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Origins: Tramps and Hawkers

DigiTrad:
THE ROSE OF THE SAN JOAQUIN
TRAMPS AND HAWKERS


Related threads:
QUERY Re Tramps & Hawkers tune usage (21)
Chord Req: tramps & hawkers, ringer/russell vs tra (10)
Tune Req: Dots wanted for Tramps and Hawkers (3) (closed)
Tune Req: Tramps and Hawkers (8)


Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland 03 Nov 06 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 03 Nov 06 - 08:33 AM
oldhippie 03 Nov 06 - 08:36 AM
Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland 03 Nov 06 - 08:39 AM
Jeri 03 Nov 06 - 09:07 AM
Keith A of Hertford 03 Nov 06 - 09:34 AM
Scoville 03 Nov 06 - 09:39 AM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Nov 06 - 09:55 AM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Nov 06 - 09:56 AM
Scotus 03 Nov 06 - 10:51 AM
GUEST 04 Nov 06 - 10:47 AM
Scotus 04 Nov 06 - 01:38 PM
Little Robyn 04 Nov 06 - 02:18 PM
Charmion 04 Nov 06 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,beachcomber 04 Nov 06 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 04 Nov 06 - 03:31 PM
oldhippie 04 Nov 06 - 08:36 PM
GUEST,Boab 05 Nov 06 - 02:39 AM
Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland 05 Nov 06 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,Dr Price 05 Nov 06 - 12:17 PM
Charmion 05 Nov 06 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,thurg 05 Nov 06 - 01:16 PM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Nov 06 - 03:36 PM
The Sandman 05 Nov 06 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,thurg 05 Nov 06 - 04:01 PM
MartinRyan 05 Nov 06 - 05:11 PM
The Sandman 06 Nov 06 - 02:18 AM
Fliss 06 Nov 06 - 05:25 PM
The Sandman 07 Nov 06 - 07:02 AM
Tootler 07 Nov 06 - 07:19 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Nov 06 - 09:42 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 08 Nov 06 - 01:31 AM
The Sandman 08 Nov 06 - 04:33 AM
Scrump 08 Nov 06 - 04:54 AM
ard mhacha 08 Nov 06 - 05:17 AM
Scrump 08 Nov 06 - 05:32 AM
ard mhacha 08 Nov 06 - 06:11 AM
Tootler 08 Nov 06 - 06:53 PM
Fliss 09 Nov 06 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,Guest, Big Tim 09 Nov 06 - 11:27 AM
Tootler 09 Nov 06 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Guest, Big Tim 10 Nov 06 - 11:46 AM
Scrump 10 Nov 06 - 12:25 PM
Jim McLean 10 Nov 06 - 05:31 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Nov 06 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,Guest, Big Tim 11 Nov 06 - 04:57 AM
The Sandman 11 Nov 06 - 10:59 AM
Effsee 11 Nov 06 - 12:59 PM
Jim McLean 11 Nov 06 - 04:47 PM
GUEST,Guest, Big Tim 12 Nov 06 - 04:40 AM
Effsee 12 Nov 06 - 10:00 AM
Effsee 12 Nov 06 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,Guest, Big Tim 12 Nov 06 - 11:53 AM
C. Ham 12 Nov 06 - 03:00 PM
Big Tim 14 Feb 07 - 09:48 AM
Scrump 14 Feb 07 - 11:13 AM
Big Tim 14 Feb 07 - 11:20 AM
Scrump 14 Feb 07 - 11:40 AM
bubblyrat 14 Feb 07 - 08:26 PM
Malcolm Douglas 14 Feb 07 - 09:56 PM
Scotus 14 Feb 07 - 10:12 PM
Dave Hunt 14 Feb 07 - 10:54 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 14 Feb 07 - 11:41 PM
Big Tim 15 Feb 07 - 04:48 AM
Scrump 15 Feb 07 - 07:54 AM
bubblyrat 15 Feb 07 - 10:58 AM
Scrump 15 Feb 07 - 11:00 AM
Deskjet 15 Feb 07 - 11:08 AM
Tootler 15 Feb 07 - 08:22 PM
akenaton 16 Feb 07 - 06:58 PM
dick greenhaus 16 Feb 07 - 07:22 PM
GUEST, Molly Mck 25 Feb 07 - 09:06 AM
John MacKenzie 25 Feb 07 - 09:34 AM
Jim I 26 Feb 07 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,ib48 27 Feb 07 - 06:12 AM
Keith A of Hertford 27 Feb 07 - 06:20 AM
Big Tim 27 Feb 07 - 11:10 AM
Tattie Bogle 27 Feb 07 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,Molly 28 Feb 07 - 06:09 AM
Lighter 28 Feb 07 - 07:43 AM
Big Tim 28 Feb 07 - 08:23 AM
Wheatman 28 Feb 07 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Hector Gilchrist 28 Feb 07 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Molly 01 Mar 07 - 12:02 PM
Big Tim 02 Mar 07 - 01:00 AM
quokka 17 Apr 08 - 11:55 PM
Seamus Kennedy 18 Apr 08 - 12:05 AM
Moleskin Joe 18 Apr 08 - 07:07 AM
Midchuck 18 Apr 08 - 07:21 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 18 Apr 08 - 07:33 AM
quokka 18 Apr 08 - 08:03 AM
GUEST,Pete Campbell 19 Jul 08 - 11:31 PM
Dave Hanson 20 Jul 08 - 02:12 AM
van lingle 20 Jul 08 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 20 Jul 08 - 05:18 AM
Tattie Bogle 20 Jul 08 - 04:42 PM
GUEST 20 Jul 08 - 08:54 PM
van lingle 20 Jul 08 - 09:01 PM
Big Tim 21 Jul 08 - 06:13 AM
Leadfingers 21 Jul 08 - 06:29 AM
Leadfingers 21 Jul 08 - 06:30 AM
Big Tim 21 Jul 08 - 06:35 AM
kendall 21 Jul 08 - 06:48 AM
Leadfingers 21 Jul 08 - 09:26 AM
Leadfingers 21 Jul 08 - 09:27 AM
Effsee 21 Jul 08 - 10:09 AM
curmudgeon 21 Jul 08 - 11:20 AM
Leadfingers 21 Jul 08 - 12:58 PM
kendall 21 Jul 08 - 01:55 PM
Susan of DT 22 Jul 08 - 06:38 AM
Teribus 22 Jul 08 - 06:52 AM
GUEST 02 Sep 08 - 10:29 PM
Jack Blandiver 03 Sep 08 - 04:30 AM
GUEST 05 Sep 09 - 03:14 AM
BobKnight 05 Sep 09 - 06:54 AM
GUEST 29 Jun 11 - 12:14 PM
GUEST 29 Jun 11 - 01:08 PM
GUEST 29 Jun 11 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Guest 16 Sep 11 - 07:11 PM
mayomick 17 Sep 11 - 08:24 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 17 Sep 11 - 09:24 AM
dick greenhaus 17 Sep 11 - 11:25 AM
mayomick 17 Sep 11 - 01:49 PM
GUEST 04 Jan 12 - 06:27 PM
Jim McLean 06 Jan 12 - 09:23 AM
wayfarer 08 Jan 12 - 11:13 PM
mayomick 09 Jan 12 - 02:41 PM
wayfarer 13 Jan 12 - 10:21 PM
mayomick 14 Jan 12 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,Margaret 15 Jan 12 - 03:11 PM
BobKnight 15 Jan 12 - 03:36 PM
Vin2 16 Jan 12 - 07:56 AM
ollaimh 16 Jan 12 - 05:19 PM
wayfarer 18 Jan 12 - 10:41 AM
GUEST 18 Jan 12 - 11:10 AM
BobKnight 18 Jan 12 - 11:24 AM
wayfarer 18 Jan 12 - 11:43 AM
susanc 23 Jan 12 - 09:02 PM
GUEST,GrowlinGraham 27 Aug 12 - 06:19 PM
GUEST 27 Aug 12 - 10:42 PM
BobKnight 28 Aug 12 - 06:24 AM
GUEST 12 Feb 13 - 01:59 PM
Richard Mellish 14 Feb 13 - 06:23 PM
BobKnight 14 Feb 13 - 08:20 PM
GUEST 09 Dec 13 - 07:08 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Dec 13 - 05:10 PM
Richard Mellish 10 Dec 13 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,gutcher 10 Dec 13 - 05:56 PM
BobKnight 10 Dec 13 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 10 Dec 13 - 06:57 PM
Bob the Postman 11 Dec 13 - 12:59 PM
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Subject: tramps and hawkers
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 08:25 AM

