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Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie

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LASSIE WI THE YELLOW COATIE


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(origins) Origin: Lassie with the Yellow Coatie (13)


Peter T. 06 Mar 00 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,Murray on Saltspring 06 Mar 00 - 04:51 PM
Abby Sale 06 Mar 00 - 04:52 PM
Peter T. 06 Mar 00 - 05:53 PM
John Nolan 06 Mar 00 - 10:32 PM
kendall 07 Mar 00 - 09:11 AM
Dan Evergreen 07 Mar 00 - 11:33 AM
Peter T. 07 Mar 00 - 03:07 PM
Peter T. 07 Mar 00 - 03:09 PM
kendall 07 Mar 00 - 08:16 PM
kendall 07 Mar 00 - 08:24 PM
Peter T. 08 Mar 00 - 09:45 AM
Ferrara 09 Mar 00 - 08:42 AM
Dave Rado 18 Sep 14 - 08:52 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 18 Sep 14 - 09:10 PM
maeve 18 Sep 14 - 09:10 PM
maeve 18 Sep 14 - 09:13 PM
The Sandman 19 Sep 14 - 04:05 AM
The Sandman 19 Sep 14 - 04:11 AM
The Sandman 19 Sep 14 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,gutcher 19 Sep 14 - 08:48 AM
The Sandman 19 Sep 14 - 08:59 AM
Dave Rado 21 Sep 14 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 21 Sep 14 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 21 Sep 14 - 06:13 PM
Tattie Bogle 22 Sep 14 - 03:54 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Sep 14 - 05:07 AM
Dave Rado 22 Sep 14 - 05:08 AM
The Sandman 22 Sep 14 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,Tall Crofter 08 Apr 16 - 06:11 AM
GUEST, DTM 09 Apr 16 - 03:57 AM
GUEST,ShapeNoteSinger 19 Apr 16 - 11:26 AM
The Sandman 19 Apr 16 - 11:36 AM
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Subject: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 03:13 PM

Listening to Jean Redpath's version of this, and wonder about the meaning of the lyrics: I ha meal and milk in plenty
I ha kale and cakes fee dainty
I've a but an ben fee genty [note: the DT has "gentry", a typo?]
But I want a wife like thee

Tho my mallen be but small

What is "but an ben fee (pronounced "foo") genty?" and "mallen"?

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,Murray on Saltspring
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 04:51 PM

meal = oatmeal, the staple food; kale = cole, or cabbage -- in other words he can feed a wife well. but and ben = a two-room house (but is the first room, and ben the other one "through" the house). genty [which is correct; gentry has to be a typo] = neat, tasteful [really a version of "genteel"]. Mailen = a farm holding, property. Your "fee" is wrong, Jean sings "foo", usually spelled "fou", = "full", i.e. "very". Does that answer you well enough? Cheers Murray


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Abby Sale
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 04:52 PM

Ah. MacColl's Scots Folk Songs One of the records the wife & I both had when we met back in the early 1600's. Still have both records. Neither have the booklet. Also on Scots Popular Songs. My SPS has the book but no glossing here. And many, many Mondegreens & typos.

OK.

I ha kale and cakes fee dainty

MacColl gives "fo'" For 'full' or 'fully' Usually 'completely' (as in completely drunk but could be any usage of it) Kale is a common Scottish variety of cabbage. "Dainty" is 'dainty.'

I've a but an ben

A small cottage (used this way.) Just an outer & an inner room.

fee genty

This will be "fo' genty" - very genteel - neat - tidy.

But I want a wife like thee

But not necessarily her? I'm not sure here. Well, he does propose in the chorus & the song goes on that he's got all this stuff but he still needs a wife. Still, maybe he realizes that once he has the wife he won't have the stuff anymore. Hard to reckon, that.

Tho my mallen be but small

This is definitely not a sexual reference. Usually "mailen" but any spelling will do. A small farm or, more usually, a tennant-farm.

SPS gives "Will ye wed a mewlin jokie?" in the chorus. So if ever you feel you (or on one of those staggeringly - near impossible occasions, DT) maybe got it wrong - don't fret. Here's Folkways - generally superb in the notes, at its very worst. Should be 'muirlan Jockie' - a Scots country lad from the moors -.

Really a pretty song. Attributed to James Duff in 1816.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:53 PM

Thanks, Murray, Abby. Much appreciated. Hope a DT corrector notes. A lovely song. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: John Nolan
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 10:32 PM

Must give Barry Finn a plug here. He does my favorite version of this song.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: kendall
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 09:11 AM

I once used this gem as a proposal..it worked


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Dan Evergreen
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 11:33 AM

Yeah, this is a charming little song. I love it.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Peter T.
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 03:07 PM

Anyone -- kendall? -- have the chords to play it? Jean Shepherd does a simple arpeggio, but I have no ear to take things off a recording. It sounds really simple. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Peter T.
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 03:09 PM

Sorry, Redpath!!!!!!!!! (mind going) yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: kendall
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 08:16 PM

I do it on my 12 string which is tuned down to D, so, the chord position is G. (actually I'm in the key of F)

C G A G ..lassie wi' a yellow .. would ye. moorland D jockie
C G D G G lassie.. yellow would ...gang wi' me


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: kendall
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 08:24 PM

that didnt come out the way I intended..anyway, its a simple G progression


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Mar 00 - 09:45 AM

Thanks, Kendall, much appreciated. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Ferrara
Date: 09 Mar 00 - 08:42 AM

Ewan MacColl (sp?) and Jean Redpath each include a verse that the other leaves out. Ewan's is very homely and Jean's is more high-flown.

