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The Devil Uisge Beatha

  • (Alan Reid)

    Chorus:
    Whisky is a devil jaud that burns the brains of man
    He'll dance or stagger, sing or fight, he'll argue black and blue is white
    The fairmer's wife, the widow and the weary working man
    They fill the air with curses on that devil uisge beatha

    He watches for the gauger man that prowls the countryside
    He hides his liquid treasure, then waits for night and rides
    O'er the Torrance burn tae Glesca where there's plenty that will buy her
    She's that sweet forbidden devil uisge beatha

    A band of wild marauders in the colours of Colquhoun
    Were camped above the Campsie Moors above the Lennoxtoon
    The folk below were soon to know they were Clan Gregor men
    When they came sweeping doon the Campsie Glen

    They scattered a' before them, a' the weemin and the bairns
    They chased the fairming workers and the fairmers tae their hames
    They gathered up the cattle and they camped aside the hill
    And there they found the hidden whisky still

    The Campsie men assembled then tae see what could be done
    But shepherd lads and cottars cannae match a hieland band
    They cursed the thieving reivers and their heathen hieland cries
    As they drank their fill aneath the evening skies

    Whisky is a devil jaud that burns the brains o' men
    For in the night the hieland men fell drunk upon the ground
    The Campsie men crept up to them and slew them as they lay
    And a' was back in order by the day

    There's stills above the clachan, there's stills aroond the fells
    There's stills aboot the countryside nae gaugerman can smell
    But the one that snared the Gregor was mair valuable than ten
    Tae the honest fairmers o' the Campsie Glen

    Last chorus:
    Whisky is a devil jaud that burns the brains of man
    He'll dance or stagger, sing or fight, he'll argue black and blue is white
    The fairmer's wife, the widow and the weary working man
    They fill the air with blessings on that devil uisge beatha

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1991:] The area of Lennoxtown, although now really part of Glasgow, was at one time the edge of the Highlands. Illicit whisky stills were many in the area, satisfying the demand from a growing Glasgow. It became a kind of 'wild west' town, visited much by Highland brigands, as much for the whisky as for the position it had in the hills close to the city. Alan's song tells the story of how the local worthies, fed up with the anarchy, dealt with one band of marauders, as reported in the parish records. The field where the events took place is still known as the 'Field of Blood'. A 'jaud', by the way, is a Scots word for a woman and implies one of questionable virtue. 'Uisge beatha', water of life, is the Gaelic name for whisky. (Notes Battlefield Band, 'New Spring')

  • [1999:] [Carlisle's] citizens were always subject to the murderous whim of the Reivers - warring clans that dashed across the border for a spot of burning and pillaging. Hardly any medieval domestic buildings are left in Carlisle, thanks to the Reivers' unique town planning policies. (They did leave one legacy, though ... the word 'bereave'.) (Stephen Pritchard, Observer, 21 Mar)

Quelle: Scotland

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