Article MT058

Daisy Chapman


[Track List] [Introductions] [Daisy Chapman] [In her own words] [The Songs] [Repertoire] [Credits]

Musical Traditions' third CD release this year: Daisy Chapman - Ythanside (MT CD 308), is now available.  See our Records page for details.  As a service to those who may not wish to buy the record, or who might find the small print hard to read, we have reproduced the relevant contents of the CD booklet here.  As usual, photo credits can be seen by hovering the cursor over the picture.

Track List:

  1. Ythanside
  2. The Bunch of Violets
  3. Bonny Udny
  4. Mormond Braes
  5. The Jolly Ploughboy
  6. I Once had a Boy
  7. The Bleacher Lass
  8. Aikey Brae
  9. The Poor and Single Sailor
  10. The Banks of Allan Water
  11. The Faithful Sailor Boy
  12. False Henry
  13. The Buchan Bobby
  14. Green Grows the Laurel
  15. Jimmy Raeburn
  16. Go and Leave Me
  17. Down in the Valley
  18. You Gave Me Your True Love
  19. My Grannie's Old Armchair
  20. Bailiff's Daughter of Islington
  21. Kissing in the Dark
  22. Donside
  23. The Dying Plooman


I had been wanting to make a record of Daisy Chapman's singing ever since John Howson kindly transferred my old reel-to-reel tapes to DAT and made Musical Traditions' first Bob Hart CDs a possibility.  My wife, Danny, and I had first heard Daisy at the Blairgowrie Festival in 1969, and managed to make a few rather bad recordings of her at the time.  We were both so impressed with her singing that the following year we invited her to sing at the folk club we helped run at the King's Head, Islington, North London.  She came - and gave us a truly memorable evening, and also brought Willy Scott along as well!  I was able to record some of her singing then, and also at the Blairgowrie Festival later in 1970.  As it turned out, it was fortuitous that I taped her at the club, since she sang a number of songs that night which nobody else seems to have recorded.

I mentioned the idea of a CD to various Scots friends, and one or two others, and was eventually told that Tom Spiers had a number of recordings made by Peter Hall.  Tom was exceedingly helpful - arranging with Peter's widow, Marion, for permission to use the recordings and even sending them to me on CD-R and DAT!  Between these two sources we had enough recordings for a 60 minute CD, but getting information for the booklet proved an altogether more difficult task.

Nobody I asked - and I asked a lot of people - seemed to know very much more about Daisy than we did.  They knew she'd appeared at the Blairgowrie festivals, that she was from Aberdeen, could list some of her songs, and felt that her appearance and personality reminded them of a favourite Auntie ... but that was about it.

Eventually a suggestion from Jim Black led me to ask Robbie Shepherd, of BBC Radio Scotland's Sunday night Reel Blend programme, if he would broadcast a request for information about Daisy.  He did so willingly, but it was another couple of months before this led to my initial contact with Daisy's niece, Mary Pacitti.

Mary was able to supply me with lots of useful biographical information - and a video interview with her aunt!  The CD's booklet suddenly became a possibility again and, initially Alison McMorland and subsequently Peter Shepheard, took over the Scottish end of the co-ordination and liaison effort.

Pete has been exceedingly helpful: tracing several School of Scottish Studies recordings; transcribing the songs, some of which are in quite difficult Buchan dialect; contacting other members of the Chapman family; writing a substantial proportion of these booklet notes; and discovering that a number of recordings he'd made of Daisy were actually far better than he remembered!

So - more than a year and a half after my first floating the idea, the MT Daisy Chapman CD is ready.  For many of you this will be your first meeting with a singer who was not heard as much as she deserved to be - both inside and outside Scotland.  I know you will enjoy it.

Rod Stradling - July 2000

The first time I heard Daisy Chapman sing was at the Aberdeen Festival in October 1967 and she made an immediate and lasting impression on me.  She sang only three songs but she sang them with restrained confidence in a lovely, lilting style that was quite different from any singers I had heard at that time.

Fortunately, I had recently acquired a Uher tape recorder and I was recording the concert from a seat in the audience.  The three songs she sang that afternoon - Jamie Raeburn, Bonnie Udny and The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington are three of those on this album.  The essence of her lilting, lyrical style is particularly evident in Bonnie Udny and in the opening track on the album, her favourite song, Ythanside, which I recorded at the Aberdeen Festival concert the following year.  Naturally, I was quick to invite Daisy down as guest to the next Blairgowrie Festival in August 1968 and for several years she was a favourite guest artist at the festival.

It was sometime in 1996 that I visited Rod Stradling (we are both melodeon players) and only then did I discover that we had both recorded Daisy at Blairgowrie many years before - and that we were both of us fans of her singing.  I asked Rod if he had recorded a song of hers that had particularly impressed me that started 'I once had a boy and a bonny bonny boy.'  I remembered her singing it just once.  A few minutes later and we were listening to Daisy singing the song once more: I Once had a Boy (sound clip).  Over the years I had often thought of putting some of Daisy's recordings out on an album and now the opportunity was there once more. It has given me great pleasure to participate in putting together this album of songs - Daisy Chapman: Ythanside - which I am sure will bring pleasure to many and will give her songs a renewed life in the repertoire of the current generation of traditional song enthusiasts.

Peter Shepheard - July 2000

Daisy Chapman

... eldest daughter of Mary (née Gill) and John Birnie, was born on the 12th of May 1912, in the same bedroom in which her mother had been born, in the farm croft of Broadleys o' New Pitsligo.  It had been her grandparents' place and, when they moved on, her parents took it over.  Later they moved to the small croft of Quarry Head where Daisy was brought up.  Her given name was Maggie Birnie but she was always known as Daisy.  Quarry Head is a few miles inland from the small fishing village of Rosehearty on the northernmost tip of north east Scotland - the Buchan area of Aberdeenshire.  Daisy went to the local Glass Law School at New Aberdour, and left when she had just turned 14.

Her mother Mary Gill and grandmother Granny Gill were both good singers and could diddle tunes and she inherited many of her older songs from them.  Daisy's great grandmother was a Forbes of Castle Newe in Strathdon, who ran off and married the gardener on the estate by the name of Gill.  Her father's family, the Birnies, had come over from Ireland during the potato famine of the 1840s.  Singing and making music were a normal part of life on the croft at Quarry Head and there would often be musical gatherings with neighbours.  Daisy started singing at a young age and also played piano, and her father and elder brother Charlie (who died 24 January 2000 in his 90th year) played fiddle.  Sometimes there would be dancing in the kitchen to the horn gramophone.  With her father and brother on fiddle and with Daisy on piano they had a family band that played for local barn dances around Rosehearty.

The Buchan area has its own rich dialect referred to in the area as the Doric - a regional dialect of Scots, itself a dialect (or a language in its own right as some would argue) descended from the northern form of Anglo-Saxon.  Like many Doric speakers, Daisy was easily able to switch from the broad Scots into plainer Scottish English without difficulty, depending on the company she was in.

When she was 17 she married William Chapman, a farmer's son from the neighbouring farm of Ironhill.  They took on a small farm in North Ladiesford near Boyndlie, south of Rosehearty, for a number of years.  Later they moved to North Broadleys, but Daisy's health deteriorated after nearly three decades of farm work, and they moved to Aberdeen in the early 1950s where William took a job working for Wm Wiseley, who operated steam lorries in the city.  He later worked on the railways.  First they stayed at 19 Union Street and then moved to 478 George Street.  They had no surviving children, but had "a happy married life ... a few years in Aberdeen together" before William died, quite young, in 1959.

As seems to be so frequently the case, she had learned her songs from her mother and grandmother as a girl, but more or less stopped once she was married.  She began singing again after her husband's death - at kirk functions, pensioners' concerts and the like - and in the mid-'60s came to the notice of song collector Peter Hall who was himself a singer and a founder member in 1958 of the Aberdeen Folksong Club, who introduced her to the world of clubs, concerts, festivals, recordings - and long-distance travel.  Aberdeen was of course, already famous for its traditional singers: Jeannie Robertson and the extended traveller families of Robertsons, Stewarts and Higgins had been discovered by Hamish Henderson, the Edinburgh folklorist, in 1953.  Throughout the 1960s and beyond, the folksong club ran the annual Aberdeen Folk Festival which featured an afternoon concert with local traditional singers. Daisy Chapman made a great impression with her debut appearance at the October 1967 concert hosted by Peter Hall - singing alongside such famous traditional singers as Jeannie Robertson and her daughter Lizzie Higgins; the great bothy ballad singer Jimmy McBeath; another traveller singer Blind Robin Hutchison; a retired farm worker and bothy singer, Rob Watt; and Jeannie's husband Donald Higgins on pipes, whistle and mouthorgan.

Having made such an impression at the 1967 Aberdeen Festival, Daisy was invited as a guest to the August 1968 Blairgowrie Festival, run by the newly formed TMSA (Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland) founded after the Blairgowrie Festival in 1966.  Daisy travelled down from Aberdeen with Cameron and Jane Turriff of Fetterangus and was again in company at the festival with Jeannie and Lizzie, Jimmy McBeath and Rob Watt.  There she also met Willie Scott, singer and border shepherd, with whom she struck up a lasting friendship that was to lead in the next couple of years to tours of English festivals including Loughborough and Cambridge.

No commercial recordings were ever made of Daisy's singing.  Often singers are at their best in live performance and fortunately some excellent singing was captured from her performances at the Aberdeen Festival in 1967 and 1968 (recorded by Peter Shepheard) and by Rod Stradling  who recorded her at the Blairgowrie Festival in 1969 and later in London in 1970.  The earliest recordings are from the Peter Hall archive recorded in Aberdeen in 1965 and 1966, and Hamish Henderson and Arthur Argo recorded her at the Blairgowrie Festival in 1968 for the School of Scottish Studies.  We have had access to all these recordings for this CD.

In the early 1970s, possibly due to the somewhat hectic life she was now leading, she suffered a heart attack, followed by a heart bypass operation in 1976, and from that time on she never again sang in public.  She continued to live at 478 George Street in Aberdeen for many years until, in 1991 she moved to Letham Park Nursing Home, Portlethen where she died on 27 March 1997 at the age of nearly 85.

In her own words:

What follows is taken from the transcript of a video interview with Daisy that took place during a two week holiday she spent at her late husband's farm at Ironhill Farm near Rosehearty, Aberdeenshire, in the summer of 1987.  The place is now farmed by her father's brother's family - her nephew and niece, Duncan and Gladys Chapman.  During part of the interview Daisy is looking across the fields towards the farm at Quarry Head where she was brought up and from where, at the age of 17, she married William Chapman, the elder son of Ironhill.

