This is a classic song from the repertoire of the great northeast traditional singer Jimmy McBeath - a song that reflected his life as a man of the road. Jimmy was born in the North-east of Scotland in Portsoy, Banffshire in 1894 and, like most of his generation, he began work as a farm servant at the age of 13. Jimmy's repertoire included a wide range of traditional songs of the area, but he was particularly famed for his renditions of comic songs and bothy ballads. The bothy ballad, with its direct sentiment, realistic humour and, on occasion, bitter irony, is to many the typical song of North-east Scotland. In his latter years Jimmy McBeath, who died in 1971, had become known as one of the country's finest bothy ballad singers.
|1: Ah come aa ye tramps and hawkin lads, ye gaitherers o blaw,
That tramps the country roon an roon, come listen ane an aa;
I’ll tell tae you a roving tale o sichts that I hae seen,
Far up intae the snowy north and doon by Gretna Green.
2: Oft times I’ve laughed untae masel when trudgin on the road,
Ma toe rag roon ma blistered feet, ma face as broon as the toad;
Wi lumps o breid an tattie scones an dauds o braxy ham,
No gie’n a thocht tae whaur I’ve been or yet tae whaur I’m gaun.
3: I hae seen the high Ben Lomond a-towrin tae the moon,
I’ve been by Crieff and Callander an roon by bonnie Doon;
I’ve seen Loch Ness’s silvery tides an places ill tae ken,
Far up intae the snowy North lies Urquhart’s fairy glen.
4: An I’ve done my share o humpin wi the dockers on the Clyde,
I’ve helped the Buckie trawlers haul their herrin ower the side;
I’ve helped tae build the mighty bridge that spans the Firth o Forth,
An wi mony an Angus fairmer’s rig I’ve ploughed the bonny earth.
5: But I’m happy in the summer time beneath the clear blue sky,
No thinkin in the morning whaur at nicht I’m gaun tae lie;
In barn or byre or onywhere, dossin oot amang the hay,
And if the weather keeps me richt I’ll be happy ilka day.
c p 1981 Springthyme Records : www.springthyme.co.uk