I been wondering that the person that wrote and sang this song tramps and hawkers, if they ever did write a song about Ireland.

Tom


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 08:33 AM

I think you'll find this is usually attributed to Traditional or Public Domain. The meoldy is certainly well used. I've used it myself on a recording and it was listed as melody Trad.

The words I don't know about. Seamus Kennedy has a vast knowledge of these songs. Perhaps he'll chime in.

Don


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: oldhippie
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 08:36 AM

Which song, by Barry Taylor.....

O come a' ye tramps and hawker-lads
an' gaitherers o' bla'
That tramp the country roun' and roun',
come listen one and a'
I'll tell tae ye a rovin' tale,
an' places I hae been
Far up into the snowy north,
or sooth by Gretna Green.

I've seen the high Ben Nevis
that gangs towerin' tae the moon
I've been roun' by Crieff an' Callander
an' by Bonny Doon
I've been by Nethy's silvery tide
an' places ill tae ken
Far up into the stormy north
lies Urquart's fairy glen

Sometimes noo I laugh tae mysel'
when dodgin' alang the road
Wi' a bag o' meal slung upon my back,
my face as broun's a toad
Wi' lumps o'cheese and tattie-scones
or breid an' braxie ham
Nae thinking whar' I'm comin' frae
nor thinkin' whar I'm gang.

I'm happy in the summer-time
beneath the dark blue sky
Nae thinkin' in the mornin'
at nicht where i'm gang to lie
Bothies or byres or barns,
or oot amangst the hay
And if the weather does permit,
I'm happy a' the day.

Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond,
they've oft been seen by me
The Dee, the Don, the Devron,
that a' flows tae the sea
Dunrobin Castle, by the way,
I nearly had forgot
And the reckless stanes o'cairn
that mairks the hoose o' John
o' Groat.

I've been by bonny Gallowa',
an' often roun' Stranraer
My business leads me anywhere,
I travel near an' far
I've got that rovin' notion
I wouldna like tae loss
For It's my daily fare
an' as much'll pay my doss.

I think I'll gang tae Paddy's Lan',
I'm makin' up my mind
For Scotland's greatly altered noo,
I canna raise the wind
But if I can trust in Providence,
if Providence should prove true
I'll sing ye's a' of Erin's Isle
when I come back to you.

or Jim Ringer.....on "The Bramble and The Rose" with Mary McCaslin?


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 08:39 AM

Thankyou for the words, however I wanted to know if the person that wrote the song, did they ever write a song about Ireland as well as they say in the song, 'I'll sing ye's a' of Erin's Isle
when I come back to you.' that's the bit I want to know, but thanks anyway for the imformation.

Tom


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 09:07 AM

Tom, no one knows who wrote Tramps and Hawkers - it's VERY old. There have been lots of songs written using the same tune, though, so someone may have continued the story.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 09:34 AM

Ireland has a long history.
It must have a song or two.
Perhaps the author had one in mind.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Scoville
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 09:39 AM

I used to have a Battlefield Band version of that somewhere. Wasn't the tune the same as the one used for "Lakes of Pontchartrain"/"Wind that Shake the Corn"?


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 09:55 AM


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 09:56 AM

So far as I know, the earliest examples of the song that we have are from the early 20th century; these appear in the Greig-Duncan collection. In 1960, MacColl & Seeger (Singing Island) printed a 4-verse set from Mary Brookbank.

The text "oldhippie" quotes is from Davy Stewart, who said that he'd learned it from another traveller by the name of "Thumby" Mathieson (Kennedy, Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, 789). The same version appears in the DT as TRAMPS AND HAWKERS; no traditional source is named. It has been widely recorded by Revival performers, to the extent that that particular version is probably now the norm, replacing the "scores of versions" that MacColl stated were current as late as the mid 20th century.

Nobody, so far as can be told, knows who wrote it; and it seems likely that more than one person has added verses over the years. MacColl again: "... there are few districts of Scotland which are not mentioned" [in one version or another]. I wouldn't think it particularly old, but it is sung to a tune that goes back further and has been used for a lot of songs over the years. More details are in earlier discussions on the song.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Scotus
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 10:51 AM

One of the older uses of the tune is for the ballad 'Captain Wedderburn's Courtship' - I'm sure Malcolm could give other (perhaps older) examples.

Jack


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 10:47 AM

The late Jim Ringer, a California singer who performed with his wife Mary McCaslin, covered the song years ago. She's still around, by the way, and sounding great.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Scotus
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 01:38 PM

More recently, of course, there's that lovely 'spin-off' from Tramps and Hawkers called The Rose of the San Joaquin.

Jack


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Little Robyn
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 02:18 PM

Then there's Jimmy Miller's song using the same tune.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Charmion
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 02:30 PM

What I have always wanted to know about this song is this: What in blazes is "bla" and how does one gather it?


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,beachcomber
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 02:57 PM

One of the first Vinyl LPs I bought , when I earned my first real wage, was one of Robin Hall & Jimmie McGregor (with "The Galliards"). The two lads sang a lovely version of "Tramps and Hawkers" on it.
BTW I understand that Robin is departed this life but, I've not heard anything of Jimmie for years now ?


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 03:31 PM

Jimmie is alive and well and living in Glasgow.

I believe Jim Ringer's song by this name is the "Rose of the San Joaquin"


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: oldhippie
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 08:36 PM

Also on Dave Alvin's new CD, "West of the West"


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 02:39 AM

A nice song to the same tune--"Peggy of Greenlaw".


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 06:50 AM

thanks

Tom


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Dr Price
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 12:17 PM

"What in blazes is "bla" and how does one gather it?"

Could it be the French-influenced ble (flour/corn?) France certainly courted Scotland.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Charmion
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 01:13 PM

Blé is wheat (corn in Britain), not flour -- that's farine.

Thanks, Dr. Price; that's not only highly possible, it's also as close to an explanation as I've ever had -- and I first learned this song some 35 years ago.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 01:16 PM

As I recall, a note to the song in a collection called The Scottish Folksinger gave "wheat" as the translation.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 03:36 PM

The set in Buchan & Hall, The Scottish Folksinger was from Jimmy McBeath; very close indeed to Davy Stewart's. The word is glossed as 'meal', and the editors add "Often attributed to Besom Jimmy, an Angus hawker of the last [ie 19th] century."

There are some further useful comments, quoted mostly from Hamish Henderson, at http://mysongbook.de/msb/songs/c/comeally.html.