Quarry Head was (and still is) a small farm croft of 50 or 60 acres of good agricultural land a few miles inland from the small fishing village of Rosehearty on the northernmost tip of north east Scotland - the Buchan area of Aberdeenshire.  Ironhill is a little to the west, on the New Aberdour shore road from Rosehearty looking out over the cliffs to the North sea.

The video interview was made by James Taylor, originally of Rosehearty and now living in Fraserburgh, who was at school with Gladys Chapman and is an enthusiast for oral history of the Buchan area.  Daisy's comments are ordered differently here to present a coherent and linear account of her life.  Elements of James' questions are retained, within square brackets and italicised, where they contribute to the sense of the narrative.  Explanatory notes from Pete Shepheard or myself are also indicated in the same way.


My grandmother lived in Broadleys o' New Pitsligo.  Ma grandmother was there and they moved to anither place.  And my dad and mum took their place, that's where I was born, before we came down to Quarry Head - my mother and I were born in the same bedroom!

I was brought up at Quarry Head, near Rosehearty, many years ago.  Things have changed now, everything's modern compared to when I was in this country.  Aye, everything's changed.  I have very pleasant memories of Quarry Head.  There was my father and my mother and my brother, we were just all together on the farm, ... hard work, but it was pleasant.

[... your father worked the horse and ploo?]

Oh aye, there was nae tractors then.  I'd say it was 50-60 acres at Quarry Head - hard work, but we didna know it was hard work then, it was just part of our job, just being ...

I went to school at Aberdour, through the parks [the park of the Bonnyton Hill, of the Dying Plooman ballad].  It's not there now, but there used to be steps up that we'd walk through the park, for a short cut through the park.  It was a long way to school, two and a half miles.  I dinna see the steps now, it's all gone now, like everything else.

Oh aye, when we were at Broadleys there were just one or two cars, there was just horse and carts.  I used to see my man, but I didn't know it was my man then, gaein past going away up to spread his peats, then saw them go past in the horse and cart.  Then when we came down here after that to Quarry Head.  I was a young miss, then, well practically.  We had great times; we used to have barndances down at Craigie Fauld [a small crofting community near Quarry Head], in a barn down there, where Chalmers is now.  We used to learn dancing down there.  That was our entertainment then, you see.  The music was fiddles and we did dance then, it wan't jigging about like they do now - we did dance then.  Nearly every summer there was the dancing class down there, during the summer.  Oh yes, we made wir own entertainment then!  They used to come from here, over to our house ...  a gramophone with a horn, and learned to dance in the farm kitchen, and it was really good times with the horn gramophone, all the sets of quadrilles and everything.

Oh aye, Scott Skinner, Peter Wiper with his accordion and all that.  I suppose it was more individuals, not so many bands then on the records, it was good music.  Maybe it wasn't - but we thought it was grand at the time.  I always remember that the local musicians could take it off the records, anything that was new.  I remember there was a man that was a great fiddler, he went out and played in a band and he came across, it's an old old thing called the Madzina, it was a dance - a new dance then - and he'd took it off the record, played the fiddle.  There was also a turn of the highland dancing, when the class was finishing, this was the highlight of the whole season.  And also there was singing of bothy ballads, right enough, over at New Biggins [a nearby farm], there used to be an Alec Forbes there and he always sang Kissing in the Dark, that was his masterpiece and he sang it lovely - Sandy Forbes.  He really was a bonny singer.  He was out at Miss Young's.  That's where I first heard the crystal set.  We went over there for the crystal set.  People visited one another then.  Now, you see, I don't know what's gone wrong!  Friendliness is still in this here, but friendliness is away nowadays.  Everybody seems to be an individual now.

A typical Saturday night when I was young ...  Well, we didna have dances every Friday night or anything like that, but if you hadna a dance you often met at the pictures, and had to go back the next Saturday to the see the other episode, you only got a half of it - you had to go back the next Saturday.  That was our entertainment on a Saturday night, but not every Saturday, we couldna afford it every Saturday night, but if there was a good picture on you had to go back and get the rest of it.  We'd often get together and play music and that - on a Sunday night.  You congregated for your tea and then you turned and had a singsong.

You see, they made up the music.  There was no special singers then, there was just concert parties as there is now, but, as you say, with local people.  Local concerts, great turnout at them, they didna hae so mony things to go to.  If there was a concert, there was a full hall - it wasn't like every week, you see, it was something that was a highlight as you would say, a concert.  You practised and then it was that certain night, and the hall was full right enough.

[... your mother used to sing ... encouraged you to sing?]

Songs that she knew, of course - Ythanside, Lang Walks o' Udny, things like that, some love songs ...  It seemed to be that nobody knew Ythanside; it was a great song that.  When I went down to the folk places, it seemed to be unknown, you know.  I wrote it out to quite a few people - Ythanside and Bonnie Udny - the lang walks o' Udny are aa tae gang through ...  But we used to sit roond the fireside and sing then, that was our entertainment.  Sit and play the piano, my brother played the fiddle, but that's old fashioned now.  She was a good singer, my mother - a good singer right enough.  It's come doon the line, the same with ma brother's lassie, she's a singer an aa.  It seems to be in the family.

[Your mother and grandmother sang?]

It's from them I got Donside - an awfa length o' a sang that!  They were good songs.  My favourite is Ythanside (sound clip) - as I cam in be Ythanside, whaur gently flows the rollin tide, a bonnie lass passed by my side, I looked tae her an smiled.  It's a favourite ... ma mother and ma grandmother sang it.  It's an old, old song right enough.  But it wisna very well known when I started my singing.  I was told that grandmother used to sing as a girl.  And my great grandmother was a Forbes of Castle Newe [by Strathdon], so that's the girls' side.  I have a schoolteacher cousin who's been researching the family right back to get the family tree.

[... Bonnyton Hill - the ballad of the dying ploughboy.  Your aunt had some recollections?]

My mother took over the croft aboot Broadleys tae Brunton Hill, New Pitsligo when ma granny and grandad took on a bigger place.  She saw him [the plooman in the song] being taen hame with a trap.  It was well known at that time - it must have been in the 1880 - '90s.  Ma mother and father was married in 1906, ye ken.  My dad was born at the Wards of Boyndlie in a wee cottage at Blyths Hillock.  Ma dad wis born there - that's where he saw the light o' day.  They were in the croft when it happened, when he was taken home, that's one of the recollections of my mother and my grandmother.  I've been told about it - it was before my time.  [Daisy sings two verses and speaks one in the interview - shown un-italicised below in the complete text].

The gloomy wind is sighing soft,
Around the lonely stable loft;
And frae the skylight dusky red,
The sunbeams wander round my bed.

['Tis only but a week the morn,
Since I was weel and hairstin corn;
As full of glee and mirth and fun,
As anyone amangst the throng.]

But something wi my heart gaed wrang,
A vessel burst and blood oot sprang;
My days on earth will no be lang,
For now's my time when I maun gang.

[Farewell my nags, my trusty pair,
I'll never yoke nor lowse nae mair;
Farewell my ploo, wi you this hand,
Shall never mair turn o'er fresh land.

Farewell my friends and parents dear,
My voice again you'll never hear;
Farewell for aye yon setting sun,
My day is o'er, my work is done.]

I've served my maister well and true,
My well done work I'll never rue,
But yet forbye I micht hae striven,
To see the fairest fields o Heaven.
[Peter Shepheard: The song, The Dying Plooman, was particularly admired by Gavin Greig and is in the Greig Duncan collection (GD 3:700) where it is suggested the song refers to an event that took place on a farm in the Aberdour area (just west of Rosehearty) and may have been composed by a farm servant at Tillyquhairn, a nearby farm, some time prior to 1892.  In Daisy's family tradition, the song is about a ploughman at Bonnyton Hill, a farm and steading in the same area beside New Aberdour.]

I was in choirs, in church choir and everything, Aberdour church choir.  [This is New Aberdour church, where Daisy is now buried in the churchyard along with her husband and stillborn baby son].  I was a great Kirk attender.  My father was an elder and we went to church every Sunday.  He was Free Kirker, which is now Dundarg Castle -  our church was made into Dundarg Castle -  and we joined the parish church and it's dwindled ever since.  We'd a good congregation with the Free Kirk but times have changed, they just don't go to church now, you see.  [The old Dundarg Castle was razed to the ground by Robert the Bruce around 1306 and the new Dundarg was rebuilt by the Carnegies using stone from the Free Kirk].

Folk went to Kirk, you wouldna dare to work on a Sunday, would have been a sin to work on a Sunday - never known to work on a Sunday.  They might have been superstitious folk, but not as a rule, you know.  You took life as it came ...

Old Potter was the minister at that time.  In fact he was drownded, he was got drownded in Aberdour shore.  I was a Free Church person, and we joined with the other parish church, and that was the man that came when the churches joined.  And he went away for a swim one day, and he was drowned.  And then there was an Adams come after that.  But then I went away from this district up to Ladiesford.  I went to away to that little farm in North Ladiesford, Boyndlie [south of Rosehearty].

[... you'd been brought up in the country life, and you actually married a farmer as well?]

Yes, aye, that's right.  A few years of happy married life - I look over to the place now - I'd happy memories in the croft, until ma health broke down.  And then when we went into Aberdeen, though we didn't have long - but we'd a happy married life ...  He went and worked on the railway.  We had a few years in Aberdeen together, and then my husband died young [in 1959].

The singing really expanded once I went to Aberdeen.  I never sang while my husband was alive.  I started singing to the pensioners all o’er Aberdeen and then I wis invited to sing at kirk guilds in the rural districts, then old folks homes and hospitals.  Somebody heard me singing at the old age pensioners, and then it from there it snowballed.  Now I'm an old age pensioner myself.  I'm 78 past, I'm wearing well.  I think if you've got the spirit it makes all the difference to overcome anything.  And I've got the music.  I canna sing (now), but in my own mind I sing - going to bed I sing, I can remember every word but I'm singing it in my own mind.  I never stick with a word, but it won't come out now, the speech.  But the melody carries it through, especially in bed, maybe because I'm relaxed.

Someone knew of me ... Peter Hall.  He came down and recorded me.  And from then on it was all go - all go from then on.  Aye, I've sung on the radio, with Peter Hall and Arthur Argo - I sung twice through the radio.

