John Watt & Davey Stewart

Shores of the Forth


sprcd 1002
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Fife’s Got Everything according to the song by John and Davey. A slightly exaggerated claim perhaps, but the two Fifers from Dunfermline and St Andrews respectively go a long way to prove it. Comedy songs, serious songs and recitations paint both a contemporary and past picture of this beautiful part of Scotland from two of the finest entertainers to come out of the ancient ‘Kingdom of Fife’. The title song Shores of the Forth is one of the few songs on the album that was not written by John. Some of John's songs such as Kelty Clippie and Pittenweem Jo have become classics and have been recorded by several other singers since John and Davey first recorded them in 1976.


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John Watt & Davey Stewart: Shores of the Forth


Shores of the Forth on springthyme/sound cloud

King James VI of Scotland described Fife as a ‘beggar’s mantle fringed with gold’ and this inspired the name of the band who provide the instrumentals and the backings - Jock Ritchie from Inverkeithing on fiddle, Jock Mullen from Kelty on accordion, Robin McKidd from Glenrothes on guitar and bass and Brian Miller from Penicuik on guitar and mandolin.

Track List:
For full song texts, click on a song title
1: Lochaber Gathering/ Tam Bain’s Lum
The Beggar's Mantle Ceilidh Band
2: Shores of the Forth // Fisher’s Hornpipe Davey and the Band
3: Dunfermline Linen John Watt (recitation)
4: Pittenweem Jo John and the Band
5: My Wee Dog John Watt
6: Dundee City Police Pipe Band/ Hills of Glenorchy
The Beggar's Mantle Ceilidh Band
7: The Eymouth Disaster // The Boatie Rows John and the Band
8: Annabelle Rosabelle Davey and the Band
9: Kelty Clippie John and Davey and the Band
10: Barbara Donnachie/ Coolie’s Reel/ The Ash Plant/ The Corner House
The Beggar's Mantle Ceilidh Band
11: Mining Trilogy: Athony Reilly // Eany Many // Schooldays Over
John and Davey and the Band
12: Bobby Muldoon John and the Band
13: The Poachers Davey and the Band
14: The New Toon Hall/ There Cam a Young Man/ The Goby O/ Rosin the Beau
The Beggar's Mantle Ceilidh Band
15: Farewell tae the Ferries John and the Band
16: Fife’s Got Everything John and Davey and the Band
17: including Blue Skies John and the Band

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

1: Lochaber Gathering/ Tam Bain’s Lum
Two favourite pipe tunes from the band, the first by GS MacLennan and the second by DS Ramsay.

2: Shores of the Forth/ Fisher’s Hornpipe
A song from Davey and a favourite traditional tune from the band. Full song text: Shores of the Forth.

Come aa you East Neuk fishin lads that stand in the prime o yer youth,
Come sit awhile alang wi me, I’ll tell ye aa the truth;
For I’ve lived nearby for aa ma days alang East Ainster toon,
Noo I’m gey near deid, I’ve earned ma breid, on the cauld hard herrin grunds.

3: Dunfermline Linen
Dunfermline in Fife was, at the turn of the 20th century, one of the largest producers of linen in Europe. A recitation from John:

In a mean abode, doon the Limekilns road lived a man cried Charlie Groat,
And he’d a wife, the plague o his life, wha continually got on his goat.

4: Pittenweem Jo
A simple lyrical song written by John in 1960. The fishing village of Pittenweem has the main commercial fish auction in the East Neuk of Fife. Full Song text: Pittenweem Jo.

I’m gaun wi a lass frae Pittenweem,
She’s every fisher laddie’s dream;
She guts the herrin doon by the quay,
And saves her kisses just for me.

Chorus:
Pittenweem, Pittenweem,
She’s every fisher laddie’s dream;
She guts the herrin doon by the quay,
And saves her kisses just for me.

5: My Wee Dog
A nonsense song by John. ‘East Fife’ and ‘Dunfermline Athletic’ are rivals on the football field.