The attribution to 'Besom Jimmy' may only be anecdotal; but see http://www.banchory.org/cms/index.php?page=local_history for what is apparently a photo of him; if there was not more than one person by that name.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 03:52 PM

Iused to sing this song about thirty years ago,.
Ihad a recollection that when I learned the song there was an explanation for bla[ as flower like bog cotton].So I went to my dictionary.
   Behold blawort[blaewort scots ]the harebell the corn bluebottle.
I am just a humble folk singer , not an academic, so forgive me for intruding.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 04:01 PM

Thanks for the correction, Malcolm. I had had the impression that t The Scottish Folksinger gave an attribution but I didn't bother mentioning it because I have the book packed away somewhere five thousand miles away, and haven't seen it in about twenty years ...


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: MartinRyan
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 05:11 PM

The tune is probably best known in Ireland as "The Homes of Donegal".

Regards


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 02:18 AM

On reflection, Bla could also be Blaeberries,.A berry high in vitamin c and good eating for men of the road, more likely than blawort.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Fliss
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 05:25 PM

I did a trawl about the song. Some versions have...

Oh come all ye tramps and hawker lads ye gatherers oblaw
That tramps the country round and round come listen one and all
(http://www.celtic-lyrics.com/forum/index.php?autocom=tclc&code=lyrics&id=406)

braxie ham (from the argot of the UK travelling people, also "braxy") putrid. In the well-known "Tramps and Hawkers", a "braxie ham" was any type of meat taken from a long-dead animal and purified to some extent by packing it in salt.... uck

I have it on an CD by the Corries.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 07:02 AM

how about the versionfrom a Cork singer, come all you tramps and hawker lads and give your ears a blow.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Tootler
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 07:19 PM

Is it possible that "bla" is an abbreviation for "blether" which means chatter? So a "gatherer of bla" would be a collector of gossip. At least that is how I have always interpreted it.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 09:42 PM

It's the most unlikely suggestion so far (because of linguistic usage), but that doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong. Didn't anybody ever ask Jimmy or Davy what they meant (assuming either of them understood anything in particular by it)?

MacColl (ref above) glossed Mary Brookbank's "ablaw" as "from everywhere", for what that's worth. "Oblaw" (in the uncredited example mentioned by "Fliss" earlier) is probably a mis-hearing of "ablaw" as heard by somebody on a modern recording of her set; since the people who run that "Celtic lyrics" site couldn't be bothered to say where they got it, we can't be absolutely sure.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 01:31 AM

It's a fine tune alright!

I used it when I recorded "THE LAKES OF PONCHARTRAIN." It might be on a CD one of these days---from Sandy at Folk Legacy. We'll see.

Mary McCaslin will be at he coffeehouse in Princeton, Illinois on Saturday, November 18th. Sure would love to get there.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 04:33 AM

Apologies, if this seems pedantic .. Lake of Ponchartrain, there,s only one lake there.
my money is on blaw, being either a flower like heather, that can be sold or blae berries,[ to be eaten] both of which fit in with the lifestyle of tramps and hawkers.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Scrump
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 04:54 AM

The tune I know for The Lakes of Ponchartrain is not the same tune as that normally used for The Homes of Donegal - the latter is the same as Tramps & Hawkers. You could swap the tunes though, as they would fit the lyrics in each case.

But I realise there are probably lots of variations on all these songs and tunes anyway.

Ewan MacColl also used the Tramps & Hawkers tune for a song in the Radio Ballad "Song of a Road" about the building of the M1 motorway (a major highway in the UK). I don't recall the song's title, but it was about a mother singing to her son about his father being away working on the road. See this thread for the lyrics etc.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: ard mhacha
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 05:17 AM

For a folk Site I am amazed that no one has mentioned Luke Kelly`s singing of Tramps and Hawkers, by a long way the best version I have of this song.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Scrump
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 05:32 AM

Yes, Luke Kelly's version is the one I learnt back in the late 1960s (ISTR he recorded it before the version on the Dubliners' first LP, but I can't be sure - anyone know?). The Dubliners also recorded the MacColl song I mentioned above, on the LP Drinkin' & Courtin' - I think Luke sang on that too but again I can't be sure without hearing it.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: ard mhacha
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 06:11 AM

Scrump, According to the record label Luke Kelly learned the song while he was touring with the Dubliners in Scotland.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Tootler
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 06:53 PM

It's the most unlikely suggestion so far (because of linguistic usage), but that doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong.

I am likely totally wrong, but the reason I suggested it is that the context makes it possible.

"ablaw" and "oblaw" are mentioned in previous posts, but equally, given oral transmission, why not "o' blaw"? Maybe "blether" was a bit tenuous, but "blaw blaw blaw..." is often used as a term for incessant chatter.

Before the advent of radio and TV and in a era of less than 100% literacy, the various itinerant travellers were important as purveyors of news - especially of tittle tattle. Who was born or died or married, who had given birth, local scandal, the small doings of the celebrities of the day. In fact in many ways they fulfilled the role that the tabloid newspapers fill in todays society.

In that context, interpreting the first line as I did makes, to me, perfect sense.

Incidentally, the recording I have is by Robin Hall and Jimmy MacGregor who made a couple of very good albums of traditional Scottish songs in the mid 60's


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Fliss
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 10:48 AM

(http://www.celtic-lyrics.com/forum/index.php?autocom=tclc&code=lyrics&id=406)

Apologies Malcolm it was credited but Id forgotten to put the link clicky

fliss


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Guest, Big Tim
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 11:27 AM

According to my Scots dictionary 'blaw' is 'oatmeal'.

According to Hamish Henderson, 'Besom Jimmy',or, 'Brechin Jimmy' was a man called Jimmy Henderson. Hamish learned the song from Davie Stewart and thought it was written around the end of the 19th century.

Jimmy MacBeath also sang the song and definitely travelled (and lived for 20 years) in Ireland. So too then, maybe' did Jimmy Henderson.
(See, 'Alias Macalias: writings on songs, folk and literature' by Hamish Henderson. 2nd ed. 1994. btw, a biography of HH is due out soon, by Tim Neat.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 06:20 PM

The dictionary in the Scots-online website, Wir Ain Lied defines blaw as blow or boast.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Guest, Big Tim
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 11:46 AM

Yes 'blaw' can mean 'boast' i.e. 'blow' - as in blow your own horn.                                                            

'Blaw' is used twice in the song,                                    

1.'Ye gaitherers of blaw'.
2. 'Wi' a bag o' blaw upon my back, my face as broon's a toad'.

In neither context does 'boast' make any sense. 'Oatmeal' does.
According to the Scottish National Dictionary 'blaw' is 'tinker's cant for oatmeal'.

What about 'toad'? I've seen it given as meaning 'fox'. But not in the SND.

Any thoughts or ideas on this one?


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Scrump
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 12:25 PM

To GUEST,Guest, Big Tim:

Hmm, maybe I'm being naive, but I've always taken 'toad' literally to mean the amphibian of the same name. They're brown enough, I would say.

I think 'blaw' refers to oatmeal, too.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Jim McLean
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 05:31 PM

I knew Jimmy MacBeath and met him many times in the company of Hamish Henderson and Morris Blythman. Nigel Denver learnt the song from Jimmy's singing. I always assumed that blaw referred to what was gathered by itinerent people and ambiguously could mean stories as well as wheat/oatmeal and Jimmy always concurred when this was raised. Tod is the word for a fox not a toad and there are various Scottish folk songs which bear this out.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 07:39 PM

The McBeath set has "blaw" in verse 3, while Stewart has "meal". That would seem to suggest that they both understood the same meaning.

