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ADD: Yellow on the Broom (Adam McNaughtan)

DigiTrad:
YELLOW ON THE BROOM


Related threads:
favorite version yellow on the broom (11)
Chord Req: Yellow on the broom (5)
Tune Req: Yellow on the Broom (12)
Info??-Yellow on the Broom (47)
Tune Add: Yellow's on the Broom (5)
Lyr Add: Yellow's on the Broom (parody) (11)


Havard.Rokke@farmasi.uio.no 13 May 97 - 08:21 AM
Thedocker@Bigfoot.com 18 May 97 - 09:25 PM
LaMarca 19 May 97 - 10:07 AM
AndyG 20 May 97 - 06:40 AM
LaMarca 20 May 97 - 09:28 AM
ferrara 06 Jun 97 - 12:37 AM
Phil Shapiro (maa8@cornell.edu) 08 Aug 97 - 12:22 AM
08 Aug 97 - 03:01 AM
Nolan 09 Aug 97 - 03:03 PM
Nolan 09 Aug 97 - 03:09 PM
Alex 14 Aug 97 - 01:23 AM
Alex 14 Aug 97 - 01:28 AM
bigj 17 Aug 97 - 07:51 PM
Ferrara 17 Aug 97 - 10:37 PM
Ferrara 17 Aug 97 - 10:39 PM
Ian Currie 18 Aug 97 - 01:10 PM
Ferrara 18 Aug 97 - 03:51 PM
bigj 18 Aug 97 - 08:03 PM
nutty 09 Dec 07 - 11:21 AM
John MacKenzie 09 Dec 07 - 11:26 AM
nutty 09 Dec 07 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,PaulS 09 Dec 07 - 12:53 PM
John MacKenzie 09 Dec 07 - 01:01 PM
maeve 09 Dec 07 - 03:25 PM
Effsee 09 Dec 07 - 03:46 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Dec 07 - 03:22 AM
Joe Offer 31 Mar 21 - 06:04 PM
Joe Offer 31 Mar 21 - 06:28 PM
Tattie Bogle 03 Apr 21 - 11:40 AM
John MacKenzie 03 Apr 21 - 03:39 PM
Tattie Bogle 03 Apr 21 - 07:44 PM
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Subject: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From: Havard.Rokke@farmasi.uio.no
Date: 13 May 97 - 08:21 AM

Hi

I'm looking for the lyrics of a Scottish folk song - "Yellow on the Broom", sung by Ed Miller and others. Please respond by e-mail

Håvard Røkke


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Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From: Thedocker@Bigfoot.com
Date: 18 May 97 - 09:25 PM

Hi Mate I have the words some where on a tape give me a few days and I'll try and write them out for you. All the Beast Phil.


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Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From: LaMarca
Date: 19 May 97 - 10:07 AM

Don't know the lyrics well enough to type them from memory, but to satisfy my attribution fetish:

The song was written by the Glaswegian songwriter Adam McNaughtan, based on the life story of a woman of the Scottish Travellers (non-Romany gypsies). McNaughton is a wonderfully prolific writer; his other "big" hit in our East Coast folk circle is an exceedingly clever 3 verse reduction of Hamlet set to "The Mason's Apron", currently being sung by John Roberts and Ed Trickett, among others.


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Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From: AndyG
Date: 20 May 97 - 06:40 AM

Hamlet has also been sung Martin Carthy for about the last five years. Although I don't know of any "official" recording I did grab it off the Anglia TV Cambridge Folk Festival transmissions some years back.
I've been singing it at the local club since then :)

Andy


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Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From: LaMarca
Date: 20 May 97 - 09:28 AM

Andy, Adam McNaughtan recorded it on his album "Words, Words, Words" which actually found its way here to the States in fairly limited quantities. I think "Yellow on the Broom" is on it, too. I'll look up the label tonight when I get home; it's lots of fun - since it sounds as though you're writing from the UK, you might be able to find it more easily over there...


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Subject: Lyr Add: YELLOW ON THE BROOM (Adam McNaughtan)
From: ferrara
Date: 06 Jun 97 - 12:37 AM

Here are the words as I remember them. I transcribed them from one of Ed Miller's tapes, but can't locate the transcription. It's pretty close though.

