A Sailor Lad and a Tailor Lad

On Springthyme SPRCD 1038
Jane Turriff - Singin is Ma Life

Sung by Jane Turriff accompanying herself on harmonium.

Jane picked up this song when she was eight or nine - 'frae the ither quinies - at the Linn Moor home near Aberdeen, where she stayed for rest after her fall and three and a half year hospitalisation (FW1 9.1 .96). It is part of a continuum of songs in the Greig Duncan collection which enumerate the advantages of courting a sailor lad over those with other professions (nos. 56-58). The Tailor and the Sailor (57) is the most analagous, the first two verses being very close to Jane's, with the exception of the last couplet, where she introduces the bonnie bairn. Greig Duncan's verse three, 'I will wash my sailor's sark' and 'Maybe I'll be married yet' appear as verses five and six in Jane's song, I'm Jist a Braw Young Sailor Lad (track 19). Jane insists that 'That's a different song' when asked about these verses and we will never know for sure whether she made the transfer herself or whether she learned the songs that way. In either case, perhaps 'floating verses' move within one singer's repertoire as easily as between singers.

1: Oh a sailor lad an a tailor lad aye come coortin me,
I'd raither hae the sailor lad, let the tailor be,
For what can a lazy tailor dee, bit sit an shew a cloot, [=sew
Bit the bonnie sailor laddie he can turn 'is ship aboot.
2: He can turn her eence, he can turn her twice, turn her far awa,
An he aye maks me keep up ma hert the time 'at he's awa,
Oh white sheets an blankets, pilla slips an aa
An the bonnie bairnie on ma knee, an 'at's the best of aa.

Recorded by Allan Palmer Mintlaw 1979

Traditional arranged Jane Turriff
Springthyme Records © 1996.