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Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland (Jim McLean)

DigiTrad:
GLENCOE
SHORES OF SUTHERLAND
SMILE IN YOUR SLEEP


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Susanne (skw) 13 Nov 99 - 05:06 PM
katlaughing 13 Nov 99 - 06:09 PM
Susan A-R 13 Nov 99 - 08:46 PM
Metchosin 14 Nov 99 - 04:13 AM
Susan A-R 14 Nov 99 - 04:22 PM
Susanne (skw) 14 Nov 99 - 07:42 PM
Reiver 2 14 Nov 99 - 09:59 PM
Susanne (skw) 15 Nov 99 - 10:20 PM
Reiver 2 16 Nov 99 - 07:39 PM
katlaughing 16 Nov 99 - 07:50 PM
Reiver 2 17 Nov 99 - 06:52 PM
Philippa 22 Nov 99 - 07:58 PM
Reiver 2 01 Dec 99 - 02:25 AM
Susanne (skw) 26 Jan 00 - 06:20 PM
katlaughing 26 Jan 00 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,Jim McLean 24 Jul 02 - 06:16 AM
katlaughing 24 Jul 02 - 03:19 PM
MMario 24 Jul 02 - 04:34 PM
Tired Old Man 22 Oct 09 - 02:36 PM
Jim McLean 22 Oct 09 - 05:32 PM
Joe Offer 23 Oct 09 - 03:14 AM
Jim McLean 23 Oct 09 - 04:00 AM
Joe Offer 23 Oct 09 - 04:20 AM
Jim McLean 23 Oct 09 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,Chris Penman, NZ 30 Jun 11 - 10:15 PM
Jim McLean 01 Jul 11 - 08:03 AM
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Subject: Shores of Sutherland
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 05:06 PM

In the thread "Info on Clearence song 'Land Of MacLeod'" Susan A-R mentioned another song about the Clearances. I post it here as I haven't seen it anywhere else so far. I found it on a 1975 LP made from material of the Scottish TV series 'A Better Class of Folk', hosted by Dominic Behan. It is sung by Billy Davidson who seems to have vanished without trace since. The tune is fairly sombre, as befits the subject, and I'm still not able to post tunes. Should anyone want it (Kat?) I'll have to send a cassette, or perhaps someone would take the cassette and turn it into an ABC.

SHORES OF SUTHERLAND
(Jim McLean)

Cold is the wind and wet
As we make our beds down on the sand
Scavenging gulls and clappidoos
Down on the shores of Sutherland
High on the hills our shielings
Are sheltering factors that robber band
Shepherds and sheep are asleep
While we die on the shores of Sutherland

Blood from our cows and meal
A nettle broth laid with barley bran
Banned from the beds of mussels
By dogs and their masters of Sutherland
Big are shellfish they're guarding
For fishers who come from some other land
Cockles are baiting their hooks
While we starve on the shores of Sutherland

Water and brose and milk
Salmon and deer and ptarmigan
Honey and bread and cheese
Was the food of the children of Sutherland
Now we are barred from our clachans
And hunted away from our motherland
Starved at the edge of the sea
By the Duke and the Duchess of Sutherland

^^

Mackie's History of Scotland has a rather starry-eyed view of the reasons behind the Clearances, at least in my 1972 edition:
[1972:] The story of the Clearances is known to all; yet the Sutherland Clearances were part of a policy of improvement undertaken between 1811 and 1820 by the Marquess of Stafford, who had married the Countess of Sutherland in 1785. Aware of the 'improvements' which were being undertaken in Moray and of the hardship and famine which prevailed in his area, he called in experts from the south, and began to move his tenants from the upland glens to the coast in the belief that there they could supplement the crofts which he would supply by fishing. At first he had some success when he moved people from Assynt to the west coast; but later he met with opposition which was repressed by violence, all the more resented when it was found that one of the factors employed, who was acquitted on a charge of homicide, himself entered into one of the sheep farms from which the evictions took place. The burning of wretched houses and the eviction of helpless people - some of them decrepit - aroused great condemnation, and the grievances reached the House of Commons. There and elsewhere it was shown that the Marquis, besides getting nothing from his Sutherland estate between 1811 and 1833, had spent £60,000 of his own money; but the stigma was not removed. [...]
Between 1828 and 1851 some proprietors shipped surplus tenants overseas at their own expense; but in 1853 there occurred in Glengarry perhaps the most ferocious of the violent clearances; this was not a matter of shifting people to the coast; whole families were put into ships and sent across the ocean, and sometimes men who sought refuge in the hills were hunted out like deer. It is hard to ascertain the total number of emigrants, but easy to understand the bitterness that they carried in their hearts. They were driven from the homes where their ancestors had lived for centuries. Life had never been easy in the old days; the tacksman was sometimes hard, but he was of their own kin, and when things were at their worst the chief would surely provide some meal.
They did not realize that with the coming of better order, of better understanding of disease, and, with the introduction of the potato, better food, population was increasing to an extent which could not be supplied by the old economy. They did not realize - indeed, many of them may not have known - that money spent by landlords or by charitable societies on palliatives was spent in vain. All they saw was that land was being let to sheep-farmers who could pay three times the old rent and absorbed small crofts into bigger holdings. To them it seemed that nowadays chiefs preferred sheep to men, to men whose ancestors had served their ancestors for generations. (Mackie, Scotland 317f)

