JIM REID

I Saw the Wild Geese Flee




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The Wild Geese

"Far abune the Angus straths I saw the wild geese flee; A lang, lang skein o' beatin' wings wi' their heids toward the sea." Set to music by Jim, this was originally written as a poem by Violet Jacob in 1915. The song is also known under the alternative title Norland Wind.

Words by Violet Jacob, Music by Jim Reid/Springthyme Music © 1984

"Oh tell me fit was on yer road ye roarin Norland wind?
As ye come blawin frae the land that's never frae ma mind.
Ma feet they traivel England but I'm deein for the North."
"Ma man, I saw the siller tides rin up the Firth o Forth."
 
"Aye wind, I ken them weel eneuch an fine they fa and rise,
And fain I'd feel the creepin mist on yonder shore that lies.
But tell me as ye pass them by fit saw ye on the way?"
"Ma man, I rocked the rovin gulls that sail abin the Tay."
 
"Bit saw ye naethin leein wind afore ye come tae Fife?
For there's muckle lyin 'yont the Tay that's mair tae me nor life."
"Ma man, I swept the Angus braes that ye hivna trod for years."
"Oh wind, forgie a hameless loon that canna see for tears."
 
"And far abin the Angus straths I saw the wild geese flee,
A lang, lang skein o beatin wings wi their heids toward the sea,
And aye their cryin voices trailed ahint them on the air."
"Oh wind, hae mercy, haud your wheesht for I daurna listen mair."
 
Vinney Den

Words and music by Jim Reid/Springthyme Music © 1984

The Vinney burn runs through the beautiful Vinney Den at Letham, Angus and all the places named in the song are in the same area. Jim wrote this new ballad in 1983 and it is widely accepted as one of his finest songs.
 
As I gaed ower by Bractley Brig,
'Twas on my way tae Bowrie Fau'd;
I met wi sic a bonnie lass,
Wad turn the een o ony lad.
 
Said I, "Ma dear it's gettin late,
The sun's lang drapped ower Lownie Hill.
Have you got very far to go?"
She said, "I bide at Idvies Mill."
 
"My faither he's the miller there,
An honest man ye'll shairly ken;
He'll treat ye fairly if ye'll see me
Safely through the Vinney Den."
 
I took her hand and we set aff,
Tae struggle doun the burnside;
The lengthenin shadows grew sae dark,
My growin fear I tried tae hide.
 
I said tae her, "Let's sing a sang,
The tune will help us on oor way."
She sang sae sweet I lost ma fear,
She fairly stole ma hert away.
 
But when we cam tae the Feuar's Inn,
Efter we'd won through dark Vinney Den;
Ma bonnie lass was taen awa,
By four an twenty angry men.
 
But she broke loose, cam rinnin back,
When she saw they'd tied me tae a tree,
Sayin, "Is this the thanks a laddie gets,
For aa the help he's been tae me?"
 
They listened tae her story then,
They took a knife and cut me loose;
They set us baith upon a horse,
And led us tae her faither's hoose.
 
Her faither was sae glad tae see
That she was safe and free from harm;
And I was asked if I wad fee
As horseman on Auchterlownie fairm.
 
I coorted her from that day on,
An tae wed wi me she did agree;
Tho auld an grey we aye will mind
When she cam through the Vinney Den wi me.

The Spark Among The Heather

Words and music by Jim Reid/Springthyme Music © 1984
 
From the early 1800s onwards, thousands of ordinary men, women and children were driven from their homes and their land in the highlands and islands of Scotland. These 'clearances' allowed the landlords to introduce sheep and gain greater profit. The crofters of Glendale in Skye formed a Land League in 1882 which eventually (by 1887) resulted in an Act of Parliament to stop such evictions.
 
When they brought us all together
Told us that we had to go
Leave our homes that we were born in
Leave the only life we know.
 
We were poor but honest crofters
Working hard so we might stay
On the land our fathers gave us
Ne'er thought we'd be forced away.
 
We replied, "We'll never leave home,
Never set sail o'er the sea;
Let the police come and the soldiers,
To leave home we won't agree."
 
Others have been put on board ships
Sailed away out o'er the deep;
Then the landlords burned their houses
To make way for flocks of sheep.
 