[... memories of you being a star on the television, that was the Bothy Nights ... with the Clochendichters, the group you were with at the time?]

Aye, Clochendichters it was, and we won the cup one year, and we was runner up the next.  I was pretty stout then, I was a real farmer's wife!

[Peter Shepheard: A clochendichter is the name given to the neckerchief commonly worn by the bothy lads and fairm chiels.  There was a long tradition in the north east of concert parties performing bothy ballads, folk songs, rural ditties and recitations of farm life put together in the form of a dramatic entertainment.  The group would dress up and play the parts of bothy chiels and quines (the unmarried male and female farmworkers), the fairmer and the fairmer's wife, the kitchie deem (the kitchen maid), the foreman, the miller and so on.  Someone would play fiddle, moothie (mouthorgan) or melodeon, often including a set of tunes for a few dance steps on the stage.  Some of the songs would be traditional, popular, or newly written bothy ballads - songs, usually humorous, about the horse ploughing, the hardships and comic incidents of farmlife, often with exaggerated complaints about the hardships.

When the local independent television station, Grampian Television, introduced a programme of live televised competition for such groups, Bothy Nichts, in the 1960s it encouraged a considerable revival of interest with groups from all over the north east and as far south as Fife.  Daisy's group, The Clochendichters, was one such group.  Musicians' Union regulations had put an end to the TV programme by the end of the '60s.  But there is a continuing interest in the bothy ballads with many recent compositions in the traditional style and even (in the year 2000) a newly instituted bothy group competition.]

I used to recite at wir own concerts ... I used to recite at a great rate, nae bother.  I used to do at the bothy nights 'The Learner Driver'.  How I couldna drive, how I never passed my test.  It was really funny, the descriptions of how I never passed ma test.

Oh aye, we had some great nights, and some hard nights.  The time that we won the cup there was a man from Glasgow he was there.  He went in for putting people through the drama and he put us through the mill I'm telling you.  How to turn right and turn left, and how not to, you know - and it was really good experience how to do it, what to do and what not to do.  Then we'd chat after we was finished, what to do for our next practice ...  I've never been to a concert party and I forgot the words.  We was always told that if you forgot your words you'd ad lib something until you come back to what you was stuck with.  No I've never been stuck for anybody, never.

1968, the late '60s, that was when I practically started my real country singing.  I went down to London and places.  Had a grand time.  Pleasant memories looking back.  I started away in Blairgowrie - I see that it's back to its old stance again - it went away to Kirriemuir and then it went away to Kinross and I see this year it's going to be back to Blairgowrie again.  That was where I started as you would say as a folk singer, at the festival there.  Oh aye.  Cameron Turriff of Fetterangus, his wife [Jane Turriff] sang - she's married again now, I think.  We all went down to Blairgowrie together, from Fetterangus, to the festival.

[Peter Shepheard: Daisy first sung to the wider public beyond the north east when she was a guest in 1968 at the Blairgowrie Festival organised by the TMSA - the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland.  The photo here shows Daisy singing at the open stage beside the River Ericht during Blairgowrie's third year (August 1968).  Cameron and Jane Turriff who were also festival guests that year (they are sporting guest badges) are standing in the background to the right. They had travelled down from Aberdeenshire with Daisy.  She was a guest there also in 1969 and 1970.  Daisy met Willie Scott, the traditional singer/border shepherd, at Blairgowrie this first year.  They became good friends and she often visited him and his family in Hawick and they travelled together to several festivals including Cambridge, Loughborough and some London folk clubs.]

I always get the bulletin every edition and the newsletter, I'm an honorary member of the Traditional Society [the TMSA].  I get the bulletin every time so I see there's a whole lot of new committee now, there's just one or two that I know now.  Pete Shepheard's still there, I know him, he's a lecturer an aa.  He was visiting me a few years back.  As I say, I've outgrown the younger generation now, but we were all great pals you know.  A great favourite of mine was Hamish Henderson, he's in the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh, he's a professor.  Hamish, I met him many years ago, he's a grand chap to know - very, very clever chap Hamish, right enough.

I always kept to the traditional ...  That was what I knew.  I got the book, Collins sent it up years ago now, and all the different people, the different songs from different districts.  Collins sent it.  [Daisy's version of Ythanside was included in a book, The Scottish Folksinger, of mainly traditional songs as sung by traditional singers known at the time, edited by Norman Buchan and Peter Hall and published by Collins in 1973].  That was through Arthur Argo.  Arthur was a great folk singer.  Of course his grandfather [actually his great uncle] was a founder ... Gavin Greig was practically a founder, of the folk singers.  [Arthur Argo was joint editor with Norman Buchan of the earlier Collins publication, 101 Scottish Songs, and he and Peter Hall were founders of the Aberdeen Folk Club around 1961 and it was Peter Hall who first recorded Daisy and introduced her on stage at the Aberdeen Folk Festival in 1967].  It's only in recent years that it's been taken up - it [traditional singing] lay flat for a long time.  Maybe in the last 20 to 30 years, but before that it was just sung round the fireside.  Not in halls like what it is now, you see.

I've sung in Edinburgh.  I went from Loughborough down to Leeds I think, lots of different places.  There were a lot of places in London, that's when I went to Cambridge to the university there, what they called the cellar.  When I was singing down in Cambridge, I was so pleased - I've got the Buchan tongue, but they knew every word I was saying, which I marvelled at.  I said "Well, you won't know my tongue, I'm as broad as a barn door."  They said, "We know every word you're saying."  And I was really chuffed about it, that my vocabulary could be known down in London.  It really gave me a great lift.  They were folklorists, right enough, but they were students, and I didna think they would know.  I mebbe did put a wee bit of English into it, but they knew every word I was saying, which made a big difference.  You knew, by the applause you were getting, that you was really getting through to them, they were understanding your talk.

[Then your health broke down again because you were doing too much in the folksinging field?]

Oh ay, that was the trouble burning the candle at both ends, entertaining old folks' homes and one thing and another.  And you know, I love to sing.  There was an old cousin of my Dad's was phoning up, he had his 60th, you maybe seen his photos in the papers.  He says "Daisy, I love to hear you singing your songs."  I said, "Well I'm sorry, Jimmy, I canna sing to you now."

Ay ... but that's my life now with pleasant happy memories looking back, which makes me so contented with life.  I'm really very contented.  People that come in to see me can't understand why.  I was leading such a harassed life as you would say, singing and going out.  But I can just sit and enjoy peace and quiet, just now.  I can look back to the happy memories.  The happy memories gives me the pleasure in life, there's no doubt about that, it does.  If anyone says oh, such and such, I can think "Oh, I've been there, I've sung there."  It's marvellous! I had a heart bypass operation 11 years ago.  The breath went you see.  That just really finished ma career and I've never been able to get aboot or anything since then, you see.

Oh it was good while it lasted.  I often sit and just think, and something comes in and I think -  "Oh, I've been there, I've sung there, I did such and such there" - and it's good to look back.  My niece and her husband was away down in the borders and they said, "We passed through Jedburgh as we come up."  And she says, "Oh, through Kelso.  Oh we canna tell you onything, you've been aa there."  I says, "Oh, ye're makin me hamesick."

[The interview breaks off at this point, but resumes with Daisy saying ...]

  ... back to the land, where I was brocht up, there's just something drags you back, whaur really folk music originated, it really began in the country, and it's a great source just to come back to fa it began.


[The second part of the family video, after the interview is over, is made up of a series of old photos of life on the various Chapman family farms.  We are fortunate, courtesy of Mary and Lewis Pacitti, to be able to include some of them in this booklet.  As a background to the picture show, Daisy can be heard singing some songs - unfortunately the recording quality is far too poor for any of them to be included on the CD, and the whereabouts of the original tapes is unknown.

The songs are: False Henry, Two Eyes of Blue, Kissing in the Dark, The Hiking Song, Waters of Kyleskewe, Diddling, Lizzie Lindsay, Auld Maid in a Garret, The Cottage Where I was Born, Nicky Tams, The Bonnie Lass o' Lownie, Muckin o' Geordie's Byre, Burdens are Lifted at Calvary, The Gems of Auld Scotia.]

The Songs:

The tracks of this CD were selected from recordings made by Peter Hall (at Daisy's house in King Street, Aberdeen, in 1965, or George Street in 1966), Peter Shepheard (Aberdeen Folk Festival, October 1967 and 1968), Rod Stradling (Blairgowrie Festival, August 1969 and 1970, and King's Head folk club, Islington, 15 April 1970), Hamish Henderson and Arthur Argo (at the Angus Hotel and the Town Hall, Blairgowrie Festival, 1968), Peter Cooke (at the Town Hall, Blairgowrie Festival, 1970).  The last two sets of recordings are held in the Archives of the School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh.  In all cases, the archive references are included in square brackets.

Roud Numbers quoted are from the databases, The Folk Song Index and The Broadside Index, continually updated, compiled by Steve Roud.  Currently containing well over 200,000 records between them, they are described by him as "extensive, but not yet exhaustive".  Copies are held at: The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, London; Taisce Ceoil Dúchais Èireann, Dublin; and the School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh.  They can also be purchased direct from Steve at Southwood, Maresfield Court, High Street, Maresfield, East Sussex, TN22 2EH, UK.

Child Numbers, where quoted, refer to entries in The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis James Child, 1882-98.  Laws Numbers, where quoted, refer to entries in American Balladry from British Broadsides by G Malcolm Laws Jr, 1957.  Henry Numbers, where quoted, refer to entries in Songs of the People by Sam Henry, 1922-39 & 1990.  Many of these Aberdeenshire songs are to be found in the collections of Gavin Greig and/or James B Duncan and have been published in Folk Songs of the North East (shown as FSNE) or in the several volumes of the Greig-Duncan Collection (shown as GD).

Many of the songs contain Scots dialect words or pronunciations … in most cases I have printed them as they are sung rather than indicating any supposed 'missing' letters with an apostrophe - thus wi [with] is not rendered wi' … the same goes for kissin, rinnin, etc...  However, the form o' [of] is so universally recognised that I have retained this with its apostrophe.  Words shown in [square brackets] are translations of dialect words, where their meaning is not clear from the context.

A few of these songs are available on sound recordings by other singers - the record numbers of those currently available are given in the text in brackets, where they are known.

1   Ythanside
(As sung by Daisy Chapman at the Aberdeen Folk Festival Sunday afternoon traditional concert in 1968.  Recorded by Peter Shepheard [PS:1968.8.6].  Roud 3783; GD 5:951; FSNE 16).

