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Analysis of Tatties and Herrin

Related thread:
Chords Req: Tatties and Herrin (5)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Tatties and Herrin' (from the Bonnie Bunch of Roses songbook)
Tatties and Herrin' (from The Scottish Folksinger)


Seany 23 Feb 01 - 09:35 AM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Feb 01 - 10:09 AM
Peg 23 Feb 01 - 10:16 AM
Seany 23 Feb 01 - 10:29 AM
Joe Offer 23 Sep 03 - 06:47 PM
Joe Offer 23 Sep 03 - 07:03 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Sep 03 - 07:28 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 24 Sep 03 - 09:52 AM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Sep 03 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,gardinerwood@hotmail.com 28 Mar 04 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 28 Mar 04 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,Dave 08 Apr 04 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,Scott Carpenter 07 Oct 04 - 09:48 AM
Lighter 07 Oct 04 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,Richard 27 Dec 04 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,Auldtimer 27 Dec 04 - 02:55 PM
Dave Hanson 28 Dec 04 - 06:05 AM
Dave Hanson 28 Dec 04 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,folkiefrank 28 Dec 04 - 11:13 AM
ced2 28 Dec 04 - 11:50 AM
Dave Hanson 29 Dec 04 - 05:02 AM
Abby Sale 11 Dec 05 - 01:18 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Dec 05 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Red Mann 22 Nov 14 - 01:06 AM
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Subject: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: Seany
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 09:35 AM

In the song Tatties and Herrin - taken from the Celtic Connection CD, the last verse is :

When the Harbour O' Refuge was first spoke about

Aberdeen and Stonehive were fair knocked out

When they heard that the convicts were gettin' best farin'

Oh good Buchan tatties and Peterhead herrin'

Can anyone tell me what the "Harbour O' Refuge" is, why Aberdeen and Stonehive were annoyed, and why there were convicts at all - what were they guilty of ?


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 10:09 AM

In the 19th century, convicts were sometimes used to provide labour for the construction of Public Works and the like.  The Harbour of Refuge Breakwater was one such project; a parliamentary sub-committee of 1882 decided to build it at Peterhead.  This caused some resentment from other places which had wanted it.  The version given in Buchan and Hall's The Scottish Folksinger (1973) makes the sense a bit more clear:

When the harbour o' refuge was first spoken aboot
Aiberdeen and Stonehaven they were fairly pit oot,
For the Queen kent the convicts wid get their best farin'
Upon Buchan tatties an' Peterheid herrin'.

From the singing of Jake Mitchell of Peterhead.  A well-nourished labourer will do better work.

More details of the Harbour of Refuge may be seen at  PETERHEAD PRISON

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: Peg
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 10:16 AM

what's to analyze? potatoes and fish!

heh heh; just kidding. this is fascinating I always wondered what this song's story was...


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: Seany
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 10:29 AM

Great stuff Malcolm,

I am very happy with this !


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Subject: DTADD: Tatties and Herrin'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 06:47 PM

There is plenty of mention of this song at Mudcat, but no lyrics. I stole these from the wonderful Website of Mudcatter Susanne (skw). Anybody got a tune?

-Joe Offer-


TATTIES AND HERRIN'
(Trad)

Your hardworking Scotsman's gone crazy I fear
Each day ye maun hae your bit beef and your beer
But ye dinna ken though you're maybe no' carin'
Your natural food is tatties and herrin'
Tatties and herrin', tatties and herrin'
Your natural food is tatties and herrin'

Wi' a pound in the week ye maun aye be content
Ten bob tae lay by for the claes and the rent
Half a croon o' yer ain will ye aye can be sparin'
And seven and sixpence for tatties and herrin'
Tatties and herrin', tatties and herrin'
And seven and sixpence for tatties and herrin'

When the Queen wanted someone tae fecht wi' her foes
It wisna awa tae the lowlands she goes
But awa tae the hills o' the brave and the darin'
The lads that were brought up on tatties and herrin'
Tatties and herrin', tatties and herrin'
The lads that were brought up on tatties and herrin'

(as sung by Cilla Fisher)


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Subject: ADD Version: Tatties and Herrin'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 07:03 PM

And I can steal more lyrics and a tune from another Mudcatter, Dan Milner (Liam's Brother). Gee, thanks, Dan.
There's also a version of the song in a songbook called Scottish Folksinger that Malcolm cited above - anybody got that one?

