Henry's Songbook

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Fisherrow (or: Upstairs, Doonstairs)

  • Trad

    Upstairs, doonstairs, timmer stairs fears me
    I thocht it lang to lie my lane when I'm sae near my dearie

    As I cam in by Fisherrow, Musselburgh was near me
    I thew aff my mussel-pock and courted wi' my dearie

    Had my apron bidden doon the kirk would ne'er hae kent it
    Noo the word's gane roon' the toon I fear I canna mend it

    It's ye maun mount the cutty-stool, I maun mount the pillar
    That's the way the poor folks do because they hae nae siller

    Repeat 1

    (as sung by Cilla Fisher)

    (timmer - timber; mussel-pock - sack; bidden doon - stayed down)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1965:] The oyster-fishing is over now, but the Dreg Song lives on; in Newhaven, Leith, Portobello, Fisherrow and Musselburgh, detached fragments of it are still spinning like tops among the bairns, in the singing street. (Henderson, Alias MacAlias 6)

  • [1976:] A song that puts very succinctly the penalties and shame incurred from the sowing of wild oats. Most versions, including this one, are from the Herd manuscripts. (Notes Archie Fisher, 'The Man With A Rhyme')

  • [1977:] It is in songs such as this that the "Scottish Muse" is at its most eloquent. In three short stanzas, tenderness and irony combine to produce a short, sharp, social commentary on one of the Kirk's most unhappy traditions, i.e. the public confession of sexual intimacies outside wedlock. A young woman, whose passion has exceeded caution and who was showing the results of it, was made to sit before the elders of the kirk on a cutty stool (a short low stool) while her lover mounted a pillar. (Notes Peggy Seeger & Ewan MacColl, 'Cold Snap')

  • [1980:] The kirk government against which Burns rebelled was an arid and oppressive theocratic straitjacket in which the more submissive of the population were held fast; folksongs collected by David Herd [like Fisherrow] show how irksome the rule of the Calvinist mullahs must have been to the vast majority of people. (Hamish Henderson in Cowan 8)

  • [1986:] From the not too distant past, the song details the public shame one had to undergo if guilty of 'sins of the flesh'. (The Scottish Folksinger 154)

  • [1997:] Scottish singers have wrestled for years trying to make this song last longer than two minutes. (Notes McCalmans, 'High Ground')

Quelle: Scotland

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 Sammlung : Susanne Kalweit (Kiel)
Layout : Henry Kochlin  (Schwerin)

03.11.1999, aktualisiert am 16.10.2003