Then along came John McPherson,
Humble crofter from Glendale;
Held a meeting, formed a land league,
For his efforts thrown in jail.
 
But the spark amang the heather
Soon became a burning flame;
And the highlanders united
Vowed they'd never leave their hame.
 
But the glens still show the scars
Of those evictions of before;
And the shells of empty houses
Echo laughter sounds no more.

Bogie's Bonnie Belle

Traditional adapted and arranged Jim Reid/Springthyme Music © 1984
 
A powerful love song and bothy ballad well known in various versions throughout North-East Scotland. Jim considers this his all-time favourite folk song.
 
Ae Witsuntide at Huntly toun,
'Twas there I did agree,
Wi auld Bogieside, the fairmer,
A sixmonths for tae fee.
 
Noo Bogie wis a hungery chiel,
An this I knew fu well;
But he had a lovely dochter,
An her name wis Isabelle.
 
Noo Belle she wis the bonniest lass,
In aa the countryside;
It wis very soon I lost ma hert,
Tae the Belle o Bogieside.
 
An often in the summertime,
I'd wander wi ma dear;
Tae watch the trouties loupin,
By Bogie's water clear.
 
I taen her by the middle sma,
An I ca'd her ma wee dear;
'Twas there I taen ma will o her
By Bogie's water clear.
 
Noo nine lang months had passed an gane,
An she brocht forth a son;
An auld Bogie he sent efter me,
Tae see what could be done.
 
I said that I wad mairry her,
But na, that wad nae dae;
For I'm nae match for Bogie's Belle,
An she's nae match for me.
 
An noo I've left auld Huntlyside,
I've even broke ma fee;
For I couldna bear tae see ma dear
Condemned tae misery.
 
Noo I hear she's wad tae a tinkler chap
That cam ower fae Huntly toun;
An wi jeely pans an ladles
She scoors the country roun.
 
An mebbe she's gotten a better lad,
Auld Bogie canna tell;
Sae fareweel ye lads o Huntlyside
An Bogie's Bonnie Belle.

Busk Busk Bonnie Lassie

A lovely traditional song from the Stewart family of Blairgowrie that has become widely popular in recent years. The song has a superb chorus, so sing and join in: 'Busk, busk bonnie lassie and come awa wi me, and I'll tak ye tae Glen Isla near bonnie Glen Shee.'
 
"Dae ye see yon high hills,
Aa covered ower wi snaw?
They hae pairted mony the true love,
And they'll soon pairt us twa.
Busk, busk bonnie lassie and come awa wi me,
And I'll tak ye tae Glen Isla near bonnie Glen Shee."
 
"Dae ye see yon shepherd,
As he gaes alang,
Wi his plaidie roun aboot him,
And his sheep they graze on?"
Busk, busk bonnie lassie and come awa wi me,
And I'll tak ye tae Glen Isla near bonnie Glen Shee."
 
"Dae ye see yon soldiers,
As they march alang,
Wi their muskets on their shoulders,
And their broadswords hingin doun?"
Busk, busk bonnie lassie and come awa wi me,
And I'll tak ye tae Glen Isla near bonnie Glen Shee."
 
"Dae ye see yon high hills,
Aa covered ower wi snaw?
They hae pairted mony the true love,
And they'll soon pairt us twa.
Busk, busk bonnie lassie and come awa wi me,
And I'll tak ye tae Glen Isla near bonnie Glen Shee."

The Shearin's No For You

This traditional song has rarely been published, but is in fact widely known in a number of different versions and must date back at least to the 1700s. Around 1820, Thomas Lyle of Paisley used the tune for his famous song Kelvingrove.
 
"Oh the shearin's no for you ma bonnie lassie O,
Oh the shearin's no for you ma bonnie lassie O,
Oh the shearin's no for you for yer back it winna boo,
And yer belly's rowin fu ma bonnie lassie O."
 
"Dae ye mind yon banks o Ayr ma bonnie lassie O?
Dae ye mind yon banks o Ayr ma bonnie lassie O?
Dae ye mind yon banks o Ayr when ye held me in yer snare,
And yer love ye did declare ma bonnie lassie O?"
 