I've always thought of "genty" as coming straight from the French "gentil." The Scots and French were allies for years against the British, many Scots spent time in France and vice versa. In "Banks & Braes of Bonnie Doon," Burns says, "How can ye chant, ye little birds?" where chant means sing as in French chanter. Also there's Silver Tassie, or My Bonny Mary, where tassie means cup as in French tasse.

Totally irrelevent to the song itself, but fun.

BTW this was the song I used to open the Mudcat Cafe sing-around at the Getaway. I love it.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Dave Rado
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 08:52 PM

I'm having trouble with the meaning of some of the old Scots that hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread.

In the Chorus:
Will ye busk an' gang wi' me? [what does "busk" mean in this context?]

In the second verse:
"Tho my mailen be but sma'.
An' little gowd I hae to show," [what does "gowd" mean?]

In the penultimate verse:
Nane on earth was e'er sae vogie, [what does "vogie" mean?]

Dave


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 09:10 PM

Busk usually means get/make ready or dress; gowd is gold or wealth; and vogie means merry, light-hearted or happy.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: maeve
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 09:10 PM

Dave Rado-

busk- get dressed
gowd- gold
vogie- delighted, happy, glad


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: maeve
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 09:13 PM

Wonderful Anne Neilson beat me to it! We do have a http://mudcat.org/scots/index.cfm unfortunately the definition there for vogie is "vain" for some reason. Anne has it right.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 04:05 AM

vogie means jaunty. but and ben fu genty is a small cottage. this is a lovely song that i first heard john mearens sing, i still sing it but it i has gone out of favour and is not ung very often, mailen means farm, jockie is scotsman


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 04:11 AM

jaunty is well turned out dandyish, not quite the same as vain,or self satisfied or sprightly, in this case i think it means well turned out dandy.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 04:26 AM

vogie , kind of means full of the joys of spring ,or bright eyed and bushy tailed, with a twinkle in the eye.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 08:48 AM

Kail was the generic name for soup---usually broth.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 08:59 AM

another fine scottish song that is not heard much these days is kissin in the dark.
KISSIN' IN THE DARK
1.
For lang I courted Jeannie,
And wroucht wi' micht and main,
To get a puckle siller
And a biggin' o' my ain;
Ilka nicht I gaed to see her,
Be it late or be it mirk;
And when she cam' to meet me,
I wid kiss her in the dark.
[Cho.] The dark, the dark,
The dark, the dark, the dark;
And when she cam' to meet me,
I wid kiss her in the dark.

2.
Ae nicht I gaed to see her,
And my Jeannie bein' frae hame,
I slippit tae the window,
And rattled at the pane;
Oot cam' Jeannie's midder,
And the nicht it bein' sae dark,
I took her in my airms,
And kissed her in the dark.
[Cho.]


3.
She ruggit and she tuggit,
And she tried to won awa'
But I held her aye the closer,
Ay, and gid her idder twa.
Then oot she burst a-lauchin'
Says, "This is afa wark,
Tae touzle an auld body,
And tae kiss her in the dark."
[Cho.]

4.
Then I made for rinnin',
But she held me sure and fast;
Says, "Ye needna be sae hurry, lad,
The secret's oot at last.
Jeannie's doon at Auntie's,
And she'll get an awfu' start,
When I tell her foo ye touzled me,
And kissed me in the dark."
[Cho.]

5.
I stopped wi' Jeannie's mither,
Till my Jeannie did come hame,
She tell't her a' the story,
Which I thocht an afa shame;
But noo I have gotten Jeannie,
After a' the coortin' wark;
And there's few that lands sae lucky
Wi' their kissin' in the dark.
[Cho.]

6.
We hadna lang been marriet
When Jeannie's mither grew ill;
She sent me for a lawyer,
She was gaen to mak' her will.
She has left me a' her siller,
And made mony a remark;
For I got the auld wife's blessin'
For the kissin' in the dark.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Dave Rado
Date: 21 Sep 14 - 05:32 PM

Thanks for all the replies, especially those from Annie and Maeve. I'm confused by a couple of other replies though:

In one post, "Good Soldier Schweik" writes "jockie is scotsman" – but earlier in the thread, Abby Sale wrote that a jockie was specifically a Scots country lad. In the context of this song, which is more accurate? (I.e. did the author mean to convey that the singer was from the countryside or just that he was from Scotland?)

In another post, "gutcher" writes: "Kail was the generic name for soup---usually broth." That confuses me on two counts: in every version of the song I've seen, it's spelt "kale", not "kail"; and earlier in the thread, "Murray on Saltspring" wrote "kale = cole, or cabbage". In the context of this song, which translation is more likely to be accurate - cabbage, or broth?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 21 Sep 14 - 06:13 PM

Dave, there are several meanings for both these words -- jockie and kail -- but the most likely are 1) a country lad and 2) staple food on the table.

