The Yellow’s on the Broom

Travellers by their cart.

A song about the Travellers (sometimes called Tinkers) of Scotland who lived/live a nomadic life which often settled for a short while during the harder winter months. The lyrics show the Traveller anxious for Spring and a new start to travelling. This song was written by the non-Traveller Adam McNaughtan and is based somewhat on the book of the same title by a traveller named Betsy Whyte.

Well, I ken ye dinna like it, lass, tae winter here in toun
For the scaldies they all cry us, aye, and they try to put us doun;
And it’s hard to raise three bairnies in a single flea-box room,
But I’ll tak’ ye on the road again when the yellow’s on the broom.

The yellow’s on the broom, when the yellow’s on the broom,
Oh, I’ll tak’ ye on the road again when the yellow’s on the broom.
(Chorus repeats the last line of each verse)

Oh, the scaldies call us tinker dirt and they sconce our bairns in school,
But who cares what a scaldy says, for scaldy’s but a fool.
They never hear the yorlin’s song, nor see the flax in bloom,
For they’re aye cooped up in houses when the yellow’s on the broom.

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