I like this story:
[1991:] In the whole shameful episode of the Highland Clearances, no district lost more of its people to America [than Sutherland], and by the beginning of the Crimean War there were precious few able-bodied men left there. When the Duke of Sutherland - whose family had been the most consistently ruthless of evictors - stood up at a public meeting in 1854 to ask his tenantry for recruits to fight the Russians, he was met with stunned silence - and then this answer, from an old man. "I am sorry for the response your Grace's proposals are meeting here, but there is a cause for it [...]. It is the opinion of this country that should the Czar of Russia take possession of Dunrobin Castle and of Stafford House (the Duke's residences) next term, that we couldn't expect worse treatment at his hands than we have experienced at the hands of your family for the last fifty years." (Notes Brian McNeill, 'The Back o' the North Wind')

This is how the Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown puts it in his autobiography:
[1997:] It is likely that [my mother's] near Mackay ancestors had had to endure the 'clearances' of the early nineteenth century, when whole communities of Gaelic-speaking Highlanders were persuaded or driven out of the valleys where they had lived, a poor but free community under the chiefs of Mackay, for many centuries. Again, it was 'progress', that religion of nineteenth-century man - that irresistible force - that destroyed and uprooted everything that seemed to stand in its way. Nothing was sacred or beautiful; only money and profits counted. [...] The clan chief was no longer the clan's protector; he had long sided with the establishment, and sent his sons to English public schools and married among the English or Lowland aristocracy. And it had been pointed out to him that it would be more profitable for him to graze flocks of Cheviot sheep on his lands than have them tilled in the age-old unhurried rhythms. [...]
The roofs of the scattered clan were burned over their heads, the old and the sick were left to wander or die among the rocks. Those who were not forced on to ships Canada-bound were permitted to scratch a living from soil at the sea-edge northwards. The fishing, it was pointed out to them, was good. It is more than likely that hundreds of them had never even set eyes on the sea. Somehow they learned to be boatbuilders and fishermen. Somehow they learned to read the ferocious and fruitful moods of the Pentland Firth. (George Mackay Brown, For the Islands I Sing 21f)

More background in John Prebble, The Highland Clearances


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 06:09 PM

Wow, Susanne, thank you! I will copy and send this to some other folks I know of who are researching their Nova Scotian Sutherlands, too.

I would love to hear the tune. Do you have MediaRing. Voizmail? You could send it to my email addy, that way, for free and it's easy to download if you don't have it. I will send oyu a message with my addy and a link to Media Ring. Though, if you use Netscape it doesn't work very well, so we might have exchange cassettes of something as I don't know ABC, either.

I love reading all of the history behind this and will be sharing this wiht my dad later this month when we visit him. It was his great-grandmother was a Sutherland.

Thanks, again!

Kat


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: Susan A-R
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 08:46 PM

Thank you Suzanne, I have been interested in this period of history as well. Also, although I had sort of figured out Shores of Sutherland, some of the unusual words certainly had me stumped. There is a wonderful Allistair MacDonald recording (I believe that's his name) with this song, as well as several other clearances songs on it. The tune is worth having here, but I, alas am also ignorant as to how to do that stuff. (I can sing it over the phone :>)

Susan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: Metchosin
Date: 14 Nov 99 - 04:13 AM

Thank you Susanne from yet another Susan. I have printed a copy for my husband, as of his ancestors, the Calders were part of the Clearances in County Sutherland and ended up in Canada. I would dearly love the tune as well.

Susan A-R, is the Allistair MacDonald recording currently available?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: Susan A-R
Date: 14 Nov 99 - 04:22 PM

I am not sure. I got mine from a friend aboutsix years ago.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 14 Nov 99 - 07:42 PM

I'm perfectly willing to let someone have a tape with my version, and I'll check out the MediaRing device. Problem is - how do I transfer the song from my record player to the PC next door? We'll see.

Susan, are there any words you don't know? I've figured most of them out by now, but maybe a Scottish Mudcatter could help even more. - Susanne


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Subject: ADD: The Great White Sheep
From: Reiver 2
Date: 14 Nov 99 - 09:59 PM

Thanks Susanne. That's great information. I have Prebble's "Highland Clearances." Do you know the song "The Great White Sheep"? It's one of my favorites -- very powerful. I can't really sing it in public as my voice always chokes up and I get tears running down my cheeks.