"Tak the buckles frae yer sheen ma bonnie lassie O,
Tak the buckles frae yer sheen ma bonnie lassie O,
Tak the buckles frae yer sheen for ye've married sic a loon,
And yer dancin days are deen ma bonnie lassie O."
 
"Tak the ribbons frae yer hair ma bonnie lassie O,
Tak the ribbons frae yer hair ma bonnie lassie O,
Tak the ribbons frae yer hair and let doun yer ringlets fair,
For ye've noucht but want and care ma bonnie lassie O."
 
"Oh the shearin's no for you ma bonnie lassie O,
Oh the shearin's no for you ma bonnie lassie O,
Oh the shearin's no for you for yer back it winna boo,
And yer belly's rowin fu ma bonnie lassie O."

Up The Noran Water

This poem, again set to music by Jim, comes from the pen of the late Helen Cruickshank who published the piece under the title Shy Geordie. The Noran Water flows into the South Esk near Brechin.
 
Up the Noran Water
In by Inglismaddy,
Annie's got a bairnie
That hasna got a daddy.
Some think it's Tammas's
An some think it's Chay's;
An naebody expectit it,
Wi Annie's quiet ways.
 
Up the Noran Water
The bonnie little mannie
Is dandlit and cuddled close
By Inglismaddy's Annie.
Wha the bairnie's faither is
The lassie never says;
But some think it's Tammas's,
And ithers think it's Chay's.
 
Up the Noran Water
The country folk are kind:
And wha the bairnie's faither is
They dinna muckle mind.
But oh! the bairn at Annie's breist,
The love in Annie's ee
Wad mak me wish wi aa ma micht
That the lucky lad wis me!
 
And oh! the bairn at Annie's breist,
The love in Annie's ee
Wad mak me wish wi aa ma micht
That the lucky lad wis me!

Lassie Wi The Yellow Coatie

A song that has long been a favourite at ceilidhs, not only a lovely song, but a good old time waltz.
 
"Lassie wi the yellow coatie,
Wud ye wad a muirland jockie?
Lassie wi the yellow coatie,
Wud ye busk and gang wi me?"
 
"I hae meal and milk in plenty,
I hae kale and cakes fu dainty,
I hae a but and ben fu gentie, [i.e. comely
But I want a wife like thee."
 
Ower the lea and through the boggie,
Wi ma lassie and ma doggie,
Nane on earth wud be sae vogie, [i.e. happy
As ma lass and I wud be.
 
"Haste ye lassie tae ma bosom,
While the roses are in blossom,
Time is precious dinna lose them,
Flooers wud fade and so will we."
 
"Lassie wi the yellow coatie,
Wud ye wad a muirland jockie?
Lassie wi the yellow coatie,
Wud ye busk and gang wi me?
Wud ye busk and gang wi me?"

Flower Of Northumberland

A concise version of this popular ballad of the fair flower of Northumberland who falls in love with a prisoner and helps him gain his freedom, and escape over the border to Scotland.
 
A maid went by the prison door,
Maids with whiles is easy won
And she spied a prisoner a-standin there
A-wishing he was in fair Scotland.
 
It's, "Oh fair maid wad ye pity me?"
Maids with whiles is easy won,
"Wad ye steal the key and let me gang free?
And I'll mak ye my lady in fair Scotland."
 
She went untae her faither's stable,
Maids with whiles is easy won,
And she's stolen the steed that wis baith fleet and able,
Tae cairry them on tae fair Scotland.
 
And when they cam untae a moss,
Maids with whiles is easy won,
He's bad her licht aff her faither's best horse,
And return again tae Northumberland.
 
And when she cam tae her faither's ha,
Maids with whiles is easy won,
She's looted her low amangst them aa, [i.e. bowed down
Although she's the flooer o Northumberland.
 
Then up spoke her faither and he spoke bold,
Maids with whiles is easy won,
"How could ye dae so at fifteen years old
And you the flooer o Northumberland."
 
Then up spoke her mother she spoke wi a smile,
"Maids with whiles is easy won;
Oh ye're no the first one that he has beguiled,
And ye're welcome back hame tae Northumberland."

Rowan Tree

Undoubtedly one of the most popular songs among the older generation, a song to bring tears to the eye of many a Scot when far away on a foreign shore.
 
