The Corncrake


The Corncrakecorncrake


  1. The Merchant’s Son
  2. Hallowe’en
  3. The Bonny Earl o’ Moray
  4. Clerk Saunders
  5. Tattie Jock
  6. Kelvin’s Purling Stream
  7. The Echo Mocks The Corncrake
  8. My Mary
  9. Cruel Mither
  10. When First I Came to Caledonia
  11. Twa Recruitin Sergeants





The Merchant’s Son (3:40)
Traditional; arranged Malcolm

Hae ye heard o’ the merchant’s son?
It’s tae the beggin’ he has gane;
Mounted on his noble steed
And awa’ for pleasure he did ride.

Chorus: For a’ the little I know, for a‘ the day.

A beggar wench he’s chanced tae meet,
A beggar wench of low degree.
He’s ta’en pity on her distress,
Sayin’: “Faith lassie, you’ve a bonny face.”

They’re baith inclined tae take a drink,
Into a public house they’ve gane;
They baith drank whisky aye and brandy too
Till baith o’ them they got roarin’ fu’.

They’re baith inclined tae gang tae bed
Soon under cover they’re baith lain;
Drinkin’ brandy gaed tae their heid
Until baith o them lay like they were deid.

Early next morning the beggar rose
And she’s put on the young merchant’s claes
With his hat so high and his sword so clear
Aye and she’s awa’ wi’ a’ the merchant’s gear.

A bitty later the merchant rose
And looking round for tae find his claes
There’s nothing left there intae the room,
But a ragged petticoat, aye, and a winsey goun.

He being a stranger intae the toon
He’s put on the old cotton goun;
Doon the street he did loudly swear
That he’d never lie with a beggar nae mair.

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Hallowe’en (5:21)
Words: Voilet Jacob; melody: Jim Reid; arrangement Malcolm

The tattie-liftin’s nearly through,
They’re plooin’ whaur the barley grew
And efter dark roond ilka stack
You’ll see the horsemen stand and craic O Lachlan, but I mind on you.

I mind fu’ aften we hae seen
Ten thoosand stars keek doon atween The naked branches, and below
Baith fairm and bothy hae their show A-low wi’ lichts o’ Hallowe’en.

There’s bairns wi’ guizers at their tail
Cloorin’ the doors wi’ runts o’ kail And fine you’ll hear the screechs an’ skirls
O lassies wi’ their drookit curls
Bobbin’ for aipples in the pail.

The bothy fire is loupin’ hait,
A new heid-horseman’s kist is set Richt o’er the lum whaur by the blaze
The auld yin stood that kept yer claes I cannae thole tae see it yet.

But gin the auld folk’s tales are richt
An’ ghaists cam hame on Hallow’s nicht Oh freends, oh freends what would I gie
Tae feel ye rax yer hand tae me Atween the dark an’ conn’le licht.

Awa in France across the waves
The wee lichts burn on ilka grave An’ you an’ me their lowe hae seen,
ye’ll maybe hae yer Hallowe’en Yont whaur you’re lyin’ wi the lave.
There’s drink and aften sang an’ dance
An’ ploys an’ kisses get their chance But Lachlan, man, the place I see
Is whaur the auld kist used tae be An’ the lichts o’ Hallowe’en in France.

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The Bonny Earl o’ Moray (4:58)
Traditional; arranged Malcolm

Ye Hielands an’ ye Lowlands Whaur hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl o Moray An laid him on the green.
He was a braw callant And he played at the ball The bonny Earl o Moray Was the flo’er among them a’.

O wae be tae ye Huntly An whaurfore did ye say I bade ye bring him tae me But forbade ye him tae slay.
He wis a braw callant He played at the glove The bonny Earl o Moray He wis the Queen’s true love.

Lang may his lady Look frae the Castle doon Ere she sees the Earl o Moray
Come soundin through the toun.

Ye Hielands an’ ye Lowlands Whaur hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl o Moray An laid him on the green.
He was a braw callant He played at the ring
The bonny Earl o Moray He micht hae been the king.

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Clerk Saunders (5:16)
Traditional; arranged Malcolm

Clerk Saunders and May Margaret were walking on the garden green
And sad and heavy was the love that fell these two lovers between.

“A bed, a bed,” Clerk Saunders said, “A bed, my love, for you and me.”
“Never a one,” the lady said, “until the day we married be.”

“For in will come my seven brithers wi’ a’ their torches burning bright
They’ll say: ‘We hae but yin sister, and here’s she’s lyin’ wi you this night.”

“You’ll take the sword frae my scabbard and slowly, slowly lift the gin,
And ye may swear and keep your oath clear ye never let Clerk Saunders in.”

“You’ll tak me in your airms twa and carry me ben tae the bed
And ye may swear and keep your oath clear across your bower I ne’er did tread.”

