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Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You

DigiTrad:
BONNIE LASSIE-O (The Shearing's Nae For You) 2
O, THE SHEARING'S NOT FOR YOU
THE SHEARIN'S NAE FOR YOU, MY BONNIE LASSIE O


Related threads:
Lyr Req: The Shearing's Not for You (26)
Lyr/Chords req: Shearing's not for you... (2) (closed)
Lyr Req: The Shearing's Not for You (10)
Lyr Req: The Shearin's Nae For You (3)


millie 30 Mar 03 - 10:50 AM
DMcG 30 Mar 03 - 10:56 AM
GUEST 30 Mar 03 - 11:33 AM
Marje 30 Mar 03 - 12:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Mar 03 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,Keith A o Hertford working 31 Mar 03 - 02:15 AM
Willie-O 31 Mar 03 - 11:19 AM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Mar 03 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,Mac Tattie 31 Mar 03 - 01:07 PM
millie 31 Mar 03 - 03:45 PM
Barry Finn 31 Mar 03 - 05:59 PM
lamarca 31 Mar 03 - 06:07 PM
DonMeixner 31 Mar 03 - 06:08 PM
Bronzewing 09 Mar 06 - 03:58 AM
Bat Goddess 09 Mar 06 - 08:01 AM
Jay777 17 Jul 08 - 01:05 PM
Willie-O 17 Jul 08 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Jul 08 - 01:35 PM
Barry Finn 17 Jul 08 - 01:40 PM
Jay777 17 Jul 08 - 02:03 PM
Barry Finn 17 Jul 08 - 02:11 PM
Jack Blandiver 17 Jul 08 - 02:29 PM
Jay777 17 Jul 08 - 03:10 PM
Amos 17 Jul 08 - 03:19 PM
Barry Finn 17 Jul 08 - 11:48 PM
Jim Lad 18 Jul 08 - 03:19 AM
Jim I 18 Jul 08 - 09:17 AM
Jim Dixon 30 Mar 09 - 11:16 PM
GUEST,nic 07 Jun 09 - 04:19 AM
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Subject: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: millie
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 10:50 AM

I know that the lyrics for this are listed under Mudcat, but I wondered if anybody knows the story behind it. The shearing appears to be sheep shearing because her back wont bend, but where do the troops come into it? One lins says the troops do march away and he's obviously going? Was the shearing a war? Please help


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: DMcG
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 10:56 AM

The notes in the DT talk about a rape. I don't think there's much doubt that the girl is pregnant by one of the departing soldiers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 11:33 AM

The song appeared in chapbooks in northern England (Yorkshire and Northumberland) about 1800, but usually with a slightly defective text.


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Marje
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 12:28 PM

She can't take part in the sheep-shearing because she's pregnant. Some verses suggest that she had sex against her will. The man is a soldier, who is leaving her to go back to his regiment, so that's why the departure of the troops is mentioned.


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 02:21 PM

Nothing to do with shearing sheep.

As I understand it, the word is really "sharing" - the cooperative farming process in her part of the world. She's not on for hard manual labour right now, because she's well on in pregnancy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: GUEST,Keith A o Hertford working
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 02:15 AM

The shearing is indeed the harvest.
Belly overfull,
Keith.


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Willie-O
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 11:19 AM

Well, the sheep shearing is part of that process, ennit? And requires bending and sheep wrasslin and all that good stuff.

If you want to look at it from a sociological viewpoint, it's someone telling the lass that she's not going to the shearing, or the sharing, or any other social gathering, mostly cause people will talk about her shameful condition. Pregnant women always have done whatever physical work they needed to do, it's not like they're not capable. And there's all kinds of tasks needing doing at any such get-together, some more physically strenuous than others.

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 11:49 AM

I don't think that's the time of year they'd be shearing sheep.


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: GUEST,Mac Tattie
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 01:07 PM

The shearing is the cutting ,binding and stacking of wheat, barly or oats. See also "The Band Of Shearers" and "Johnny Sangster". Sheep were clipped.
   Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: millie
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 03:45 PM

Many thanks for all your help, appreciate it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Barry Finn
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 05:59 PM

There was an old thread on this song way back in time, interesting too. Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: lamarca
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 06:07 PM

Leaboy's Lassie contains a similar reference to shearing -

"Oh, my back is sair,
Frae shearin' Craigie's corn..."

describing the backbreaking work of bending down to cut the grain by hand, a task that would be impossible if you were going on 7-9 months pregnant...hence, "The shearin's nae for you..."


