They Smiled as We Cam In

sprcd 1042

Booklet (16pps) with full song te'ts.

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Simple, powerful and effective fiddle, whistle and melodeon underscore three big voices as Pete, Tom and Arthur revel in a colourful, broad sweep of Scots song. All three are enthusiasts for traditional song with a repertoire gained from the traditional singers they have known. Here they include songs of the sea such as Bonnie Ship the Diamond and the Banks of Newfoundland, songs from the land such as Rhynie and the uproarious title song Jock Hawk's Adventures.

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Shepheard, Spiers & Watson

Shepheard, Spiers & Watson
on springthyme/ soundcloud

Pete, Tom and Arthur have known each other for many years and, after enjoying each others company at sessions, festivals, hogmanay and suchlike seasonal gatherings, they began to gain bookings together and formalised this as Shepheard, Spiers & Watson in 2003 for an appearance at the great Whitby Festival and they were nominated in the ScotsTrad Music Awards as Scottish Folk Band of the Year in 2006. They issued a second CD Over the High Hills in 2012.

Refreshingly real and nourishingly organic
Scotland on Sunday (Norman Chalmers)

Storytelling in music at the highest level.
Living Tradition (Paul Burgess)

So good, mere words are a poor substitute for listening - go and buy a copy - you'll thank me if you do!
Musical Traditions (Rod Stradling)

To find the meaning of any Scots word:
enter in the bo' above and press return.

Track List:
For full song te'ts, click on a song title
1 Jock Hawk's Adventures 2.00
2 The Fair o Balnafinnan 3.03
3 The Last o the Clydesdales 2.20
4 The Nutting Girl 3.48
5 Bonnie Ship the Diamond 3.50
6 Calder's Clear Stream 3.08
7 Glenlogie (Bonnie Jean o Bethelnie) 2.16
8 Grat for Gruel 3.36
9 Banks of Newfoundland 3.26
10 Atween Stanehive & Laurencekirk 3.39
11 Rhynie 3.53
12 The Bleacher Lassie 2.26
13 My Auld Sheen 3.07
14 Dowie Dens o Yarrow 4.20
15 Ye Boys o Callieburn 2.20

1: Jock Hawk's Adventures
Arthur (vocal) with Pete (melodeon and vocal) and Tom (fiddle and vocal)

One of many northeast songs, along with The Tarves Rant and My Rovin Eye, which warn the unsuspecting ploughman of the allure and consequences of going on the spree in village, town or city. In Aberdeenshire, Jock Hawk's Adventures commonly shares a tune with the bothy song Guise o Tough. Here we use another Guise o Tough tune collected in the Alford area by Peter Hall in the 1960s. (GD 2:295; Roud 2331)

Ah tae Glesga toun I gaed ae nicht tae spend a penny fee, [penny fee=wage
A bonnie wee lass she gied consent tae bear me company.

Hooch on linkie doo, linkie doodle day,
Hooch on linkie doodle toor aye ae.

2: The Fair o Balnafinnan
Tom (vocal and fiddle) with Arthur (whistle)

I learned this from a recording of Jeannie Robertson made by Peter Hall in the 1960s. It was a poor recording so I adapted some of the words which I couldn't make out. Subsequently I discovered that the line that I had converted into 'She was the flooer o the evening' was sung by Jeannie as 'She was fair as the Annan' - but by then I had taken a liking to my way of it. A song composed by Hugh McWilliams, a County Antrim schoolmaster, and published by him in 1831 under the title The Lass among the Heather seems to have given rise to this song known in Ireland and Scotland under various similar titles and in the Greig-Duncan collection as The Fair of Balnaminna.

The song was clearly inspired by the Paisley poet Robert Tannahill's The Braes o Balquhidder and the two songs are often found mi'ed together. The McPeake's famous Will ye go Lassie Go must also derive from the Tannahill song. The folk process at work! (GD 4:873; Roud 2894)

I wis comin fae the fair, fae the fair o Balnafinnan,
Fan I spied a bonnie lass, she wis the flooer o the evenin;
I've asked her far she dwelt, as we strolled along thegither,
"On thon bonnie mountain side," she's replied, "among the heather."

