Singin Is Ma Life

sprcd 1038

The CD includes a 36 page booklet with full song texts.

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Jane Turriff is one of Scotland's legendary traditional singers first recorded by Hamish Henderson in 1955 for the School of Scottish studies. This album has been compiled from many private recordings made over several decades at festivals, folk clubs and in Jane's own house in Mintlaw. Jane gained a reputation on the folk scene for her passionate ballad style, coupled with a powerful and beautifully controlled voice.

Jane's repertoire includes classic traditional ballads such as Barbara Allen and the border ballad Dowie Dens o Yarrow as well as many folk songs from the Northeast tradition such as My Wee Doggie (with accordion) and A Sailor Lad and a Tailor Lad and Bonnie Udny (both with harmonium) and the beautiful Rigs of Rye, but her repertoire crosses over to include Jimmy Rodgers country and western, complete with yodelling.

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Rear Booklet

Jane Turriff: The Rigs O Rye

A Sailor Lad and a Tailor Lad

The Rigs O Rye
or A Sailor Lad and a Tailor Lad
on springthyme/ soundcloud

'A wonderful voice, a totally accessible style, a priceless gem' FOLK ROOTS
'The wee bookie that accompanies this wonderful CD is worth the price alone' ARTWORK
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© Springthyme Records 1997 - 2012

Track List:
For song texts, click on a song title where it shows a link
1. A Sailor Lad an a Tailor Lad 0:46
2. The Bonnie Blue Hankie 1:53
3. Dowie Dens o Yarrow 6:23
4. The Wings of a Swallow 2:00
5. My Wee Doggie 4:38
6. The Cobbler 3:17
7. Rigs o Rye 4:15
8. The Derby Ram 2:13
9. No One to Welcome You Home 2:57
10. Down by the Green Bushes 2:57
11. Poor Little Joe 1:24
12. The Boston Smuggler 3:05
13. Mill o Tifty’s Annie 9:54
14. Wi His Grey Baird Newly Shaven 1:38
15. The Ring your Mother Wore 0:57
16. Empty Saddles 0:55
17. Barbara Allen 4:23
18. What can a Young Lassie 4:36
19. A Braw Young Sailor Lad 2:14
20. Will the Angels 2:37
21. Bonnie Udny 5:49
22. The Rovin Ploughboy 2:32


JANE TURRIFF is one of Scotland's legendary traditional singers. She was horn in Aberdeen in 1915, the eldest child of Donald and Christina Stewart. The Aberdeenshire Stewarts are justly renowned as pipers, singers and fiddlers in the Scottish traveller tradition, but Jane also has a strong strain of Irish traveller stock and repertoire - her maternal grandmother was a Maguire from Ireland, and her mother's brother, Davie Stewart, travelled and sang extensively there.

First recorded in 1955 by Hamish Henderson at her home in Fetterangus - known locally as Fishie - she has gained a reputation on the folk scene for her passionate ballad style, coupled with a powerful and beautifully controlled voice. She is equally famous for her renditions of music hall and country and western songs, delivered with equal conviction and power. All of these influences - the North East, the Irish, music hall, country and western - come together in Jane's singing styles.

Over the decades, she has featured on a few compilation albums. Now in her eighties, after forty years of being recorded by folklorists and enthusi asts from around the world, she at last has an album entirely devoted to her unique voice.

These tracks were selected - all with Jane's approval and perceptive ear - from nearly five hundred recordings of the more than one hundred songs in her repertoire, drawn from the School of Scottish Studies archive, the North East Folklore Archive, the private collection of Allan Palmer and from Peter Shepheard's Springthyme Records archive.

Listening to Jane and to the hundred hours of tape while preparing this album, I am constantly stunned by her artistry, her quality of tone and the gut-wrenching emotion she packs into her songs. Many call traditional singers 'untrained', but here is a singer with the weight of tradition behind her, a singing family, an open mind and a powerful voice - a traditionally trained singer. Listen to the precision of her articulation on the traditional ballads, the quality of tone and, most importantly, the individual feelings she puts into her songs and you will hear a traditional singer at her best.

To me, a traditional singer is not one who sings only 'traditional songs, but one to whom song is part of life. And like most traditional singers, Jane sings songs of nearly any description and does not draw absolute boundaries between them. Seated by her harmonium, I have listened to medleys that run seamlessly from Oh, Oh Antonio, to The Laird o Drum, by way of When You Were Sweet Sixteen, Among My Souvenirs, The Banks o Reid Roses and Blue, Blue, contrasts and transitions which she handles with consummate ease. Because Jane's styles cross boundaries, from that of the dramatic ballads learned from her mother and her uncle Davie Stewart, to the unrestrained emotion of Jimmy Rodgers' country and western music, complete with yodelling, I have tried to make this record representative of her huge range, and include songs that are important to her. I hope you will enjoy this album as much as I have enjoyed Jane's 'cairry-ons' for the last two years. I would like to dedicate this album to the memory of Jane's parents Christina and Donald.

Tom McKean, 1995

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© Springthyme Records 1997 - 2012

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