Spelling long ago was variable but the currently preferred spelling for cabbage/broth seems to be kail and my take on this line is that he promises that she will never starve -- there will always be the makings of a basic meal -- but that he will endeavour to provide treats for her when he can (the genteel cakes suited to what he thinks her social station requires).

In other words, he's hoping that the love between them will be sufficient to carry them through any hard times.

Hope this helps give you a handle on this lovely wee song.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 21 Sep 14 - 06:13 PM

Dave, there are several meanings for both these words -- jockie and kail -- but the most likely are 1) a country lad and 2) staple food on the table.

Spelling long ago was variable but the currently preferred spelling for cabbage/broth seems to be kail and my take on this line is that he promises that she will never starve -- there will always be the makings of a basic meal -- but that he will endeavour to provide treats for her when he can (the genteel cakes suited to what he thinks her social station requires).

In other words, he's hoping that the love between them will be sufficient to carry them through any hard times.

Hope this helps give you a handle on this lovely wee song.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 03:54 AM

Gaberlunzie still sing Lassie Wi the Yellow Coatie at their gigs, and you sometimes hear it around the sessions.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 05:07 AM

In Chambers Scots Dictionary "busk" is also given as 'get ready' which I find a little more generally satisfying the 'get dressed'.
Robert Ford, in his 'Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland' (1899) wrote of the song,
"Fifty years ago this was a popular song in Perthshire, to which county, by authorship it belongs.
The writer, James Duff, known as 'The Methven Poet,' was a gardener to trade and flourished in the early years of the present century.
A volume of his poems was published at Perth in 1816

Gavin Greig's not in The Greig Duncan collection reads:
LASSIE WI' THE YELLOW COATIE Cf. Ford, p. 198. Alan Reid gives the following note with a version in the Rymour Club Miscellanea, 2.119: "The complete text of this popular old song has a place in Ford's Vagabond Ballads, but without the air, which neither Mr Ford nor I could gather when his book was in preparation. Mrs Jessie Patrick Findlay has, however, been able to recover it, the set here given having been noted from her mother's singing. The popular version, a single stanza of which accompanies the music, was written by James Duff, the Methven poet, and appears in his volume of Poems and Songs, published by Morrison, Perth, in 1816. Another and entirely different version of the song and air, attributed to John Hamilton of 'Cauld and Raw' fame, is given in [James Wood and Learmont Drysdale,] Song Gems [London, 1908, pp. 128-9]." "From the place-name in our version [B] of 'Lassie wi' the Yellow Coatie' people in the north have taken the song to belong to Donside. Ford, however, who does not give the localising verse, says the song belongs to Perthshire, and was written by James Duff, known as 'The Methven Poet,' who was a gardener to trade, and published a volume of his poems [A Collection of Poems, Songs, Etc., chiefly Scottish] at Perth in 1816. Although the song appears in this volume [pp. 172-3] as the production of Duff, it is quite possible that he worked on an older model. Ford himself says that Duff's book contains a somewhat flabby and diffuse version of 'Bessie Bell and Mary Gray,' and that the song, 'Lassie wi' the Yellow Coatie,' is the only one of his productions which has attained any popularity. All which is just a little significant. The tune, which is very pretty, does not seem particularly old in its present form, but we should not wonder if it were an adaptation from a strathspey of the type of 'Whistle o'er the Lave o't.' As it stands, it suggests an affinity with [348] 'Jock o' Rhynie.' A variant will be found in 'Can Ye Lo'e Me Weel, Lassie?' in Lyric Gems (1856)."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Dave Rado
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 05:08 AM

Thanks Annie. Tattie Bogle - yes it was through Gaberlunzie's version that I fell for this song. I don't know why Gaberlunzie aren't more well known - I think they're as good as anyone performing today.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 05:23 AM

i think kale is most likely to be accurate, but ann hits the nail on the head, with her interpretation.
"Spelling long ago was variable but the currently preferred spelling for cabbage/broth seems to be kail and my take on this line is that he promises that she will never starve -- there will always be the makings of a basic meal -- but that he will endeavour to provide treats for her when he can (the genteel cakes suited to what he thinks her social station requires)."
jockie is probably scottish countryman, is this dialect the doric language [mid northern scots]?.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,Tall Crofter
Date: 08 Apr 16 - 06:11 AM

It is Kale, a member of the brassica family. Kale or leaf cabbage is a group of vegetable cultivars within the plant species Brassica oleracea. They have green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. My grandfather grew it and my grandmother made a very fine soup with it. Very nutritious!


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST, DTM
Date: 09 Apr 16 - 03:57 AM

Kale has always been cabbage soup to me.
Btw, I first came across "Yellow Coatie" on a Jim Reid recording.


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,ShapeNoteSinger
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 11:26 AM

This has been a very helpful thread. Many thanks to all! But tell me--is the "yellow coatie" a coat? Or a petticoat?


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Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 11:36 AM

A COAT ,is how I have always thought of it


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