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Coulter's Candy

  • Trad

    Ally Bally Ally Bally Bee
    Sittin' on your mammy's knee
    Greetin' for a wee bawbee        
    (greetin' - crying; bawbee - halfpenny)
    Tae buy some Coulter's candy

    Ally Bally Ally Bally Bee
    When you grow up you'll go to sea
    Makin' pennies for your daddy and me
    Tae buy some Coulter's candy

    Mammy gie's ma thrifty doon        (thrifty - money box)
    Here's old Coulter comin' roon'
    Wi' a basket on his croon        
    (croon - head)
    Sellin' Coulter's candy

    Puir wee Annie, greetin' tae        (puir wee - poor little)
    What can puir wee mammy dae
    Gie them a penny atween them twae
    Tae buy some Coulter's candy

    Puir wee Jeannie, she's lookin' awfu' thin
    A rickle o' bones covered ower wi' skin        
    (rickle - bundle)
    Noo she's gettin' a wee double chin
    Sookin' Coulter's candy

    As sung by Iain MacKintosh & Hamish Imlach

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1958:] I suppose that, along with work-songs, lullabies are just about the most basic kind of song you can get. The trouble with most art-lullaby products, however, is that they are just too nice for words. But I like this one - in which the kids themselves seem to have had a hand. I heard it from Scots actor Roddy McMillan who tells me that Coulter really did exist down in Peeblesshire sometime in the last century. (Norman Buchan, Weekly Scotsman, Oct 2)

  • [1958:] Sir, - Coulter was a Galashiels worthy of his day, making his own sugar candy and selling it from a hand barrow, my mother told me. I have heard my mother singing the same song to the rocking of the cradle. My grandmother rocked the same cradle and sang me to sleep in it away back in 1898. My mother was a schoolgirl when Coulter came round with his candy, which was about 1845. One of his descendants is Mr James Grey, Lee Brae, Galashiels. (William Edgar, Wooler, Northumberland, letter to Weekly Scotsman, Oct 23)

    Sir, - Coulter was a Roxburghshire man and lived in Hawick. Though I cannot remember what he looked like, I can still hear his voice singing in the streets of Kelso. He visited all the Border towns with his famous candy. A friend tells me he had a box on wheels. He made the usual sorts and a brown was a great favourite - I think it would be "Clagum". To hear him was a sign for us bairns to run home and beg a bawbee. (A. B. P., Kelso, letter to Weekly Scotsman, Oct 23)

    Sir, - I was more than pleased to sing "Coulter's Candy" - one of my childhood songs [...]. I am a Braw Lass of Gala Water and my mother told me, as a little girl, that Coulter lived in Galashiels and as he sold his famous candy on the street he sang the chorus, which everyone in the town soon knew.

    I have spent a day in Galashiels in quest of information, visiting a widow whom I supposed to be the daughter of "old" Coulter. She was no relation after all, although she recalled having heard her father liltin' away at it. Perhaps your informant is right in thinking Coulter lived in Peebles. (Doris H. A. Slater, Selkirk, letter to Weekly Scotsman, Oct 23)

  • [1959:] I was interested about the Coulter's Candy lullaby. I was born in Hawick 82 years ago and well remember Coulter coming round with his candy and my mother singing the lullaby. The first and third verses I never forgot. I still sing the song though my tune is different. I wonder if Coulter ever went to Peebles? (Mrs. E. B. Rutherford, Williams, Western Australia, letter to Weekly Scotsman, Feb 5)

    In reply to Mrs. Rutherford of Williams, Western Australia, I can assure her Coulter of Coulter's Candy fame visited Peebles at irregular intervals. I was born in Peebles in 1874 and can well remember him going through the streets with his "basket on the croon", and singing the song which was familiar to us children and which I sometimes sing still. This would be in the 1880s. I am wondering why Mrs. Rutherford should ask the question seeing she was born in Hawick. (Mr(s). Gutterbluid, letter to Weekly Scotsman, Feb 12)

  • [1962:] This song probably produced more correspondence than any other when I printed it in "The Weekly Scotsman" a few years ago. Robert Coltart - the 'Coulter' of the song - made and sold his own candy round all the country fairs and markets in the Borders. Correspondents have described his arrival in a town with his "big lum hat", his candy, and his song. I first learned the song as having two verses and I added another which now seems to have become absorbed into the song. Another, but imperfect, verse from a correspondent seems to give the best description of all:

    • Here comes Coulter down the street
      A big lum hat upon his heid
      He's been roon' aboot a' the toon
      Singin' and sellin' candy

    (Buchan, Folksongs 156)

  •  [1973:] Coulter war ein Straßenverkäufer für selbstgemachte Süßigkeiten in Südschottland. Der letzte Vers

    • [ Coulter you're an awfy man
      You rob your granny when you can
      You've a' the bairnies' stomachs wrang
      Wi' your dirty clarty candy ]

    wurde erst vor zehn Jahren von einem singenden Kind auf der Straße komplettiert. (Hamish Imlach, notes 'Murdered Ballads')

  • [1974:] The last verse was probably added in the late 1920s or 30s:

    • Life is very hard the noo
      Father's signing on the broo
      I've nae got a penny for you
      Tae buy your Coulter's Candy

    (Palmer, Touch 148)

  • [1991:] This is surely the most widely known, and most regularly sung, lullaby in the Scottish repertoire. Mr. Coulter would go around the streets selling his 'sweeties' from a basket which he carried on his head. [...] Countless children have been sung to sleep with this song - my own included! (Notes Ray Fisher, 'Traditional Songs of Scotland')

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Quelle: Scotland


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aktualisiert am 07.04.2003