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Lyr Add: Aikey Brae

Wolfgang 24 Jun 01 - 04:55 AM
Wolfgang 24 Jun 01 - 04:58 AM
Sorcha 24 Jun 01 - 04:05 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Jun 01 - 04:41 PM
Wolfgang 25 Jun 01 - 03:37 AM
Joe Offer 18 Jan 07 - 03:12 PM
The Villan 18 Jan 07 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,Helen 27 Feb 07 - 10:26 AM
Mr Happy 27 Feb 07 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Thomas Laurie 29 Jun 14 - 11:10 AM
GUEST 29 Jun 14 - 11:20 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: AIKEY BRAE (George Morris)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 24 Jun 01 - 04:55 AM

I often considered asking the Forum for the lyrics to this song for I just can't transcribe the McCalmans' singing from whom I know this song. Now I've found it by chance here and might as well answer my unasked question.

(George Morris)

(As sung at the King's Head folk club, Islington, North London, on 15.4.70. Recorded by Rod Stradling [RS:1970. DAT9]. Roud 2500).

On a Sunday mornin fair,
The sun was bricht, the sky was clear;
Three pals o' mine they did appear,
And says, "We'll gang tae Aikey."
Says I, "I'll be there, niver fear,
I'll buy ye aa a bottle o' beer,
For I'm sellin the clip [colt] and the auld grey meer [mare]
On Wednesday first at Aikey Brae."

Akey Brae, Aikey Brae,
There's been a horse market for mony a day,
But listen and hear what I hiv tae say,
On the day we gaed tae Aikey.

Says Jock, "Man, Tam, we come ower the day,
Tae tak ye ower tae Aikey Brae,
On Wednesday we may be far away,
So this day we'll gang tae Aikey.
They wudna hear o' no denial,
So I shifted [changed] my claes and I scrapit [washed] ma dial,
An a claurted [smeared] ma heid wi the laddies hair ile,
An awa we gaed tae Aikey Brae.

Aikey Brae, Aikey Brae,
Awa we gaed on the Sabbath day
The sichts that I saw nearly turned ma hair grey,
On the day we gaed tae Aikey.

There wis motor cars and charabancs,
Daker gigs [a small pony gig] and caravans,
Auld folks wi Fordies and bairns wi prams,
Aa on the road tae Aikey.
Noo when I landed at the Brae,
I stood and glowert in great dismay,
I said, "Is this the Sabbath day?"
The day we gaed tae Aikey Brae.

Aikey Brae, Aikey Brae,
There's been a horse market for mony a day,
But if ever I ging back it'll be aa I wad dae,
If ever I gang tae Aikey.

This is typical of the later bothy ballads or cornkisters, in this case written by the famous George Morris, who recorded the song on a 78rpm disc (Beltona 2235) in the 1930s. George Morris had a hotel in Oldmeldrum and he and his brother-in-law, Willie Kemp, wrote many such songs which managed to catch the atmosphere of life on the north east fairm touns. Use of the broad Buchan Scots dialect (or Doric) was an integral part of this later idiom. Maggie McPhee of Macduff, Banffshire, also sang it, as published in the Folk Music Journal 3:1 (1975) p.53 as Aikey Fair- and she claimed to have written it herself. Jimmy McBeath also sang it, and these are the only two entries in Roud.

The horse fair at Aikey Brae, two miles south of Maud between New Deer and Auld Deer in the heart of the Buchan countryside, had been held once a year on a Wednesday in July since the mid 1800s, and a fair with rides and stalls had been held on the Sunday before it since the early 1900s. The last real horse fair at Aikey took place in 1946.

This song is nothing to do with the other song called Aikey Fair (Roud 167) which appears in Greig-Duncan and is in fact a 'localised' version of The Butcher and the Chambermaid.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Aikey Brae
From: Wolfgang
Date: 24 Jun 01 - 04:58 AM

And here's a picture to go with the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Aikey Brae
From: Sorcha
Date: 24 Jun 01 - 04:05 PM

Oh thank goodness! I was sure this was going to be a request for Achey Breaky from somebody who can't spell.....whew. What a relief, (grin)

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Subject: Lyr Add: AIKEY FAIR (from M MacPhee of Macduff)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Jun 01 - 04:41 PM

I'm glad to be reminded about Daisy Chapman's record, as I've been meaning to buy a copy for some time.  Here is Maggie MacPhee's very different version:


(As sung by Maggie MacPhee of Macduff)

It was on a day o' Aikey Fair,
When a' the hawkers they were there,
Tae sell their cars and buy some mair,
In bonny Aikey Fair.

Oh, the first come in was Jamieson,
And he was steppin' tae his chin,
Wi' an aul' black car that he cam in,
In bonny Aikey Fair.

Oh, the next come in was Jock Munro,
Wi' his aul' lorry that widna go,
He should o' selled it lang ago,
In bonny Aikey Fair.

Oh, there was McDonalds on the green,
Some was dirty and some was clean,
And sic a mess I never seen,
In bonny Aikey Fair.

For the next come in was Jimmy White,
He stripped his jacket and wanted a fight,
And someone kicked him across a dyke,
In bonny Aikey Fair.

For there were heilan' Stewarts, fae Inverness;
The Buchan Stewarts, they tried their best,
They took a drappie wi' the rest,
In bonny Aikey Fair.