They werena lang intae the room, they werena lang untae the bed
When in there cam her seven brithers wi’ a’ their torches burnin red.

Then up and spake the first brither: “It’s lang since e’er this love began.”
And up and spake the second brither: “I wouldna kill a sleeping man.”

Then up and spake the third brither: “We’d better gang and let them be.”
Then up and spake the neist o’ them: “He’ll no’ be killed this night for me.”

Ah but up and spake the fifth brither: “Although there be nae man but me
I bear the brand intae my hand shall quickly gar Clerk Saunders die.”

He’s taken oot a bright long brand, he’s striked it three times through the straw
And through and through Clerk Saunders’ body he’s garred the rusty rapier go.

“Awake awake, Clerk Saunders,” she says, “awake, awake, for sin and shame
The day is light, the sun shines bright, and I’m afraid we will be ta’en.”

Aye she waukened this dead man, aye she rocked him to and fro
Aye she waukened this dead man, but of his death she did not know.

“There’ll ne’er a sark go on my back, there’ll ne’er a kaim straik through my hair
There’ll ne’er be coal nor candle light shine in my bower ever mair.”

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Tattie Jock (5:32)
Traditional; arranged Malcolm

Ye’ll a’ hae heard o’ Tattie Jock, likewise o’ Mutton Peggy,
They had a fairm in the north o’ Fife, and the name o’ it was Craigie.

Chorus: Hah riddle aye roo rum di do, hah riddle aye roo rum day

Three month we served wi’ Tattie Jock, an’ weel we did agree, Till we fund oot that the tattie shed could be opened wi’ the bothy key.

We went intae the tattie shed, oor bags were hardly full, When Tattie Jock in ahint the door cried: “Aye ma lads bide still!”

Oh, the first he got was Willie Marr, the next was Sandy Doo, There was Jimmy Grey an’ Wull Moncur, an’ Jimmy Pethrie flew.

They sent for ten big polismen, but nine there only came,
It dinged them sore tae lift us a’, us bein’ ten able men.

The hinmaist lad was the wisest ane, the best lad o’ us a’, He jined a man-o-war at Leith, so he didna ha’e tae stand the law.

When we were gettin’ oor sentences, we a’ stood roon’ an’ roon’,
But when we heard o’ the fourteen years, the tears come tricklin’ doon’.

When Tattie Jock he heard o’ this, he cried an’ grat richt sore, A thousand guineas he would pay, if that wad clear oor score.

A bag o’ gowd he did produce, tae pey it there and then,
But the lawyer only said tae him that the money widna clear his men.

Noo when they mairched us up through Perth, we heard the newsboy say, “It’s hard tae see sic able men ta’en aff tae Botany Bay.”

When we arrive in Botany Bay, some letters we will send, Tae tell oor freends the hardships we endure in a foreign land.

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Kelvin’s Purling Stream (4:06)
Traditional; arranged Malcolm

The summer time being in its prime,
The weather calm and clear,
I left that town called Portadown
Between me and my dear.
In Glasgow city I arrived,
And to Woodside I came,
Where all alone I made my moan
To Kelvin’s purling stream.

Ye stream, said I, as I passed by,
Give ear to what I say,
How can you roll, without control,
Unto some foreign quay?
Your murmurs pain my bosom sore;
Here stands an honest boy,
He’ll ne’er prove false to the girl he loves
Till Kelvin’s stream runs dry.

There’s many a pretty little fish,
Swims in yon water clear;
There’s many a long and weary mile
Between me and my dear;
There’s many a flower grows in yon bower
That would my fancy please,
But I’ll ne’er forget the girl I love
Who lives near Lurgan Braes.

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The Echo Mocks the Corncrake (4:46)
Traditional; arranged Malcolm

The lass that I loo’ed first of all,
Was handsome young and fair
Wi’ her I spent some happy nichts,
Alang the banks of Ayr
Wi’ her I spent some happy nichts
Whaur yon wee burnie rows
Whaur the echo mocks the corncrake
Amongst the whinny knowes.

We loved each other dearly
Disputes we seldom had
As constant as the pendulum
Her heart beat always glad
We sought for love and found it
Whaur yon wee burnie rows
Whaur the echo mocks the corncrake
Amongst the whinny knowes.

Ye maidens fair and pleasure dames
Come fae the banks o’ Doon
Ye dearly pay for every scent
To the barbers for perfume
But rural joy is free for a’
Whaur the scented clover grows
Whaur the echo mocks the corncrake
Amongst the whinny knowes.

The corncrake is noo awa’
The burn is tae the brim
The whinny knowes are cled wi’ snaw
That taps the highest whin
But when cauld winter is awa’
And summer clears the sky
We’ll welcome back the corncrake
The bird o’ rural joy.

