Queen Among the Heather

Here we have another Scottish border ballad that came from the singing of the traveler and singer Belle Stuart, and likewise to SOTI in this recording by Archie Fisher.

The Traditional Ballad Index gives these notes:

This song is very close to “Heather Down the Moor“; they have similar plots and occasional common lyrics. Roud lumps them. There will be versions where it is almost impossible to tell which is which. I thought about listing them as one song. But on consideration, “Heather Down the Moor” has two characteristics rarely seen in “Queen among the Heather.” First, “Heather Down the Moor” tends to follow a complex stanza pattern of eight-line stanzas with complex internal chorus and repeats (see sample with that song). “Queen among the Heather” usually has simple four-line stanzas. “Heather down the Moor” also tends to end with the lines,

“But if I were a king,
I would make her a queen,
The bonnie lass I met among the heather
Down the moor.”

In “Queen Among the Heather,” he is a nobleman, so that obviously isn’t a concern.

Queen Among the Heather

Noo as I roved out one summer’s morn,
among lof-ty hills, moorland and mountain.
It was there I spied a weel faurt maid,
whilst I with others was out a hunting.

No shoes nor stockin’s did she wear,
Neither had she hat nor had she feathes.
But her golden hair hung in ringlets fair,
An’ the gentle breeze played round her shoulders.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Mary Ann

Archie Fisher sings a traditional (possibly English) parting song made famous by Bob Dylan on his album “Dylan.”

According to the “Mainly Norfolk” site:

Perry Friedman sang two verses of the parting song Mary Ann in 1960 on his Topic EP Vive La Canadienne. The album notes commented:

“This unusual sailor’s song comes from the collection of Dr. Marius Barbeau, the dean of Canadian folklorists. He heard it in 1920 in the town of Tadoussao in the province of Quebec. The singer, Edouard Hovington, who was then ninety, had been for many years an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the famous fur-trading company which played such an important part in Canada’s early history. He said he had learned it from an Irish sailor some seventy years earlier, which would carry it back at least to 1850.

Mary Ann is obviously descended from the old English song, “The True Lover’s Farewell,” which is also the ancestor of “The Turtle Dove “and Burns’ “My Luve’s Like a Red, Red Rose,” but this is one of the most unusual of the many variants. The nautical references give it a salty flavour quite appropriate to the Tadoussao region which abounds in tiny fishing villages. However it did not originate in Canada, for almost the same words are given in a book of Victorian Street Ballads edited by W. Henderson and published in London in 1937. Even the lobster and the blue fish, which seem typically Canadian, are found in the English version. The only difference is in the final stanza: instead of longing for a flask of gin, the Victorian ballad concludes:

The pride of all our kitchen rare
That in our kitchen garden grows
Was pumpkins, but none could compare
In angel form to my Mary Ann.”

Mary Ann

Oh fare you well my own true love,
Oh fare you well my dear;
The ship is waiting and the wind is high,
And I am bound away to the sea, Mary Ann,
Yes, I am bound away to the sea, Mary Ann.

Ten thousand miles away from you,
Ten thousand miles or more,
But the earth will freeze and the sea will burn
If I never no more return to you, Mary Ann,
If I never no more return to you, Mary Ann.

Continue reading

Will Ye Gang, Love

A classic from Archie Fisher. This song he most likely learned from the Greig-Duncan collection, Folk-Songs of the North-East which includes almost 2,000 songs and was collected from  the northeast of Scotland in the early years of the 20th century before World War I by schoolmaster and musician Gavin Grieg and minister James Bruce Duncan.

Will Ye Gang, Love

As I cam’ in by yon Rashie moor,
Wha’ spied I at my true love’s door,
My heart grew sair and my een grew blind
To see my bonnie love leave me behind.

chorus
And will ye gang, love, and leave me noo,
Will ye gang, love, and leave me noo,
Wad ye forsake your ain love true
And gang wi’ a lad that ye never knew.

Continue reading