As I gaed in be Ythanside,
Where gently flows the rollin tide,
A bonnie lass passed by my side,
Her looks to me, an smiled.

Oh but she was a beauty bricht,
That iver trod the braes o' Gight,
I could hae spent a leelang nicht
Wi her on Ythanside.

I turned my back on Fyvie's bells,
An my poor heart gave mony a knell,
An I spiered the wey be Saint John's wells,
An hame be Ythanside.

The maid replied without delay,
She turned tae me an this did say,
"I only go two miles that way,
Young man, I'll tell ye plain."

She took me 'til her father's hame,
Sae bashfully as we gaed ben,
The auldwife, she took oot a seat,
An bad ma 'til sit doun.

I sat doon the auld folks tae please,
They treated me wi breid an cheese,
The bairnies aa aroon ma knees,
It wis a blythesome sicht.

Nine o'clock began tae strick,
An I bad them aa a blythe sweet nicht,
An I spiered the wey be Mains o' Gight,
An hame be Ythanside.

She showed me til the barn door,
Oh, but oor twa herts were sore;
We parted there to meet no more,
Wi her on Ythanside.

When he came back it was into Spring,
An on her finger he placed a ring,
An frae her hame he haes her taen,
On bonnie Ythanside.

Noo this couple's mairried noo,
They've as muckle grund's would keep a coo,
An they hae bairnies - quite a few,
An dwell on Ythanside.
This lovely song was sung by Daisy Chapman at the Aberdeen Folk Festival Sunday afternoon traditional concert in October 1968 shortly after returning from her successful first appearance at the Blairgowrie Festival in August.  This was one of Daisy's favourite songs and it was clearly also very popular in the north east at the turn of the century, since there are fourteen versions in the Greig-Duncan Collection and a total of 21 in Roud - all from Scotland.  Gavin Greig considered the song to be fairly recent when he first commented on it in his retiring presidential address to the Buchan Field Club in December1905.  However, Daisy's tune is clearly old, and is a beautiful pentatonic melody lacking both the 3rd and 6th of the scale and so relates to the three flattened 7th modes, the myxolydian, dorian and aeolian, and the melody is similar to several of those in the Greig Duncan Collection.

Only two other sound recordings are known; by Frank Steele and Jimmy McBeath.  Daisy's will be, we think, the only available recording.

2   The Bunch of Violets
(As sung at the Blairgowrie Festival, August 1969. Recorded by Rod Stradling [RS:1969. DAT7]. Roud 5348)

'Twas in a moonlit garden not far from Ballygreen,
A soldier and his true love were walking hand in hand;
Tomorrow he must leave her, she promised to be true,
And from her breast she gave to him a bunch of violets blue.

'Twas only a bunch of violets, a bunch of violets blue,
So pure, so sweet, so dainty, that sparkles like the dew;
'Twas only a bunch of violets, as he pressed them to his heart,
And swore by all, that should he fall, with them he'd never part.

A soldier he lay dying upon a battlefield,
With the bunch of faded violets into his breast were sealed;
He whispered to his comrade as life was ebbing fast,
"Take back her faded violets, I've kept them to the last."

He took her back her violets, 'twas on her wedding day,
For a rich man's gold had won her from her soldier far away;
The tears were gently falling as she heard her soldier calling,
"Wear those faded violets upon your wedding day."
Unusually, there's only one other known version of the song in Roud, and that's another sound recording - of George Hirst of Dorchester, Dorset, collected by Nick & Mally Dow, in 1986 and published on the cassette Diamonds in the Dew, (Old House OHC 108).  Danny Stradling also recorded Daisy's version with the Old Swan Band on Old Swan Brand (Free Reed FRR028) in 1978.  Daisy's will probably be the only recording currently available.

3   Bonnie Udny
(As sung by Daisy on the first occasion she sang in a folk club event at the Sunday afternoon traditional concert at the Aberdeen Folk Festival in October 1967. Recorded by Peter Shepheard [PS: 1967.7.9]. Roud 3450; GD 6:1089; FSNE 32).

Oh Udny, bonnie Udny, ye shine whaur ye stan,
And the more I look on you, ye make my heart warm;
If I were in Udny I would think myself at home,
For it's there I've got a sweetheart, but here I have none.

Over hills and through valleys oft times I hae roam,
Through bramble and brushwood myself all alone,
Through hedges and ditches, aye, and mony's the snare,
I've walkèd through Udny for tae visit my dear.

It's nae the lang journey that I hae to go,
Nor is it the many miles that grieve me so;
It is one thing that grieves me and it makes my heart sad,
It's the leaving o' bonnie Udny and yon bonnie lass.

Aa the young lads aboot Udny, they are aa rovin blades,
They tak great delight in courtin fair maids;
They tak them and kiss them, aye, and spend their money free,
Aa the places in bonnie Scotland, bonnie Udny for me.

'Twas on a certain Sunday, oh me and my love met,
Which caused me on the Monday to mourn o'er my fate;
To spoil my eyes crying, what a fool I would be,
Since she's gone to court another, let her go where will she.

Let's drink and be merry, let us drink and ging hame,
If we bide here muckle langer, we'll get a bad name;
We'll get a bad name, aye, and we'll fill oorselves fu,
And the lang walks o' Udny they are aa 'til gang through.
A song that sings the praises of Udny (5 miles east of Oldmeldrum) and her 'rovin blades' who 'tak great pleasure in a-courtin fair maids.'  Greig has a number of versions with various spellings of the town indicative of local pronunciation.  He comments that the song is constantly being asked for in the columns of papers which encourage the hunt for old songs.  But the song does not originate in Aberdeenshire: Logan's Pedlar's Pack has the related song Bonnie Paisley; the Sam Henry collection has Bonnie Portrush and Greig mentions other versions with Portmore, Kilkenny, Ury and Yarmouth, and links the song back to a song Over Hills and High Mountains dating from the late 17th century in Chapell's Old English Popular Music.

There are 29 instances in Roud, all from Scotland, and other available recordings include Jane Turriff (Springthyme SPRCD 1038), Jock Duncan (SPRCD 1039), Lizzie Higgins (SPRC 1021) and John Strachan (Folktracks 60-066).

4   Mormond Braes
(As sung at the Aberdeen Folk Festival traditional concert in October 1968. Recorded by Peter Shepheard [PS:1968.8.29].  Roud 2171; FSNE 1)

As I gaed doon tae Strichen Toon,
I heard a fair maid mournin;
She was makin sair complaint,
For her true love ne'er returnin.
Mormond Braes far heather grows,
Far afttimes I've been cheery;
Mormond Braes whaur heather grows,
'Twas there I lost ma dearie.

Sae fare ye weel, ye Mormond Braes,
Far afttimes I've been cheery;
Fare ye weel, ye Mormond Braes,
'Twas there I lost ma dearie.

But I'll pit on the goun o' green,
It's a forsaken token;
And that will let the young men know,
That the bands o' love's been broken.
There's mony a horse has snappert an fa'en,
And risen an gaed fu rarely,
There's mony a lass has lost her lad,
And gotten anither richt early.

There's as guid fish intae the sea,
As ever there's been taken;
I'll cast ma nets and try again,
For I've only been aince forsaken.
But I'll ging doon tae Strichen Toon,
Far I wis bred and born;
Far I will get anither sweethert,
That'll mairry me the morn.
As sung by Daisy Chapman at the Aberdeen Folk Festival Sunday afternoon traditional concert in October 1968  shortly after returning from her successful first appearance at the Blairgowrie Festival in August 1968. This characteristic song from the Buchan countryside of north east Scotland was a favourite of Daisy's - the Mormond Hill beside Strichen is a prominent landmark of the area and within sight of her birthplace.  Gavin Greig took great delight in the song when he first heard it and he included it in his serial story Logie o' Buchan, and gave it pride of place in the first of his weekly articles in the Buchan Observer in December 1907.

There are 44 instances in Roud, all from Scotland, but only three other sound recordings - by John Strachan (Folktracks 60-066 - the BBC recording), Davie Stewart (Folktracks FSA 180) and Jimmy McBeath (Folktracks 60-059).

5   The Jolly Ploughboy
(As sung by Daisy Chapman and recorded by Peter Hall during a visit to her house in George Street, Aberdeen in 1966 [PH:1966.A38.6].  Roud 186; GD 1:170; FSNE 117; Laws M24).

There was a jolly ploughboy, was plooing on his land,
With his horses beneath yon green shade;
And he whistled and he sang as his ploo it slid alang,
And his chance it was to meet a pretty maid, pretty maid,
And his chance it was to meet a pretty maid.

Oh she dressed herself up in a young man's array,
With her pockets well lined with gold;
And she's walked up the street so nimbly and so neat,
That she looks like a jolly sailor bold, sailor bold …

She went to the captain that ruled o'er the ship,
And to him she did grievously complain;
She says, "I'm a-looking for my jolly plooboy,
They have sent him to the wars to be slain, to be slain …"
A widely popular song that's in many of the English collections and a large number of broadsides, and is also found infrequently in Canada, USA and Ireland.  There are 19 Scottish entries of the total of 130 in Roud, almost all from GD.  Of the ten sound recordings listed, only one other is from Scotland - that of Charles Gillies of Angus, recorded by Séamus Ennis in 1953.

Gavin Greig referred to the song as a 'great favourite of the folk singer' but pointed out that the 'northern way of the song differs a good deal from the English versions', and published an eight verse Scottish version in FSNE.  The song was included in Robert Ford's popular collection Vagabond Songs published in 1899, and this no doubt helped give it wide currency.  Daisy, in this fragmentary version, gives her characteristic lilt to a tune that is otherwise similar to others in the Greig-Duncan collection.  Walter Pardon sings a fine version called The Pretty Ploughboy with a much fuller text on the new Topic CD A World Without Horses (TSCD514).

6   I Once had a Boy
(As sung at the Blairgowrie Festival, August 1969. Recorded by Rod Stradling [RS:1969. DAT7]. Roud 293; GD 6:1140; GD 6:1141; Henry 215)

I once had a boy and a bonny, bonny boy,
And a boy that I once callèd mine;
But noo he's gane an left me tae coort some ither een,
And he's left me to sing fare thee well, fare thee well,
And he's left me to sing fare thee well.

