Tam o’ Shanter & Other Tales

Tam o’ Shanter & Other Tales


Track List


  1. When the Night is Young
  2. Blindness of my Youth
  3. Tam o’Shanter
  4. Lord Nelson
  5. Jeannie Reid’s Hoose on the Green
  6. Small Birds Rejoice/Roslin Castle
  7. Singing Cavaliers
  8. Corrievrechan


Buy Tam o’ Shanter & Other Tales



When the Night is Young
Jim Malcolm MCPS PRS

When the day has lost her way
When the night is young
Fledermause come out to play
When the night is young
Soon the moon comes strolling along
When the night is young
I will sing you the moonlight song
When the night is young

When the night is young my dear
When the night is young
I will sing you the moonlight song
When the night is young

Bring the fiddle down from the wall
Bring the wine, the finest you’ve got
Leave your worries, they don’t belong
I will sing you the moonlight song


Sing it when I’m far away
Sing it when we cannot play
Sing it to you all night long
I will sing you the moonlight song


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The Blindness of my Youth
Jim Malcolm MCPS PRS

I remember summertime, long days away from school
We would gather berries on the hill behind Kinnoull
Though the heather bloomed, sometimes shimmered in the heat
I could only see what was there to eat

Picnics by the Ruchill Water, always end up wet
We would hunt for fishes with a jam jar and a net
Though the river bed shone of quartz and emerald green
I could only see minnows in the stream

Now I’ve grown older, I don’t move quite as fast
But I see the beauty, I squandered in the past
Now I’ve grown older, I’m longer in the tooth
I can’t get over, the blindess of my youth

I remember autumn time, the skies were full of geese
We would throw up sticks to knock down chestnuts from the trees
Though the leaves were golden, the shells were spiky green
Brown and shiny conkers were all I’d see

We would build a bonfire, dragging wood from miles around
throw in heaps of tatties as the fire scorched the ground
Though the night was clear and the heavens lit on high
I could only see rockets in the sky


I remember wintertime, when frost would grip the town
We would work the playground for a slide to hurtle down
Though the trees were silver that lasted half the day
I could only care that the ice would stay

As the winter hardened, we’d await a fall of snow
Up beside the golf course was the best place we could go
Though the sight of snowy Perth would soothe the sorest eye
I could only care that the snow would lie


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Tam O’Shanter
Words: Robert Burns; Music: Jim Malcolm MCPS PRS

When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet;
As market days are wearing late,
An’ folk begin to tak the gate,
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An’ getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps and styles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam o’Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter:
(Auld Ayr, wham ne’er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonny lasses.)

O Tam! had’st thou but been sae wise,
As taen thy ain wife Kate’s advice!
She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum;
That frae November till October,
Ae market-day thou was na sober;
That ilka melder wi’ the Miller,
Thou sat as lang as thou had siller;
That ev’ry naig was ca’d a shoe on
The Smith and thee gat roarin’ fou on;
That at the Lord’s house, ev’n on Sunday,
Thou drank wi’ Kirkton Jean till Monday,
She prophesy’d that late or soon,
Thou wad be found, deep drown’d in Doon,
Or catch’d wi’ warlocks in the mirk,
By Alloway’s auld, haunted kirk.

Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,
To think how mony counsels sweet,
How mony lengthen’d, sage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises!
But to our tale: Ae market night,
Tam had got planted unco right,
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,
Wi reaming swats, that drank divinely;
And at his elbow, Souter Johnie,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony:
Tam lo’ed him like a very brither;
They had been fou for weeks thegither.
The night drave on wi’ sangs an’ clatter;
And ay the ale was growing better:
The Landlady and Tam grew gracious,
Wi’ favours secret, sweet, and precious:
The Souter tauld his queerest stories;
The Landlord’s laugh was ready chorus:
The storm without might rair and rustle,
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E’en drown’d himsel amang the nappy.
As bees flee hame wi’ lades o’ treasure,
The minutes wing’d their way wi’ pleasure:
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
O’er a’ the ills o’ life victorious!

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flow’r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white ­ then melts for ever;
Or like the Borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow’s lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm,
Nae man can tether time nor tide,
The hour approaches Tam maun ride;
That hour, o’ night’s black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;
And sic a night he taks the road in,
As ne’er poor sinner was abroad in.

The wind blew as ‘twad blawn its last;
The rattling showers rose on the blast;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallow’d;
Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow’d:
That night, a child might understand,
The deil had business on his hand.

Weel mounted on his grey mare, Meg,
A better never lifted leg,
Tam skelpit on thro’ dub and mire,
Despising wind, and rain, and fire;
Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet,
Whiles crooning o’er some auld Scots sonnet,
Whiles glow’rin round wi’ prudent cares,
Lest bogles catch him unawares;
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
Where ghaists and houlets nightly cry.