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: DonMeixner
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 06:08 PM

Seamus Kennedy does a grand job of this song on one of his CDs.
But then he does a grand job of everything on all his CDs.

Don


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Bronzewing
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 03:58 AM

Does anyone know another version of this song including the words
'tak the buckle frae yer shoe'
'


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 08:01 AM

The 'tak the buckle frae yer shoe' verses are included (usually in versions leaving out the "where ye said ye would me kill if ya didna hae your will" and "I'll no kill you deid/I'll marry you with speed" verses) in some recorded versions of the song. I think they are another, though related song. I first ran into them in a '60s (maybe '70s) recording of the Fisher Family that married two fragments -- "What's Poor Mary Weeping For" and "Tak the Buckles From Your Shoes" etc.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Jay777
Date: 17 Jul 08 - 01:05 PM

Still a newbie, so apologies for resurrecting old threads- they're new to me!

My late father collated hundreds of song lyrics, many from the 1940s, most handwritten or typed by him from listening to the radio. However, his copy of The Shearing's Not for You (lyrics and music), appears to be a photocopy of pages 104 & 105 of a book- but I don't know which book!

The notes at the end say:

This song, with its fine melody, was rewritten early last century {the 1800s, presumably} by Thomas Lyle as a highflown song beginning "Let us haste to Kelvingrove, bonnie lassie o", and since then it has been widely known as Kelvingrove. The present text contains probably the greater part of the original song collated from two early 19th-century York broadsides (both of which are, however, garbled in places); but the first stanza may have been added by the printer, since there are indications that the song began with the title-line originally. The tune is a modified version of the one published in Smith's Scottish Minstral with Lyle's rewrite.

Incidentally, it has "Your back it winna bow" (not bou as in some versions I've seen): bow as in bend, but dad always pronounced it boo when he sang it. I can provide all the lyrics of this published version, if anyone's interested.


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Willie-O
Date: 17 Jul 08 - 01:24 PM

Feel free to dig up old music threads Jay, that's why they're still accessible. I'd be curious to see your lyrics, I'm wondering if they're the same as sung by the Tannahill Weavers, the only recorded version I've heard.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Jul 08 - 01:35 PM

Here are the words to the Kelvin Grove song. It sounds like this song is the first appearance of the tune.

They make a good song if you scrape off some of the frosting.

Let us haste to Kelvin Grove, bonnie lassie, O
Thro' its mazes let us rove, bonnie lassie, O
Where the roses in their pride
Deck the bonnie dingle side
Where the midnight fairies glide, bonnie lassie, O.

Let us wander by the mill, bonnie lassie, O
To the cove beside the rill, bonnie lassie, O
Where the glens rebound the call
Of the roaring waters' fall
Thro' the mountains rocky hall, bonnie lassie, O.

Oh, Kelvin banks are fair, bonnie lassie, O
When the summer we are there, bonnie lassie, O
There the Maypink's crimson plume
Throws a soft but sweet perfume
Round the yellow banks o' broom, bonnie lassie, O.

Tho' I dare not call thee mine, bonnie lassie, O
As the smile of fortune's thine, bonnie lassie, O
Yet with fortune on my side
I could stay thy father's pride
And win thee for my bride, bonnie lassie, O.

But the frowns of fortune lour, bonnie lassie, O
On thy lover at this hour, bonnie lassie, O
Ere you golden orb of day
Wake the warblers on the spray
From this land I must away, bonnie lassie, O.

Then farewell to Kelvin Grove, bonnie lassie, O
And adieu to all I love, bonnie lassie, O
To the river winding clear
To the fragrant scented brier
Even to thee of all most dear, bonnie lassie, O.

When upon a foreign shore, bonnie lassie, O
Should I fall midst battle's roar, bonnie lassie, O
Then, Helen, should'st thou hear
Of thy lover on his bier
To his memory shed a tear, bonnie lassie, O.