I’ve got a dog, a nice wee dog
Oh he barks all day in the field and plays
My dog’s called Phineas Fogg
Oh he went roond the world in thirty days.

6: Dundee City Police Pipe Band/ Hills of Glenorchy
Another set of tunes from the band - the first is a composition from Jimmy Shand, the second a well known traditional pipe tune.

7: The Eymouth Disaster/ The Boatie Rows
Written by John in 1964. The lives of 149 Eyemouth fishermen were lost in a storm in October 1881. The Boatie Rows is an old Fife song known to Robert Burns.

By the dowie rocks o Hurkur,
Though deadly were the signs,
Oot sailed the Eyemouth Fifies
Wi a thousand baited lines;
Though a glass-like sea and cloudless sky,
Made the elders bid them stay;
For these are the times that brave men die,
But the halflins held the sway.

8: Annabelle Rosabelle
A parody by John on Donovan’s Jennifer Juniper. ‘Broo’ – Labour Exchange; ‘Packit lugs’ – Dirty Ears; ‘Windae hingin’ – Leaning out of a window; ‘Lannie’ – Lanliq, an intoxicating beverage: ‘Cludgie’ – Toilet/WC.

Annabelle Rosabelle Jamieson McGee,
Sixteen stone o flesh and bone
And only twenty three.
Do I see her often? Yes I do sir!
Every Friday at ra broo sir!
All she gets she hands it o’er tae me,
Annabelle Rosabelle McGee.

9: Kelty Clippie
John’s celebration of a passing way of life. ‘Clippie’ – Bus Conductress; ‘Pyramids’ – the Pit Bings (Slag Heaps); ‘Happyland’ – Miners’ Rows in Lochgelly now demolished; ‘Pitch and Toss’ – Game favoured in mining areas where bets are made on the toss of a coin. Full song text: Kelty Clippie.

I have traivelled ower this country,
Frae shore tae shining shore;
Frae the swamps o Auchterderran,
Tae the jungles o Lochore.
But in aa these far flung places,
There’s nane that can compare;
Wi the Lily o Lumphinnans,
She’s ma bonnie Maggie Blair.

Chorus:
Oh she’s just a Kelty Clippie,
She’ll no tak nae advice;
It’s, “Ach drap deid, awa bile yer heid,
Or Ah’ll punch yer ticket twice!”
Her faither’s just a waster,
Her mither’s on the game;
She’s just a Kelty Clippie,
But I love her just the same.

10: Barbara Donnachie/ Coolie’s Reel/ The Ash Plant/ The Corner House
Four more tunes from the band - the first by band fiddler Jock Ritchie, the remaining tunes are traditional Irish reels and favourites of Jock's.

11: Mining Trilogy:
Anthony Reilly/ Eany Many/ Schooldays Over

A trilogy of songs that take a critical look at the politics and hardships of the life of a miner. The first song Anthony Reilly was written by Ivan Frieman and set to music by Archie Fisher, the second, Eany Meany – a poem by John, and the third Schooldays Over – a fine song from the pen of Ewan MacColl.

As I made my way down the street to the colliery,
As I to my work was a-making my way;
I heard the sad news and I heard the men talking,
Young Anthony Reilly has worked his last day.

12: Bobby Muldoon
A song written by John built round a legendary character from Dunfermline. East End Park is the home of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club and The Auld Grey Toon is of course Dunfermline.

Noo me and ma pal Bobby Muldoon,
Oh we hivnae got nae jobs;
Oh we hing aboot the Cross in the Auld Grey Toon,
A-pickin up the tanners and bobs.
A wee bit lead, a tip on the dugs,
In sunshine or in snaw;
Flet on the grund’s whaur ye’ll find wur lugs,
For we’re aye on the ba.

13: The Poachers
In the eighteenth and nineteenth century many people from Scotland were transported to Van Dieman’s Land, now Tasmania, for the most trivial of crimes.