By this time he was cross the ford,
Where in the snaw the chapman smoor’d;
And past the birks and meikle stane,
Where drunken Charlie brak’s neck-bane;
And thro’ the whins, and by the cairn,
Where hunters fand the murder’d bairn;
And near the thorn, aboon the well,
Where Mungo’s mither hang’d hersel’.
Before him Doon pours all his floods,
The doubling storm roars thro’ the woods,
The lightnings flash from pole to pole,
Near and more near the thunders roll,
When, glimmering thro’ the groaning trees,
Kirk-Alloway seem’d in a bleeze,
Thro’ ilka bore the beams were glancing,
And loud resounded mirth and dancing.

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi’ tippenny, we fear nae evil;
Wi’ usquebae, we’ll face the devil!
The swats sae ream’d in Tammie’s noddle,
Fair play, he car’d na deils a boddle,
But Maggie stood, right sair astonish’d,
Till, by the heel and hand admonish’d,
She ventur’d forward on the light;
And, vow! Tam saw an unco sight!

Warlocks and witches in a dance:
Nae cotillion, brent new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east,
There sat auld Nick, in shape o’ beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He screw’d the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl.
Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shaw’d the Dead in their last dresses;
And (by some devilish cantraip sleight)
Each in its cauld hand held a light.
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,
A murderer’s banes, in gibbet airns;
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristened bairns;
A thief, new-cutted frae a rape,
Wi’ his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks, wi’ blude red-rusted:
Five scimitars, wi’ murder crusted;
A garter which a babe had strangled:
A knife, a father’s throat had mangled.
Whom his ain son of life bereft,
The grey-hairs yet stack to the heft;
Wi’ mair of horrible and awefu’,
Which even to name wad be unlawfu’.

As Tammie glowr’d, amaz’d, and curious,
The mirth and fun grew fast and furious;
The piper loud and louder blew,
The dancers quick and quicker flew,
The reel’d, they set, they cross’d, they cleekit,
Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,
And coost her duddies to the wark,
And linkit at it in her sark!

Now Tam, O Tam! had they been queans,
A’ plump and strapping in their teens!
Their sarks, instead o’ creeshie flannen,
Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!
Thir breeks o’ mine, my only pair,
That ance were plush o’ guid blue hair,
I wad hae gien them off my hurdies,
For ae blink o’ the bonie burdies!
But wither’d beldams, auld and droll,
Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal,
Louping an’ flinging on a crummock.
I wonder did na turn thy stomach.

But Tam kent what was what fu’ brawlie:
There was ae winsome wench and waulie
That night enlisted in the core,
Lang after ken’d on Carrick shore;
(For mony a beast to dead she shot,
And perish’d mony a bonny boat,
And shook baith meikle corn and bear,
And kept the country-side in fear);
Her cutty sark, o’ Paisley harn,
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude tho’ sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie.
Ah! little ken’d thy reverend grannie,
That sark she coft for her wee Nannie,
Wi twa pund Scots (’twas a’ her riches),
Wad ever grac’d a dance of witches!

But here my Muse her wing maun cour,
Sic flights are far beyond her power;
To sing how Nannie lap and flang,
(A souple jade she was, and strang),
And how Tam stood, like ane bewitch’d,
And thought his very een enrich’d:
Even Satan glowr’d, and fidg’d fu’ fain,
And hotch’d and blew wi’ might and main:
Till first ae caper, syne anither,
Tam tint his reason a thegither,
And roars out, "Weel done, Cutty-sark!"
And in an instant all was dark:
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied.
When out the hellish legion sallied.

As bees bizz out wi’ angry fyke,
When plundering herds assail their byke;
As open pussie’s mortal foes,
When, pop! she starts before their nose;
As eager runs the market-crowd,
When "Catch the thief!" resounds aloud;
So Maggie runs, the witches follow,
Wi’ mony an eldritch skreich and hollow.

Ah, Tam! Ah, Tam! thou’ll get thy fairin!
In hell, they’ll roast thee like a herrin!
In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin!
Kate soon will be a woefu’ woman!
Now, do thy speedy-utmost, Meg,
And win the key-stone o’ the brig;
There, at them thou thy tail may toss,
A running stream they dare na cross.
But ere the keystane she could make,
The fient a tail she had to shake!
For Nannie, far before the rest,
Hard upon noble Maggie prest,
And flew at Tam wi’ furious ettle;
But little wist she Maggie’s mettle!
Ae spring brought off her master hale,
But left behind her ain gray tail:
The carlin claught her by the rump,
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.

Now, wha this tale o’ truth shall read,
Ilk man and mother’s son, take heed:
As market days are wearing late
An’ folk begin to tak the gate
Whene’er to drink you are inclin’d,
Or cutty sarks run in your mind,
Think, ye may buy the joys o’er dear;
Remember Tam o’Shanter’s mare.

