Aikey Brae

Duncan MacRae, Coaltown of Balgonie, Fife: On Autumn Harvest ah011: Old Songs & Bothy Ballads 8: The Little Ball of Yarn Live from the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2011.

The horse fair at Aikey Brae, two miles south of Maud between New Deer and Auld Deer in the heart of the Buchan countryside, was held once a year on a Wednesday in July from the mid 1800s and a fair with rides and stalls was added to the event in the early 1900s on the Sunday before. The last real horse fair at Aikey took place in 1946. The event attracted folk from far and wide including many of the Scottish traveller fraternity, dealing in horses and selling the usual trinkets, baskets, pegs and tin ware. The song is typical of the later cornkisters and was composed by George Morris who had a hotel on Oldmeldrum and who recorded the song on a 78 on the Beltona label. He and his brother-in-law Willie Kemp wrote many such songs which managed to catch the atmosphere of life on the north east fairm touns. See: The Horse Fair at Aikey.

1: 'Twas on a Sunday mornin fair,
The sun was bricht, the sky was clear;
Three pals o mine they did appear,
And says, "We'll gang tae Aikey."
Says I, "I'll be there, niver fear,
And I'll stand yes aa a bottle o beer,
For I'm sellin the clip [colt] and the auld grey mare,
On Wednesday first at Aikey Brae."

For at Aikey Brae, Aikey Brae,
There's been a horse market for mony's a day,
But listen and hear what I hiv tae say,
On the day we gaed tae Aikey.

2: Says Jock, "Man, Tam, we come the day,
Tae tak ye ower tae Aikey Brae,
On Wednesday we may be far away,
So this day we'll gang tae Aikey."
They wudna hear o nae denial,
So I shifted ma claes and I scrapit ma dial,
An a clairted ma heid wi the laddies hair ile,
An awa we gaed tae Aikey Brae.

For at Aikey Brae, Aikey Brae,
Aff we set on the Sabbath day;
And the sicht was eneugh tae pit hens aff their lay,
On the day we gaed tae Aikey.

3: There wis motor cars and charabancs,
Dakers gigs and caravans,
Auld folks in Fordies and bairnies in prams,
Aa on the road tae Aikey.
And when we landed at the Brae,
I stood and I glowert in great dismay,
I said, "Can this the Sabbath day?"
On the day we gaed tae Aikey Brae.

For at Aikey Brae, Aikey Brae,
There's Scots wha hinnae and Scots wha hae,
And the sound was eneugh tae pit hens aff their lay,
On the day we gaed tae Aikey.

4: There were fishers fae Buckie and trawlers fae Hull,
Herrin gutters fae Torry and sailors fae Hull;
Pick-pockets and sharpers, the saft mans tae gull,
At the Sunday fair at Aikey;
Fairm Jocks and their Jeanies, they come tae the fair,
And lairds fae the castle, their kilted knees fair,
The tramps and the hawkers enjoyed themselves there,
At the sunday fair at Aikey Brae.

For at Aikey Brae, Aikey Brae,
Fit the Deil would oor forfathers say,
If they could arise fae aneth the clay,
And see a sunday at Aikey.

5: An evangelist singing oot Happy Days,
Stand next til a fiddler playing Clean Pease Strae,
While Bashin the Bruiser saying, "Ye'll step this way,"
At the Sunday fair at Aikey.
Cheapjohns and flash doctors in grand array,
Were daein a roarin trade that day,
I may be auld fashioned but still I wad say,
Fit way its allowed on a Sabbath day.

Oh at Aikey Brae, Aikey Brae,
Ma lugs kept a buzzin for mony a day,
I'll go back to the market but on a week day,
If I ever gang tae Aikey.

c p 2012 Autumn Harvest :