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Lyr Req: Smuggler (from The McCalmans) #1


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Lyr Req: The Smuggler: 'My love he is a smuggler' (67)
Lyr Req: Smuggler (The McCalmans) #5 (16)
Lyr Req: Smuggler (The McCalmans) #4 (10)
Lyr Req: Smuggler (The McCalmans) #3 (6)
Lyr Req: Smuggler (The McCalmans) #2 (7)

John 19 Jun 97 - 07:18 PM
Wolfgang Hell 20 Jun 97 - 04:48 AM
Wolfgang Hell 24 Jun 97 - 07:39 AM
John 27 Jun 97 - 12:12 AM
Jim Dixon 09 Apr 09 - 10:54 PM
GUEST,Jez 28 Jun 09 - 08:44 AM
Susanne (skw) 28 Jun 09 - 07:17 PM
GUEST,Ian B 29 Jun 09 - 01:22 PM
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Subject: Smugglers - McCalmans
From: John
Date: 19 Jun 97 - 07:18 PM

As a long time fan of the Scottish group The McCalmans I have two(ish) requests please:

Can anyone please provide lyrics to "Smugglers"? ...

Smugglers drink of the French man's wine,
And the darkest night is the smugglers' time,
Away we run from the excise man,
It's the smuggler's life for me

... From a concert I attended years ago. I believe that this was penned by Ian McCalman.

I am told that a number of their vinyl releases are now available on CD. Any info please on publisher, is there a web-site, and have the McCalmans ever released a book of their music? As a non-Scot, I have a devil of a time understanding many of their lyrics.

I hear that they have for some years been the opening/closing act at the Edinburgh Festival. Any local knowledge here please?

Regards and long live The McCalmans

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Subject: RE: Smugglers - McAlmans
From: Wolfgang Hell
Date: 20 Jun 97 - 04:48 AM

Hi John,

I'm quite confident the group you are looking for are the McCalmans. They have performed "Smugglers". I might have the lyrics but I won't find out before next week. Quite a few publishers have their records (CDs). I'd also love to buy a songbook by them if I could find one. Cheers Wolfgang

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Subject: Lyr Add: SMUGGLER
From: Wolfgang Hell
Date: 24 Jun 97 - 07:39 AM

Here are the lyrics typed from a photocopy the origin of which I don't know (Copyright Heatside Music it says). They are not necessarily the exact lyrics the McCalmans sing but at least close.


1) The boat rides south o' Ailsa Craig, in the waning of the light,
there's thirty men in Lendalfit, tae mak our burden light.
There's thirty horse at Hazelholm, with the halters on their heads,
all set this night upon you hight, if wind and water speed.

Ch: Smugglers drink of the Frenchman's wine,
and the darkest night is the smuggler's time,
away we run from the exciseman,
it's a smuggler's life for me,
it's a smuggler's life for me.

2) O lass ye hae a cosy bed, and cattle ye hae ten,
can ye no live a lawful life, and live wi' lawful men.
But must I live with hamely goods, while there's foreign gear sae fine,
must I drink at the waterside, and France sae full of wine.

3) O weel I like tae see ye Kate, with the bairnie on thy knee,
but my heart is now wi' the gallant crew, that plough thro' the angry sea,
the bitter-gales, the tightest sales, the sheltered bay our goal.
It's the wayward life, it's the smuggler's strife, it's the joy of the smuggler's soul.

4) And when at last the sun comes up, and the cargo safely stored,
like sinless saints to church we go, God's mercy to afford,
and it's champagne fine for communion wine, and the parson drinks it too,
with a sly wink prays, 'forgive these men, for they know not what they do.'


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Subject: RE: Smugglers - McAlmans
From: John
Date: 27 Jun 97 - 12:12 AM

Fantastic Wolfgang! Thank you very much. Now all I have to do is to track down a CD distributor.

Cheers John

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Subject: Lyr Add: THE LADS O' LENDALFIT (from Hew Ainslie)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 10:54 PM

On the McCalmans' albums, SMUGGLER is called "traditional." This looks like an earlier version of the same song.

From A Pilgrimage to the Land of Burns by Hew Ainslie (Deptford: Printed for the author by W. Brown, 1822):


The boat rides south o' Ailsa craig
In the doupin' o' the light;
There's thretty men at Lendalfit
To make her burden light.

There's thretty naigs in Hazel-holm
Wi' the halter on their head,
Will cadg'd this night, ayont yon hight,
If wind an' water speed.

Fy reek ye out the pat an' spit,
For the roast, but an' the boil,
For, wave-worn wight, it is nae meet,
Spare feeding an' sair toil.

O, Mungo, ye've a cozzy bield
Wi' a butt ay an' a ben,
Can ye no live a lawfu' life,
An' ligg wi' lawfu' men?

Gae blaw your win aneth your pat,
It's blawn awa on me,
For, bag and bark, shall be my wark,
Until the day I die.

Maun I haud by our hameart goods
An' foreign gear sae fine?
Maun I drink at the water wan
An' France sae rife o' wine?

I wou'dna wrang an honest man
The worth o' a siller crown;
I cou'dna hurt a yearthly thing,
Except a gauger loun.

I'll underlye a' rightfu' law
That pairs wi' heav'ns decree.
But acts an' deeds o' wicked men
Shall ne'er get grace from me.

O weel I like to see thee, Kate,
Wi' the bairnie on thy knee;
But my heart is now, wi' yon gallant crew,
That push through the angry sea.

The jauping weet, the stented sheet,
The South-west stiffest gowl—
On a moonless night, if the timmer's tight,
Are the joys o' a smuggler's soul.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Smuggler (The McCalmans) #1
From: GUEST,Jez
Date: 28 Jun 09 - 08:44 AM


Most of the time this song is noted:"Music by Ian McCalman based on an old poem."

Have a nice day


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Smuggler (The McCalmans) #1
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 28 Jun 09 - 07:17 PM

I asked Ian McCalman about this song in 1997. He said, as far as I remember: "I could credit this to my name. I found it in an old book, [whose title I didn't catch], and added the tune and chorus and the last verse. But it was easier crediting it to Trad."

I suppose Jim has provided the answer to which book the poem came from. Will ask Ian when I get another chance.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Smuggler (The McCalmans) #1
From: GUEST,Ian B
Date: 29 Jun 09 - 01:22 PM

The lyrics to this and other songs by Ian McCalman can be found on
The McCalmans Web-site.

Ian is apparently retiring next year so The McCalmans will be no more. They have certainly done an awful lot to popularise Scottish folk music in the last thirty years or more, whilst maintaining an honesty in their music. See them while you still can.

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