"Toad" might be "toad" (they tend to be brown) or perhaps "tod" (pronounced "toad" or "toäd" in many parts of Scotland and Northern England). I'd think the former more likely, but I suppose it's moot.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Guest, Big Tim
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 04:57 AM

Thanks for the spelling tip Jim.
In Scots Dictionary 'tod' is defined as 'a fox'.
Come to think of it, there's a Todholm Pub in Paisley!

What about this one from the MacBeath version?

'And aye the Rickle o'Carlin marks the hoose o' John o' Groat'.
What does 'Rickle o' Carlin' mean?


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 10:59 AM

Heather was gathered, to sell by itenerant people,and still is. Scrap metal[ bit unlikely].blaeberries were gathered to eat.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Effsee
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 12:59 PM

From another site.(Mysongbook)

"Braxy is a bacterial infection of sheep, and in those days usually fatal. But it did not affect the flesh, and since only the best and fattest sheep were struck down, to find a newly dead braxy sheep was a find indeed, and a great help to the diet of the lucky family. [It] was said by the pundits that, on finding a dead sheep, the finder should grasp it firmly by the hind legs and swing it round his head. If the legs withstood six full circles, then the sheep was fit to eat. Be that as it may, there is no doubt that a promptly-found braxy sheep was 'wholesome fairin'. Any over-ripe specimens were inclined to stop the breath, but no more so than 'hung' pheasants or grouse, which left a mound of squirming maggots on the larder floor. (Archie Cameron, Bare Feet and Tackety Boots. A Boyhood on Rhum. Luath Press, Barr, p 73)"


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Jim McLean
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 04:47 PM

Hi Big Tim, it's a long time since I was in Paisley but I think the pub was called the Todholm Inn. The Rickle O' Carlin was probably a pile of stones, a cairn, names after someone called Carlin but I don't really know. Mayne someone with more local knowledge could help.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Guest, Big Tim
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 04:40 AM

Spot on re 'braxy' ('braxie'), as per SND.

Carline has various meaings, 1. old woman - as in 'Wife of Usher's Well'. 2. witch. 3. the last sheaf of corn. The corn-dolly made with it.

Rickle means 'a heap, pile, carelessly thrown together'. Note 'rickle o' banes (bones) held up wi' string' in 'Coulter's Candy'. In the north east, it's pronounced 'reechle'.

I just can't figure what the two words together mean.

Yes Jim, the Todholm Inn is still there. Having strong Paisley links, I've had lunch there many times.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Effsee
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 10:00 AM

Buchan & Hall in "The Scottish Folk Singer" have the line :-
"An' aye the rickle o' cairn marks the Hoose o' John o' Groat"
i.e. These house of Jo'G is nothing but piles of rubble.
Listening to Jimmy singing the song it's easy to mishear his pronunciation of "cairn" as "carlin".


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Effsee
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 10:08 AM

Sorry, *rickles*


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Guest, Big Tim
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 11:53 AM

Thanks Effsee - that makes sense and may well be the solution, at least its understandable.

I got both 'rickle' from the Penguin Book of Scottish Verse, don't know where they got it.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: C. Ham
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 03:00 PM

The late Jim Ringer, a California singer who performed with his wife Mary McCaslin, covered the song years ago.

No, Jim did not "cover" the song. He took the melody and wrote new words to it.

I believe Jim Ringer's song by this name is the "Rose of the San Joaquin"

"The Rose of the San Joaquin" was written by Tom Russell and Ian Tyson.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Big Tim
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 09:48 AM

'I helped to build the michty bridge that spans the busy Forth' line is a clue to the date of the song?

Obviously not the Forth Road Bridge (1964) so must be the Forth Rail Bridge, constructed between 1893 and 1890.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Scrump
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 11:13 AM

the Forth Rail Bridge, constructed between 1893 and 1890

So, they built it backwards, starting in the middle and working their way towards the banks :D


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Big Tim
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 11:20 AM

Sorry Scrump, 1883-1890.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Scrump
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 11:40 AM

:D


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: bubblyrat
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 08:26 PM

I have to say that the tune for "Ponchartrain " as performed by,for example,the Boys of the Lough , isn"t the same as Tramps & Hawkers. I always think that "Paddy West" sounds closer than Ponchartrain, or however you spell it !!


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 09:56 PM

'Ponchartrain' has several different tunes associated with it. People who have only heard one tend to find that confusing. The 'Tramps and Hawkers' tune (also used for 'Flora the Lily of the West' and, earlier, 'Caroline of Edinburgh Town') is used in the version of 'Ponchartrain' of which Planxty and, later, Paul Brady, recorded arrangements.

These being well-known nowadays, it is usually that tune that people outside the USA mean when they mention it.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Scotus
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 10:12 PM

There's talk of building another bridge over the Forth - so -

The first Forth bridge was the rail bridge, the second Forth bridge was the Kincardine bridge, the third Forth bridge was the road bridge, so the new bridge will be the fourth Forth bridge. Seems satisfyingly complete somehow!

Cheers, Jack


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 10:54 PM

Going right back to Nov 06 (hey I only just got round to reading it!) when 'oldhippie' gave us the words - I'm not sure about his line *an' places ill tae ken* I learned it from Jimmie McBeath a _very_ long time ago and always sang *places ilk y'ken* as in 'other places you know'
Dave


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 11:41 PM

Well hell. I think you are all learning that everyone does somethings a little more differentlyer. The folk process has many songs with slightly changed melodies being referenced to one primary source. The Streets of Loredo and the St. James Infirmary and A Sailor/Soldier/Trooper Cut Down in His Prime being a good example.

I have heard the "Lakes of Pontchartrain" sung with a few distinct melodies. I can't tell which is righter but it matters little as all were pretty good. There is one Lake Pontchartrain now but that river has been dredged, widened, flooded, leveed and altered over the years
that you need an ariel view to see the other smaller lakes in the region.   These smaller lakes all appear to connect with Pontchartrain which is the second largest salt water Lake in the US.

I have always thought "gatherers a blaw" meant. "People who lived in the open air. such as Tinkers and or Gypsies."

Don


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 04:48 AM

The 'fourth' bridge/crossing may be a tunnel!


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Scrump
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 07:54 AM

The first Forth bridge was the rail bridge, the second Forth bridge was the Kincardine bridge, the third Forth bridge was the road bridge, so the new bridge will be the fourth Forth bridge. Seems satisfyingly complete somehow!

Sounds as if the Queensferry Bridge Painting Company will be kept even more busy then :-)

The 'Tramps and Hawkers' tune (also used for 'Flora the Lily of the West' and, earlier, 'Caroline of Edinburgh Town') is used in the version of 'Ponchartrain' of which Planxty and, later, Paul Brady, recorded arrangements.

So you are saying that the tune Paul Brady sings to "Lakes of Ponchartrain" is what you call the "Tramps & Hawkers" tune then.

The tune I would call the "Tramps & Hawkers" tune is the one used by (among others) the Dubliners. It's the same tune Ewan MacColl used for his Radio Ballads song "My Little Son". Do you know this tune, and if so, what would you call it? Is it just another tune used for "Tramps & Hawkers", or do you give it a different name (perhaps associated with a different song)?

Just interested to know. I realise that either tune could be used for any of the songs Ponchartrain, Tramps & Hawkers, Paddy West, etc.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: bubblyrat
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 10:58 AM

Well, after all that,I"m still confused !! I have two tunes that I know well----One is the "Tramps & Hawkers/ Paddy West " that I have heard various artists do over the years, & the other one is for "The Lakes of Ponchartrain" and excuse me, but they are quite different !!
Yes ,I grant you that the words to the songs are probably interchangeable, but that doesn"t alter the fact that it AINT the same tune !!