As I was a-walking down by yon crystal river,
And down by the bonnie banks o' Clyde;
So whom did I spy but my ain bonny boy,
Lockit fast in another girlie's arms …

He gave me a wink o' his bonnie black ee,
And a wave o' his lily white hand;
But I proudly passed him by and I made him no reply,
For I hated to be slighted by a man …

For I've got sweethearts plenty, I could count to one and twenty,
I've a mind that would change like the wind;
For mony is the lang nicht he's rowed me in his airms,
But I'm gey weel sure he'll never dee't again …

Here's a health and a wealth tae ma ain bonny boy,
And I wish him safe o'er the lea;
For mony is the lang nicht he's rowed me in his airms,
But I'm gey weel sure he'll never dee't again …
This lovely old folk song seems always to have been quite rare - and Daisy did not often sing it.  The texts of different versions are quite variable but usually follow this same stanza pattern, and the tunes are usually rather beautiful.  Greig has divided his seven texts into two different songs: Sweethearts I've Got Plenty and I Once Loved a Boy but Daisy's version is a combination of the two.  The song is also in the Henry Collection under the title The Bonny Bonny Boy and it has also mutated into The Grey Hawk in England (In Frank Purslow's Marrow Bones - songs from the Hammond and Gardner collections of English folk songs. EFDSS Publications, 1965).

There are actually 63 examples of this song in Roud, but mostly from England - only five are from Scotland.  Three other sound recordings are known; one from Canada, and Bob Blake (Sussex) and Bob Roberts (Suffolk) - Daisy's will be, we think, the only available recording.

7   The Bleacher Lassie (of Kelvinhaugh)
As recorded by Peter Hall during a visit to Daisy's house in George Street, Aberdeen, in 1965 [PH:1965.A09.19]. Roud 3325; GD 5:1041; FSNE 109)

As I was walking one simmer's mornin,
As I was walking by the Broomielaw;
'Twas there I met a pretty maiden,
Wi cheeks like roses and skin like snaw.

Says I, "My lassie where are ye goin?
What do ye do by the Broomielaw?"
Says she, "Kind sir, I'm a bleacher lassie,
In Cochrane's bleach-fields in Kelvinhaugh."

Says I, "My lassie, will ye gang 'long wi me?
I'll buy ye gowns and diamonds braw."
"Oh no, kind sir, I may plainly tell you,
I've a lad o' ma ain, but he's far awa."

"It's seiv'n lang years since I loved a sailor,
It's seiv'n lang years since he gaed awa;
But other seiven I'll wait upon him,
I'll bleach a while on sweet Kelvinhaugh."

"Oh lassie, lassie, ye hae been faithful
And thocht o' me when far awa;
True love will surely be rewarded,
We'll pairt nae mair on sweet Kelvinhaugh."

And now this couple they've got married,
They keep an ale hoose atween them twa,
And the sailor laddies they gang a-drinkin,
Tae the bleacher lass o' sweet Kelvinhaugh.
The song dates from a time when the River Clyde was Glasgow and Scotland's thoroughfare to the Americas and sailing ships in their hundreds would dock at the Broomielaw in the centre of Glasgow.  It is still a popular and widely sung traditional song throughout Scotland, and only in Scotland - there are 22 examples in Roud.  Given its popularity within the revival, it's surprising that there are only two other sound recordings; Willie Matthieson and Jean Matthew - both from Aberdeen.  Daisy's will be, we think, the only available recording.

8   Aikey Brae
(As sung at the King's Head folk club, Islington, North London, on 15.4.70. Recorded by Rod Stradling [RS:1970. DAT9].  Roud 2500).

On a Sunday mornin fair,
The sun was bricht, the sky was clear;
Three pals o' mine they did appear,
And says, "We'll gang tae Aikey."
Says I, "I'll be there, niver fear,
I'll buy ye aa a bottle o' beer,
For I'm sellin the clip [colt] and the auld grey meer [mare]
On Wednesday first at Aikey Brae."
Akey Brae, Aikey Brae,
There's been a horse market for mony a day,
But listen and hear what I hiv tae say,
On the day we gaed tae Aikey.
Says Jock, "Man, Tam, we come ower the day,
Tae tak ye ower tae Aikey Brae,
On Wednesday we may be far away,
So this day we'll gang tae Aikey.
They wudna hear o' no denial,
So I shifted [changed] my claes and I scrapit [washed] ma dial,
An a claurted [smeared] ma heid wi the laddies hair ile,
An awa we gaed tae Aikey Brae.
Aikey Brae, Aikey Brae,
Awa we gaed on the Sabbath day
The sichts that I saw nearly turned ma hair grey,
On the day we gaed tae Aikey.
There wis motor cars and charabancs,
Daker gigs [a small pony gig] and caravans,
Auld folks wi Fordies and bairns wi prams,
Aa on the road tae Aikey.
Noo when I landed at the Brae,
I stood and glowert in great dismay,
I said, "Is this the Sabbath day?"
The day we gaed tae Aikey Brae.
Aikey Brae, Aikey Brae,
There's been a horse market for mony a day,
But if ever I ging back it'll be aa I wad dae,
If ever I gang tae Aikey.
This is typical of the later bothy ballads or cornkisters, in this case written by the famous George Morris, who recorded the song on a 78rpm disc (Beltona 2235) in the 1930s.  George Morris had a hotel in Oldmeldrum and he and his brother-in-law, Willie Kemp, wrote many such songs which managed to catch the atmosphere of life on the north east fairm touns.  Use of the broad Buchan Scots dialect (or Doric) was an integral part of this later idiom.  Maggie McPhee of Macduff, Banffshire, also sang it, as published in the Folk Music Journal 3:1 (1975) p.53 as Aikey Fair - and she claimed to have written it herself.  Jimmy McBeath also sang it, and these are the only two entries in Roud.

The horse fair at Aikey Brae, two miles south of Maud between New Deer and Auld Deer in the heart of the Buchan countryside, had been held once a year on a Wednesday in July since the mid 1800s, and a fair with rides and stalls had been held on the Sunday before it since the early 1900s. The last real horse fair at Aikey took place in 1946.

This song is nothing to do with the other song called Aikey Fair (Roud 167) which appears in Greig-Duncan and is in fact a 'localised' version of The Butcher and the Chambermaid.

9   The Poor and Single Sailor (The Broken Token)
(As recorded by Peter Hall during a visit to Daisy's house in George Street, Aberdeen, in 1965 [PH: 1965.A09.14]. Roud 264; FSNE 23; GD 5:1038; Laws N42).

A fair maid in her garden was walking,
A brisk young sailor came riding by;
For he steppèd up to her in purpose to view her,
And said, "Fair maid wid ye fancy I?"

"Fancy I," said the fair young maiden,
"A servant girl o' a low degree;
For I once had a sweethert and he was a sailor,
And noo he sails on the dark blue sea."

"Perhaps he is married, perhaps he is drownèd,
Perhaps he's on some foreign shore."
"But if he be married, I wish him plenty,
If he be drownèd, I wish him rest."

"You'll see those castle, those high, high castle,
And see them towrin tae the sun.
Wouldn't you forsake your poor single sailor,
Tae come alang wi me and dine?"

"Oh yes I see the high, high castle,
And see them towrin tae the sun,
But I widna forsake my poor single sailor,
Tae gang alang wi you and dine."

He put his hand into his pocket,
His fingers they were long and small,
And he took from his pocket the ring that was broken,
And when she saw it, she down did fall.

He took her up into his arms,
And gave her kisses, sweet kisses three,
And he said, "I'm your Johnny, your ain dear Johnny,
Come back again for to mairry you."

And now this couple, they've got married,
And they've got children, one two, three,
And instead of being a poor servant girl,
She has become a rich captain's bride.
An extremely popular song wherever English is spoken, and most particularly in the USA.  There are 272 instances in Roud, under a great variety of titles - A Fair Maid Walking All in Her Garden, The Young and Single Sailor, Pretty Fair Maid and The Broken Token being among the most common.  The only other Buchan version is called The Poor and Single Sailor, so that's what we've called Daisy's.  There are 30 other sound recordings, though we suspect that only Mabs Hall (Veteran VT109), Duncan Williamson (Veteran VT128), Denis McDaid (Inishowen Trad. Singers ITSC001), Maggie Murphy (Veteran VT134CD) and Sarah Anne O'Neill (Topic TSCD660) will still be available.

10   The Banks of Allan Water
(As recorded by Peter Hall during a visit to Daisy's house in George Street, Aberdeen, in 1966 [PH:1966.A38.7].  Roud 4260)

On the banks of Allan Water
When sweet springtime did fall,
Was the miller's lovely daughter,
Fairest of them all.

For his bride, a soldier sought her,
And a winning tongue had he;
On the banks of Allan Water,
None so gay as she.

On the banks of Allan Water,
When broad[?] autumn spreads its store,
Was the miller's lovely daughter,
But she smiled no more.

For the summer grief had brought her,
And the soldier false was he;
On the banks of Allan Water,
None so sad as she.

On the banks of Allan Water,
When winter snow fell fast,
Was the miller's lovely daughter,
Chilling blew the blast.

For the miller's lovely daughter,
Both from cold and care was free;
On the banks of Allan Water,
There a corpse lay she.
Referred to as traditional in Songs and Dances of Scotland (1982) where it is printed with similar text and tune.  In fact, this rather beautiful song was composed around 1805 by Monk Lewis, a Member of Parliament and popular writer of the time, set to an old Scottish traditional melody.  (The composer is probably Matthew Lewis, who is much more famous for having written The Monk, a prototype Gothic novel, in 1796; it was from this work that he gained the soubriquet 'Monk').

The song was included in a very popular and widely available late Victorian song collection - the Scots Minstrelsie of 1893 - a six volume collection subtitled 'A National Monument of Scottish Song.'  The editor made the claim that 'no song which, in the editor's judgement possesses permanent musical value has been omitted.'  In fact, the collection does include many fine Scottish songs.  Some are traditional songs and ballads, but, in the main, the songs are from known authors such as Robert Burns, Tannahill, Walter Scott, Lady Nairn, James Hogg.  Greig does not mention the song, presumably considering it as belonging to the 'drawing room' category of Scottish song.

That said, the song seems to have found little favour with British singers, or perhaps their collectors, since almost all of Roud's 25 instances are from Canada.  The only British examples are the two other known sound recordings: John MacDonald (Topic 12TS263) and Bob Hart (MTCD301-2).  Walter Pardon also knew it, but is not known to have recorded it.

11   Your Faithful Sailor Boy
(As sung at the Aberdeen Folk Festival, October 1968. Recorded by Peter Shepheard [PS: 1968.8.28].  Roud 376; GD 1:64; FSNE 64; Laws K13).