Come all you gallant sporting boys that ramble void of care,
When you go out on a moonlight night with your dog your gun your snare;
The harmless hare and pheasant you have at your command,
No thinkin on your last career upon Van Dieman’s Land.

14: The New Toon Hall/ There Cam a Young Man/ The Goby O/ Rosin the Beau
Four more tunes from the band - in jig time. The first is by band fiddler Jock Ritchie composed in celebration of the new town hall in Inverkeithing, the remaining tunes traditional Scottish and Irish favourites of Jock's.

15: Farewell tae the Ferries
When the Forth Road Bridge linking Fife with the Lothians opened in September 1964 it saw the demise of the ferry service across the river Forth between North and South Queensferry - and the end of some of the frustrations of ferry travel.

Noo the wide river Forth oh it keeps us apart,
Frae the hustle and bustle o Auld Reekie’s clime;
While the motorist glowers as he sits here for hours,
It’s farewell tae the ferries and no afore time.

16: Fife’s Got Everything
A humorous look at Fife through the eyes of John and Davey. Central Park is Cowdenbeath Football Club’s home ground. The naval dockyard of Rosyth is close to North Queensferry. Full song text: Fife’s Got Everything.

The New Tay Road Bridge, finest in the country,
Half a croon tae cross it and it disnae raise a cheer;
It’s a bob tae cross the Mersey, ye can stuff it up yer jersey,
Would they pay it down in London, oh no bloody fear.

Chorus:
Oh Fife’s got everything, just the place for tourists,
See the bonny pit bings staundin in a raw.

17: Blue Skies
With a backing track of Irving Berlin's famous tune Blue Skies, John signs out with his credits to some of Fife's people and places. Onesiphorus Tyndall-Bruce of Falkland, the Largo Law and its long arm, Lower Largo the birthplace of Alexander Selkirk, otherwise known as Robinson Crusoe and to the members of The Beggar's Mantle Ceidh Band: Jock Ritchie from Inverkeithing on fiddle, Jock Mullen from Kelty on accordion, Robin McKidd from Glenrothes on guitar and bass and Brian Miller from Penicuik on guitar and mandolin.


Credits: Recorded at sessions during the weekend of 13, 14, 15 February 1976 at Balcanquhal Farm Cottage, Gateside, Fife. Recorded with a microphone stereo pair direct to 15ips Revox and produced by Peter Shepheard. Additional recordings (overdub of mandolin and kazoo) and mixing by Ian Sinclair at GRF Studios, Glasgow. Cover photograph by Kenny Thomson. Thanks to Artie Trezise and Cilla Fisher for use of Balcanquhal, Auchmuty High School for use of the bass, Mary Stewart and Cathy Watt for food and drink. Sleeve notes by John Watt and Peter Shepheard. Remastered for digital CD release by David Cunningham of Thane Multimedia, Cupar, Fife. Drawings illustrating the song pages on the website and the Online CD Booklet (and used in the original LP song sheet insert) by Lynn Sheridan.

Copyrights: 1b (DS Ramsay) Edcath Collection. 4, 9 (J Watt) Neon Music. 6a (J Shand) Kerr’s Music. 8 (D Leitch/ J Watt) Donovan Music. 11c (E MacColl) Harmony Music. 16b (Berlin) Francis, Day & Hunter. All others published Springthyme Music: 1a (GS MacLennan arr Ritchie); 2a (Matt Armour); 2b (trad. arr Ritchie); 3, 5 (J Watt); 6b (trad. arr Ritchie); 7a (J Watt); 7b (trad. arr Ritchie); 10a (J Ritchie); 10b,c,d (trad. arr Ritchie); 11a (I Frieman/ A Fisher); 11b, 12 (J Watt); 13 (trad. arr Stewart); 14a (J Ritchie), 14b,c,d (trad. arr Ritchie); 15, 16a (J Watt).



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