3: The Last o the Clydesdales
Pete (vocal and melodeon) with Tom (fiddle and vocal) and Arthur (whistle)

Archie Webster who wrote this song in the 1950s was caretaker at the village hall in Strathkinness outside St Andrews when I met him around 1963. John Watt's group The Tregullion and ourselves from St Andrews folk club were singing on some event in the hall and in the interval we naturally graduated to the local Strathkinness Inn. John quickly struck up a conversation with Archie who in no time at all had sung John the local bothy ballad Tattie Jock. Archie was a horse ploughman all his working life and had composed The Last of the Clydesdales in praise of the horses he had worked with on the nearby farm of Denbrae where the farmer had maintained the old ways well into the 1950s.

O come aa ye young ploughboys that list tae my tale,
As ye sit roond the tables a drinkin your ale;
I'll tak ye aa back tae a far distant day,
When I drove the last Clydesdales that worked on Denbrae,
When I drove the last Clydesdales that worked on Denbrae.

4: The Nutting Girl
Arthur (vocal) with Tom & Pete (vocals)

Long before I joined Peter Hall (and Tom Spiers) in The Gaugers, he recorded several song tunes for me that have remained part of my repertory. Peter gave me two tunes for The Nutting Girl (GD 4:1745; Roud 509) from the Greig-Duncan collection to which he had early access in King's College Library. He also collected a version from Bill Rhynd of Cove in Kincardineshire under the title Young Jackie which Peter sang on The Gaugers debut recording Beware of The Aberdonian (Topic 12TS284, Sleepytown SLPYCD 008). I use a set of words based on Bill Rhynd's version with the addition of a further verse appropriated from John Kirkpatrick at an Irvine festival in the early 1970s.

There would seem to be a convention in folk song that when a young woman collects nuts ravishment will soon
follow. In The Lassie Gaitherin Nuts (sung by Lizzie Higgins) she appears to sleep through the action, while in The Nutting Girl she says, "Young man I feel sae queer, the world's gaen walkin roon."

It's o a brisk young ploughboy, a-ploughin on his land,
Says, "Whoa" untae his horses, and he bids them gently stand.

And lie ower an I'll lie tae O,
Lie ower an I'll lie tae;
Ma bonnie, bonnie lassie,
Lie ower an I'll lie tae.

5: Bonnie Ship the Diamond
Tom (vocal) with Pete (melodeon and vocal) and Arthur (whistle and vocal)

This version of the well known whaling song was learnt from the singing of Peter Hall who may have taken it from the Greig-Duncan manuscripts where there are eight te'ts with tunes although none is quite the same as this.
The Diamond was built in Quebec in 1801 and brought into the Aberdeen fleet in 1812. The Aberdeen Journal of 18 March 1812 reports: 'The fine new Ship Diamond, Gibbon (that is, with Captain Gibbon in command) sailed on Thursday last, for the Davis' Straits Whale Fishery.' When she arrived back in August she had a catch of eleven fish. The ship went on a yearly voyage until 1819 when she was caught in the early autumn ice and lost while staying too late in the season. Fortunately the crew were all saved. (GD 1:11; Roud 2172)

The Diamond it's a ship ma lads, for Davis Straits she's bound,
The quay it is aa garnished wi bonnie lassies roon;
Captain Gibbon gives command, tae sail the ocean wide,
Far the sun it niver sets ma lads, nor darkness dim the sky. [far=where

Sae be cheerful ma lads and let yer herts niver fail,
For the bonnie ship the Diamond goes a-fishin for the whale.

6: Calder's Clear Stream
Pete (vocal) with Tom (fiddle)

In the early 1960s we would often travel up from St Andrews to visit the Stewart family at New Alyth outside Blairgowrie and, during the berrypicking season in late July/ August, we would join the berrypicking and camp beside Belle and Ale' or on Marshall's field where many of the traveller families would gather each year for the season. In the evening there was always singing and music around the camp fires and it was on such a night in August 1965 that I recorded this song from Bathgate based traveller Hughie Stewart - his favourite song (GD 5:947; Roud 3778).

The song presumably dates from the early 1800s and may well be based on a historical event. A young miner leaves his sweetheart to fight for the King. When he is wounded in battle he thinks longingly of his sweetheart and wishes she was at his side. The word stound (pain) is pronounced by traditional singers to rhyme with the old pronunciation of wound as wownd. The Bonnie Woodha mentioned in the song (and the title of the text-only version in Greig-Duncan) is on the east bank of the North Calder water in Lanarkshire as it flows north to join the Clyde. I added the last verse myself.