For aul' Wick was there himsel',
You'd think that he cam oot o' hell,
He cursed and swore, and started to yell,
In bonny Aikey Fair. *

It was on a Sunday afternoon,
When Aikey Fair was upsidedoon,
There was kickin' and slappin' a' aroon,
In bonny Aikey Fair.

For uncle Henry he was there,
Wi' his sister Sally, withoot the hair.
I looked at her and said nae mair,
ln bonny Aikey Fair.

The next come in was Donald McPhee
He was so drunk, he couldna see,
He had a bairnie on his knee,
In bonny Aikey Fair.

*  (That was my man -laughter!)

Text as given in Peter A. Hall's article Scottish Tinker Songs (Folk Music Journal, vol.3 no.1, 1975: Music of the Travelling People).  The tune was not given, as the song was considered to be a sub-set of The Moss O' Burreldale, a traditional version of which was included in the article with its tune; Maggie MacPhee sang her song "to substantially the same air".  Rod Stradling is perhaps a little unkind to say baldly that "she claimed to have written it herself"; perhaps I should quote Peter Hall's remarks:

"Maggie MacPhee of Macduff is one of those singers who impress their own creative personality upon the songs and as well as composing complete pieces a large number of her traditional songs have been remodelled.  It says much for her skill and perfect feel for the tradition that it is virtually impossible to detect her contributions, indeed she herself finds it difficult to remember those parts that are of her own making... "

Her words are so different from those of Daisy Chapman's set that a claim to composition might well be justified; perhaps Rod didn't look up the article.  At this point, things get a bit confusing.  Rod Stradling credits George Morris as writer, and refers to a specific recording; the Beltona Discography isn't available yet, so I can't add to that, though it should be noted that Peter Hall also refers to a recording (in this case by Willie Kemp, and probably also on Beltona) as the source for the version of The Moss O' Burreldale later recorded by Jimmy MacBeath (Wild Rover No More, Topic Records 12T173, 1967).  This song was indeed written by George Morris, though he based it on a traditional song, a version of which Hall quotes; it is a quite different text from Morris's.  We actually seem to be looking at four distinct, though closely related songs here; The Moss O' Burreldale, a traditional song and a rewrite by George Morris, quickly taken up by traditional singers such as Jimmy MacBeath and Davie Stewart; Aikey Brae, a song written by George Morris and possibly based on a traditional predecessor such as Moss; and Aikey Fair as sung by Ms. MacPhee, which could be based on any, or none, of the preceding!

I've made a midi from the notation given with the traditional set of The Moss O' Burreldale referred to above; until it gets to the  Mudcat Midi Pages,  it can be heard via the  South Riding Folk Network site:

The Moss O' Burreldale/ Aikey Fair


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Aikey Brae
From: Wolfgang
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 03:37 AM

Thanks, Malcolm, not only for the song but also for the correcting remarks.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Aikey Brae
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 03:12 PM

This thread was inundated by Spam, so I moved all the non-Spam messages to a "clean" thread.
Interesting discussion, so I thought I'd refresh it.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Aikey Brae
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 03:31 PM

Cilla Fisher & Artie Trazize recorded Aikey Brae many many years ago. I loved their version

I wonder if they can help. They don't go out to folk clubs anymore becuase they are more involved in a wonderful childrens programme called Singing Kettle

Cilla Fisher and Artie Trezise are now-a-days better known, along with Garry Coupland and Jane Trezise, for their "Singing Kettle" series of shows. During the Seventies they released several LPs and were popular guests around the clubs and festivals. "Cilla & Artie" was in fact, "The Melody Maker Folk Album of the Year - 1979".

Here is contact info for Singing Kettle

The Singing Kettle, Post House, 26, Main Street, KINGSKETTLE, Fife, KY15 7PN

TEL: 01337 831121 FAX: 01337 831374 E MAIL:

You never know you might get some help there from Cilla or Artie

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Aikey Brae
From: GUEST,Helen
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 10:26 AM

Interesting - I think the last chorus is actually "I'll ging back to the market, but on a weekday, if ever I gang to Aikey" (i.e. for the Wednesday fair, not the Sunday one).

Also, I think "scrapit my dial" actually means "shaved" rather than washed, but I'm not sure.

There is another verse, but I don't know the whole of it - there are lines in it to the effect of "There were Scots wha hinna, and Scots wha hae", a pun on the Burns song of course, but the full words are buried on a PVC LP of my father's I don't at the moment have equipment to play.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Aikey Brae
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 10:34 AM

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Aikey Brae
From: GUEST,Thomas Laurie
Date: 29 Jun 14 - 11:10 AM

The version sang by Robbie Shepherd, track 3 on "The Aucthermuchty Ceilidh" (available to download from a number of online mp3 retailers - but watch the Amazon one which at the time of writing has a jump in the track) is almost identical to the first one above, other than minor word changes, and these two short verses at the end instead of the one shown;

At Aikey Brae Aikey Brae,
There was scots wha hinnae and scots wha hae
The sound was enough to put hens aff their lay,
On the day we gaed to Aikey

Aikey Brae Aikey Brae,
What the de'il would their forefathers say?
If they could arise fae aneath the clay
And hae a Sunday at Aikey
And hae a Sunday at Aike

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Aikey Brae
Date: 29 Jun 14 - 11:20 AM

Aikey Braeky ???

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