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Lyr Req: Song of the Fishgutters (Ewan MacColl)

DigiTrad:
SONG OF THE FISH-GUTTERS


Related threads:
Lyr/Tune Req: Alaska Packers Shanty (20)
(origins) Origins: Fish Gutting Lassie (12)
Lyr Req: Fish Guttin' Lassie / The Fisher Lassie (44)


InOBU 05 Feb 02 - 07:09 AM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Feb 02 - 08:46 AM
InOBU 05 Feb 02 - 10:54 AM
Joe Offer 09 Aug 20 - 07:09 PM
Reinhard 10 Aug 20 - 12:04 AM
Joe Offer 10 Aug 20 - 02:05 AM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 10 Aug 20 - 06:06 AM
Tattie Bogle 10 Aug 20 - 08:38 PM
Tattie Bogle 11 Aug 20 - 04:43 PM
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Subject: Another fish gutting song...
From: InOBU
Date: 05 Feb 02 - 07:09 AM

Come all ye bonny lassies, and come awa with me
Fae Carnball, Caipley and fae Inverallachy
Fae Buckie and fae Aberdeen and fae a' the country roon
We're awa' tae gut the herrin', we're awa' tae Yarmouth toon.

That is the one I though our friend wanted, and I was in hopes that someone whould post this song, I heard from Peggy Seeger... Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Another fish gutting song...
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Feb 02 - 08:46 AM

Ewan MacColl's  SONG OF THE FISH-GUTTERS  is in the DT, as several people pointed out in  the other fish-gutting discussion.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Another fish gutting song...
From: InOBU
Date: 05 Feb 02 - 10:54 AM

Thanks Maclom... it was a bit early here in New York and I don't quite have the eyes on yet... PS, thanks for the help and drop me a PM and I will send ya a Sorcha Dorcha CD as a thanks...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song of the Fishgutters (Ewan MacColl)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Aug 20 - 07:09 PM

What's the common name of this melody? I know it as "The Hills of Bennachie," but I'm sure that's not it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song of the Fishgutters (Ewan MacColl)
From: Reinhard
Date: 10 Aug 20 - 12:04 AM

See DT Study: Up Among the Heather


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Subject: DT Corr: Song of the Fishgutters (Ewan MacColl)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Aug 20 - 02:05 AM

Well, let's compare the Digital Tradition lyrics with those in The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook (Oak Publications, 2001 - page 144)

THE FISHGUTTERS'S SONG
(alternate title: Song of the Fishgutters)
Tune: Traditional Scots ("The Back o' Benachie")
(lyrics: Ewan MacColl)


Come, a' ye fisher lassies, aye, it's come awa' wi' me
Fae Cairnbulg and Gamrie and fae Inverallochie;
Fae Buckie and fae Aberdeen an' a' the country roon
We're awa' tae gut the herrin, we're awa' tae Yarmouth toon.

Rise up in the morning wi' your bundles in your hand
Be at the station early or you'll surely hae to stand,
Tak' plenty to eat and a kettle for your tea,
Or you'll mebbe die of hunger on the way to Yarmouth quay.

The journey it's a lang ane yen and it tak's a day or twa,
And when you reach your lodgin', sure it's soond asleep you fa' (you'll fall)
But ye rise at five wi' the sleep still in your e'e
You're awa' tae find the gutting yards along (alang) the Yarmouth quay.

It's early in the morning and it's late into the nicht,
Your hands a' cut and chappit and they look an unco' sicht;
And you greet like a wean when you put them in the bree
And you wish you were a thoosand mile awa' frae Yarmouth quay.

There's coopers there and curers there and buyers, canny chiels
And lassies at the pickling and others at the creels,
And you'll wish the fish had been a' left in the sea
By the time you finish guttin' herrin' (gutting herring) on the Yarmouth quay.

We've gutted fish in Lerwick and in Stornoway and Shields
Warked along the Humber 'mongst the barrels and the creels
Whitby, Grimsby, we've traivelled up and doon,
But the place to see the herrin' is the quay at Yarmouth toon.

@Scottish @work @fish
filename[ FISHGUT
TUNE FILE: FISHGUT
CLICK TO PLAY
CC


Looks like the Digital Tradition text is pretty good. I made a few corrections of OCR mistakes (in BOLD), and alternate wording from the MacColl book in parentheses. And outright corrections are in italics.

Here are the notes from the book, which I assume were written by Peggy Seeger

    THE FISHGUTTERS' SONG (1959, Singing the Fishing)

    Elisabeth and Jane Stweart are Scots travelling women from Fetterangus. When we heard a tape of them in 1959 singing "The Back o' Benachie" with a bouncy piano accompaniment it was so beguiling that Ewan wrote a whole new set of words to the tune and asked them to come down and record it for Singing for the Fishing. We were recording in Birmingham and it was the first time either of them had ever been on a train or indeed been out of Scotland! Their exuberance and cheer dominated the whole fortnight of recording.

    The fisherwomen followed the boats along the coast. They would be away from home the whole season.

So it WAS "Hills of Bennachie" that was the source of the melody. Thanks, Reinhard.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song of the Fishgutters (Ewan MacColl)
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 10 Aug 20 - 06:06 AM

There's a lovely video of the song by Ray and Cilla Fisher here


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Song of the Fishgutters (Ewan MacColl)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 10 Aug 20 - 08:38 PM

Yes, I remember Elizabeth Stewart playing (on the piano again) and singing the original song and tune about Bennachie at Girvan Folk Festival a few years ago, and mentioning that this was the tune that Ewan McColl used for the Fishgutters song.
The BACK o' Bennachie is a very different song and tune.


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Subject: ADD Version: Up Amang the Heather
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 11 Aug 20 - 04:43 PM

Here are the words of the song that Elizabeth Stewart sings: actual title "Up Amang the Heather": (Copied from the excellent "mainly Norfolk" website)- this being the one whose tune Ewan McColl used for the Fishgutters' Song.

UP AMANG THE HEATHER

Chorus (after each verse):
It's up among the heather on the hill o Bennachie
Twas there I met a bonnie lassie kilted tae the knee
When a bumbee stung me richt below the knee
And we baith gaed haem a-murnin fae the hill o Bennachie.

Said I tae my lassie, Whaur are ye gaun tae spend the day?
Oh I'm gaun tae spend the day on the hill o Bennachie
Whaur the lads and the lassies they aa sit sae free
Amongst the bloomin heather on the hill o Bennachie.

As I wis a-walkin on the hill o Bennachie
Twas there I sat a bonnie lassie sitting on ma knee
I took her and whurled her and aye she said tae me,
O Jock we'll ging a-wanderin on the hill o Bennachie.

Said I tae my lassie, Will you tak my advice?
Never let a sodger laddie kiss ye mair than twice
For aa the time he's kissin ye he's makin up a plan
For tae hae anither rattle at yer aul tin can.

It is interesting too that some people sing the song in 4/4 timing (as in that video of Ray and Cilla) and some do it in 6/8 jig time.


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