TATTIES AND HERRIN'
(Trad)

Oh, your Scots working man he's gone crazy I fear
Every day he mun' hae his bit beef an' his beer
Nae mire dis he look tae the land far he'd earn
His natural food which is Tatties and Herrin'.

Tatties and Herrin', Tatties and Herrin'
His natural food which is Tatties and Herrin

When the Queen's wantin' sodgers tae fecht wi' her foes,
It's no tae the roast beef devourers she goes.
But she looks tae the land o' the brave and the darin',
Tae the lads that were brocht up on Tatties and Herrin'.

Tatties and Herrin', Tatties and Herrin'
Tae the lads that were brocht up on Tatties and Herrin'

Wi' ten bob in the week, ye can aye pay yer fee,
Wi' a tanner for baccy, two shillings fer ye.
Aye tho' it's nae much it'll aye pay yer fairin',
Wi' seven and sixpence for Tatties and Herrin'.

Tatties and Herrin', Tatties and Herrin'
Wi' seven and sixpence for Tatties and Herrin

When the Harbour O Refuge wis first spoke aboot.
Aiberdeen and Stanehive they were fair pitten oot.
For the Queen kent her convicts wid get their best fairin',
Upon guid Buchan tatties and Peterheed herrin'.

Tatties and Herrin', Tattles and Herrin,'
Upon guid Buchan tatties and Peterheed herrin'.

Source: A Bonnie Bunch of Roses (Dan Milner & Paul Kaplan)

ABC format:

X:1
T:Tatties and Herrin'
M:6/8
Q:1/4=120
K:A
E5D|CB,CA,ED|CB,CA,2E/2E/2|AGABAB|cEEE3|-E2A/2B/2cBA|
AGFE2F/2G/2|A3/2A,/2C/2D/2EFE|ECB,A,/2A,/2DC|
B,2G,A,3|-A,3ECE|AB2cBA|AGFEFE|ECB,A,/2A,/2DC|
B,2G,A,21/8||


Click to play

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 07:28 PM

Well, I have it of course, and will try to sort a tune for you as soon as I can. What you need for the two texts above is sources, so you can be sure that the tune you finish up with is appropriate for them.


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Subject: ADD: Herrin' and Potatoes
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 09:52 AM

There is also a Cape Breton song about the same delicasy:

HERRIN' AND POTATOES*

    In old Cape Breton, over,
I'm livin' right in clover
With herrin' and potatoes
And a good, strong cup of tea.

2.        Oh, my goodness gracious,
There's nothin' tastes as great as
Those herrin' and potatoes;
They're good enough for me. (piano fill)

3.        When I went up to Boston
They served their fish with frostin'.
But, Heavens, it was costin'
Too much for the likes of me.

1st Chorus:
Give me herrin' and potatoes,
Oh, herrin' and potatoes.
Those herrin' and potatoes
Are good enough for me. (piano fill)

4.        I got out of that place pronto,
   Says, "I'm goin' to Toronto."
But, if you want to know where I'm gone to,
I'm back in ole C.B., with ... (1st chorus)

5.        I found a job in Mira;
   That's where I met Elvira
   . So now she's Mrs. Ira
   And we're happy as can be,

2nd Chorus:
Eatin' herrin' and potatoes,
Good herrin' and potatoes.
Those herrin' and potatoes
Are good enough for me.

6.        We just had supper cookin'
When a girl arrived from Brooklyn.
You ought to see her look
When she saw what we had for tea.

3rd Chorus:
'Twas herrin' and potatoes,
Good herrin' and potatoes,
And herrin' and potatoes
Are good enough for me.

7.        She called my wife a joker
And tried to grab the poker.
But the bones began to choke her,
So the Island she did flee,

4th Chorus:
Because of herrin' and potatoes,
Good herrin' and potatoes.
More herrin' and potatoes
Is what this country needs.

