ??? sheltie ran awa,
At the muckin o Geordie's byre.

Fin the graip wis tint, the besom wis deen,
The barra widna row its lien,
An siccan a sotter at iver wis seen,
At the muckin o Geordie's byre.

Noo hundred years hae gaen and mair,
Far Sottie's wis, the hill is bare,
The craft's awa so you'll see nae mair,
O the muckin o Geordie's byre.
His folks a' deed and awa lang syne,
So in case his memory we should tine,
Just whistle this tune to keep ye in min,
O the muckin o Geordie's byre.

Fin the graip wis tint, the besom wis deen,
The barra widna row its lien,
An the soo an auld Betty has niver been seen,
Since the muckin o Geordie's byre.

It's amusing, great fun.

Come saiddle ti me ma aul grey mare,
Came saiddle ti me ma pony-o,
Far I'm takin the road and I gan far awa,
Awa wi the rovin ploughboy-o.

Ploughboy-o, oh ploughboy-o,
I'll follow the rovin ploughboy-o.

Last night I lay on a fine feather bed,
Wi sheets and blankets sae cosy-o,
Bit thenight I shall lie in some caul barn shed,
But rowed in the airms o my ploughboy-o.

Ploughboy-o, oh ploughboy-o,
I'll follow the rovin ploughboy-o.

Champion plough boy is my Geordie lad,
We cups and medals and prizes-o,
On bonnie Devronside there's none can compare,
Wi mi roving jolly ploughboy-o.

Ploughboy-o, oh ploughboy-o,
I'll follow the rovin ploughboy-o.

I'll bid farewell ti auld Huntly toon,
An a farewell ti Drumdelgie-o,
For I'm noo on the road and I'm gan far awa,
Awa wi mi rovin plough boy-o.

Ploughboy-o, oh ploughboy-o,
I'll follow the rovin ploughboy-o.

[Tom McKean:] I heard a recording at Keith.

[GE] He was somebody I enjoyed meeting in wi at some o the first o our festivals. Keith, aye he wis a gey auld man at that time. His wife she wis affa bothered wi arthritis, but fit an entertainer he wis, jist in his own couthie way.

[TM] Where did you get the song?

[GE] Oh I canna tell ye that. It wisna John McDonald, although possibly I've heard him singin, no I canna rightly tell you.

[TM] What about Geordie's byre?

[GE] We'll that's just somethin that wis on the gramophone fin I wis a bairn ye see. There wis a mannie, Billy Baxter, he wis fae doon in Kirkton, well he hid a that, nae the Rovin Ploughboy, but he hid a the ither eens. Oh there's 'The Kissin in the Stable,' 'Courtin in the Stable'; it wis a great song. He hid it, an a', bit ye jist hid a shapshot o it in yer mind. Somethin brought it ti mind; I think there's a version of it. [22] I think my memory's goin tee, I think I'm gradually falling tae bits.

The night wis fine it wis efter nine,
The moon wi cloods wis hidden-o,
Fin in the dark ower moss an park,
Cam Jock at Katie's biddin-o.

At sax o'clock Jock supped his brose,
An dressed himsel fu cheerie-o,
Pulled ower his chest his Sunday best,
And set aff to meet his dearie-o.

The road wis lang and Jock aye sang,
O Katie, ye are ma charmer-o,
At Whitsuntide you'll be ma bride,
An leave the hungry fairmer-o.

It's me ti thank that in the bank,
Twa hundred pound I've lying-o,
I'm nae sae daft, I've taen a craft,
My fortune I'll be tryin-o.

But passin through Auldmeldrum toon,
Roon by the inn cam Tammy-o
An Tam and Jock at acht o'clock,
Gaed in tae hae a drammie-o.

No sic a time the ploomen hid,
Wi ale an whisky cheerie-o,
The drink gaed doon bit Jock forgot,
That he'd ti meet his dearie-o.

They sat and newsed and aye they boozed,
Till shuttin time with chappin-o,
Then Jock he rase and in a daze,
He very nearly drappit o.

En soon he wummled ower the rigs,
Twis well he kent the stable-o,
Far aft he went ti meet his Kate,
As seen as she was able-o.

