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New website 150 stories of Scots songs

GUEST,Ewan McVicar 17 Mar 12 - 07:49 AM
maeve 17 Mar 12 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,loki 17 Mar 12 - 12:57 PM
John MacKenzie 17 Mar 12 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 19 Mar 12 - 06:18 AM
maeve 19 Mar 12 - 06:57 AM
Nigel Parsons 19 Mar 12 - 08:19 AM
Dave Hanson 19 Mar 12 - 09:45 AM
John MacKenzie 19 Mar 12 - 10:02 AM
Gutcher 19 Mar 12 - 03:23 PM
Gutcher 19 Mar 12 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 20 Mar 12 - 05:20 AM
Jack Blandiver 20 Mar 12 - 05:28 AM
Gutcher 20 Mar 12 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,Linda 20 Mar 12 - 07:17 AM
Gutcher 22 Mar 12 - 02:30 PM
Gutcher 14 May 12 - 10:16 AM
Northerner 15 May 12 - 05:58 AM
GUEST,leeneia 15 May 12 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Jim I 15 May 12 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,julia L 15 May 12 - 06:50 PM
Gutcher 17 May 12 - 04:09 AM
Jim McLean 17 May 12 - 04:58 AM
Jim McLean 17 May 12 - 05:28 AM
Gutcher 17 May 12 - 06:07 AM
MartinRyan 17 May 12 - 06:24 AM
Gutcher 17 May 12 - 07:56 AM
Jim McLean 17 May 12 - 12:19 PM
Gutcher 17 May 12 - 04:42 PM
Jim McLean 17 May 12 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 18 May 12 - 03:00 AM
Jim McLean 18 May 12 - 04:27 AM
Gutcher 18 May 12 - 04:32 AM
Jim McLean 18 May 12 - 04:39 AM
Gutcher 18 May 12 - 05:46 AM
Gutcher 18 May 12 - 06:17 AM
Jim McLean 18 May 12 - 06:46 AM
GUEST 18 May 12 - 07:24 AM
GUEST 18 May 12 - 08:10 AM
Jim McLean 18 May 12 - 09:23 AM
Gutcher 18 May 12 - 01:40 PM
Jim McLean 18 May 12 - 03:46 PM
Jim McLean 18 May 12 - 04:07 PM
Gutcher 19 May 12 - 04:53 AM
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Subject: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 17 Mar 12 - 07:49 AM

The new website Sangstories is now available.
There are 150 lyrics and background stories here of traditional and newer Scottish songs sung by the Linlithgow song group Sangschule, from A Man's A Man to Yellow On The Broom.
Find it at http://www.sangstories.webs.com
Ewan McVicar


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: maeve
Date: 17 Mar 12 - 07:57 AM

Thank you, Ewan. That looks great.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: GUEST,loki
Date: 17 Mar 12 - 12:57 PM

thanks for this


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 17 Mar 12 - 02:43 PM

I have joined. Lovely site.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 06:18 AM

People are [quite reasonably] assuming I made this site. However, though I assisted with some technical elements and put the word out, all the research and editing was done by my wife Linda McVicar.
Ewan


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: maeve
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 06:57 AM

Well done indeed, Linda and Ewan.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 08:19 AM

Looks excellent.

Congratulations!


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 09:45 AM

Excellent site and resource.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 10:02 AM

How can one contribute? For instance, it would be nice if Yellow on the Broom could be further defined, by mentionuing the source of the tune. i.e. The Female Drummer.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 03:23 PM

Ewan--I do not know if you are open to suggested amendments to the story behind one of the songs in your collection, if you are the following may be of interest

Sir Walter Scott in his comments on old customs and songs was rarely at fault, he having a wide circle of correspondents to assist with any question that arose which he could not answer from his own resourses, however his formative years were spent in the only part of Scotland where the gaelic language was never in use and this may have led to the mistake he made when commenting on the song "Silken Snood"
The clue to the meaning of parts of this song lies in one of its other titles "The Puin O The Breckan". Breckan {in its various spellings] is pure gaelic and has no connection to the plant bracken, it being in fact a woven woollen cloth used in such garments as plaids and kilts.
The Black Watch, formed around 1838, wore the Breckan Dhu, the black plaiden.
We learn that the waulking of the woven woollen cloth was, at least in the South West of Scotland, referred to as PUIN THE BRECKAN and this usage would fit better with the rest of the song.

Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 05:34 PM

Oops a senior moment-- the Black Watch were of course formed in 1738.
Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 20 Mar 12 - 05:20 AM

Thanks, John and Joe - I'll pass these on to Linda for consideration.
ERwan


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Mar 12 - 05:28 AM

Whit? Nae McGintie's Meal an' Ale??


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 20 Mar 12 - 06:02 AM

Am away until the wee sma hours today---when I surface tomorrow I will dig out the reference to the waulking of the cloth being referred to as "puin the breckan" as stated by Patterson in his two volume History of Ayrshire published in 1849.
Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: GUEST,Linda
Date: 20 Mar 12 - 07:17 AM

Thanks, John and Joe. I have amended the files and will look out for Joe's message about the history of Ayrshire. Linda


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 22 Mar 12 - 02:30 PM

Hello Linda.
Am ploughing through Paterson to find the quote, very frustrating as I know it is there.
First came across it 55 years ago and remembered it from then as the song was a favourite of my mothers and the quote put the chorus into
kilter with the verses.
Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 14 May 12 - 10:16 AM

Sorry about the long delay getting back about the reference to puin the breckan in Paterson.
The Victorians must have had eyes like hawks, am reduced to using the magnifying glass to try and locate the reference, will hopefully locate it soon.
Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Northerner
Date: 15 May 12 - 05:58 AM

Excellent! I will be taking a good look through the site. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 May 12 - 09:31 AM

Thanks to Linda for the site. I've been inspired by it to add "Bonnie George Campbell" to my repertoire.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: GUEST,Jim I
Date: 15 May 12 - 05:36 PM

This is not particularly important but…

George Scroggie who wrote the poem Farewell to Tarwathie was never a miller.

He was a farm labourer when he was young but later became a book deliverer and then a Wesleyan Missionary. He moved to Manchester in the late 1860s and then to Plymouth in the early 1870s where he remained until at least 1901 in which census he was a preacher and town missionary.

I believe the story about the miller came about through George's son, George, who did become a miller and was miller at Federate in the 1870s.


George Scroggie (senior) was a son of Alexander Scroggie and Mary Mutch. Mary's brother Robert was my great, great, great, great grandfather and I have included the Scroggies in my family tree researches because of the connection with the song.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: GUEST,julia L
Date: 15 May 12 - 06:50 PM

Regarding "Puin the Breckan" Could this type of cloth actually be dyed with the bracken plant, giving it the name?
Just wondering
Julia


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 17 May 12 - 04:09 AM

The majority of the woven cloth would be used in a natural state ie. Hodden Gray.
Bracken which gives a yellow colour would, I imagine, be mostly used for womans clothing as in the old song "Saw Ye My Maggie" which gives at the start of the third verse "She"ll be aa clad in yalla" [yellow]
Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Jim McLean
Date: 17 May 12 - 04:58 AM

Gotcha, the Gaelic make for the Black Watch is a literal translation, "Am Freiceadan Dubh".
Myunderstanding of the song is that he lassie lost her virginity while "pu'in the bracken" which was a common occurrence in the country (pulling the bracken, not losing one's virginity although they might be mutually exclusive)! The Gaelic song "Tha mi Sgiith" has the refrain " Cutting the bracken" ( Buin a rainich) so I can see a confusion here.
An excellent site, by the way.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Jim McLean
Date: 17 May 12 - 05:28 AM

A silly typo above ...... should just read.   . the Gaelic for ..(no make). I'm using an IPad and it's so touch sensative I keep making mistakes.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 17 May 12 - 06:07 AM

Still have not found the specificate reference to Puin the Breckan in Paterson.

In the part where he discusses the settlement in Ulster in 1606 by Ayrshire men [and women] he tells of the encouragement given by Lady Montgomery in linen and woollen manufactory and that she states that this soon brought down the prices of the "breakens" and narrow cloths of both sorts.
In a footnote to the above he gives :---
Breacan--Gaelic--signifies a tartan plaid : or Breacanach, adj.tartan.
The Breakens of the "Montgomery Manuscripts" were therefore tartans :
and here we have an evidence of the fact that tartan dresses were the common attire of the people of Ayrshire at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The weavers of the breacanach were from Ayrshire.

Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 May 12 - 06:24 AM

That use of "breacán" occurs in Irish Gaelic also c.f. Dineens dictionary glossing it as a plaid; chequered stuff . Relates to breac meaning spotted or chequered. The borderline areas between Irish-speaking (Gaeltacht)) and non-Irish speaking districts, for example, are referred to as the Breac-gaeltacht.