YELLOW ON THE BROOM
(Adam McNaughtan)

1. I ken ye dinna like it, lass, tae winter here in toun
For the scauldies aye miscry us, and they try to bring us doun;
And it's hard to raise three bairns in a single flea-box room,
But I'll tak' ye on the road again when yellow's on the broom.

Chorus: When the yellow's on the broom, when the yellow's on the broom,
I'll tak' ye on the road again when yellow's on the broom.

(Chorus repeats the last line of each verse)

2. The scauldies call us tinker dirt and sconce our bairns in school,
But who cares what a scauldy thinks, for a scauldy's but a fool.
They never hear the yorlin's sang, nor see the flax in bloom,
For they're aye cooped up in hooses when the yellow's on the broom. (Chorus)

3. Nae sale for pegs and baskets now, so just to stay alive
Ah've had tae work at scauldy jobs frae nine o'clock til five;
But we call nae man our maister, for we own the warld's room,
And we'll bid fareweel tae Brekin, when the yellow's on the broom. (Chorus)

4. I am weary for the springtime, when we tak' the road yince mair,
Tae the plantin' and the pearlin', and the berry fields of Blair,
There we'll meet wi' all our kinfolk, frae a' the country roun',
And the gang-aboot folk tak' the road when yellow's on the broom.

Notes:
a. Please allow for the fact that I may not have heard it correctly in places!
b. Scauldies are towns people, non-travellers.
c. Brekin (sp.?) is pronounced Breekin. It's a town where a lot of travelling people spend their winters.

I'm also e-mailing this to you. Hope it's some help.


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Subject: lyrics - When Yellow's on the Broom
From: Phil Shapiro (maa8@cornell.edu)
Date: 08 Aug 97 - 12:22 AM

I've been trying for a while to find the lyrics to "When Yellow's on the Broom", a Scottish song about the travelling people, written by Adam McNaughtan, I think. I have an unintelligible tape of it that a friend recorded in the audience of a Gordon Bok concert, so I have the tune.

Thanks, Phil Shapiro


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Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From:
Date: 08 Aug 97 - 03:01 AM


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Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From: Nolan
Date: 09 Aug 97 - 03:03 PM

Brechin


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Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From: Nolan
Date: 09 Aug 97 - 03:09 PM

P.S. Adam owns/runs a second-hand bookshop in Parnie Street, Glasgow, should anybody want to contact him at work. His music is available there too.


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Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From: Alex
Date: 14 Aug 97 - 01:23 AM

Youse Adam McNaughtan fans might be interestit fur tae hear aboot his new CD on GREENTRAX #120 "LAST STAND AT MOUNT FLORIDA" on which youse wull hear such gems as "The Scottish Song" (his version of "MacBeth"), "Cholesterol" (to the tune of "Bless 'em all") and my favourite. "Erchie Cathcairt" (about a health nut who gets run over by a bus).


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Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From: Alex
Date: 14 Aug 97 - 01:28 AM

For Adam McNaughtan and other Scottish/Irish CDs and tapes call Rampant Lion/Celtic Trader at (630) 832-6608 - Chicago suburbs.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE YELLOW ON THE BROOM (Adam McNaughtan)
From: bigj
Date: 17 Aug 97 - 07:51 PM

I ken ye dinna like it lass, the winter here in toon.
The scaldies (settled/town folk) they miscry us and try to put us doon
And it's hard to raise three bairns in a single fleabox room
But I'll tak ye on the road again, when yellow's on the broom.

CHORUS: When yellow's on the broom x 2
I'll tak ye on the road again (last line of verse)
When yellow's on the broom.

The scaldies cry us "tinker dirt" and scorn oor bairns at school
But who cares what the scaldy think, the scaldy's but a fool.
They never hear the yorlin's song nor see the flax in bloom
For they're aye cooped up in hooses, when yellow's on the broom.

Nae sales for pegs or baskets noo, so just tae stay alive
We've had tae tak the scaldy jobs from eight o'clock til five.
But we call nae man oor master for we own the world aroon'
And we'll bid farewell tae Brechin when yellow's on the broom.

I'm weary for the springtime when we tak the (lorrys mair/ - mare ?)
Tae the plantin' and the pullin on the berry fields o' Blair
When we meet up with oor kinfolk frae a' the country roon
And they gang about for tak the road, when yellow's on the broom.

