The Humble Tattie

On Springthyme SPRCD 1032
Aly Bain & Young Champions

A humorous song in praise of the tattie - the potato - a staple of the Scottish die - written by Ian Middleton born in the village of Fordyce, Banffshire. Ian always had great interest in the Doric (the northeast dialect of the Scots language) and since his teens was composing lines of verse about farm life. In 1982 he wrote The Festival O Keith which was recorded by Jim Reid and The Foundry Bar Band. At the Moray Festival of Bothy Ballads at Elgin in 1984 Ian gained second place for his A Fee'd Man Looks Back and this and the Humble Tattie were recorded on an album Bothy Greats featuring the musicians and singers taking part in the event. The following year at Elgin he won with another song of farm life The Traivlin Mill.

Sung by Scott Gardiner, brought up in Angus in a family where old songs and bothy ballads were a part of life. Recorded at a concert in the Corran Hall, Oban during the Young Champions tour of 1992.

1: Noo, some nicht fin yer idle, an ye’ve nithing else tae dae,
Jist ponder on the tattie, and its versatility,
For it’s been a staple diet throu a history-book o waars,
An it’s blessed wi mair equations than a chokit, kist-o-draa’ers!
Tatties for yer braakfist, yer denner an yer tay,
There’s nithing wrang wi tatties at ony time o day,
Ca them spud, or potato, or even pomme-de-terre,
A diet’s nae a diet unless the humble tattie’s there!

2: There’s battered eens, buttered eens, biled an barbecued,
An chippit eens an chappit eens, tho I’ve nivver tried them stewed!
There’s stovies an there’s shepherds’ pie, tae gar yer belly sag,
An even in a pyokie wi a wee blue bag!
Pink eens and yaller eens and reid fite an blue,
An files ye’ll get a mongrel o a questionable hue,
Fresh eens an frozen eens, an tatties big an sma,
An some that, fin ye haud them, well there's nithing there bit sha!

3: There's mealy lads, an soapy lads, an some that’s in-atween,
Late lads for liftin fin the early eens are deen,
Aul wizzent sprootit eens tae gie the soo a feed,
An aa the little tottems that are keepit back for seed!

4: There’s Golden Wonder, Craigneil, as weel as Sharp’s Express,
An poodert eens caad 'Smash' that they eat in ooter-space,
An thin skinned Cypress eens tae get ye throu the spring,
An muckle sappy English eens ye gey near need tae wring!
Lang lads roun lads, an kidney shaped as weel,
Ither lads turnin green wi stickin oot the dreel,
Canary eens, an hairy eens, an some that’s black wi blight,
An every een the better o a twa three load o - dung!

5: Well, there’s Kerr’s Pink, British Queen, as weel as Duke o York,
An ither brands fit for maakin piggies intae pork,
An noo there’s Great British eens the market for tae tak,
An ithers that are champion for soup tae keep ye swaak!
So here’s tae the tattie, an lang may they swaal,
Herrin wi the new eens, an sized wi the aul,
The workin man’s caviare, steamin fae the pot,
There’s nae a veg that’s growin, bit the tattie beats the lot!
Words & music by Ian Middleton
Springthyme Music © 1992