Old Songs & Bothy Ballads

There's Bound to Be a Row

To find the meaning of any Scots word - enter the word in the box above and press return!

1: Sleepy Toon in the Morning • Jim Taylor

A classic cornkister by George Morris of Oldmeldrum.

Come aa ye lads that follow the ploo,
A story true I’ll tell tae you,
O some o the ongyangs we gyang through,
At Sleepytoon in the mornin.

2: Robin Hood and the Tanner • Bob Lewis

Robin Hood meets a stranger, they fight, the stranger wins and is praised for his prowess and asked to join the outlaw band.

It’s of a bold tanner in fair Devonshire,
His name it was Arthur O Brann;
There wasn’t a man in all Devonshire,
Could make this bold Arthur to stand.

3: My Auld Sheen • Chris Miles

A version of I Aince Loed a Lass or The False Bride. In this case the false love is compared to a pair of discarded old shoes.

When I saw my bonnie love tae the kirk go,
Wi bridegroom and maidens they made a fine show,
And I follaed her on wi a hert fu o woe,
She’s gaen tae be wad tae another.

4: Erin go Bragh • Jimmy Hutchison

A Highlander is mistaken for an Irish immigrant and mistreated by an Edinburgh policeman of the mid 1800s.

Oh ma name’s Duncan Campbell fae the shire o Argyll,
I’ve travelled this country for mony’s the mile;
I’ve travelled through England through Ireland an aa,
And the name that I go by is Erin go Bragh.

5: Lady Jean • Jo Miller

This powerful and rather beautiful ballad (Child 52) has only rarely been collected - perhaps because of its theme of rape and incest.

The king’s young dochter was sittin at her windae,
Sewin a fine silken seam;
She’s lookit out o her braw bower windae,
And she saw the leaves growin green my love.

6: There’s Bound to Be a Row • Henry Douglas

A song from the Scottish music hall era that Henry Douglas picked up from border shepherd Willie Scott.

I’m a poor unhappy married man, I’ve such an awfa wife,
Tae please her I dae aa I can, but still she plagues ma life;
If I do everything that’s right, she’ll find a fault somehow,
And if I just stay out all night there’s bound to be a row.

7: Rigs o Rye • Jim Taylor

This beautiful love song has long been popular with thirty-five versions in the Greig-Duncan collection.

'Twas in the month of sweet July,
Before the sun had pierced the sky,
'Twas in between twa rigs o rye,
I heard twa lovers talking.

8: The Oxen Ploughing • Bob Lewis

A west country song in praise of the ox ploughing.

Come along little ploughboy it’s awaken in the morn,
The cock upon the dunghill is a-blowing of his horn;
The sun above the spinney his golden face does show,
Therefore hasten to the linny of the oxen to the plough.
With my hump along, jump along, here drives ma lad along,
Purty, Sparkle, Berry, Goodluck, Speedwell, Cherry,
We are the lads that can follow the plough,
Oh we are the lads that can follow the plough.

9: The False Lover Won Back • Jimmy Hutchison

When a young man leaves his sweetheart she follows from town to town and persuades him to return.

The sun it shines ower yonder hill,
And low in yonder dell;
The place where me and my love bide,
The sun it never gangs doun, bonnie love,
The sun it never gangs doun.

10: The Battle o Harlaw • Jock Duncan

The battle at Harlaw in Aberdeenshire fought in 1411 between Higlander and Lowlander was a disaster for both sides.

As I cam in by Dunideer,
An doun by Netherha,
I saw fifty thoosan Hielanmen,
Aa marchin tae Harlaw.
O a dirrum a doo a daddie O a dirrum a doo a day.

11: Whistle O’er the Lave O’t • Jo Miller

A medley of three mouth music songs from Shetland.

My mither sent me tae the sea, for tae gaither mussels three;
A sailor lad fell in wi me, an whistle o’er the lave o’t.
Ma mither sent me tae the well, better she had gaen hersel;
The bottom o the daffock fell, so whistle o’er the lave o’t.

12: Spread the Green Branches • Bob Lewis

An old, rare and rather beautiful song that Bob learned from an old neighbour of his mother’s in Heyshott, West Sussex.

O spread the green branches, O whilst I am young,
So well did I like my love so sweeltlye she sung;
Was ever a man in such happy estate,
As me with my Flora, fair Flora so brave.

13: The Lothian Hairst • Jimmy Hutchison

From the days of the hand reaping when squads of men travelled south from Aberdeen to follow the ripening crop north.

On August twelfth frae Aberdeen we sailèd on the Prince,
And landed safe in Stafford’s fields oor harvest tae commence.

14: Sir Patrick Spens • Jock Duncan

The ballad may derive from an actual event when the Scottish Queen Margaret, Maid of Norway was sent for in 1290.

The king sits in Dunfermline Toun,
Drinkin his bleed reid wine;
Spierin, “Far will I get a skeely skipper,
That’ll sail the saut seas fine?”

15: Mill o Tiftie’s Annie • Chris Milesn

The miller’s daughter falls for Lord Fyvie’s handsome trumpeter but her father does not approve and disaster follows.

At Mill o Tifty lived a man,
In the neigbourhood o Fyvie;
And he had a lovely daughter fair,
And they caad her bonnie Annie.

16: Bandy’s Roup • Jim Taylor

Retirement often brings a sad day for a farmer - the need to sell up, calling in the auctioneer for a displenishing sale or roup.

Aul Bandy he wis roupin oot, his fairmin days were deen,
He bocht a wee bit hoosie in the toun o Aiberdeen;
Noo aa his stock and implements were aa gaun up for sale,
He’d even sell the moosetrap an the aul slop pail.

17: The Drowned Lovers • Bob Lewis

A maid is overheard lamenting for her lover lost at sea. Turning down an offer of marriage she throws herself into the ocean.

As I walkèd out down by the sea shore,
Where the wind and the waves and the billows did roar;
There I heard a strange voice make a terrible sound,
Was the wind and the waves and the echoes all round.
Crying, “Oh, oh my love has gone he’s the youth I adore,
He’s gone and I never shall see him no more.”

18: The Parting Glass • Jo Miller

A fine song to sing when a gathering of friends comes to the end of the day - or when a ceilidh draws to a close.

Come friends and companions come join me in rhyme,
And lift up your voices in chorus wi mine;
Lift up your voices all grief to refrain,
For we may or might never all meet here again.

Cover Picture: Arthur Watson gives credit to Jimmy McBeath - source singer for many great old songs including the title song on this CD and on Jimmy’s 1978 Topic album. The full size model of Jimmy was made by Penicuik artist Jan Miller.

Credits: Thanks to all the singers who have given free use of their recordings to the East of Scotland Traditional Song Group. Recorded live by Tom Spiers during the Fife Traditional Singing Festivel, Collessie May 2009. Design & transcriptions by Peter Shepheard. All songs traditional arranged by the singer except where noted.