Jock feelin queer the fairm drew near,
Seen in the close he landed-o
Nae meen did guid, he kent his way,
In the midden he got stranded-o.

He crackit spunks and found his way,
Roon by the byrie gavel-o,
We sharnie boots and dubby queets,
At last he reached the stable-o.

Jock steid an thocht, the whisky vrocht,
The drink it fairly matched him-o,
A workin steer was standin near,
An roon his neck Jock clasped him-o.

Noo ken, mi dear, ye'll vow richt here,
There's none bit me ye'll marry-o
Bit losh, ma doo, ye've turned a coo,
For yer affa roch and hairy-o.

In come Katie wi a licht,
She laughed as she wis greetin-o,
She fairly thought her lad's gane mad,
She niver hid such a meeting-o.
The working steer he looked sae queer,
He niver gaed a guller-o,
He niver thought that hid vrocht,
Wi sic an unco collar-o.

Katie glowered at Jock, Jock glowered at Kate,
The stott wis fair dumbfoonert-o,
Jock slacked his haud an wi a thud,
He in the foresta funnert-o.
But then the fun wis broken short,
Bi Katie's kind compassion-o,
She niver thocht she'd see a stott,
Dressed up in sic a fashion-o.

She placed her arm aroon Jock's neck,
Tae the kitchie she did guide him-o,
She was strong and free wi some strong tea,
But she never stopped ti chide him-o.

But now they're married, man and wife,
An lang may they be able-o,
Tae lauch at fate and niver forget,
The courting in the stable-o.

That's the verse I struck at in Strichen [second last one].

[GE] They hid 'The Tradesman's Plooin Match at Hogmanay' [on cylinder] and they hid 'The Courtin in the Stable,' but that's gaen back an affa lang time.

[TM] Who was singing it, do you remember?

[GE] No, I couldna tell you that.

[TM] So you could get the cylinders commercially, in the shops?

[GE] We hid a little thing here, there one wis a superior to oors, it hid a bigger horn and a better reproduction, you wound it up. Oor een wis aboot eight inches long, the horn maybe two foot and a screw would take the needle along. I hiv the remains, but disappointed it's nae a' there, but I have the bulk o it. Part of the auld hoose wis burned and this wis destroyed in the fire apparently and the cylinders would have went. There wis stuff that would hae been worth quite a bit--dishes that Isobel spoke aboot, sugar and cream bowls, decorated wi fruit currants and grapes and lovely colours. I jist mind a shelf oot the back that's far the fiddle wis kept tae up in at shelf, but the fiddles were gone before the fire. But is thing wis damaged and there wis a hunting horn, sword--I hiv it doon in the shed, it's supposed ti be a navy sword wi a bone handle.

[TM] Wonder how old that would have been?

[GE] There was another dagger that I mind upon tae, wi a black ebony handle on it and great granda used to tap in the neeps wi it if he lost his tapper. It was suicide but it wis aye put back.

[TM] Sounds Indian.

[GE] I dinna ken the history, but they say it was a naval sword. There wis a muzzle loading gun, although I hiv the remains o it, but it's nae worth nothin tae naebody. You filled in the front o it, ere wis a ramrod, ye put in the powder first, packing, lead shot and mair packin, then the cap on the top. The remains are doon in the auld barn there. There wis a pistol in the hoose tae, it hid a ebony handle on it, it wis muzzle loading tae, ebony and brass, that was a well-made thing, that must hae been destroyed tae. It wis in affa good condition, it hid the hammer on it. Well everything in the kitchen bit o the hoose wis destroyed.

[TM] Tam Duncan was the one with the recording?

[GE] No, he hid the cylinder machine, him and his uncle, they were in a partnership. They hid a place ower at Newbiggins, aboot a mile fae here. This auld uncle wis a brother o my great grandfather doon here, so there wis a lot o comings and goings. We got a lot o their cylinders, they hid maybe a dozen or so. 'The Tradesman's Plooin Match' wis on one cylinder, I mind aboot it, and 'The Courtin in the Stable.' But Willie Baxter hid a' that in his flat, him wi the motorbike, God knows how he managed.

This Andrew Robbie and Alex Willox, they were neepers, the place wis aboot the same size and they worked wi each other which wis an affa good system. The neepers wi a their jobbies, the twa were company ti each other.


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