It was down by yon green bushes by Calder's clear stream,
Where me and my Annie dear had often times been;
Where the hours flew past as quite happy were we,
And it's little did my Annie think a sodger I'd be.

7: Glenlogie (Bonnie Jeannie o Bethelnie)
Arthur (vocal) with Pete (melodeon and vocal) and Tom (fiddle and vocal)
accord, n. harmony
accordion, n. an instrument in harmony with the sentiments of an assassin
(Ambose Bierce The Devil's Dictionary (1911)

Although I have had sympathy with this definition, the lilting rhythm of Pete Shepheard's melodeon has led me to re-appraise several songs which have lain dormant for many years. Glenlogie (Child 238; GD 5:973; Roud 101), in its earliest version of 1768, was included in Bishop Percy's manuscripts and is still widely sung in Aberdeenshire. I rarely sing it unaccompanied and relish the dialogue with the fiddle and melodeon as well as three voices raised in praise of the Aberdeenshire landscape:
Bethelnie, Bethelnie, ye shine far ye stand,
And aa the heather bells that's aroond ye shine ower Fyvie's land.

There were six and six nobles rade roon Banchory fair,
And bonnie Glenlogie wis the flower o them there;
There were nine and nine ladies sat in the queen's dine,
Bonnie Jeannie o Bethelnie wis the flower o twice nine.

8: Grat for Gruel
Tom (vocal) with Pete (melodeon and vocal) and Arthur (whistle and vocal)

Learnt directly from the singing of Jimmy McBeath who was a frequent guest at the Aberdeen Folksong club in it's heyday. I have been singing this song, which Jimmy often referred to as The Cruel Weaver, for about 40 years but this is the first time I have recorded it. (Roud 935)

There wis a weaver in the north,
O but he wis cruel,
The very first nicht that he got wad,
He sat an he grat for gruel. [grat=cried
He widna wint his gruel, [wint=do without
He widna wint his gruel,
Aye the very first nicht that he got wad,
He sat an he grat for gruel.

9: Banks of Newfoundland
Pete (vocal and melodeon) with Tom (fiddle and vocal) and Arthur (whistle)

This is one of my favourite songs and I seem never to have tired of it since I first recorded it from St Andrews fisherman Tom Gordon in 1964. He learned it in turn from a man who had sailed on the whaler fleet out of Leith in the early 1900s. This is the only version I have come across that is modernised into the steam boat era - and incidentally dated in the te't to 1906.

The Grand Banks of Newfoundland were famed for their productivity although the fishery has recently declined possibly caused by overfishing or by changes in water temperature brought about by global warming. The harsh winter weather made the task very hard and the men were only too happy to 'bid farewell to the Virgin Rocks of Newfoundland' and bring the season to a close with a trip past Sandy Bay and on to New York. (Laws K25; Roud 1812)

Come aa ye men and fair young lads, come aa ye sports beware,
As ye go steamboat sailing, old dungaree jackets wear;
And aaways wear a life belt, or keep it close at hand,
For there blows a cold nor-westerly wind on the Banks of Newfoundland.

10: Atween Stanehive and Laurencekirk
Arthur (vocal) with Pete (melodeon) and Tom (fiddle)

In the days of horse power northeast farm servants were bound by a strict hierarchal rule with the first horseman taking precedence over the others who were ranked beneath him in order. His was the choice pair of horse, the seat nearest the fire and the bed furthest from the door's draught. He led the men out to their work and in to their meals. This song is unusual in that it details female hierarchy - the new foreman is dismissed after courting a servant girl rather than the farmer's daughter (the maiden). (GD 3:376; Roud 5589)

Atween Stanehive and Laurencekirk it's there I did agree,
Wi a wealthy fairmer, his foreman for tae be;
Tae drive his twa best horses and tae cairt or herrie or ploo, [harrow
And tae dee aathing about fairm work that richt weel I could do.

11: Rhynie
Tom (vocal) with Pete (melodeon and vocal) and Arthur (vocal)

Another standard from the early days of Aberdeen Folk Song Club, where it was sung regularly by people like Jimmy McBeath and Norman Kennedy. It's the story of a farmer's son getting a hard lesson from his father - pull your weight or move on. Rhynie is in hard, crofting country in the Highlands of Aberdeenshire south of Huntly. (GD 3:348; Roud 2136)

At Rhynie I sheared my first hairst, [harvest
Near tae the fit o Bennachie; [foot
And ma maister wis richt ill tae sit, [hard to suit
But laith wis I tae lose ma fee. [loath

Linten addie tooran addie,
Linten addie tooran ae O;
Linten addie tooran addie,
Linten addie tooran ae.