Yorlin - see Jean Redpath's 'There Were Minstrels' and Yellow Yorlin = Yellow Hammer.
Blair = Blairgowrie.
Sorry about line one, verse four.
This is the best that I can make of the version of the song sung by Jake Donelly on the CD 'Catching the Sun' by the An Teallach Ceilidh Band on the Lismor Label LCOM5208


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Subject: RE: lyrics - When Yellow's on the Broom
From: Ferrara
Date: 17 Aug 97 - 10:37 PM

I have a version of the song that I got from the singing of Ed Miller, that may be a little more accurate in some parts. By the way, the last line is, "When the gang-aboot folk tak' tae the road," i.e., when the Traveling Folk, or Scottish Gypsies, take to the road.

I'm going to bring up my version again for you. The thread title is something like "The Yellow's on the Broom." You could probably also find it by searching the archive of threads for yellow, or broom. That's what I'm going to try.

By the way, thanks, Bigi, I didn't know a yorling was a yellowhammer. Are you sure that Blair is Blairgowrie? There is also Blair Atholl, near Pitlochry. "To the plantin' and the pearlin'" means just that, according to Ed Miller: the traveling people used to gather freshwater pearls, and maybe they still do.


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Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From: Ferrara
Date: 17 Aug 97 - 10:39 PM

Bringing this up again in response to new lyric request.


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Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From: Ian Currie
Date: 18 Aug 97 - 01:10 PM

As a point of information, I was one one of the scaldies of Brechin (NOT Brekin and certainly not pronounced Breekin - a soft 'ch' as in loch) mentioned in the song. The tinks (non-PC, but that's what we called them) used to move into a run-down semi-tenement in the winter and their kids used to go to the local primary school. Since they only went to school in winter, they were always put into classes two or three years below their chronological age. They seemed huge and terrorised us local bairns. I remember particularly a pair of twins called Smith; they had bright carrot-red hair and were as big as most of the teachers. The teacher used to belt them often - I had my fair share of the tawse, but nothing compared to them. I wouldn't tar all of the tinker bairns with the same brush - quite a few of them would join in "oor gang". I must admit, however, that I caught quite a few flechs (fleas to you) from them - my mother used to scrub me raw in the sink and say 'stiy awa fae they tinks!' The Blair mentioned in the song is Blairgowrie. Like Brechin, it was (and I suppose still is) a centre for soft fruit growing - mostly raspberries and strawberries, the berries in the song. These, together with the tatties (potatoes) provided a lot of casual work in Angus for the the tinkers. You could often see them pearling in the Esk at Brechin - its quite a good river for freshwater mussels, although I never found a pearl in any that I brought up. They used to just wade in waist-deep (clothes and all), peer through a bucket with a bit glass in the bottom and pick up the mussels with a forked stick. I don't know whether the tinks still winter in Brechin - all that I've described here was ion the 40's and early 50's. Still we got a good song out it!


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Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST:Yellow on the Broom
From: Ferrara
Date: 18 Aug 97 - 03:51 PM

Ian - thanks for your notes and explanations on this song, and for another viewpoint on the tinkers! - I'm adding your comments to my copy of the song.

Thanks also for comments on pronunciation. I'm in the position of anyone who transcribes songs phonetically from an unfamiliar foreign language; errors are inevitable.


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Subject: RE: lyrics - When Yellow's on the Broom
From: bigj
Date: 18 Aug 97 - 08:03 PM

Yup, pretty sure that Blair is Blairgowrie where they have, or used to have, the largest fields of raspberries, blackberries in the world. It was always an occasion for itinerant workers to meet their friends at harvest time. Like picking hops was for their English contemporarys. See Belle Stewart's song 'The Berryfields Of Blair'


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Subject: The yellow on the broom
From: nutty
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 11:21 AM

I'm sure when this song was written Adam McNaughton did not anticipate that the broom would be in flower in early December.
But it is - and in the North East of England. The flowers aren't the only things confused.
I have a newly built goldfinch nest in my back garden.

I hope we don't get a sudden cold spell - so many creatures will suffer

Winter comes again and brings the frost
The hard hard earth is like stone
There's many a weak and helpless creature lost
Unable to survive alone
When winter comes again


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Subject: RE: The yellow on the broom
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 11:26 AM

Adam MacNuaghtan indeed, to the tune of The Female Drummer
G


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Subject: RE: The yellow on the broom
From: nutty
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 12:23 PM

We both got it wrong Giok. I'm assured it's Adam Mc Naughtan


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Subject: RE: The yellow on the broom
From: GUEST,PaulS
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 12:53 PM

Hi

He seems to spell it 'Adam McNaughton' on his records, which may be significant!