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Barry Finn
Date: 17 Jul 08 - 01:40 PM

Hi Jay77

I would love to see the lyrics that your father had collected too. I love the song, it's got quite a beautiful melody. There's been a bit of discussion on this in the past. I believe the rape verses have been covered along with the "buckles on the shoe" & "dancing" & the "frock for your lad" verses have also been covered. Would love to haer more though if you can add to what's already been put forth.
Thanks
Barry


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Subject: Lyr Add - The Shearing's Not For You
From: Jay777
Date: 17 Jul 08 - 02:03 PM

THE SHEARING'S NOT FOR YOU
(As rewritten by Thomas Lyle in the 19th century.)

It was in the month of May my bonny lassie o (X2)
It was in the month of May
When the flowers they were gay
And the lambs did sport and play, my bonny lassie o

CHORUS:
O the shearing's not for you, my bonny lassie o
No the shearing's not for you, my bonny lassie o
The shearing's not for you
For your back it winna bow
And your belly's rolling fu', my bonny lassie o

Don't you mind on yonder hill, my bonnie laddie o (X2)
Don't you mind on yonder hill
When you swore you would me kill
If you did not get your will, my bonny laddie o

Don't you mind the banks of Ayr, my bonny laddie o (X2)
Don't you mind the banks of Ayr
When you drew me in your snare
And you left me in despair, my bonny laddie o

Tis you may kill me dead, my bonny laddie o (X2)
Tis I'll not kill you dead
Nor make your body bleed
Nor marry you with speed, my bonny lassie o

The fifes do sweetly play, my bonny lassie o (X2)
The fifes do sweetly play
And the troops do march away
And it's here I will not stay, my bonny lassie o

CHORUS

(Punctuation, and lack of, exactly as published).

JB


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Barry Finn
Date: 17 Jul 08 - 02:11 PM

Thanks Jay77

Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Jul 08 - 02:29 PM

My favourite version of this right now is Ian McKone's - it's still up at his myspace page http://www.myspace.com/ianmckone. First heard it when he came into one of the Durham Folk Party singarounds a couple of years back and I had tears in my eyes!

Sedayne


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Jay777
Date: 17 Jul 08 - 03:10 PM

No probs, Barry- I'd actually typed them before I saw your post! Dad used to sing me to sleep with it (and songs like Tom Dooley and Hang on the Bell, Nellie- but I never had nightmares!). Not exactly a lullaby, but I've always loved the tune too.

I have about 300 song lyrics (no music, and not all folk by any means) that dad typed out, probably around 1950. I know many of the songs, but there are a lot I don't (and I was brought up with music from the cradle). Might anyone be interested in them? Maybe someone who entertains old folk? I'm in Cornwall, England.


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jul 08 - 03:19 PM

Jay:

Welcome to the Mudcat. Sounds like you have much of value to contribute.


A


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Barry Finn
Date: 17 Jul 08 - 11:48 PM

I sang my kids to that song too Jay, they didn't have nightmares either, they loved the bloody stuff. The only time they cried was when the singing started for them they knew it was bedtime.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Jim Lad
Date: 18 Jul 08 - 03:19 AM

Thanks Jay.
That version goes well with
"She's Like The Swallow".
Think I'll larn it darn it!


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Jim I
Date: 18 Jul 08 - 09:17 AM

Your dad got the xsong from "The Seeds of Love"compiled and edited by Stephen Sedley in assoc with the EFDS, London 1967.


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 11:16 PM

In The Popular Songs of Scotland with Their Appropriate Melodies by George Farquhar Graham, revised by J. Muir Wood (Edinburgh: J. Muir Wood and Co., 1887), the editor says, in a footnote to KELVIN GROVE:

"The original name of the air was, 'O the shearin's no for you,' which was the first line of a song now deservedly forgotten."

[Indeed, I am unable to find any lyrics to this song in old Scottish songbooks digitized by Google.--JD]


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Subject: RE: Origins: O the Shearing's Not For You
From: GUEST,nic
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 04:19 AM

Interesting to see others sing their babies to sleep with this song. I have always used it to sing my son to sleep, and he still asks me to sing it sometimes (he's 10). Like you said, not exactly a lullaby, but something about it. I sing a more tame version of it, the one found on Sheena Wellington's album Strong Women:

http://new.music.yahoo.com/sheena-wellington/albums/strong-women-live-at-nitten-folk-club--98923

I've wondered about the meaning of the line "when I played on your machine." I have a guess about the meaning, but...


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