THE GREAT WHITE SHEEP

Oh Sutherland is a bonnie land,
Beyond the Moray Firth.
And Rosshire smiles at the Western Isles,
The land of Gaeldom's birth.
From Scrabster Bay to Mingulay,
The mighty mountains weep;
For each sad glen has been cleared of men
To make way for the great white sheep.

Kildonan's ablaze and Langdale's braes
Are burnin' tae the skies.
The Factor's men who raze the glen
Heed not the infant's cries.
The landlord's might denies the right
Of the crofter's crops tae grow.
A laird must keep his great white sheep
So his flesh and blood must go.

A Sutherland maid, her clan betrayed
And wed tae an English lord.
She's driven her men from the neighbor's glen
Wi' musket, ball and sword.
Her land she's sold for English gold
While her clansmen throng the shore;
And the great white sheep walk the mountains steep,
Her men will walk no more.

From every glen the silent men
Have a prayer upon their lips;
As they crouch by the sea in poverty
And wait for the white sailed ships.
The Atlantic roar on the rocky shore
Will lull the bairns tae sleep.
No more they'll stand on their faether's land --
It has gone for the great white sheep.

^^
I have it on a recording by Gaberlunzie. It's pretty accurate in a historical context, I think.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 10:20 PM

Thanks, Reiver2. I don't know this one but I'll check it out when I get back to Scotland next year. Do you know which album it is on? - Susanne


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: Reiver 2
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 07:39 PM

Susanne -- My recording is by Gaberlunzie (Robin Watson and Gordon Menzies) called "Freedom's Sword". (Do you know of them?) It's a great song, very moving and powerful in my opinion. I think you'll like it! It's been a while since I read John Prebble's "Highland Clearances" -- I'll have to get it out and read it again. Are you familiar with his whole 4 volume set, "Fire and Sword: The Destruction of the Clans" which includes "Glencoe", "Culloden" and "Mutiny" along with The Clearance?

Which makes me think: has there been a thread here on Glencoe in the past? Now there's a song to stir emotions! Probably the stupidest and most embarrassing thing I've ever done in my life was to play a tape of that song for a neighbor up in British Columbia, who invited me to visit and play some of my collection of Scottish songs. Their name was Campbell. I was fortunate to get out of there alive!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 07:50 PM

Reiver 2, thanks so much for posting those lyrics. I am visiting my dad next week and will share them with him. I've just been finding out more about his Sutherlands ancestors who came to Nova Scotia and anything like ths is of great interest to us both. I know he nor I could sing it without choking up, either. I am beginning to get an inkling of how we, our branch of the Sutherlans, came to be in Nova Scotia.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: Reiver 2
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 06:52 PM

Hi Katlaughing! Glad to know that you found the posting of this song to be of interest. Have a great visit with your father. Let us know if you find out anything more of interest about The Clearances. I'll bet you find that some of your family did come to Nova Scotia at that time and as a result of that sad and tragic period in Scottish history.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: Philippa
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 07:58 PM

I was interested when you mentioned this song in the Land of MacLeod thread and I'm glad you added the lyrics (though I don't know the air).

Sutherland is in the NORTHwest of Scotland. I heard it got its name because it was South for the Vikings coming from Scandinavia. There's a memorial statue to the Duke of Sutherland which has recently been a subject of debate as some people think it should be removed. Land is a very current issue in Scotland where a lot of land is still held in large estates. A recent trend has been for community buy-outs, with a local trust to manage the land.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: Reiver 2
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 02:25 AM

I just stumbled onto another song entitled "The Highland Clearances". It's on a record called "So Many Partings" by Silly Wizard and was written by Andy Stewart of that group. It's rather slow and mournful sounding and I'm unable to make out a lot of the words. Does anyone else have them?


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Subject: kat: Shores of Sutherland
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 06:20 PM

Kat, I found our elusive song. Will prepare the tape before long. Maybe someone could then put the tune in the DT? - Susanne


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 06:25 PM

Susanne, that is great! Thanks you, sorry I was drawing a blank. If you send me the tape, I can make a midi and email it to Dick for the DT or Alan in Oz for the Mudcat songbook.

Thank you, thank you!

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: GUEST,Jim McLean
Date: 24 Jul 02 - 06:16 AM

I'm a bit late to come in, I suspect, but I wrote the Shores of Sutherland and other songs for the LP Battle Ballads on Major Minor around 1968/9. The tune I set it to was an old Pipe tune called Brose and Butter although I changed the tempo and various bars to suit the mood and my lyrics. My email is JawMac@aol.com if anybody wants further info. Cheers, Jim Mclean


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Jul 02 - 03:19 PM

Thanks so much for stopping by and giving us more information on your song, Mr. Mclean. It is a really beautiful song and, as you may have read, significant to me as my gggrandmother was a Sutherland.