'Twas on a dark and stormy night,
The snow lay on the ground,
A sailor boy stood on the quay,
His ship was outward bound;
His true love standing by his side
Shed many a bitter tear,
And as he clasped her to his breast
He whispered in her ear:

"Farewell, farewell my ain true love,
This parting gives me pain,
You'll be my hope, my guiding star
'Til I return again;
Your thoughts shall be of me, my love,
When storms are raging high,
So farewell love, remember me,
Your faithful sailor boy."

Amidst the gale, that ship set sail,
The lass was standing by,
She watched the vessel out of sight
While tears bedimmed her eye;
She prayed to Him in heaven above
To guide him on his way,
The lover's parting words that night
Re-echoed o'er the bay.

How sad to say, that ship returned
Without that sailor boy,
For he had died while out at sea,
The flag was half mast high;
But when his comrades came on shore,
They told her that he was dead,
A letter which they handed her,
The last sad words it said:

"Farewell, farewell my ain true love,
On earth we'll meet no more,
But we will meet in heaven above,
On that eternal shore;
I know I'll meet you in that land,
That land beyond the sky,
Where you will be no more parted from
Your faithful sailor boy.
The Faithful Sailor Boy was written by George W Persley towards the end of the 19th century.  Few songs have achieved such widespread popularity among country singers and their audiences.  It turns up again and again in pub sing-songs throughout Britain, even through into the 1990s.  There are 54 other examples in Roud, all with much the same title - Gavin Greig's has it as The Sailor Boy's Farewell in FSNE where he refers to the song as being 'Very popular in Aberdeenshire in the early years of this century' and, sure enough, Daisy had it in her repertoire, as did eight other Scottish singers, though we're not certain what proportion of these were from the Buchan area.

We have heard it sung in both Donegal and Cork in the last few years - indeed, it has been published without comment in Irish Ballads and Songs of the Sea by James N Healy, Mercier 1967.  Two versions have been found in the North Carolina mountains (there's a '20s hillbilly recording by Flora Noles, Sailor Boy's Farewell - Okeh 45037), while other sets have been reported from as far away as Australia and Tristan da Cunha.  Cyril Poacher sings it on Plenty of Thyme (MTCD303), as does Walter Pardon on Put a Bit of Powder on it, Father (MTCD305-6).  It was also one of Percy Webb's favourite songs, and could be heard on the Topic LP Flash Company (12TS243).

12   False Henry  (A Poor Mother, but no Bride)
(As sung at the King's Head folk club on 15.4.70. Recorded by Rod Stradling [RS:1970. DAT9]. Roud 6817;GD 6:1163).

Just a year ago, dear mother,
Since you dressed me for the ball;
It was there I met false Henry,
'Twas the saddest night of all.

For he told me that he loved me,
And from me he took my pride,
And he left me broken hearted,
A poor mother, but no bride.

Take my baby, dearest mother,
Take and bring him up in life;
Let him know he had a mother,
A poor mother, but no bride.

Fare thee well my dearest mother,
Fare thee well my blue eyed boy;
Fare thee well to you false Henry,
I am bidding you goodbye.

All you girls do take a warning,
And a warning let it be;
Never let yourself go roaming,
In a strange man's company.

For he'll tell you that he loves you,
And from you he'll steal your pride,
And he'll leave you, broken hearted,
A poor mother, but no bride.
This must be considered a pretty rare song, since there are only two instances of it in Roud.  It appears in the USA, published in Shay's More Pious Friends & Drunken Companions (1928), and in Scotland in the Greig-Duncan Collection but with significantly different lines throughout, from the singing of Miss Annie Shirer - in both cases the song is called False Henry.

13   The Buchan Bobby
(As recorded by Peter Hall during a visit to Daisy's house in King's Street, Aberdeen, in 1965 [PH:1965.A09.18].  Roud 15746).

I am a country bobby, ma name it is McQueen,
I wis born an bred at Buchan syne I cam tae Aiberdeen;
Afore I land in Aiberdeen, I'll noo tae you relate,
But afore I tell ma story, the truth tae you I'll state:
Ma mither ment me auld breeks, ma faither caad the ploo
A but and ben wis aa wir hame, an fodder for ae coo;
The smell o' ham an eggs an beef it niver reached oor nose,
I wis brocht up doon in Buchan, aye, maistly on the brose.

"Bap feet, flat feet", hear the bairnies cry,
Early on the evenin as I'm passin by;
Beatin roond the corners, shoutin, "Here he goes,"
Bit ye canna touch the Buchan lad that's fed upon the brose.

I wis feed an wis contented till I wis near nineteen,
I wis second lad at Hillie's far we haed a soncie deem;
I fell in love wi Nancy an spiered gin she'd be mine,
She said she widna hae me although she liked ma fine.
She says, "Man I like ye Geordie, bit I'm scunnered o' this life,
A cotter's life's a trachle, so if ye wint me for your wife,
Ye'll hae tae try some ither job as I telt ye weel the streen."
So that's the wye I jint the force an cam tae Aiberdeen.

I wis in on the nicht shift an stationed at Queen's Cross,
I wis a bittie awkward an sometimes at a loss;
The servin deemies cried me in an gaed me the glad eye,
Bit I aye wis true tae Nancy milkin Hillie's kye.
I'd saved and scraped at ilka nicht syne got a holiday,
Gaed aff tae see me Nancy sae happy an sae gay;
But when I landed Hillie's, I could scarce believe ma een,
She'd gaen aff an mairried the second lad an cottared at Kilblane.

I felt so lonely standin there,
Bit I could only stand an stare;
Ma Nancy there I couldna see,
Lonely I wad hae tae be in that good auld Scottish town.
Bit I pulled masel thegidder, I didna cry or yell,
There are better quines in Aiberdeen,
Now she can gang tae rum-tum-tum.
Glossary: Buchan = area in Aberdeenshire; bobby = policeman; land = came to;  syne = then; ment = mended; caa = drive; but and ben = front and back room; brose = oat or pease meal broth; bap = flat; feed = engaged as a farmworker; soncie deem = attractive lass; spiered gin = asked if; scunnered = fed up; trachle = trouble; the streen = yesterday; kye = cows; ilka = every; landed = arrived at; een = eyes; cottared = married with a cottage; quine = lass.

This is another production from the pen of George Morris who wrote a number of similar popular pieces including The Buchan Plooman, Gairdner, Miller and Fairmer, which were all published in the popular series Kerr's Buchan Bothy Ballads.

14   Green Grow the Laurels
(As recorded by Peter Hall during a visit to Daisy's house in George Street, Aberdeen, 1965 [PH:1965.A09.17].  Roud 279)

I aince had a sweethert bit noo I hae nane,
He's gone and he's left me tae wander ma lane;
He's gone and he's left me, contented I'll be,
But I'll find anither far better than he.

Oh, green grow the laurels and soft falls the dew,
Sorry was I, love, when parted from you;
But by our next meeting I hope you'll prove true,
And change the green laurels to the violets o' blue.

He passes my window both early and late,
And the looks that he gives me doth make my heart break;
And the looks that he gives me a thousand times o'er,
And that is the sweethert that I once did adore.

He wrote me a letter of red rosy lines,
He wrote me another all twisted and twined;
So keep your love letters and I'll keep mine,
And write to your sweethert and I'll write to mine.

I oft times do wonder why young maids love men,
I oft time do wonder why young maids love them;
But by my experience, I should tae know,
Young men are deceivers wherever they go.
As this song seems to have been sung by almost every traditional singer I've come across, and is still particularly popular among the Traveller communities, it's surprising to find only 86 examples in Roud - from Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland and lots from the USA.  It has had many titles, including Orange & Blue, Pretty Polly and Moonshiner.  There are 12 other sound recordings, including those still available by Mary Delaney (EFDSS CD002), Jeff Wesley (Veteran VT116), Robert Cinnamond (Folktracks FSB015), Louie Fuller (Topic TSCD665) ...

Most versions include several 'floating' verses which often make this song difficult to distinguish from the numerous incarnations of Died for Love / A Brisk Young Sailor / The Willow Tree (Roud 60).

15   Jimmy Raeburn
(As sung at the Aberdeen Folk Festival annual traditional concert, October 1967. Recorded by Peter Shepheard [PS: 1967.7.8].  Roud 600; FSNE 36)

My name is Jimmy Raeburn, in Glesga I was born,
From my place and habitation I'm forced to leave in scorn;
From my place and habitation I noo must gang awa,
Far frae the bonnie hills and dales o' Caledonia.

'Twas early one morning, just by the break of day,
I overheard the turnkey who unto us did say;
"Arise ye hapless convicts, arise ye ane an aa,
This is the day ye are to stray frae Caledonia."

We all arose, put on our clothes, our hearts were full of grief,
Our friends they aa stood roond the coach, could grant us no relief;
Our friends they aa stood roond the coach, their herts were broke in twa,
Tae see us leave the hills and dales o' Caledonia.

Farewell my aged mother, I'm vexed for what I've done,
I hope none will upcast to you the race that I have run;
I hope you'll be provided for when I am far awa,
Far frae the bonnie hills and dales o' Caledonia.

Farewell my honoured father, he is the best of men,
And likewise my own sweetheart, 'tis Catherine is her name;
Nae mair we'll walk by Clyde's clear stream or by the Broomielaw,
For I must leave the hills and dales o' Caledonia.

If e'er we chance to meet again, I hope 'twill be above,
Where hallelujah will be sung to Him who reigns in love;
Nae earthly judge shall judge us there but He who rules us aa,
Far frae the bonnie hills and dales o' Caledonia.
This song remains popular and widely known in the living tradition in Scotland today.  It is in Greig FSNE and also Ford's Vagabond Songs (published 1899) which was a widely available publication in the early part of the century.  There are 48 examples in Roud - the vast majority are from Scotland, but it's also found in Australia, USA, the north of Ireland and in England, too.  There are eight other known sound recordings, of which probably only Jim McGonigle (Inishowen Trad. Singers ITSC001), Jeannie Robertson (Folktracks 60-187), Davie Stewart (Folktracks FSA180) and Phoebe Smith (Veteran VT136CD) are still available.

16   Go and Leave Me
(As recorded by Peter Hall during a visit to Daisy's house in George Street, Aberdeen in 1966 [PH:1966.A38.9]. Roud 459)

Go and leave me if you wish it,
Never let me cross your mind;
If you think me so unworthy,
Go and leave me, never mind.