Regards


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 17 May 12 - 07:56 AM

Jim---back in the dim and distant past when I sang this song I would point out the convention that lassies who were maidens were expected to wear a ribbon called a snood   in their hair, when they got married they then wore a bonnet called a curch, a bonnet somewhat similar to that worn by Dutch women. If they lost the right to wear the snood and did not gain the right to wear the curch they were seen to carry their character on their heads!
Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Jim McLean
Date: 17 May 12 - 12:19 PM

Gotcha, yes that's exactly my point. Breac, or however it's spelled, has nothing to do with the Black Watch and is a Gaelic word meaning speckled or spotted and is associated with words from trout to spotted flycatcher.
So the song is simply a tale of a maiden losing her virginity, symbolised by her snood, while pulling or gathering bracken, the plant.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 17 May 12 - 04:42 PM

Read the end of the second paragraph in the History of the Tartan at www.kinnaird.net/tartan.htm and you will see that breacan is given as the gaelic word for tartan.
After explaining Patersons puin o the breckan before singing the song in the early 1970s the late Captain Angus Russell B.W. informed me that for generations gaelic speakers had referred colloquially to the Black Watch as the Breacan Dhu due to the dark tartan worn by them. I am not aquaint with any current member of the B.W. to confirm this statement but am sure that a note will exist of this usage at some source.
Once again I would reiterate that Patersons usage is more in kilter with the chorus of the song than that of pulling bracken:--
"And twine it weel ma bonny doo
And twine it weel tha plaiden
The lassies tint her silken snood
In puin o the breckan."
Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Jim McLean
Date: 17 May 12 - 05:11 PM

Sorry Gotcha, but I don't know any Gaelic speaker who would refer to the Black Watch as the 'speckled/spotted black' . It makes no sense.
The sense of the last two lines of the song which you have posted is very clear, "the lassie lost her virginity in the pulling of the bracken".
Simplicity is the answer, don't look for too much, it's a common theme in folk song.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 18 May 12 - 03:00 AM

"gaelic speakers had referred colloquially to the Black Watch as the Breacan Dhu due to the dark tartan worn by them"

As far I can see I think Jim is correct. Peter Simpson a former company commander of the Black Watch and later military reseaercher on Highland Regiments writes in his book "The Independent Highland Companies" that "their sombre dress of dark cloth or dark tartan in their coats and plaids earned then the title of An Freiceadan Dubh translated as the Black Watch" He goes on to say that it differentiated them from the cotaichean or saighdearan which were the redcoats or red soldiers.

The Black Watch website gives the year of 1725 for when the original six companies were raised, a further four were raised in 1739 and were all formed into a regoment of the line.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Jim McLean
Date: 18 May 12 - 04:27 AM

Gotcha, just to clarify, breacan can mean tartan, as posted above, and breacan dubh would mean the black tartan and possibly the Black Watch took the adjective from the tone of their tartan. But this has nothing whatsoever to do with the word 'bracken' in the song. It is an English word, the Gaelic being 'raineach'.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 18 May 12 - 04:32 AM

Jim and Allan---the Montgomery Manuscripts from the first part of the 17th C. and the site mentioned in my last post yesterday give breacan
as a gaelic word for tartan---what more can I say?
Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Jim McLean
Date: 18 May 12 - 04:39 AM

Correct, Gotcha, but it has bugger all to do with bracken in the song!!


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 18 May 12 - 05:46 AM

Jim--our posts today have crossed.

What you have not considered is the use of gaelic in Ayrshire. My point being that it would be noways unusual for Paterson to record an everyday activity which contained a gaelic word.

In the year of Culloden an advert for a schoolmaster for Barr in the South of Ayrshire was published. One of the main qualifications required was that the succesful candidate be a fluent gaelic speaker, from this the academic experts tell us that the majority of pupils must have been gaelic speakers and the fact that the man appointed came from North West Perthshire proved that it was not Irish gaelic that was spoken. Reference to the last of the gaelic speakers in this area takes us to the sixth decade of the 19th C. so it is not surprising that gaelic words which may be of a somewhat mangled character are used hereabouts to this day. A few examples from the country joiners shop where I served my time are:--guilum, broge, eitch and gelloch.[never having seen them in writing the spelling is mine]--translated==rebate plane, bradawl, adze and lever or cant hook, this last I only received a translation for on a visit to the gaelic college in Skye seven years ago.
Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 18 May 12 - 06:17 AM