It's never too late to stop by the Mudcat! Please feel free to join in and tell us about your other songs, etc. In case you are interested membership is free and only takes a few minutes to set up.

All the best,

kat


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: MMario
Date: 24 Jul 02 - 04:34 PM

brose and butter


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Subject: Lyr Add: SHORES OF SUTHERLAND (Jim McLean)
From: Tired Old Man
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 02:36 PM

SHORES OF SUTHERLAND
(Jim McLean)

Cold is the wind and the wet,
as we make our beds down on the sand,
Scavenging dulse and clabby-doos
down on the shores of Sutherland.
High on the hills our sheilings
are sheltering factors that robber band;
Shepherds and sheep are asleep
while we die on the shores of Sutherland.

Lying beside the sea,
awaiting the very first boat to land,
Begging for crab and herring
along by the shores of Sutherland.
Once our corn grew high and as tall
and as straight as a highland man.
Now we must harvest the seaweed
that lies on the shores of Sutherland.

Blood from our cows and meal,
and nettle broth made with barley bran!
Banned from the beds of mussels
by dogs and their masters of Sutherland;
Big are the shellfish they're guarding
for fishers who come from some other land,
Cockles are baiting their hooks
while we starve on the shores of Sutherland.

Butter and brose and milk,
salmon and deer and ptarmigan,
Honey and bread and cheese
were the food of the children of Sutherland.
Now we are burned from our clachans
and hunted away from our motherland,
Starved at the edge of the sea
by the Duke and the Duchess of Sutherland.

Source: transcribed from Alastair MacDonald's singing on his Battlefield Ballads album (as preparation for songs on that Album was apparently done in collaboration with Jim McL, this should be a reliable source). This differs from the version submitted at the beginning of this thread in a couplke of ways:-
1) This is quite a large difference: there is an additional verse (verse 2) making 4 in all instead of 3.
2) "dulse" is substituted for "gulls" in; and "dulse" is what Alastair sang).
3) A very unimportant difference in verse 1: I've spelled clabby-doos (gaelic: claba dubha - black mussels, aka horse mussels) the way Alastair sang it; but the other spelling is just as valid, because English "p" is as near to gaelic "b" as English "b" is.
Odd note: verse 1 (scavenging clabby-doos) and verse 3 (banned from the beds of mussels) appear to be in conflict; maybe Jim meant some other shellfish - but I can only think of claba dubha (plural of clab dubh) as a possible source for the word clabby-doo; or maybe the idea is that once the factors noticed the were scavenging mussels they took steps to prevent it?

CMT


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland
From: Jim McLean
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 05:32 PM

When I wrote the song I was meaning to infer the deprivasion the people suffered by being only allowed to scavenge along the sea shore. Anything valuable for paying fishermen would be guarded by the factors. The phoenetic spelling 'clabby doo' is indeed the horse mussel and many a one I have enjoyed myself. My knowledge of the Highland Clearances came from reading 'Gloomy Memories' by Donald MacLeod, before I read John Prebble. I wrote a series of Highland Clearance songs and persuaded Major Minor to reord them with Alastair McDonald doing the singing. The album was called Battle Ballads.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland (Jim McLean)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Oct 09 - 03:14 AM

It's a powerful song, Jim. The A Better Class of Folk album is available as an MP3 download, so I had a chance to listen to a recording.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland (Jim McLean)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 23 Oct 09 - 04:00 AM

Thanks, Joe. I think the Scottish Sabbath is mine also 'Imagine you're in scotland ...', I haven't listened to it. Also Iain Davidson's version of Where is the Glasgow I used to know could be mine too. I know Adam McNaughton wrote a song with a similar title but mine begins 'Oh where is the Glasgow that I used to know, the tenement buildings all covered wi snow' and I know Iain Davidson recorded it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland (Jim McLean)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Oct 09 - 04:20 AM

Here are a couple more from Jim on this subject:

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland (Jim McLean)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 23 Oct 09 - 05:17 PM

Joe, I just checked and The Sabbath, sung by Billy Davidson and The Glasgow I used to know sung by Iain MacIntosh are both mine.
The Highland Clearance songs I wrote are:

The Shores of Sutherland
Smile in your Sleep (AKA Hush, Hush)
Henny Munroe
The Fire Raisers


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland (Jim McLean)
From: GUEST,Chris Penman, NZ
Date: 30 Jun 11 - 10:15 PM

Hi, I am interested in finding a recordered version, or the music to Shores Of Sutherland. I picked this song up because of the Lyrics and would love to include it in a workshop I'm running in Dunedin about Scottish immigration to NZ. Any help gratefully received, Cheers
Chris


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shores of Sutherland (Jim McLean)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 01 Jul 11 - 08:03 AM

Chris, email me at JawMac@aol.com and I'll help you.


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