Once I was loved with a fond affection,
All his thoughts they were of me;
Until a dark girl did persuade him,
And so he thought no more of me.

Many's the night with him I've rambled,
Many's the hour with him I've spent;
I thought his heart was mine for ever,
But love, I found, it was only lent.

But he is welcome to another,
One that has bright gold in store;
It's him that's caused my heart to flunder[?],
I'm left alone because I'm poor.

Farewell friends and kind relations,
Farewell to you, my false young man;
It's your view that's caused me pain and sorrow,
Never to return again.

Go and leave me if you wish it,
Never let me cross your mind;
If you think me so unworthy,
Go and leave me, never mind.
One must presume that this is an American song, since 51 of Roud's 76 instances are from there.  Henry Burstow, Charlie Wills and Percy Webb knew it in England, as does Maggie McGee from Inis Eoghain - and a good many other Irish singers too, who are not mentioned in the Index.  In Scotland, only Dodie Chalmers and Davie Stewart (both of Aberdeen) have been recorded singing it.  Mike Yates has unissued recordings of it from both Fred Jordan and Walter Pardon.

17   Down in the Valley (The Nobleman's Wedding)
(As sung at the King's Head folk club on 15.4.70.  Recorded by Rod Stradling [RS:1970. DAT9].  Roud 567; Laws P31; GD 6:1199; FSNE 24; Henry H60a)

Down in the valley there was a fair wedding,
And oh, but the bride she proved to be unkind;
She proved to be unkind to her bygone lover,
Her bygone lover came in at the time.

Supper being over, all things over,
'Twas then proposed to sing the bride a song;
The song it was sung by the bygone lover,
And unto the bride the song it did belong.

"Many is the man that's been seven years absent,
Many is the man that's been seven years away;
But I hae been only three years absent,
And an untrue lover ye hae proved to be."

"How could ye lie in another man's arms?
How could ye drink of another man's wine?
How could ye lie in the arms of another,
After the promises you made tae me in mine?"

The bride being seated at the head of the table,
And oh, but the song she marked it well;
To bear up the company no longer was she able,
She turned to the bridegroom and thus to him did say.

"A favour, a favour, a favour I ask o' thee,
Being the first favour I've asked from unto you;
Tae lie wi ma mither this ae nicht only,
And aye, aye and aifter I'll aye lie wi you.

The favour[?] was asked and the favour was granted,
With rolling and sighing she went off to bed;
But early, right early the very next morning,
This poor little damsel was found lying dead.

Surprising, surprising to all the young women,
To be so early cut down in bloom;
Tonight you'll be walking, your sweethearts talking,
And early next morning be cauld in the tomb.

First I'll put on a black coat o' velvet,
And I shall wear it a short month or two;
Then I'll put on the green and the yellow,
And aye, aye and aifter, the orange and the blue.

If anyone asks thee why I do wear this,
Why I do wear such a costly array;
Tell them the reason, the very plain reason,
It's all because my true love lies cauld in the clay.
There are 131 instances of this old ballad in Roud.  It has been widely found in Scotland, Ireland, England, Canada and the USA, but it has not survived well into modern times in England - there are 14 known sound recordings, but none are of English singers.  Other available recordings include Paddy Doherty (Inishowen Trad. Singers ITSC001), Joe Heaney (Folktracks FSB015), Eddie Butcher (Topic TSCD656) and Belle Stewart (Folktracks FSA182).   Cathie Stewart also used to sing it memorably, and her sister Sheila has included it on her recently released Topic CD From the Heart of the Tradition (TSCD515).

It is found in FSNE under the title The Orange and Blue and in GD under several titles including The Nobleman's Wedding and the one used here - but it is most widely known, albeit in a far simpler form, as All Around My Hat.  The well known singer, Barbara Dickson, whose roots were in the Scottish folk revival of the 1960s, met and heard Daisy sing this song at the 1968 Blairgowrie Festival.  Barbara later recorded the song and included it on her album From the Beggar's Mantle on Decca, issued in the early 1970s.

18   You Gave Me Your True Love  (The Old Agèd Couple)
(As sung when Daisy was a guest at the 1970 Blairgowrie Festival, recorded in the Town Hall by Peter Cooke for the School of Scottish Studies Archive [SA 1970.182.A1].  Roud  15747)

An old agèd couple one evening,
Sat alone by their own fireside;
Their thoughts wandered back to their wedding,
A happy young bridegroom and bride.
And though they are agèd and wrinkled,
On her finger the same wedding ring;
And with his arms round her neck he would whisper,
Those loving words he would sing -

You gave me your true love, then you took my name,
Forty years of our married life, it remains just the same;
Though we struggled hard together, love, through this world of strife,
Through sunshine and rain, it remains just the same,
I love you my darling wife.

Years had rolled by 'til one evening,
The sun had sunk low in the west;
The old man had lost his companion,
The one he loved dearest and best.
In the old village churchyard he laid her,
And fresh flowers he would bring every day,
And to that old vacant chair by the fireside,
The old man would often say …
As yet, we have been able to find out nothing at all about this rather lovely old parlour song.

19   My Grannie's Old Armchair
(As sung at the Aberdeen Folk Festival traditional concert in 1968. Recorded by Peter Shepheard [PS:1968.8.4].  Roud 1195; GD 3:705)

My grandmother she, at the age of eighty three,
One day took sick and died;
And after she was dead, the will, of course, was read,
By a lawyer as we all stood side by side.
To my brother it was found she had left one hundred pound,
The same unto my sister, I declare;
But when it came to me, now the lawyer said, "I see,
She has left you her old armchair."

How they tittered, how they chaffed,
How me brothers and ma sisters laughed,
When they heard the lawyer declare,
"Grannie's only left you her old armchair."

I thought it hardly fair but still I didna care,
And in the evening took the chair away;
The neighbours at me laughed and me brother at me chaffed,
And said, "It will be useful some day.
When you settle down in life, find a girl to be your wife,
You'll find it very handy, I declare;
On a cold and frosty night, when the fire burns bright,
You can sit in your old armchair."

My brother's words come true, for within a year or two,
I had settled down in married life;
I first the girl did court and then the ring I bought,
Then I took her to the church tae be my wife.
Oh the old gal and me were as happy as could be,
For when my work was over, I declare,
I was never one to roam, but each night stayed at home,
And was seated in my old armchair.

One night the chair fell down, when I picked it up I found,
The seat had fallen out upon the floor;
And there to my surprise, I saw before me eyes,
A lot of gowd, ten thousand pounds, or more.
When my brother heard of this, the fellow, I confess,
Went nearly wild with rage and tore his hair;
I only laughed at him and said unto him, "Jim,
Don't you wish you had the old armchair?"

How they tittered, how they chaffed,
How me brothers and ma sisters laughed,
When they heard the lawyer declare,
"Grannie's only left you her old armchair."
Written by John Read and recorded by Billy Williams in 1909.  It does seem extraordinary that this song - which everyone used to know when I were a boy-chap - has only been recorded three times in Britain.  In fact there is only one Scottish entry (just a single verse in the Greig Duncan collection) and eight English entries in Roud - the 30 or so others being from the USA and Canada.  Walter Pardon can be heard singing it on the recent Musical Traditions release Put a Bit of Powder on it, Father (MTCD305-6).

20   The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington
(As sung at the Aberdeen Folk Festival traditional concert in 1968. Recorded by Peter Shepheard [PS:1968.8.30].  Roud 483; FSNE 115; GD 168; Last Leaves 41; Child 105)

There was a youth and a well beloved youth,
And he was a squire's son;
He loved a bailiff's daughter dear,
That lived in Islington.

Now when his friends did understand,
His fond and foolish mind,
They sent him up to London town,
An apprentice for to bind.

Now when he had been seven long years,
No trace of her could he find;
"Many's the tear have I shed for her sake,
When she little thought of me."

Then all the maids of Islington
Went forth to sport and play
All but the bailiff's daughter dear
She secretly stole away.

(Daisy did not always sing the above verse)

And as she walked along the high road,
The weather being hot and dry;
She sat her down on a green bank,
And her true-love came riding by.

She started up with colour so red,
Catching hold of his bridle rein;
"One penny, one penny, kind sir," she said,
"Will ease me of much pain."

"Before I give you a penny, fair maid,
Pray tell me where you were born?"
"At Islington, kind sir," she said,
Where I've had many's the scorn."

"I prithee, maiden, tell to me,
Pray tell me whether you know,
The bailiff's daughter of Islington?"
"She is dead, sir - long ago."

"If she be dead, then take my horse,
My saddle and bridle also;
For I will to some far country,
Where no one shall me know."

"Oh stay, oh stay, thou goodly youth,
She standeth by thy side;
She is here alive, she is not dead,
But ready to be thy bride."

"Oh farewell grief, and welcome joy,
Ten thousand times therefore;
For now I've found mine own true love,
Whom I thought I should never see no more."
This widely known traditional ballad was first published in Bishop Percy's Reliques of English Poetry in 1765.  Bertrand Bronson in his Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads includes more than 30 different tunes to the ballad from England Scotland and north America, several of which come from Gavin Greig's collection.

It was very popular (at one time) in England - rather obviously - and also in Canada and the USA, with 109 instances listed in Roud.  There are only 11 Scottish examples, and mostly from Aberdeenshire - it appears in GD and in Keith's Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads, where 5 tunes are given, one of which is similar to Daisy's.

Only eight other sound recordings are known (seven from England and one from Vermont, USA), by Sam Bennett, Ben Baxter, Freda Palmer, Alf Wildman and, still available, Bob Lewis (Veteran VT120) and Albert Beale (Rounder CD1775 Classic Ballads Vol 1). Mike Yates comments that all the English versions are very similar - so much so that he's sure there must have been a widely available common source (a school book, perhaps?)  Daisy's has some elements not present in the English versions, which may point to a different point of origin - but we've been unable to establish any substantiating evidence for his theory.

21   Kissing in the Dark
(Sung at the King's Head folk club on 15.4.70. Recorded by Rod Stradling [RS:1970. DAT9]. Roud 2534; FSNE 102; GD 4:915)

For lang I courted Jeanie and I wrocht wi micht and main,
Tae hae a pickle siller and a biggin o' ma ain;  [pickle - little; biggin - house]
llka nicht I gaed tae see her, be it late or be it mirk,
I'd tak her in my airums, aye, an I'd kiss her in the dark

Oh the dark, the dark, the dark, the dark, the dark,
I'd tak her in my airums, aye, an I'd kiss her in the dark.