8.        I'm happy in Cape Breton
And the risin' costs I'm beatin'
Cause I'll tell you what I'm eatin'
And it's good enough for me:

5th Chorus:
It's herrin' and potatoes,
      Good herrin' and potatoes.                
        It's herrin' and potatoes
        And a mighty darn good feed!                


(based on Lloyd Maclnnis' version of Mrs. Protheroe's song)
Also see this message (click)


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Subject: ADD: Tatties and Herrin
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 10:00 AM

Joe asked me to post the Scottish Folksinger tune. I'd better add the text as well, though there are considerable overlaps, in particular with the set Cilla Fisher recorded.

TATTIES AN' HERRIN'

(Jake Mitchell, Peterhead: text. Isobel Baird, Boddam: tune.)

Noo your hard-workin' Scotsman's gone crazy I fear,
Each day ye maun hae your bit beef and your beer,
But ye dinnae ken though you're maybe nae carin',
Your natu-ral food it is tatties and herrin'.
Tatties and herrin', tatties and herrin',
Your natural food it is tatties and herrin'
.

Noo a pound in the week, ye maun aye be content,
Ten bob tae lay by for the claes and the rent,
Half a croon ye aye can be sparin',
Ye've aye seven an' sixpence for tatties and herrin'.

When the Queen wanted someone tae fecht wi' her foes,
It wisnae awa' tae the lowlands she goes,
But awa' tae the hills where the brave an' the darin',
The lads that were fed upon tatties and herrin'.

On Alma's Heights noo the Russians said:
"We were forced tae tak' wyss for the kilt an' the plaid,"
But they didnae ken 'twas the brave an' the darin',
The lads that were fed upon tatties and herrin'.

When the harbour o' refuge was first spoken aboot
Aiberdeen and Stonehaven they were fairly pit oot,
For the Queen kent the convicts wid get their best farin'
Upon Buchan tatties an' Peterheid herrin'.


Buchan & Hall, The Scottish Folksinger, 1973, 26.


X:1
T:Tatties and Herrin
S:Jake Mitchell, Peterhead (text). Isobel Baird, Boddam (tune).
B:Buchan & Hall, The Scottish Folksinger, 1973, 26.
L:1/8
Q:1/4=100
M:3/4
K:C
GF|E2 D2 E2|C C3 G2|E3 D E2|C4
w:Noo your hard-work-in' Scots-man's gone cra-zy I fear,
G2|c3 c c2|d2 c2 d2|e2 c2 A2|G4
w:Each day ye maun hae your bit beef and your beer,
G2|c3 c c2|d3 c d2|e2 c2 A2|G2 E3
w:But ye din-nae ken though you're may-be nae car-in',
F|G3 A G2|G2 E2 C2|C2 F2 E2|D2 C4|
w:Your na-tu-ral food it is tat-ties and her-rin'.
C3 E G2|A2 G4|c3 B A2|G2 E2
w:Tat-ties and her-rin', tat-ties and her-rin',
D2|C3 E G2|G3 E C2|C2 F2 E2|D6|C6|]
w:Your na-tu-ral food it is tat-ties and her-rin'.

Click to play

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: GUEST,gardinerwood@hotmail.com
Date: 28 Mar 04 - 05:46 PM

This is in response to yur questions concerning "'Tatties & Herrin'"
The Harbour o' Refuge' refers to the harbor at Peterhead,an important
port in North-East Scotland, though not as important today as Aberdeen's. It apparently had been intended at some point in the eighteen eighties to replace the harbour at Aberdeen, which may not then have been thought safe in stormy weather for fishing and other vessels to put in. (I don't know if the plan came to anything). And the population of Aberdeen and Stonehaven (a neighbouring town) were 'fair pitten oot'(Doric for "absolutely annoyed") when it was discovered that convicts at the Stonehaven Prison (also one of the largest in N.E. Scotland!) were being fed, not on bread and water, but on 'good Buchan - 'Buchan' is 'Aberdeenshire and environs' -potatoes, and herring brought into Peterhead'. Why Peterhead? One can only guess that the herring brought into that port (also not far away) was once thought to be of exceptional quality, but why I am not quite sure. Stonehaven ("Stanehive" is simply a nickname) Prison is an important one, its many 'guests' covering a wide spectrum of crimes of all types. It's like a regional federal penitentiary in the U.S.