12: The Bleacher Lassie o Kelvinhaugh
Pete (vocal) with Tom (fiddle) and Arthur (whistle)

A sailor returns to the Clyde after seven years at sea and meets his old sweetheart walking beside the banks of the Kelvin river where she is employed as a bleacher lassie. He makes a playful attempt to proposition her and she initially fails to recognise him. The song proceeds to a happy ending, they get married and keep an alehouse to which they welcome in the sailor laddies to go drinking 'wi the bleacher lassie o Kelvinhaugh'.

The song which probably dates from around 1800 has remained popular throughout Scotland. This version with its rather unusual and fine tune is from John McDonald of Motherwell who sang for me what he referred to as 'the old way of the song' in his trailer on Marshall's field, Alyth during the berrypicking season of August 1965. (GD 5:1041; Roud 3325)

As I roved out one fine summer's morning,
Doun by the banks o sweet Kelvinhaugh;
It was there I spied a wee bleacher lassie,
She had cheeks like the roses, her skin like snaw.

13: My Auld Sheen
Arthur (vocal and whistle) with Tom (fiddle and vocal) and Pete (melodeon and vocal)

I Aince Loed a Lass or The False Bride (GD 6:1198; Roud 154) was widely sung in the early days of the Scottish folksong revival. Although I was attracted to the inherent surrealism of the forest verse, I was less interested in the overal tenor of the song - the jilted suitor's acceptance of his lot while planning his own forthcoming funeral. I changed my opinion in response to the more assertive versions circulating in the northeast traveller community in which the false bride is compared to discarded footwear: She's only my auld sheen, and ye've got her.

I saw my ain bonnie love tae the kirk go,
Wi rings on her fingers she made a fine show;
And I follaed on aifter wi my hert fu o woe,
She's gaen tae be wad tae anither.

14: The Dowie Dens o Yarrow
Tom (vocal and fiddle) with Arthur (whistle) and Pete (melodeon).

This was one of the first ballads I learnt back in the 1960s and the te't is pretty close to the version in Norman Buchan's 101 Scottish Songs which was the most accessible source of traditional song in those days.
The haunting tune is from the singing of Jessie MacDonald and was collected by Peter Hall on one of his field recording e'peditions. (Child 214, GD 2:215; Roud 13)

There wis a lady in the north,
I ne'er could find her marrow, [her equal
She wis courted by nine gentlemen,
And a plooboy lad fae Yarrow.

15: Ye Boys o Callieburn
Pete (vocal) with Tom (fiddle and vocal) and Arthur (whistle and vocal)

When I was involved in organising the early TMSA festivals in Blairgowrie we set out to bring together traditional singers and musicians from all parts of Scotland. The Mitchell Family of Campbeltown in Kintyre (father, mother, daughter and son-in-law) were invited to the 1968 festival on the recommendation of Hamish Henderson who had come across Campbeltown butcher and amateur folksong collector Willie Mitchell in 1956 during a lecture tour in Argyll organised by the WEA. The Mitchells' singing of several Kintyre songs provided a most memorable highlight of that gathering in 1968 - two songs in particular - Nancy's Whisky and the local Kintyre emigration song Ye Boys o Callieburn (Roud 6932) that he had collected from Mr Reid, the farmer at Callieburn. Willie Scott was also a guest that same year and, after a wonderful informal Saturday afternoon ceilidh in the Sun Lounge of the Angus Hotel and with the te'ts from Willie Mitchell, he quickly took both songs into his repertoire.

The small farming community of Callieburn is in the hills a few miles north of Campbeltown and the song tells of emigration from an area that suffered hardship in the 1830s and 1840s - especially during the 'hungry 40s' when the West Highlands had a famine almost as severe as Ireland's.

John Blair and I hae taen the notion,
Tae cross the wide Atlantic ocean;
Rab MacKinlay's gaen afore us,
He will keep us aa in order.

Hame fareweel, freens fareweel,
And ye boys o Callieburn, fare ye weel.

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