Henry's Songbook

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Come All Ye tramps And Hawkers

  • Jimmy Henderson

    O come all ye tramps and hawker lads
    And gaitherers o' bla'
    That tramps the country round and round
    Come listen ane and a'
    I'll tell tae ye a rovin' tale
    O' sights that I hae seen
    It's far intae the snowy north
    And sooth by Gretna Green

    Aftimes I've laughed untae mysel'
    When trudgin' on the road
    My tore rags round my blistered feet
    My face as brown as a toad's
    Wi' lums o' cake an' tattie scones
    Wi' whangs o' braxy ham
    No giein a thought frae whaur I come
    An' less tae whaur I'm gang

    I've done my share o' humpin' wi'
    The dockers o' the Clyde
    I've helped in Buckie trawlers haul
    The herrin' o'er the side
    I helped to build the michty bridge
    That spans the busy Forth
    And wi' mony an Angus fairmer's trick
    I plooed the bony earth

    I'm happy in the summertime
    Beneath the bright blue sky
    No thinkin' in the mornin'
    Where at night I'll hae to lie
    In barn or byre or anywhere
    Dossin' out among the hay
    And if the weather treats me right
    I'm happy every day

    Repeat 1

    As sung by Luke Kelly


    • (1. gossip, stories)
    • (2. tinker's cant for oatmeal)
    • (3. packman's goods (Penguin)
    lums - [pieces]
    tattie - (potato)
    braxy - (tainted, from cattle died of natural causes)
    humping - (working?)
    michty bridge - (Forth Railway Bridge near Edinburgh)
    trick - (pair of animals for ploughing)

    Come all ye tramps and hawker lads, ye gaitherers o' blaw
    That tramps the country roon' and roon', listen ane and a'
    I'll tell tae you a rovin' tale o' sichts that I hae seen
    Far up intae the snowy north and south by Gretna Green

    I've seen the high Ben Lomond towerin' tae the moon
    I've been by Crieff and Callander and doon by bonnie Doune
    I've seen Loch Ness's silvery tides, places ill tae ken
    Far up intae the snowy north lies Urquhart's fairy glen

    Oftimes I think untae mysel' when I'm trudgin' doon the road
    A pack o' blaw upon my back, my face as broon's a toad
    Wi' dods o' breid an' tattie scones, cheese and braxy ham
    Little thinking whaur I'm coming frae, or whaur I'm gaun tae gang

    And I think I'll go to Paddy's land, I'm makin' up my mind
    For Scotland's greatly altered noo, and I cannae raise the wind
    But I will trust in providence gin providence prove true
    Then I will sing of Erin's isle when I come back to you

    Repeat 1

    As sung by Iain MacKintosh & Hamish Imlach

    Urquhart's fairy glen - (Scottish art song about) Glen Urquhart, with Urquhart Castle, on Loch Ness in the north of Scotland
    dods - (pieces)
    wind - (money)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1965:] [At the 1951 People's Festival in Edinburgh] Jimmy MacBeath sang Come All Ye Tramps and Hawkers for the first time on any stage (as opposed to the reeling road, or the booths of Porter Fair). (Henderson, Alias MacAlias 9)

    [1970:] [Verses used neither by Luke Kelly nor by MacKintosh & Imlach:]

    • Loch Catrine and Loch Lomond hae a' been seen by me
      The Dee, the Don, the Deveron that flows intae the sea
      Dunrobin Castle by the way I nearly had forgot
      And aye the Rickle o' Carlin marks the Hoose o' John O'Groats

    • I'm often roon by Galloway and doon aboot Stranraer
      My business leads me anygates, for I travel near and far
      I've got the rovin notion, there's naething fae't I loss
      And a' my day is my daily fare, an' what'll pay my doss

      doss - (night's lodging)

    ('As sung by Jimmie MacBeth', Penguin Book of Scottish Verse, 497f)

    [1973:] Geordie [Stewart of Huntly] not only assured Jimmy [McBeath] that fame, money and a great lyric future lay before him on the road; he also taught him two or three dozen of the songs which he was afterwards to make famous, including the best version collected to date of Come A' Ye Tramps and Hawkers. (Henderson, Alias MacAlias 162)

    [1974:] Towards the end of the last century an Angus hawker by-named 'Brechin Jimmy' and 'Besom Jimmy' - his real name was Jimmy Henderson - composed a song called Come A' Ye Tramps and Hawkers. It rapidly became popular among the fraternity, and in recent years it has been carried (in Jimmy MacBeath's version) to every corner of the English- and Scots-speaking world. (Henderson, Alias MacAlias 170)

    [1983:] [This] epitomises the joys, hazards and vicissitudes of Jimmy [MacBeath]'s own chosen lifestyle. (Henderson, Alias MacAlias 149)

    [1984:] This song breathes the very essence of the nomadic life - but the speaker is an itinerant worker, not a layabout: a loner describing the different jobs he's done and the places he's visited. Unlike Woody Guthrie's migrant workers, forced to travel in search of work, our man has chosen his way of life and enjoys it [...]. And he's "got the roving notion" that he's missing nothing whatsoever.
    [Charlie Murray] got this song from Jimmy MacBeath at Banff feeing market, around 1934-5 when Jimmy was in his hey-day as an itinerant singer. The fourth verse [roughly v. 3 in Hamish's version] is less well-known, and Charlie says he "concocted" the last line himself. [...] Of Tramps and Hawkers he says, "In Jimmy MacBeath's case I think he let the establishment know that despite hardships and harrassment by police to street singers, he made a living by what he liked doing." (Munro, Revival 183f)

    [1986:] Often attributed to Besom Jimmy, an Angus hawker of the last century, but widespread in the tradition by the time Gavin Greig was collecting, seventy years ago. (The Scottish Folksinger 155f)

    [1988:] 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)

Quelle: Scotland


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aktualisiert am 15.10.1999