Oh rowan tree, oh rowan tree
Ye'll aye be dear tae me,
Entwined ye are wi mony ties
O hame and infancy;
Yer leaves were aye the first o spring
Yer flooers the simmer's pride,
There wisna sic a bonny tree
In aa the countryside.
 
Sae fair ye were in simmer time
Wi aa yer clusters white,
An.rich an gay yer autumn dress
Wi berries red and bright;
And on yer trunk were mony names
Wha now nae mair I see,
But there engraved upon ma hert
Forgotten ne'er tae be.
 
We sat alow yer spreadin shade
While bairnies roun did rin,
And pu'd the bonnie berries reid
Their necklaces tae string;
Ma mither dear, I see her still,
She smiled oor sports tae see,
Wi little Jeanie on her lap
And Jamie at her knee.
Noo aa are gane, we meet nae mair
Alow the Rowan Tree.

Rohallion

One of Jim and the band's favourite songs. Set to music by Jim, this is another poem from Violet Jacob and brings us to the end of the album. So, take the floor, in waltz time. Rohallion Hill and Loch is set in the heart of Scotland close to Birnam and Dunkeld.

Ma buits are at rest on the midden,
I havenae a plack; [i.e. a penny
And ma breeks they're no dandy anes, forrit,
And they're waur at the back;
On the road that comes oot o the Hielands
I see as I traivel the airth
Frae the braes at the back o Rohallion
The reek abin Perth.

There's a canny wee hoose wi a gairden
In a neuk o Strathtay;
An ma mither is bakin the bannocks,
And the bairns are at play;
In the gloamin ma faither, the shepherd,
Looks doun for a blink o the licht
As he gaithers the yowes at the shieling
Tae fauld them at nicht.

Noo there isnae a hoose that could haud me
Frae here tae the sea,
When a wind frae the braes o Rohallion
Comes creepin tae me;
And niver a lowe frae the ingle
Can draw like the trail an the shine
O the stars i the loch o Rohallion
A fitstep o mine.

Noo the snaw's in the wind, an the weepies [i.e. ragwort
Hang deid on the shaw,
An pale the leaves left on the rowan,
I'm soothward awa;
But a voice like a wraith blaws ahent me
And sings as I'm liftin ma pack,
"I am waitin, Rohallion, Rohallion,
Ma lad, ye'll be back!"

Stobbie Parliament Picnic

Stobswell on the outskirts of Dundee is at the junction of six main roads and at one time was a favourite meeting place (or parliament) for local worthies. Jim was born and brought up nearby and remembers hearing their tales of times past. His grandfather built the Maryfield Stables at Stobswell and ran the horse-drawn Forfar bus. The song, first published around l908 and rewritten by Jim, is about the annual picnic outing for the old men of Stobbie.

In the shelter o the shelter at the top of Albert Street,
There's a sturdy crowd of veterans who regularly meet;
Discuss the situation in a house of common style,
An they hech an they pech an they haver an they're happy aa the while.
Wi ma fal lal lal di ma ral di dal,
Ma fal lal lal di day.

Ae day while hot debate was on, Jamie Reid cam near,
"I think we'll organise a drive while summer days are here."
The auld lads said it wad be great the countryside tae see,
Says Jamie, "I'll get oot the brake, just leave it up tae me."
Wi ma fal lal lal di ma ral di dal,
Ma fal lal lal di day.

The plan was soon adopted and arrangements duly made,
Wharby the outin wad tak place and aa expenses paid;
There was fellowship and freedom and refreshments beyond praise,
'Twas the rarest and the fairest and the merriest of days.
Wi ma fal lal lal di ma ral di dal,
Ma fal lal lal di day.

He drove the brake tae Tullybaccart, then Kinclaven Bridge,
Whar they had a marvellous picnic on dismounting from the rig;
The weather was sae kind tae them, the sun shone aa the while,
The return journey took them roun by Meigle and Newtyle.
Wi ma fal lal lal di ma ral di dal,
Ma fal lal lal di day.

So come aa ye that's gaithered here tae welcome them aa hame,
This trip has gained itself a place in Stobbie's hall of fame;
An while ye're cheering ane an aa, just let me hear yer cries
Of thanks for Jamie Reid's horse brake an Durkie's tasty pies.
Wi ma fal lal lal di ma ral di dal,
Ma fal lal lal di day.