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Scrump
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 11:00 AM

Yes, it is confusing! I'm now wondering if I've been singing "Tramps & Hawkers" and "Ponchartrain" to the wrong tunes all these years!


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Deskjet
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 11:08 AM

Not to mention Bert Jansch's great version of the song.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 08:22 PM

I sang it at a local club last week. There was a suggestion that a new verse is needed featuring wind turbines and pylons :-)

Anyone game?


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: akenaton
Date: 16 Feb 07 - 06:58 PM

"Getherers o' blaw" were tinkers and travellers who carried a leather pouch which was used to carry "blaw" a mixture of oatmeal and animal fat.."Dripping". This mixture was begged or "cadged" door to door.

I got this from sleeve notes on an old Jimmy Mcbeath EP many years ago.

I also remember braxy sheep.
Braxy caused the sheeps stomach to swell and sometimes burst.
Some said it was a bacterial infection, others that a rapid change of feeding affected the animals.
The mutton from a "Braxy" sheep was perfectly edible, and many small farmers survived on it....Ake


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 16 Feb 07 - 07:22 PM

Well, the tune that seems to have gottenitself atached to Lakes (yes, it's the plural in all the early collected versions) was supplied by Mike Waterson, and it's a rather noce reworking of Tramps and Hawkers (Paddy West, etc.) The earlier tune was something completely different.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST, Molly Mck
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 09:06 AM

Just thought I'd get my tuppence worth in here. I come from a family of Irish immigrant Travellers and family legend goes that Richard McKay from Armagh; 1800- 1897; who happens to be one of my ancestors wrote this travellers' song! The version the family knows, does not have the verse pertaining to shipbuilding on the Clyde! Some of the words used in the song are I think Cant words
He is also given credit for writing the Irish song Sweet Carnlough Bay which then became The Road and the Miles to Dundee when Richard made his home in Blairgowrie where he was also buried. Many of his descendants made their home in Dundee and are still there to this day. Just thought this would interest some of you   Molly


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 09:34 AM

Very interesting Molly, not surprised he ended up in Blairgowrie as there's a fine tradition of travellers round that way.
Giok


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Jim I
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 08:17 AM

Dave Hunt said "and always sang *places ilk y'ken* as in 'other places you know"

I always thought it was "places ilka ken" as in "places everyone (i.e. each person)knows"


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,ib48
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 06:12 AM

isnt this a clothes shop in hartlepool?


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 06:20 AM

Ewan McColl also used the T&H tune for a song called Englands Motorways, about navvies.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Big Tim
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 11:10 AM

Very interesting Molly. This is the only other claim to authorship other than Brechin Jimmy Henderson that I have ever seen. Anything stronger than 'family legend' to go on?                                 

But why not mention the Clyde since all the other geographical references in the song (except for 'Paddy's land!)are in Scotland?


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 07:34 PM

I have Tramps and Hawkers on an LP of Alex Campbell's, the first folk LP I ever bought back in the 60s. Now I have a CD by Old Blind Dogs where they've really funked it up (yes, that was an n in the middle there!) Sorry, but I prefer the older version!
I also had a "discussion" with someone re the tune for "Lake(s) of Ponchartrain" being the same as the one used for "Flora, the Lily of the West": it IS the same tune on the Chieftains' "The Long Black Veil" CD, as sung by Mark Knopfler: the other person was adamant that I was wrong! But I do also remember the other tune for "Flora" on a Joan Baez LP.
But I agree with Scrump: not the same tune as the usual one for T & H.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Molly
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 06:09 AM

Tim A few years back I was to record my Uncle who was in his 90s telling me about Richard but he died three days before we got round to it. He was going to tell me other songs that Richard was reposible for; Tramps being one of them. He was born about five years after Richard died. So unfortunately as far as Tramps and Hawkers is concerned it's still legend. But the words are almost a record of his life; with the exception of the verse about shipbuilding which I learned many years after. The Road and the Miles to Dundee became more or less proved when I bought an Irish Song book in Tralee and his name was above the song Sweet Carnlough Bay which then became the Scots version Road and the Miles to Dundee. So I'm still inclined to believe Richard was the writer of the two songs.   molly


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Lighter
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 07:43 AM

"Gatherers of a'" makes enough sense for me.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Big Tim
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 08:23 AM

Thanks Molly. According to Colm O Lochlainn, 'Sweet Carnlough Bay', which is very similar to 'Road and Miles to Dundee' was written by 'the poet Mackay, well known character around the Glens of Antrim'. O Lochlainn learned 'Carnlough' from Cathal O Byrne in 1913.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Wheatman
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 02:59 PM

MacColl used the tune for a radio ballad called "Come, me little son" a lullaby which tells the tale of an absent father who was working on motorway construction. It is included in the Ewan Macoll and Peggy Seeger song book published in 1963. I rather like Bob Davenport's rendition of Tramps and Hawkers


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Hector Gilchrist
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 03:52 PM

I heard this song from Jimmy McBeath when regularly at the Aberdeen Club.The tune has always been in my mind,as a version of the Donegal song Glen Swilly,which I got from an Irish worker at the Mauchline creamery in 1959 in my student days.Jimmy used to sing "broon's a toad" but it could have been Tod.or fox,anyway he had his own unique orally transmitted versions and probably made a few phrases up along the way!


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Molly
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 12:02 PM

Hi Tim Yes that's the Fella Richard McKay or MacKay whatever you prefer I've seen our name spelt about five different ways but it's the same McKay. Richard lived to the grand old age of 97 when he died in Bankfoot Perthshire. He and his family emigrated to Scotland during the Famine about 1846 Molly


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Big Tim
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 01:00 AM

Fascinating stuff. Thanks Molly.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: quokka
Date: 17 Apr 08 - 11:55 PM

the version I have from the Battlefield Band has two extra verses that don't appear on the DT version. The first is at the beginning of the song:

I dreamed a dream the other night, a dream of long ago
I saw yen o' the travelling folk, along the open road
His step was light, his head held high
tae catch the scent o' spring
and his voice rang roun' the countryside, and he began tae sing

Then the song continues more or less like the DT version, but at the end there is this verse:

When I'd awoken from my dream, the dawn song had begun
The birds sang out their old old song, to greet the rising sun
I lay along the shadows and I thought of days long gone
And those wand'ring tramps and hawkin' lads
Whose days are surely done


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 18 Apr 08 - 12:05 AM

Isn't T & H also the tune for The Homes Of Donegal?

And if you listen really closely, you'll find the the Lakes of Pontchartrain is 'Where The Blarney Roses Grow" played slowly.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Moleskin Joe
Date: 18 Apr 08 - 07:07 AM

I have always believed "bla" was either bog cotton or the strands of sheep's wool that are quite common where sheep have been. However I can't remember where I got this from. I don't think oatmeal is something you would "gather".


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Midchuck
Date: 18 Apr 08 - 07:21 AM

I don't think I've ever heard the original "Tramps and Hawkers" sung, but I've heard "Peter Amberly," Lakes of Ponchartain," and the Jim Ringer "Tramps and Hawkers," all sung to the same melody, so I kind of assume that's the "right" one. But the versions of "Lily of the West" that I've heard have a different tune.

The confusion on the title of the Jim Ringer song is due to the fact that, as indicated above, Tom Russell and Ian Tyson wrote an entirely different song entitled "The Rose of the San Joaquin." Then Tom put out an album entitled "The Rose of the San Joaquin," on which he did, inter alia, a cover of the Jim Ringer song.