If you would like to listen to a rendering of "Tatties & Herrin'",
there are two that I am aware of. One is on a CD by Isla St. Clair, another a CD by Scottish singer-songwriter Ian Bruce. The St. Clair CD is actually entitled Tatties & Herrin' (the sea), CDTRAX 146, 1997 Greentrax Recordings. The Ian Bruce recording is by the same firm, and is identified as COTRAX 156. In both cases, the singing is a cappella, i.e. without instrumental accompaniment. There may be others. I purchased the two above-named CDs 'off the rack' some time ago at the Tower Records outlet in Tysons Corner, VA. I hope that some of this is useful. Cheerio!


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 28 Mar 04 - 07:47 PM

I thought there was an extra rhyme in the 2nd line of the chorus

'your natural farrin is tatties and herrin'

It was sung that way by Isla St Clair.

Not on a cd but a program on the radio I heard.


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Subject: Cape Breton and the Old Blind Dogs
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 08 Apr 04 - 12:11 PM

The group Old Blind Dogs has a version of "Tatties and Herring" on their album "Fit?" (Available via their website, www.oldblinddogs.demo.co.uk also from www.greenlinnet.com, a terrific resource for Celtic music). This discussion of how the Queen kent that the convicts would work harder on this best faring is delightful.

As for my native Cape Breton Island, "Herrin' and Potatoes" appears in "The Cape Breton Songbook" as having lyrics by Winnifred Protheroe and the air of the old song "Mo Nighean Donn Bhoidheach," sometimes known as "Ho Ro Mo Nighean Donn Bhoideach," or (in English) "My Nut-Brown Maiden."

"Ho Ro" is usually sung quite briskly, though the Rankins have a version sung in a slow, poignant style.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: GUEST,Scott Carpenter
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 09:48 AM

I first heard this wonderful song sung by the Gaugers, who hailed from roadabout Aberdeen. I thought the folk of aberdeen and stonehaven were annoyed by the fact that they had no chance to SELL tatties and herring to the convicts......

On a side note, my grandfather was from Catterline (just south of Stonehaven) and apparently when he first emmigrated to Auistralia at the age of 16 with the Dreadnought Scheme my grandmother used to say he sung songs from the local area and played the fiddle really well. But people in country NSW weren't interested so he stopped.... I never heard him play the fiddle, never heard him sing a fisher song...

He emigrated from Catterline to Nowra NSW, to become....a fisherman!.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 11:04 AM

Isla St. Clair's program "Tatties an' Herrin'," including the song of that title, is now available on CD. Lots of Scots songs about fishing, including - wait for it - "The Mermaid." Well worth listening to.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: GUEST,Richard
Date: 27 Dec 04 - 11:44 AM

I've only just come across this site & have today posted my own stab at a guitar chord sequence for this lovely song. These are based on the melody and lyrics performed by Robin Hall & Jimmie MacGregor on their 1969 album 'One Over the Eight'. Not sure how 'authentic' their version is but I do like it, particularly with their vocal harmonies. It's the only version I know. I've posted it to the original 'Tatties and Herrin'' thread started back in 2000.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 27 Dec 04 - 02:55 PM

Celtic Connection CD?


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 06:05 AM

Why analyse?
SING PLAY ENJOY
no need to bloody analyse folk music.

eric


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 06:08 AM

In the film about Bob Copper Bob's son John relates how Americans point out when he sings a different word in a song,he found this very odd, it's a song for fucks sake not Einsteins theory of relativity.

eric


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: GUEST,folkiefrank
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 11:13 AM

The folk of Aberdeen and Stonehaven were annoyed because the Harbour of Refuge was being built at Peterhead, rather than at their ports, by the prisoners of Peterhead Prison.
Tom Speirs, of The Gaugers, IMHO sings the most "natural" version of the song.
Hi Auldtimer, there was a compilation CD released in 1994 by our old friends Living Tradion, LTCD001.
Eric, I think the thread title is a little misleading. "The Story Behind..." perhaps would be more appropriate. Chill man!


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: ced2
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 11:50 AM

Analysis of Tatties and Herrin.. Vedgetable and Animal.. but additionally there may be a large mineral content depending on where the Herrin was caught... (possibly lead, mercury, cadmium , a case of eat,enjoy and be poisoned)!