Upon the Moss O Burreldale

Very much a song of travelling folk, Jim learned this from the traditional singer the late Christina Stewart at a ceilidh in her house in Fetterangus. Jane Turriff, the well known ballad singer, is Christina Stewart’s daughter. Jane Turriff's singing can be heard on her CD Jane Turriff: Singing is Ma Life

There were Stewarts, McKenzie and McPhee,
Neatly they did plait their knees; [i.e. sit cross-legged
Neatly they did plait their knees,
Upon the Moss o Burreldale.

It was on the nicht o auld Kinkell,
They filled their belly fu o ale;
Filled their bellies fu o ale,
Upon the Moss o Burreldale.

Now the bonniest laddie on the green,
Was a heather merchant cried McQueen;
Silver buckles on his sheen,
Upon the Moss o Burreldale.

The Foundry Bar

Words by Jim Reid/Springthyme Music © 1984

The earliest version of this song in praise of Arbroath’s famous musical pub was written by the local farmer Angus McPherson. Jim later added a few verses (3, 4 & 5) because, with changes at ‘The Foondry,’ the original was out of date. More verses will no doubt be added in time. Apologies and thanks to Paul McCartney. Music sessions continue in Arbroath's Foundry Bar.

Oot alang Millgate an doun by the broo,
Ye’ll find a wee door that is welcoming you;
Whar ye get the best service in Arbroath by far,
When ye met Davie Stott o the Foondry Bar.
Foondry Bar, the reek rollin doun tae the sea,
My desire is always tae be near – the Foondry Bar.

Noo the furnishins lavish, expense didnae lack,
When ye gang tae the bog ye’d tae turn yer back;
There’s darts and there’s dominoes, the best onywhar,
The night life o Arbroath is the Foondry Bar.

Bit the pub wis taen ower by Bella an Roy,
An the bog renovations made peein a joy;
There’s a place for a woman an ane for a man,
An ye jist caw a handle tae flush oot the pan.

And when Bella taen ower then aabody kent,
What These are my Mountains actually meant;
Closing time cam an no bell could we hear,
Well she jist gave a birl an the hale place wis clear.

But what maks ‘The Foondry’ abin aa the rest,
Is the musical evenings – the finest and best;
So pit on yer coat, we’ll go doun for a jar,
Or a tune, or a song, at the Foondry Bar.
Foondry Bar, the reek rollin doun tae the sea,
My desire is always tae be near – the Foondry Bar.

Bogheid

Words and music by Jim Reid/Springthyme Music © 1984

One of Jim’s songs which, he is keen to point out, is entirely fictional. As he says, ‘Bogheid’s piggery is totally free from any kind of aroma – ouch, my nose is getting longer!’

Frae Lunan Bay tae Dickmont Law,
Jist gie yer nose the lead;
It’ll aye tak you the quickest way
Tae the fairm they ca Bogheid.

Dounwind o Bogheid,
And ye’ll wish that ye were deid;
Ye can plainly tell by the Hell of a smell
Ye’re dounwind o Bogheid.

Bogheid it has a piggery,
Well kent the country roun;
For the wind near shook it tae the grund
In Lindsay Ross’s tune.*

Noo Ethie Castle’s a gey braw place,
A stately home indeed,
But ye widna want tae bide there lang
When ye’re dounwind o Bogheid.

Ken Grant will trudge through sleet an snaw
Tae gie his coos their feed,
But the peer beasts will jist hiv tae stairve
When they’re dounwind o Bogheid.

The fishermen have got a trick
When fishin aff Reidheid,
They pit the claespeg on their nose
When it’s dounwind o Bogheid.

But ye ken the ferm workers
They’re a stout and a hardy breed,
An they never hiv a cough nor cauld
When they’re workin at Bogheid.

Dounwind o Bogheid,
And ye’ll wish that ye were deid;
Ye can plainly tell by the Hell of a smell
Ye’re dounwind o Bogheid.

* This line refers to a tune The Wind that Shook the Piggery composed by Lindsay Ross about the farm of Bogheid.