Ae nicht I gaed tae see her and ma Jeanie being frae hame,
I tiptoed 'til the windae and I rattled on the pane;
Oot cam Jeanie's mither, the nicht it bein sae dark,
I took her in my airums, aye, an I kissed her in the dark.

She ruggit and she tuggit and she tried tae win awa,
But I held her aye bit closer and I gied her ither twa;
She bursted oot a-laughin sayin, "This is awfa wark,
Tae tousle an auld body, aye, an kiss her in the dark."

Then I was for rinnin but she held me sure and fast,
Says, "Ye needna hurry lad, your secret's oot at last;
For Jeanie's doon at auntie's and she'll think it awfa wark,
When I tell her hoo ye tousled me and kissed me in the dark."

Noo I bad wi Jeanie's mither till ma Jeanie she cam hame,
She tell't her aa the story fit I thocht an awfa shame;
But noo I've gotten Jeanie aifter aa this courtin work
There's few that's been sae lucky wi their kissin in the dark.

Noo we hidna lang been mairrit, Jeanie's mother she grew ill,
She sent me for a lawyer, she was gaun tae mak her will;
She left me aa her siller and made mony a remark,
For I got the auld wife's blessin, aye, for the kissin in the dark.
There are only 9 sightings in Roud of this nice little bothy song, probably dating from the mid 1800s, which was recorded on a 78 (Beltona BL2484) by Tom Wright - who also produced such hits as The Lum Hat, Muckin' o' Geordie's Byre, Drumdelgie, McGinty's Meal and Ale and Nicky Tams for Beltona.

Most references are in books, but there are two other sound recordings from the tradition - both from Aberdeen.  One is John Mearns (1954) and the other (1965) is Dave Campbell - Ian and Lorna's father.  Daisy's will be the only available recording.

22   Donside  (The Donside Lass)
(As sung at the Blairgowrie Festival, August 1968.  Recorded by Hamish Henderson and Arthur Argo for the School of Scottish Studies Archive [SA 1968.312.A6]. Roud 5759; GD 1:93; FSNE 22)

I once had a sweethert on Donside did dwell,
There was none in Scotland that could her excel,
I courted this fair maid by night and by day,
'Til to the French wars I was forcèd away.

I joined the Scottish regiment, the gallant Forty-two,
And then sailed for Egypt to fight with the crew;
'Twas with the Duke o' Wellington through Portugal and Spain,
I fought in many's the battle and never yet been slain.

I fought many's the battle for victory to gain,
It was all Scottish soldiers ever could obtain;
Now the wars they are over and peace it has come,
And I will return to my sweethert at hame.

When I arrived on the banks o' the Don,
I sought for her [my] true love, but found that she had gone;
I called at the place where she once used to stay,
They told me she had left for tae cross the Spey.

Like a soldier I marched by the light o' the moon,
The road she had taken I thought I'd find soon;
For a fortnight and better I constantly did go,
Through wild wood and valley, through cold frost and snow.

One night being weary, I set mysel doun,
I spied a wee cottage by the licht o' the moon,
Bein hungry and thirsty, I walked up with speed,
To get a night's lodging and a small piece of bread.

Up spak the auldwife, "Ye canna be here,
Ye are an auld sodger, and aff ye maun steer."
"I am an auld sodger, I never will deny,
But tae keep me oot o' lodgings I will you defy."

Then looking around me, wha did I spy,
But my dearest Nellie just sitting close by.
Says I, "My dear Nellie, and foo are you noo?
Since we parted on Donside I have sought much for you."

"Oh Jamie, oh Jamie, what am I to do?
I'm going to get married within a week or two,
I'm going to get married, I never will deny,
And this is the young man, jus' sitting close by."

"Oh Nellie my dear Nellie, I'll tell you what tae do,
Since ye've got twa lovers, just tak the one ye loo."
She flew intil my airms, sayin', "Jimmy, I'm for you,
For ye are the lad that's been constant and true."

Up spak the young man that was sitting close by,
"Before that I lose her, there's one of us must die."
This spoken by the young man put fire in Jimmy's ee,
And he drew out his broadsword that hung by his knee.

The sight of Jimmy's broadsword made the young man to yield,
Being accustomed to the fireside better than the field;
He dealt him such a blow, made the young man stand by,
"I renounce this fair maid 'til the day that I die,"
Daisy sang this when a guest at the 1968 Blairgowrie Festival - her first invitation to sing out of her native north east.  It was recorded during a wonderful informal ceilidh in the Sun Lounge of the Angus Hotel with singers such as the Mitchell Family of Campelltown and the Border shepherd Willie Scott.

Gavin Greig said of the song: 'The French wars of a hundred years ago have left us a legacy of soldier songs - of these Donside is one of the most popular.'  Roud lists 26 instances, all from Scotland - and all from books, or the journal Tocher.  Daisy's would appear to be the only sound recording from a traditional singer.

Interestingly, the tune turns up in Canada attached to the ballad Hind Horn, as sung by Joe Estey on the recently released Ballads and Songs of Tradition (Folk Legacy CD 125)

23   The Dying Plooman
(Family Video 1987.  Roud 2514; GD 3:700. The full 'standard' text of the song is given below - Daisy only sings verses 1 and 3, and later speaks the last verse, in the video.  The italicised sections in square brackets are taken from the Greig-Duncan text.)

[The gloomy wind is] sighing soft,
Around the lonely stable loft;
And through the skylight overhead,
The sunbeams wander round my bed.

['Tis only but a week the morn,
Since I was weel and hairstin corn;
As full of glee and mirth and fun,
As anyone amangst the throng.]

But something wi my heart gaed wrang,
A vessel burst and blood oot sprang;
My days on earth will no be lang,
For noo's my time when I maun gang.

[Farewell my nags, my trusty pair,
I'll never yoke nor lowse nae mair;
Farewell my ploo, wi you this hand,
Shall never mair turn o'er fresh land.

Farewell my friends and parents dear,
My voice again you'll never hear;
Farewell for aye yon setting sun,
My day is o'er, my work is done.]

I've served my maister well and true,
My well done work I'll never rue,
But yet forbye I micht hae striven,
To see the fairest fields o' Heaven.

(This last verse is spoken during the interview but is not included on the CD)
The Dying Plooman was particularly admired by Gavin Greig and is in the Greig Duncan collection where it is suggested the song refers to an event that took place on a farm in the Aberdour area (just west of Rosehearty) and may have been composed by a farm servant at Tillyquhairn, a nearby farm, some time prior to 1892.  In Daisy's family tradition the song is about a ploughman at Bonnyton Hill, a farm and steading in the same area beside New Aberdour.  The song was one of many north east songs and bothy ballads recorded on '78'  by Willie Kemp in the 1930s (twice - one solo [Beltona BL1687] and once with Curly McKay [BL2162]) - his version appears in Kerr's Cornkisters pp.57-59 (version a), where it's credited 'Words by Rev R A Calder, music by Mrs Shand'.  It's found 12 times in Roud and was in the repertoires of John MacDonald and Davie Stewart - and Joe Aitken still sings it.

Daisy's singing of the third verse of this song on the family video is particularly poignant, since she, too, had suffered a heart attack which put an end to her singing and most other public activities.  However, unlike the plooman, she survived and lived on to the extremely respectable age of 85.

Daisy's Repertoire:

  1. Aikey Brae
  2. Auld Maid in a Garret *
  3. Bailiff's Daughter of Islington, The (3)
  4. Banks of Allan Water, The
  5. Banks of Inverurie, The
  6. Bleacher Lass, The
  7. Bonnie Lass o' Lownie, The
  8. Bonnie Udny (3)
  9. Buchan Bobby, The
  10. Bunch of Violets, The
  11. Burdens are Lifted at Calvary *
  12. Cottage where I was Born, The *
  13. Diddling *
  14. Donside (3)
  15. Down in the Valley (The Nobleman's Wedding) (2)
  16. Dying Plooman, The
  17. Faithful Sailor Boy, The (2)
  18. False Henry
  19. Gems of Auld Scotia, The *
  20. Go and Leave Me
  21. Green Grows the Laurel
  22. Hiking Song, The *
  23. I Once Had a Boy
  24. Jimmy Raeburn (2)
  25. Jolly Ploughboy, The
  26. Kissing in the Dark
  27. Lizzie Lindsay *
  28. Mermaid, The
  29. Mormond Braes
  30. Muckin o' Geordie's Byre, The *
  31. My Grannie's Old Armchair
  32. Nicky Tams *
  33. You Gave Me your True Love, The (The Old Agèd Couple) (2)
  34. Poor and Single Sailor, The (The Broken Token)
  35. Two Eyes of Blue *
  36. Waters of Kyleskewe, The *
  37. Ythanside (6)

The Credits:

Much of the above information is culled from the information given to us by Daisy's niece, Mary Pacitti, of Skene, Aberdeenshire.  This consisted of biographical details, photos, a cutting from the Fraserburgh Herald, 30.12.83 and a video of an interview with Daisy.

Quotations from Daisy herself are taken mainly from a transcription of a videotaped interview, produced for the family in 1987 by a local carpenter, historian and video enthusiast, James Taylor, originally of Rosehearty and now living in Fraserburgh, who was at school with Daisy's niece Gladys Chapman and is an enthusiast for oral history of the Buchan area.  The photos on pages 3 & 7 and the final CD track are also reproduced from this source.  It is used with permission.

The recordings were made by Peter Hall (Aberdeen 1965/6), Arthur Argo and Hamish Henderson (Blairgowrie 1968), Peter Cooke (Blairgowrie 1970), Peter Shepheard (Aberdeen and Blairgowrie 1968/70) and myself (Blairgowrie 1969 and 1970, and Islington, north London, 1970).  In the Repertoire list opposite, the number in brackets indicates how many recorded versions of songs we had to select from.

Peter Shepheard has contributed enormously by co-ordinating the Scottish end of the project, transcribing the song texts, correcting the video transcription, providing some of his own recordings, getting access to the Argo, Henderson and Cooke recordings from the School of Scottish Studies and putting them all onto DAT and writing a substantial proportion of these booklet notes.

My sincere thanks to Pete, and to the many other people (far more than usual - viva co-operation!) who have helped in different ways to make this project a reality:

Booklet: some text, photo p.11, all editing, DTP, printing
CD: formatting, digital editing, production
by Rod Stradling, Summer 2000

A Musical Traditions Records production © 2000

Article MT058

[Track List] [Introductions] [Daisy Chapman] [In her own words] [The Songs] [Repertoire] [Credits]

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