Peter


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 18 Apr 08 - 07:33 AM

I sing a verse which was written by somone who's name I forget who lived locally to me in the Vale of Leven, Dumbartonshire it goes

I have seen Dumbartons castle Rock
and it's black against the sky
but I've yet to see such beauty as
Loch Lomond to the eye
For her islands are shining emerald green
and her waters cold and deep
and sky turns red oer the craggy hills
as the sun goes doon tae sleep


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: quokka
Date: 18 Apr 08 - 08:03 AM

Thanks, guest MC Fat...I think I have about 14 verses now!There are significant differences between the DT version and the Battlefield's one. If anyone has any others please post. We could be heading for the world's longest folk song - hey, maybe that could be a new thread!


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Pete Campbell
Date: 19 Jul 08 - 11:31 PM

Listen to "Huck's Tune" by Bob Dylan, from the soundtrack of "Lucky You" and there it is again - the Tramps and Hawkers melody. And there is a nod to Jim Ringers lyrics in one line: Dylan has "I'm blinded to what might have been" and Jim Ringer starts with "I choose not to see the things that be..."

Such a great tune.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 20 Jul 08 - 02:12 AM

' Places ill tae ken ' simply means places strange to see.

eric


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: van lingle
Date: 20 Jul 08 - 05:00 AM

Patrick Street used this melody for "Patrick Street" and Nic Jones used it for "Barrack Street" two similar songs, the former set in Ireland the latter in England.
BTW, Old Blind Dogs do a great version of T&H on Old Blind Dogs Live
(2005?)


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 20 Jul 08 - 05:18 AM

I've always suspected that the 'work' verse was Ewan MacColl adding to the too short version he had, [as people quoted above have added verses] since the rest of the song is not about 'settled' employment. In Alan Lomax's interviews with Jimmy MacBeath, Jimmy talks about spells of employment on farms etc, but Jimmy was of 'settled' stock. Can't think of Scottish travellers talking about being ploughmen or bridgebuilders.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 20 Jul 08 - 04:42 PM

Van Lingle, T & H by OBD...........a matter of opinion! IMHO the funky version they've come up with is not to my hunble taste at all, having come up with Alex Campbell's rendition.
TB


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jul 08 - 08:54 PM

It's "places ilk tae ken".
ilk = like = similar

Ross


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: van lingle
Date: 20 Jul 08 - 09:01 PM

Right Tattie, I should have included IMO.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Big Tim
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 06:13 AM

I usually took 'places ill tae ken' to mean places that didn't exactly make the tramps and hawkers welcome. Chambers Scottish dictionary gives 11 different definitions but they are all very similar: evil, unwholesome, harsh, severe, troublesome, unfriendly, etc.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 06:29 AM

What is the connection with the tune 'Winding Banks Of Erne' and T & H ?
I have a recollection that this was supposed to be the original melody .


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 06:30 AM

Though perhps i should have clamed a 100th before posting that comment! LOL


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Big Tim
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 06:35 AM

Shane MacGowan also used the tune for his 'Song with no Name'.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: kendall
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 06:48 AM

I heard another verse that goes, "I've done me share o' humpin' wi' ye dockers on the Clyde...damn, the rest escapes me...


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 09:26 AM

Good point Kendall - Second line is :-

I've the buckey trawlers pull the herring over the side

And without raking through a pile of Vinyl I cant remember the rest


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 09:27 AM

Ooopps !! dropped 'helped'


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Effsee
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 10:09 AM

Terry..."Buckie trawlers"!


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: curmudgeon
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 11:20 AM

I've done my share o' humpin' wi' the dockers on the Clyde.
I've helpit Buckie trawlers pu' their herrin' ower the side,
I've helped tae build yon michty brig that spans the busy Forth,
And wi' mony an Angus fairmer trig, I've plooed the bonnie earth.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 12:58 PM

Thanks Gents - I dont sing many 'foreign ' songs !! LOL


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: kendall
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 01:55 PM

That's it Tom, thanks.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Susan of DT
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 06:38 AM

A search of the DT for tunefile PADWEST gives this list:
PADDY WEST
CANADIAN TRAVELER
TRAMPS AND HAWKERS
THE YOUNG MAN FROM CANADA
THE LOSS OF THE ALBION
TALL MEN RIDING
SANTA CLAUS IN THE BUSH
JAUNTING CAR
DURHAM LOCKOUT
DRIVING SAW LOGS ON THE PLOVER
DAVY FAA
CAPTAIN WEDDERBURN'S COURTSHIP
BRITAIN'S MOTORWAYS


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Teribus
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 06:52 AM

GUEST,Ewan McVicar, the occupations mentioned in MacColls verse:

"I've done my share o' humpin' wi' the dockers on the Clyde.
I've helpit Buckie trawlers pu' their herrin' ower the side,
I've helped tae build yon michty brig that spans the busy Forth,
And wi' mony an Angus fairmer trig, I've plooed the bonnie earth."

Were all casual labour in the latter part of the 19th Century, nothing necessarily "settled" about it.

Having recorded the "short" MacColl version it takes a thumping 6 minutes, considering the tempo, great song though it undoubtedly is, I can't see anybody finding it entertaining for 14 odd verses unless of course it is somebody singing it to themselves as they wander about the countryside.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 10:29 PM

Someone earlier in the thread was on the right track. Bla' is Scots for the bits of wool left on fences/trees by sheep rubbing against them. A poor wanderer could gather bits of bla' and then sell it once he has gathered enough.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 04:30 AM

In the notes to the Alan Lomax recording of Davie Stewart's fine rendering (Davie Stewart - Go On, Sing Another Song, The Alan Lomax Collection, Rounder 2002) Blaw is given as oatmeal.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 03:14 AM

The Irish "Rocks of Bawn" has a related melody. And there are dozens of other Irish songs with the T&H melody... Glen Swilly, Sweet Newport Town etc etc


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: BobKnight
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 06:54 AM

First off, I'm surpised nobody has mentioned Bob Dylans "I Pity The Poor Immigrant," from the John Wesley Hardin album. It's a straight lift.

Secondly, the verse about the "Clyde" was written by the late Jim Reid, who is famous for writing "Norland Winds/Wild Geese. The last line about the county of Angus, where Jim lived, is a dead giveaway.

"Bla" as far as I've always understood it was the wool left by sheep on fences, etc which was gathered up and sold. It's not a word used a lot these days, but if I remember, I'll ask some of my older relatives. I've also heard this line sang as, "gie yer airs a bla." Many travellers played the bagpipes, and "airs" are tunes.

Jimmy McBeath may have lived in Ireland for a time, but it's well known in Scottish folk circles that he was given his version of "Tramps and Hawkers" by George Robertson Stewart, a settled traveller and businessman from Huntly in Aberdeenshire. He(Big Geordie)always said HE wrote it.

Finally, for our American and English cousins, the name McKay, is pronounced Mac-Eye, not Mac-kay.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 12:14 PM

This song, Tramps and Hawkers is one of the songs I like to perform. I think that some of the folks that I play for might remember it as a diffrent song but the version I remember was The Corries from 1972. Mum and I are thinking about doing a list of songs that we remember as difrent words all the time and Tramps and hawkers will be in it.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 01:08 PM

As regards what I said in a previous post about the "clyde" verse being written by Jim Reid, I believe now it was written sometime in the early sixties, author unknown. It doesn't really matter because it's crap, and has no place in this song. The song was written by a traveller who knew about the travelling lifestyle, and whoever wrote this verse was not a traveller.