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My Mary (3:52)
Robert Tannehill, Traditional; arranged Malcolm

My Mary is a bonny lassie
Sweet as dewy morn,
When fancy tunes her rural reed,
Beside the upland thorn;
She lives ahint yon sunny knowe,
Where flow’rs in wild profusion grow,
Where spreading birks and hazels throw
Their shadows o’er the burn.

‘Tis no’ the streamlet-skirted wood,
Wi’ a’ its leafy bow’rs,
That gars me wait in solitude
Among the wild-sprung flow’rs;
But aft I cast a langing e’e,
Down frae the bank, out owre the lea,
There haply I my lass may see,
As through the broom she scours.

Yestreen I met my bonny lassie,
Coming frae the toon,
We raptur’d sunk in ither’s arms
And prest the breckans down;
The pairtrick sung his e’ening note,
The rye-craik rispt his clam’rous throat,
While there the heav’nly vow I got
That arl’t her my own.

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The Cruel Mither (6:33)
Traditional; arranged Malcolm

There was a woman lived in the north,
Hie wi’ the rose and the lindsey O,
She has coorted her faither’s clerk Doon by the green woodsidey-O.

She’s coorted him for a year and a day
‘Til her great belly did her betray.

She’s leaned her back against a tree,
Thinkin’ that she micht lighter be.

She’s leaned her back against a thorn,
Bonny’s the boys that she has borne.

But she’s taen oot her wee penknife,
And she has taen the bairnies’ lives.

She’s buried them ’neath a marble stane
Thinkin’ tae gang a maiden hame.

She was lookin’ ower her faither’s castle wa’ She’s spied her bonny boys playin’ at the ba’.

“Oh bonny bairns, gin ye were mine,
I’d dress ye up in silk sae fine.”

“Oh mither dear, fan we were thine
We nivver saw ocht o’ the silk sae fine.”
“Oh bonny bairns, come tell tae me,
Fit kind o’ death’ll I hae tae dee.”
“Seven years a bird in the wood,
Seven years a fish in flood.

“And seven years at the warnin’ bell,
Seven years in the depths o’ hell.”

“Welcome, welcome bird in the wood,
Welcome, welcome fish in the flood.

“And welcome, welcome the warnin’ bell,
God keep me oot o’ the depths o’ hell.”

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When First I Came to Caledonia (5:25)
Traditional; arranged Malcolm

When first I came to Caledonia,
And I got loading at Number Three.
I took up lodgings with Donald Norman.
He had a daughter; she made good tea.

And there was me and my brother Charlie.
Two bigger shavers you ne’er did see,
Out spikin’ eels in the month of April,
For the starvin’ slaves out on Scataree.

I went to Norman to buy some brochan,
A cake of soap and a pound of tea,
But Norman said that I could not have them
Till fish got plenty on Scataree.

So I went down to the big harbor,
I only went for to see the spray,
I spied a lass from Bouladrie over
She looked to me like the queen of May.

If I had pen from Pennsylvania,
And I had paper so snowy white,
If I had ink of the rosy morning,
A true love letter to her I’d write.

I put my foot on the deepest ocean
As far from land as a man could be,
Sailing over the darkest water.
A woman’s love would never bother me.

I set my head to a cask of brandy,
And it’s a dandy I do declare,
For when I’m drinkin’ I’m seldom thinkin’
How I could gain that young lady fair.

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Twa Recruitin’ Sergeants (5:01)
Traditional; arranged Malcolm

Twa recruitin’ sergeants came frae the Black Watch
To markets and fairs, some recruits tae catch
But a’ that they ’listed was forty and twa
Enlist my bonny laddie, and come awa.

Chorus: And it’s over the mountains and over the main,
Through Gibraltar to France and Spain
Wi’ a feather in your bonnet and a kilt abune yer knee
Enlist my bonny laddie, and come awa wi me.

And it’s into the barnyard and oot o’ the byre
The grippit auld fermer, he thinks you’ll never tire
It’s a slavery job o low degree,
Sae ’list my bonny laddie, and come awa wi me.

Oh laddie dae ye ken o the danger that you’re in
If your horse was tae fleg or your owsen was tae rin
This greedy auld fermer, he wouldna pay your fee
Sae ’list my bonny laddie, and come awa wi’ me.

With your wee tattie pourins and yer meal and kale
Your sour sowan soorins and your ill-brewed ale
Yer buttermilk, yer whey and yer breid fired raw
Sae ’list my bonny laddie and come awa.

Laddie, if ye hae yersel’ a sweetheart or bairn
Ye’ll soon be rid o that ill-spun yarn
Twa rattles o’ the drum and that’ll pay it a’
Sae ’list my bonny laddie and come awa.

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