Fee'd Tae The Drum

Gordon Easton: On Autumn Harvest ah006: Old Songs & Bothy Ballads: Nick-knack on the Waa. Live from the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2007.

Composed by Frank Henry brought up in the Cabrach between Huntly and Aberdeen. A young man goes to the feeing market to look for a new job and agrees to a contract but gets more than he bargained for.

1 At ae Mairtinmas term, the grieve fae the Drum,
Tappit me on the shouder and speired gin I'd come,
Tae watch his first pair for a winter half year,
Wi a big cleekit horse and ringle-eed meer.

2 There wis plenty o tools an the best o a squad,
And we wis never pitten oot fen the weather was bad;
There wis a prize takken bull and great thumpers o kye,
An a bonnie young quine in the kitchie forbye.

3 So we newsed o the horse an the knowte an the ploo,
An he held on the drink till I gey near got fu;
Syne aifter a half dozen glasses o rum,
Like a gowke, I feed hame tae be foreman at Drum.

4 Och, I'll never forget the first nicht at the Drum,
An losh, I wish I never had come;
There wis hardly a bowster tae haud up ma heid,
An the snores o the loon would hae waukened the deid.

5 Noo the baillie wis big, he'd a bed till himsel,
An it wis jist as weel 'cos his feet had a smell;
Like a press full o cheese, oh my, sic a hum,
There wis millions o fleas in the chaumer at Drum.

6 Syne the meer wis a kicker an files she ran aff,
An the horse wis a stiff 's an auld man wi a staff;
But losh, ye shoulda heard foo the gaffer could bum,
That day he fee'd me tae come hame tae the Drum.

7 Syne the milk it wis blue an the porridge wis thin,
Like a cooard in a battle aye ready tae rin,
An the breid wis sae teugh and the scones were sae raw,
Man, it took near a yokin wir breakfast tae chaw.
[a yokin - a stint of work - four or five hours

8 An Babbie the skiffy, she wis brosie an big,
She'd a glaik in her ee an I'll sweir she'd a wig;
Her face an her hands were as black as a lum,
Nae winner the lads widna fee tae the Drum.

9 Och, I'll never forget the first nicht at the Drum,
An losh, I wish I never had come;
The greive wis a twister, his wife nae half-come,
[nae half-come = not all there
Och, I'll aye rue the day I fee'd hame tae the Drum.

c p 2008 Autumn Harvest : www.springthyme.co.uk