No flowers on the broom here in Scotland, but quite a lot more than usual on the gorse, even though it does flower all year round.


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Subject: RE: The yellow on the broom
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 01:01 PM

When gorse is not in bloom, kissing's out of season.


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Subject: RE: The yellow on the broom
From: maeve
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 03:25 PM

Unless you sing, "The Yellow's on the Broom" before you kiss. Fortunately the broom is always in bloom when I'm near my husband. ;o)

maeve


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Subject: RE: The yellow on the broom
From: Effsee
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 03:46 PM

Adam McNaughtan on his CDs and in the Greentrax Catalogue!


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Subject: RE: The yellow on the broom
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 03:22 AM

Adam's song was inspired by the autobiography of Sots Traveller Betsy Whyte - also entitled The Yellow on The Broom well worth a visit.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: DT Correct: Yellow on the Broom (Adam McNaughtan)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Mar 21 - 06:04 PM

We've had lyrics posted for this song many times. The Digital Tradition lyrics are a slightly edited rendition of the 1997 post from Rita Ferrara, above. Rita posted what she remembered from an Ed Miller recording, so she did not get the lyrics from Adam McNaughtan himself. At least for the time being, we have decided to leave the Digital Tradition as it was when its editor, Dick Greenhaus, died in 2019. We'll try to preserve existing discussion as it was posted in the Forum, but develop one edited "Origins" thread for every song that has documented transcriptions of the lyrics.

On the left are the lyrics from the Digital Tradition. On the right are lyrics with the corrections Tattie Bogle sent me.
YELLOW ON THE BROOM (DT Lyrics)
(Adam McNaughtan)

Well, I ken ye dinna like it, lass, tae winter here in toun
For the scaldies they all cry us, aye, and they try to put us doun;
And it's hard to raise three bairnies in a single flea-box room,
But I'll tak' ye on the road again when the yellow's on the broom.

cho: The yellow's on the broom, when the yellow's on the broom,
Oh, I'll tak' ye on the road again when the yellow's on the broom.
(Chorus repeats the last line of each verse)

Oh, the scaldies call us tinker dirt and they sconce our bairns in school,
But who cares what a scaldy says, for scaldy's but a fool.
They never hear the yorlin's song, nor see the flax in bloom,
For they're aye cooped up in houses when the yellow's on the broom.

Nae sales for pegs and baskets now, so just to stay alive
We've had tae work at scaldy jobs frae nine o'clock til five;
But we call nae man our master, and we own the world's aroon,
And we'll bid fareweel tae Brekin, when the yellow's on the broom.

I am weary for the springtime, when we'll tak' the road aince mair,
Tae the plantin' and the pearling, aye, and the berry fields of Blair,
There we'll meet wi' all our kinfolk, frae a' the country roun',
When the gang-aboot folk tak' tae the road, and the yellow's on the broom.
YELLOW ON THE BROOM (from Tatie Bogle)
(Adam McNaughtan)

Well, I ken ye dinna like it, lass, tae winter here in toun
For the scaldies AYE MIS-CRY US, and they try to put us doun;
And it's hard to raise three bairnies in a single flea-box room,
But I'll tak' ye on the road again when the yellow's on the broom.

cho: WHEN the yellow's on the broom, when the yellow's on the broom,
Oh, I'll tak' ye on the road again when the yellow's on the broom.
(Chorus repeats the last line of each verse)

Oh, the scaldies call us tinker dirt and they sconce our bairns in school,
But who cares what a SCALDIE THINKS, for A SCALDIE’S but a fool.
THEY’VE never HEARD the yorlin's song, nor SEEN the flax in bloom,
For they're aye cooped up in hoOSES when the yellow's on the broom.

Nae sales for pegs and baskets now, so just to stay alive
We've had tae work at SCALDIE jobs frae nine o'clock til five;
But we call nae man our MAISTER, and we own the world's ROOM,
And we'll bid fareweel tae BRECHIN, when the yellow's on the broom.