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Lord Nelson
Jim Malcolm MCPS PRS

Lord Nelson was a sailor bold
Neither hand nor eye had he
The first he lost in the Corsica wars
The other in the Canaries
He was told to withdraw at Copenhagen
"I see no ships," quo’ he
Then he sent De Wit of the proud Danish fleet
To the bottom of the salty sea

To the bottom of the salty sea,
To the bottom of the salty sea,
Come drown your fears, ye bold cannoneers
At the bottom of the salty sea

Napoleon came to Africa
The Pyramids for to view
An he brought five thousand French legionaires
To quell the Marmalukes
Lord Nelson sailed from Italy
In very good company
And he left French dreams of a realm in the east
At the bottom of the salty sea


Lord Nelson’s final victory
He never did live to see
He was doomed to fall from a sniper’s ball
Upon Trafalgar day
But he died that Emperor Boneparte
A sailor never would be
Or he’d join his men feeding great fishes
at the bottom of the salty sea


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Jeannie Reid’s Hoose on the Green Jo
Words: Trad; Tune: Jim Malcolm MCPS PRS

We’re a’ reelin doon the brae
Tae Jeanie Reid’s hoose, tae Jeannie Reid’s hoose
We’re a’ reelin doon the brae
Tae Jeanie Reid’s hoose on the green Jo

Cultoquhey was cuttin’ up the pie
The laird o Logie left a clean cogie
Arnprior, taes at the fire
The laird o Kinnoull he blethered like a fool

And oh it’s rare the mirth was there
Wi the lairds o Bertha struttin roond the flair
But oh it’s sair the dule was there
When Oliver’s men came chargin up the stair

It’s the laird o Kinvaid who kissed the maid
It’s the laird o Gleneagles who joukit the beagles
Young Seggieden put the cock to the hen
Tippermallo had a guid swallow

And it’s oh so rare the mirth was there
Wi the lairds o Bertha struttin roond the flair
But oh it’s sair the dule was there
When Oliver’s men came chargin up the stair

Wi Oliver’s men both but and ben
and there’s armed men five score and ten
Were a’ fleein up the brae
Fae Jeanie Reid’s hoose, fae Jeannie Reid’s hoose
Were a’ fleein up the brae
Fae Jeanie Reid’s hoose on the green Jo

The laird o Monzie he flew like a flea
The laird o Blair he tumbled doon the stair
The laird o Scone he crackit his croon
The laird o Coplindy jumped oot the windae


The laird o Creiff he cam tae grief
The laird o Strowan rade like a growan
But the laird o Lawers cam hame fae the wars
Tullibardine crept through the garden
Fae Jeannie Ried’s hoose on the green Jo

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Small Birds Rejoice/Roslin Castle
Robert Burns/Trad

“Shut up and play your guitar.”

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The Singing Cavaliers
Jim Malcolm MCPS PRS

In photographs you always looked like people from the past,
A golden time when troubadors would ply an ancient craft
You sang of long gone heroes, the King across the sea
And brought the past alive again for kids the likes of me

Goodbye to the singing cavaliers
Your voices have been leading me for years
Your songs are all still ringing in our ears
You never shirked at getting in the beers
Goodbye to the singing cavaliers
You could not think you’d leave us without a tear
We loved you more than we could let appear
(because we’re Scottish)

Goodbye to the singing cavaliers
Goodbye to the singing cavaliers
You fooled upon the radio and swaggered on the screen
and played in every music hall from Noam to Aberdeen
You never left the stage without them crying out for more
You knew they’d still be singing as they tumbled out the door


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Words: Jim Malcolm MCPS PRS; Tune: Cuilfhionn, Trad

Bring me a glass of usquebae,
And I’ll tell you a tale of a dark, dark day
Prince Vrechan was a sailor king
And he sailed to Argyll to take a queen

Prince Vrechan’s will had long been sworn
On the daughter of Donald, the Lord of Lorn
But Lord Donald was a careful man
And he’d laid for his daughter a different plan

"Lord Donald, in your hall I stand
To ask your consent for your daughter’s hand.
Give your blessing to a match with me
And your grandsons will rule o’er the whole North Sea."

He was the Lord of the whole Northern Sea
He had sailed in from Iceland to make the lady Queen
Now his soul’s with the devil who deals with such fools
As would duel with the Corrievrechan whirlpool

"Prince Vrechan, I have pledged my child
To the captain who dares where the tide runs wild.
My blessing I can only rule
If you dwell for a day in the whirlpool."

"Lord Donald, I will break this spell
I have sailed many times through the storms of hell.
Your whirlpool is no match for me
I will dwell in its spell not a day but three."


Prince Vrechan sent his men to find
A great rope of hemp for the shore to bind
He sent them for a rope of wool
That would take up the strain when the tide ran cruel
He sent them back to far Norway
To a crone he had known since his childhood day
She made a rope that would not tear
For this rope had been woven from virgins’ hair


First day the galley held its own
But the great rope of hemp it was lost and gone
Next day the galley held again
But the great rope of wool couldn’t bear the strain

Third day the rope of virgins’ hair
First began to stretch then began to tear
Prince Vrechan now was doomed for sure
For one of the maidens had not been pure


Prince Vrechan and his men were drowned
But his body was saved by his faithful hound
It dragged him to an island cave
That bears his name and bears his grave


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