It also has nonsensical lines about hauling herring over the side of a "Buckie Trawler." Fact: trawlers don't fish for herring. Trawlers fish for white fish and herring are pelagic fish - surface feeders. They are caught by "drifters."


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 02:18 PM

Sorry, the "guest"post above was from me - Bob Knight.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 07:11 PM

"Bla" refers to bits of wool lying around, hanging off fences etc. If you gathered enough, you could sell it for modest sum - it's not worth anything these days though, incase anyone's thinking of it - as i understand, a lot of farmers struggle to dispose of wool now.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: mayomick
Date: 17 Sep 11 - 08:24 AM

Blath -pronounced bla- is Gaelic for flowers . I always thought that a flower (heather)gatherer would be the simple explanation for the word in that line.

The Bob Dylan song Pity the Poor Immigrant mentioned I find interesting because it's only one of two songs that I can think of that uses the word "likewise" in it. The other song ,which is about emigration, is the Glen Swilly mentioned above. The word "likwise" comes at the same point in both songs -at the end of the last line of the first verse .

who passionately hates his life and likewise fears his death

I bid farewell to Donegal , likewise to Glenswilly

Molly's comments disappoint me because I'd often wondered as well whether the composer ever got to write his song of old Erin's Isle . If Molly's right, which seems to be the case , it means my pet theory on the subject is now up the Swannee - or Clyde or whatever . I had thought (hoped) that the composer of at least the original bones of the song might have been Pat O Flanagan ,the Travelling Candyman from the song of that name , which has a similar air -perhaps closer to the tune of the Irish Soldier Boy though.

Travelling Candyman (from memory from Peter Kennedy's book )

Chorus :For I take in old iron , I take in old bones and rags .
And I take in all different kinds of stuff and put them in separate bags
For I have traveled this country o'er and I'm known to everyone
And my name is Pat O Flanagan I'm a travelling Candyman

For I'm sailed over from Belfast , the work it was very slack
And when I landed in Glasgow I was wishing that I was back
I searched for work but no work could I find , so I struck on another plan
I came to the conclusion I would be a candyman

A woman came up the other day and she said she had lost her frock
Said she , "my good man won't you tumble it out for I know that it is in your stock"
Said I ,"my good woman yopur frock is not here and no more of your lip will I stand"
Bedad, she upped with her ugly fists , and she nailed the candyman.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 17 Sep 11 - 09:24 AM

There's an early Dylan song you've all missed- "The Ballad of Donald White". I found the text in one of those handy, pocket-sized(!) books containing Dylans lyrics, but no tunes, over a certain span of years (1962-1985) So I made a tune.......A few years later I found a Broadside LP with a certain 'Blind Boy Grunt' singing "Donald White". The tune? Yep- "Tramps and Hawkers". Personally, I think that "T & H" doesn't fit the song at all, not by a long way, and that's irrespective of having made my own tune for it.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Sep 11 - 11:25 AM

Mayomick- If you do a DigiTRad search for "likewise", you'll find dozens of songs containing the word."Antepenultimate" is different.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: mayomick
Date: 17 Sep 11 - 01:49 PM

I'm sure I could have found plenty if I had searched the mudcat database , Dick , but the word was not to be found in my own personal limited database of songs -the one that I carry around in my head. I was suggesting that Dylan's song lyric owes more to Glenswilly than it does to Tramps and Hawkers .


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 06:27 PM

i have got a live recording of dylan singing LAKE OF THE PONCHARTRAIN to the tune of TRAMPS AND HAWKERS - think it was 1989 .

on tom russell´s cd the rose of the st joaquin is a beautiful version of him singing the jim ringer song TRAMPS AND HAWKERS


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Jim McLean
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:23 AM

Just noticed this thread again and thought I'd mention the other lumberjack song sung to this tune: The Jam at Gerry's Rock


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: wayfarer
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 11:13 PM

blah is bullshit. like blah,blah,blah. if you kiss the blarney stone, you might get the gift of gab.. the ability to dazzle folks by talking a lot a nonsense.. if you can't dazzle em with brilliance then baffle them with bullshit, as my old man used to say. "gatherers of blah" is a reference to itinerent storytellers & songsters, that's all.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: mayomick
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 02:41 PM

Not by talking nonsense Wayfarer . The gift you're suppose to get from the Blarney Stone is the ability to flatter people - known in Irish as plamas.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: wayfarer
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 10:21 PM

nonsense, flattery - its all blarney really. As in "he's full of blarney" or "he's full of baloney." In other words, you can't trust what he says.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: mayomick
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 02:32 PM

A very good point, well made Wayfarer. I've read a lot of your posts on the site and I've always thought that you were one of the more perceptive commentators out of a pretty rough bunch.

There you go .It doesn't have to be nonsense or untrue .plamas they call it .


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Margaret
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 03:11 PM

Wayfarer wrote: "'gatherers of blah' is a reference to itinerent storytellers & songsters, that's all."

Since another verse has "Wi' ma bag o' blaw upon ma back", I believe it's "gatherers o' blaw [blow]", not blah, which according to Màiri Robinson's "Concise Scots Dictionary" is tinkers' cant for oatmeal. Which fits to another, slightly Anglicised version of the same song: "Wi a bag o' meal upon my back".

The song at least came through, if not from, tinker Jimmie MacBeath. But of course it's been folk-processed forever, so it's anyone's guess what stanzas are his.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: BobKnight
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 03:36 PM

Jimmy McBeath was NOT a traveller/tinker. He was an ittinerant farm worker. He got the song, and others of his repertoire from George Robertson Stewart of Huntly in Aberdeenshire. "Big Geordie" as he was known, was a brother of Lucy Stewart. Hamish Henderson also mentions this in one of his books.

Just to throw some petrol on the fire, quite a few traveller's sing, "gie yer 'airs' a blaw." Meaning to play some tunes on the bagpipes - also, "gie yer 'rigs' a bla," meaning to give your set of bagpipes a bla. Many, many travellers played the bagpipes, and some busked all over Scotland. Also in the last verse, we have the line, "I canna fin the wind," which means, I haven't got the breath.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Vin2
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 07:56 AM

Always loved Alex Campbell's version of this great song.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: ollaimh
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 05:19 PM

the ottawa song writer james gordon used the tune for a great soong about the building of the rudeau canal and logging in early settlement of by town by colonel by.

in the winter i'm a shanty boy falling lumber in these hills
i work for fridasch billings least it's his store holds my bills
i owe hime for the food i eat for the clothes upon ,my back
for the whiskey that i drink to keep from freezing in my tracks

in the spring i ride the logs and take my share of icy spills
but billings doesn't need an extra man to run his mills
and the only work that a man who owns no land has left to do
is exvacating on the rideau with the colonel and his crew

so it's swing that pick and shovel from dawn to setting sun
roll them barrells up them ramps till you've moved a million tons
swing that twelve hammer hold on tight and turn the screws
pour in the black powder cross yourself and light the fuse

there's many a joke's been sahred over many a friendly glass
and many the friend whose died from carelessness or illtimed blasts
and many the hurried prayers been said over slabs of shattered rock
the grave of many a good man killed to race a british clock

so when the winter comes i'll gladly trade my pick for sharp braod axe
and make my way to the shanties over frozen forest tracks
for if there's danger in those lumber woods it's a risk that's very low
compared with excavating out on colonel by's rideau

from memory==james gordon is a fine song writer


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: wayfarer
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 10:41 AM

I'm intrigued by a lot of the other references in this song as well. For example, who is "John DeGroot" and what does the "reckless stain of Cairn" refer to? Possibly someone who killed or betrayed his brother, hence a biblical reference to Cain & Able?