I am weary for the springtime, when we'll tak' the road aince mair,
Tae the plantin' and the pearling, aye, and the berry fields of Blair,
There we'll meet wi' all our kinfolk, frae a' the country roun',
When the gang-aboot folk tak' tae the road, and the yellow's on the broom.


Scaldies are towns people, non-travellers.
Brekin (sp.?) is pronounced Breekin. It's a town where a lot of travelling
people spend their winters.

Copyright Adam McNaughtan
Recorded by Ed Miller, Jake Donelly on the CD 'Catching the Sun'
@Scottish @tinker @rambling
filename[ YELBROOM
TUNE FILE: YELBROOM
CLICK TO PLAY
RF, BJ
oct97

Notes from Tattie Bogle:
I’ll paste the whole song below and capitalise any changes.
Scaldy/scaldie seems to be spelled 2 different ways: it would usually be scaldie.
There is a YouTube with Adam McNaughtan himself singing verses 1 and 3 - very clear diction, which will support what I’ve put below.
Arthur Johnstone, who sings the other 2 verses, has made his own changes, so I should disregard those!

Mis-cry means to call people bad names, near enough.

Adam McNaughtan recording from The Words That I Used to Know:

And here's an Ed Miller recording of "Yellow on the Broom"


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Subject: ADD: Yellow on the Broom (Adam McNaughtan)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Mar 21 - 06:28 PM

And taking the transcription from Tattie Bogle and everything else that's been posted, here's my attempt at a final transcription of the Adam McNaughtan recording from The Words That I Used to Know. I don't know if this is the original McNaughtan recording, or if it's the same recording Tattie Bogle used for reference. You'll notice that my transcription disagrees with Tattie Bogle in many places. If you have any corrections to my corrections, please post them below and I'll incorporate them into this post.

YELLOW ON THE BROOM
(Adam McNaughtan)

I ken ye dinna like it, lass, tae winter here in toun
For the scaldies aye miscry us, and they try to bring us doun;
And it's hard to raise three bairns in a single flea-box room,
But I'll tak' ye on the road again when yellow's on the broom.

CHORUS
When the yellow's on the broom, when the yellow's on the broom,
I'll tak' ye on the road again when yellow's on the broom.
(Chorus repeats the last line of each verse)

The scaldies call us tinker dirt and sconce our bairns in school,
But who cares what a scaldie thinks, for a scaldie's but a fool.
They never hear the yorlin's sang, nor see the flax in bloom,
For they're aye cooped up in hooses when the yellow's on the broom.

Nae sale for pegs nor baskets now, so just to stay alive
I've had tae work at scaldie jobs frae nine o'clock til five;
But we call nae man our maister, for we own the world's room,
And I'll bid fareweel tae Brechin, when the yellow's on the broom.

I'm weary for the springtime, when we tak' the road aince mair,
Tae the plantin' and the pearling, and the berry fields at Blair,
When we meet up wi' our kinfolk, frae a' the country roun',
And the gang-aboot folk tak' the road, when yellow's on the broom.

I hear "bairns," not bairnies. And I often hear "when yellow's on the broom" without "the."
Adam McNaughtan recording from The Words That I Used to Know:
The Words That I Used to Know is a very nice two-CD collection, apparently containing two albums: Words Words Words: Adam McNaughtan sings songs from Glasgow (and Elsinore) and The Glasgow That I Used to Know.

So, Tattie Bogle and others, do you have corrections to my corrections?


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Subject: RE: ADD: Yellow on the Broom (Adam McNaughtan)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Apr 21 - 11:40 AM

Don't think you can do any better than that transcription above Joe, which correlates perfectly with the recording you posted, from the great man himself! In short, that's the one!
(I guess some of us that sing it have "folk-processed" it a bit as time has gone on, and some have "Scotticised" it even further, so I am happy to be corrected on any errors I made.)


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Subject: RE: ADD: Yellow on the Broom (Adam McNaughtan)
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 03 Apr 21 - 03:39 PM

Only problem I find, is in singing The Female Drummer. which is a song I learned long before I ever heard, Yellow on the Broom.
People either accuse me of stealing the tune, or comment, how similar the two tunes are :)


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Subject: RE: ADD: Yellow on the Broom (Adam McNaughtan)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Apr 21 - 07:44 PM

I know, John, I have had some very funny looks (how very dare she?) when I have done that song too! (Think I’ve mentioned that on another thread or in the Mudcat Zoom sessions. )


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