Jim--you would be right if the early published sources used the word BRACKEN. As far as I can see none of them do, they invaribly give BRECKAN which would be the non gaelic speakers pronunciation of the word BREACAN in its various spellings.
Nowhere, in the South of Scotland at least, have I ever heard bracken pronounced breckan and as one brought up among the ootby herds I have had plenty of opportunity of hearing bracken discussed in various dialects from Tweedside to Stran-Na-Gower.
Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Jim McLean
Date: 18 May 12 - 06:46 AM

Joe, I don't see the relevance of your post. Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic don't diverge too much on this issue. The adjective Breac can be applied to many, many nouns in both Gaelics. There is no word similar to the Gaelic word breacan which can be remotely seen to mean the plant bracken or fern.
As far as the words you posted, gelloch is an old English word meaning a lever or crowbar. It is sometimes called a gavelock and derives from Middle English meaning a javelin. It would be interesting to know where you served your time as local words can be derived from either old English or Gaelic.
Two book, the Concise Scots Dictionary and Dwelly's The Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary are very helpful.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: GUEST
Date: 18 May 12 - 07:24 AM

"Jim and Allan---the Montgomery Manuscripts from the first part of the 17th C"

actually I didn't comment on any of that just pointed out that Jim is correct about the Black Watch name. It was An Freiceadan Dubh.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: GUEST
Date: 18 May 12 - 08:10 AM

Joe, in my Vol 1 of Johnson's Musical Museum, 1787, page 31 the word is spelled 'bracken'. Which earlier publication can I refer to?


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Jim McLean
Date: 18 May 12 - 09:23 AM

Joe, Here are a few samples where poets have used 'breckan!.

Hugh MacDonald's Bonnie Wee Well: .... as it jinks 'neath the breckan and gentle bluebell.

Quote from R A Smith on Robert Tannahill: .. there he could recline on the brown heather or sit on the side of a breckan fringed rock ...

James Hogg's MacLean's Welcome: .... the lamb from the breckan, the doe from the glen

John Imlah's The Land O' Cakes: ..... On knock an' knowe, the whin and broom, an' on the braes the breckan.



I could go on ....


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 18 May 12 - 01:40 PM

Oops--had a quick glance at Whitelaw before posting at 6-17A.M. should have read the full quote--he states "This song cannot be traced in any of the earlier collections" had I read the rest of the quote I would have seen that he mentions Johnstons Musical Museum as the place where it first appears in print.
Whitelaws title for the song is "TWINE WEEL THE PLAIDEN" which,along with Patersons explanation for puin the breckan further confirms me in my belief that the song has nothing to do with pulling bracken.
All I can say is to repeat that in a lifetime among country folk I have never heard bracken referred to as breckan.
The Gaelic College in Skye certainly claimed gelloch as a gaelic word and were most interested to hear that it was being used near Mauchline, Ayrshire in the mid 20th C.
Joe.


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Jim McLean
Date: 18 May 12 - 03:46 PM

Joe, I refer back to the Middle English derivation of Gelloch as noted in the Concise English Dictionary. I also refer you to the numerous printings of the word brecken in literature from the borders to Aberdeen. Robert Tannahill in his Gloomy Winter's noo awa says: .... feathery breckans fringe the rocks.

Francis Bannoch printed a poem in the Dumfries courier around 1840: ..on knock an' know, the whin and broom, an' on the braes the breckon ..

Herbert Maxwell's Studies in the Topography of Galloway gives: ..breckan, broad or lowland Scotch, especially the dialect of Galloway and Nithsdale. Bracken, English.

How much more evidence do you need that bracken was pronounced breckon throughout non Gaelic speaking Scotland?


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Jim McLean
Date: 18 May 12 - 04:07 PM

By the way Joe, I don't mean to be negative towards your ideas ... it interests me greatly. I am a linquist and ethnologist and find all theories fascinating but all avenues have to be explored and compared. As for the word gelloch, I can find no mention of it in any Gaelic book in my possession but the Middle English derivation makes perfect sense. If you read Burns you'll find very few Gaelic words compared to old English/lallans words.
'


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Subject: RE: New website 150 stories of Scots songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 19 May 12 - 04:53 AM

Thanks Jim--as a mere hewer of wood [retd.] and completely self taught computer user you lads have the advantage of me.          When I first came across Patersons quote more than fifty years back his explanation of the name of the waulking process in Ayrshire, to my mind, fitted the chorus of the song better than that of pulling bracken. If my memory is correct he stated that the process was carried out in the evening by the young people of the community and on occasion on their way home one of the lassies would lose the right to wear the snood.
Back to the magnifying glass to find the relevant quote.
Joe.


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