And is there really such a place as "Urquart's fairy glen, where the little people are known to dance? Hah, it certainly all sounds like traveler lore to me.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 11:10 AM

John O' Groats is the northermost point in the Scottish mainland. As for the "reckless stain of cairn," I'm afraid that's a mis-translation so ignore it in future. The first word is "rickles" which means a heap, or a pile of stones, known as a cairn. Now, this is where it gets difficult and where even most Scots can't figure out what Jimmy McBeath is singing, but to understand it you must be aware of semi-archaic North East Scots. The line would be written as, "And aye the rickles of cairnies mark the hoose o' John O' Groats," but cairnies is pronounced, "c'yarnies." k-yarn-ies

The most common version mentions "Urquharts bonny glen," no mention of faires. Glen Urquhart is beside Loch Ness, in the highlands of Scotland.I hope that clears a few things up for you. :)


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: BobKnight
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 11:24 AM

That was me appearing as "guest" above - sorry, I didn't realise I'd been signed out.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: wayfarer
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 11:43 AM

thanks GUEST, for a most illuminating explication! part of the magic of song i guess, how things get distorted over time, lending to the mystery of the original meaning...and thanks also, mayomick!


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: susanc
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 09:02 PM

I think I heard "Peter Amberly" before I ever heard "Tramps and Hawkers" and fell in love with the beautiful melody. Any song sung to it gets extra stars from me.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,GrowlinGraham
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 06:19 PM

Nice one Bob. I used to work with the late Great Jim Reid's partner Julia who told me that Jim would frequently write new lyics/verses for T & H so as to give it a local twist for whatever area of Scotland he was performing in at the time.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 10:42 PM

Oh Bob, how wrong can you be?..." John O' Groats is the northermost(sic) point in the Scottish mainland"...ever heard of Dunnet Head?


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: BobKnight
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 06:24 AM

Well, there you go - we can't all be right all the time. My only excuse is they don't say "From Lands End to Dunnet Head," which I have heard of by the way. :)


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 13 - 01:59 PM

Come all ye tramps and hawkers, ye gatherers of wool
That tramp the country round and round, come listen one and all

YES!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 14 Feb 13 - 06:23 PM

Well blow me down. I had thought the phrase was "gaither as I bla", meaning gather round as I hold forth.

Richard


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: BobKnight
Date: 14 Feb 13 - 08:20 PM

It would be gaitherer's o' bla.

I've also heard, 'gie yer rigs a bla,' meaning bagpipes, and 'Gie yer airs a bla,' meaning tunes played on the bagpipes.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Dec 13 - 07:08 PM

Having disgested the various meaning suggested for bla, I have a couple of other lines which I'd love to have translated:

"For It's my daily fare an' as much'll pay my doss."

The only translation I can get form the web is that "Doss" is a pouch of tobacco, suggesting the line means that the speaker's roving is how he makes his living and keeps himself in tobacco. I can go with that, but would welcome other suggestions.

and

"For Scotland's greatly altered noo, I canna raise the wind."

It was suggested by someone that "I canna raise the wind" means "I can't get the breath." But that makes no sense to me, since we are looking for a reason to leave the "altered" Scotland for "Paddy's Lan'." The only meaning for "Raise the wind" I can find have to do either with witches actually raising up a storm or with braggarts raising a different kind of wind.

Greg


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Dec 13 - 05:10 PM

'My only excuse is they don't say "From Lands End to Dunnet Head,"'
.,,.
The point is that, tho Dunnett Head is more northerly, John 'o'Groats is the most North-Easterly place on the mainland, while Land's End is the most South-Westerly; so that a line from one to the other will bisect the country as a virtual diagonal.

Only in that list above, 22 jul 08 from Susan of DT, is briefly mentioned the surely important point that this is the tune that the great Tommy Armstrong, the 'pitman poet', used for The Durham Lock-Out [aka Durham Strike].


~M~


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 10 Dec 13 - 05:47 PM

Unidentified Guest said
> The only translation I can get form the web is that "Doss" is a pouch of tobacco, suggesting the line means that the speaker's roving is how he makes his living and keeps himself in tobacco. I can go with that, but would welcome other suggestions.<

"Doss" as a verb means sleep in an improvised or crude place, such as a "doss house", so it would be a small stretch to use it as a noun meaning the cost of the sleeping place. But I don't know.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 10 Dec 13 - 05:56 PM

"I canna raise the wind" I cannot earn, beg, borrow or steal sufficient money to meet my needs.
"Doss"   A doss house would be the same as a "model" lodging house ie. a cheap and probably communal hostel. Probably in the context of the song used as a generic term for a cheap lodging.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: BobKnight
Date: 10 Dec 13 - 06:34 PM

"I canna raise the win'" or as I sing it, "I canna fin' the win'" means the same thing, but put a different way. Or it could tie in with the line I mention about alternative lines I have heard, "Gie yer rigs (pipes) a bla'" which is substantially the same as, "Gie yer airs (tunes) a bla'" It's got nothing to do with witches, etc. Let's not get too fancifu. Another alternative meaning is that times are hard in Scotland and he is finding it hard to make a living.

"And a' I need's my daily fare and whit'll pey my doss. Means all he needs is enough to eat and somewhere to sleep. (doss - modern equivelant-crash)
Land end?? It's never mentioned in the song. John O' Groat's is only mentioned in the song as a place he has been, but he never gets out of Scotland. The farthest South he gets is Galloway/Stranraer in south west Scotland.

Gutcher has the right of it. :)

The tune has been ussed in a number of songs including Hatton Woods (Sheila Stewart) I pity The Poor Immigrant (Bob Dylan) amongst others.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 10 Dec 13 - 06:57 PM

Apart from it being a verb meaning 'to sleep' the Collins English Dictionary gives in its third definition for 'doss' as being a noun meaning 'bed'. I'd have thought of all the words in this song this one was pretty straightforward and easily understood. The problem with looking up Scots dictionaries online is they often mainly give the definitions for words which differ from standard english and leave out the huge number of words which is shared with English.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 11 Dec 13 - 12:59 PM

MtheGM alludes to the use of the Tramps and Hawkers tune by Tommy Armstrong for "The Durham Lockout".

I did a little reading up about the Durham song a few years ago and what I seem to remember is that Tommy used the tune of "The Ball at Killiemuir" not only for "Lockout" but for most of his other compositions as well. It was A. L. Lloyd who popularised the use of the less risible Tramps tune for Durham Lockout.


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Dec 13 - 01:07 PM

Yes, Bob; now you mention it I had heard that before. It is given to the T & H tune in Bert's collections, indeed.

If I may be a bit pedantic, the place the notorious ball occurred [or not!] was supposedly Kirriemuir, Angus, a real place; as well as venue of the ball, it was the birthplace of Sir J M Barrie, author of Peter Pan.

~M~


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: GUEST,Greg
Date: 11 Dec 13 - 05:10 PM

Thanks for the translations of Can raise the Wind, and "doss."

I should have had the good sense to check an English dictionary on the latter, though, as a speaker of American English, I have to say I have never encountered that word (or if I have, I have definitely forgotten it). I should read more English novels.

Thanks for the help!

Greg


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Subject: RE: tramps and hawkers
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 11 Dec 13 - 06:31 PM

Jim Reid composed his lovely tune to make 'The Wild Geese' - a poem by Violet Jacob - into a song, Norland Win'


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