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 29 Dec 04 - 05:02 AM

Fish and chips.

eric


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: Abby Sale
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 01:18 PM

Not chips - boiled. The herrin's most likely salt-preserved. That's the dish. No reason you couldn't have Julliane Potatoes and herring in sour cream with onions, I suppose but I think most country folk or old timers would expect boiled potatoes & salt herring.

Thing is, we're just listening to Jock Duncan's version on "Tae The Greenwoods Gaen" (purchased from Camsco). His winderfu bothy accent much complements the version he got from the Gaugers (as above). BUT, he adds two verses of his own. One on the famous WW I hero/outlaw Johnny Ramensky.

The Ancient One notes that the tune is an odd one to put with these (trad or new) words. Nohow unique to put a beautiful old air with a new comic or bawdy or whatever song but interesting. A pleasant, unexpected combination sort of like neuveau cuisine.

Buchan/Hall don't mention a tune origin (just from the singing of Isobel Baird) and MacColl just gives "probably from the reign of Queen Victoria." (Covers a few years.)   He calls "Harbour of Refuge" an ironic Peterhead term for the jail, related to the construction Malcolm notes. I'm not sure if Malcolm means that - the link is broken now. (They do that.)

It's also sung on Singing the Fishing. I think by Larner but I can't put my hands on Sam Hinton's transcription at the moment.

Any idea where the tune comes from?


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 02:54 PM

Herring used to be salted into large barrels. Nowadays herring fillets are the preferref salted product.
Here is a Swedish recipe:

SALTED HERRING - INLAGD SILL

4-6 fillets of salt herring
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup spirit vinegar
1 cup water
5 tsp. allspice
1 bay leaf
1-2 red onions
Sliced dill sprigs.

Soak herring in cold water for 10-12 hours. Drain. Mix sugar, vinegar, and water in a separate bowl. Add allspice, bay leaf and onion. Pour the mixture over the herring and refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut herring into 1/2 inch thick slices. Cover with the dressing mixture and garnish well with red onion rings and dill sprigs.
Variation- Instead of allspice add 1 teaspoon whole cloves and 5 crushed white peppercorns to the dressing mixture. Bring to a boil, let cool, and pour over the herring, reserving about 1/4 cup. Refrigerate for two hours. Slice the herring and place in serving dish. Add the remaining dressing and garnish with red onion rings, cloves and dill.

For Irish and American taste, the fish is usually cooked.

WARM HERRING

4 salted herring
2 potatoes
2 red onions
1 1/2 cups cream
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 3/4 tbsp butter
Ground white or black pepper

-Soak filleted (1/2 inch) herring 10-12 hours. Drain
-Peel potatoes and cut in thin slices
-Peel onions and cut in thin slices
In a heat-resistant dish-
-Put in a layer of potatoes and season with pepper, etc.
-put in a layer if herring, season
-put in another layer of potatoes, season
-put in cream until approx. 1 inch from the top
-put on the breadcrumbs
-spread little lumps of butter on top
-put in 400 F. oven for about 40 minutes (until top is brown)

My recipe says- Best served with ice cold Aquavit! Any good very dry white wine will do.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Tatties and Herrin
From: GUEST,Red Mann
Date: 22 Nov 14 - 01:06 AM

I was stationed in Thurso, Scotland from 1965 to 1967. They had their own version of Tatties n Herrin. These are the words, with an attempt at dialect, as best I can remember.

Tatties n Herrin

The King came for fowlk tae fight the foe
It was not tae Week or tae Lybster did go
But he came up tae Thirsa for the brave and the darin
For the lads that were broucht up on Tatties n Herrin

Chorus
Tatties n herrin, Murkle Bay herrin
For the lads that were broucht up on Tatties n Herrin

Ye auld fisher fowlk ye ken them weel
On Saturday nichts they are drinkin their fill
On Sundays and Mondays they're nae muckle carin
For the rest of the week they're on Tatties and Herrin

Chorus.

The air was vaguely similar and the first verse seems to be based on part of the versions of the original.
Thirsa = Thurso
Murkle Bay is a local bay.
Week = Wick


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