Mary Anderson SA1971.217.4
Gavin Greig, the Aberdeenshire dominie and renowned song collector considered this song, “one of the best vernacular songs ever written, and as far as Scotch men are concerned, has practically a universal vogue.” He added that it was written by Sandy Rodger (1784-1846), one of the leading lights of the Whistle-Binkie group of bards who contributed so much to the Scottish song repertory. Here Mary recites it adding a Whalsay colour to the Scots words. It is followed by Willie Williamson singing a tiny part of it and then Andrew Poleson playing his version –a seemingly different one, until one realises that the second half of his tune resembles Willie’s fragment. In fact Andrew’s tune is very similar to early printed tunes and to a number of sung versions collected by Greig (The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection, vol 5, 263-265). Roud index no. 939.
My mither made me grey breeks and oh, but they were duddy-o,
She sent me doon to shod the mare at Robin Tamson’s smiddie.
The smiddie stood ahunt da the burn that went up through the clachan
And every time that I gaed by I’d likely be a-lachin.
Robin wis a wealthy carle he hed a boanie dochter,
But ne’er would lat her tak a man tho mony lads had socht her.
And so tae pass the time awa the while the mare was shoein,
I slippit up beside the lass and thus befell a-wooin.
And aye she eyed me auld breeks ae time that we were bachin:
He said. “My lass, ne’er mind the cloots, there’s new anes at the makin.
An if ye’ll anely gae with me an leave the carle, your feither
Ye’ll get my breeks tae keep in trim, mysel an aa thegither.”
Noo Robin wis an angry man at tyning o’ his dochter
An aa roond the country side an up and doon he socht her.
But when he cam to oor fireside an found us baith thegither
Says I, “Gude man, I’ve taen yir bairn an ye can hae my mither.”
Auld Robin girned and shook his pow. “Young man,” quo he, “you’re merry,
But I’ll just tak ye at your word and end this hurry-burry.”
So Robin and his auld wife agreed to keep thegither;
Now I hae Robbie Tamson’s bairn an Robin has my mither.
Willie Williamson SA1971.214.2
Andrew Poleson SA1971.212.10