Henry's Songbook

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MacGinty's Meal-And-Ale

  • (George Bruce Thomson)

       For they were howlin' in the kitchen like a caravan o' tinkies
       Aye, some were playing ping-pong, tiddly widdly winkies
       For up the howe, doon the howe, ye never saw such jinkies
       As MacGinty's meal and ale whaur the pig gaed on the spree

    This is nae a sang o' love, nor yet a sang o' money
    Faith, it's naethin' very pitiful, it's naethin' very funny
    But there's Hieland Scotch, Lowland Scotch, butterscotch and honey
    If there's nane o' them for a' there's a mixture o' the three
    And there's nae a word o' beef, brose, sowens, sauty bannocks
    Na, nor pancakes, peas, eggs, for them wi' dainty stomachs
    But it's a' aboot a meal and ale that happened at Balmunnocks
    Aye, MacGinty's meal and ale whaur the pig gaed on the spree

    Noo MacGinty's pig had broken loose and wannert thro' the lobby
    Whaur he open shivved the pantry door, cam' upon the toddy
    Aye, and he took kindly to the stuff like ony human body
    At MacGinty's meal and ale whaur the pig gaed on the spree
    Noo Miss MacGinty she ran ben the hoose, the wey was dark and crookit
    She gaed heelster gowdie ower the pig, for it she never lookit
    And then she let oot a skirl that wad hae paralysed a teuchit
    At MacGinty's meal and ale whaur the pig gaed on the spree
    Noo Johnny Murphy he ran efter her and ower the pig was leapin'
    Whan he trampit in an ashet that was sittin' fu' o' dreepin'
    And then he fell doon an' he peel't his croon and he couldnae haud fae greetin'
    At MacGinty's meal and ale whaur the pig gaed on the spree
    Noo the pantry shelf cam' ricklin' doon and he was lyin' kirnin'
    Amang saft soap, pease meal, corn floor and yirnin'
    Like a gollach amang trickle but MacGinty's wife was girnin'
    At the soss upon her pantry fleer and wadna let him be

    Noo they a' cam' runnin tae the door and whan that it wis tuggit
    Aye it held the faster, aye the mair they ruggit
    Till MacGinty roared, Bring an axe I wadna be humbuggit
    Na, nor lockit in my ain hoose, that I'll let them see
    So his wife cam' trailin' wi' an axe and when the door wis hackit
    Aye, open flew the door at aince, sae ticht as they were packit
    That a' the crew cam' rummlin' oot like tatties fae a bucket
    At MacGinty's meal and ale whaur the pig gaed on the spree
    For they had spurtles, they had tattie chappers, faith, they werena jokin'
    And they swore they'd gar the pig claw whaur it wis never yockin'
    But by this time the pig wis fu' and didnae care a dockin'
    At MacGinty's meal and ale whaur the pig gaed on the spree
    Noo there's eelie pigs, jeelie pigs, pigs fur haudin' butter
    Aye but this pig wis roarin' fu' and rollin' in the gutter
    Till MacGinty and his foreman wheeched him oot upon a shutter
    Fae MacGinty's meal and ale whaur the pig gaed on the spree

    Noo Miss MacGinty took the thing tae heart, hidit in a closet
    And they rubbit Johnny Murphy's heid wi' turpentine and rosit
    Syne they harl't him wi' meal and ale ye really wad supposit
    That he had sleepit in a mason's trough and risen tae the spree
    Noo it's weary on the barley bree and weary fa' the weather 
    Aye keetchering 'mang dubs and drink they gang nae weel thegither
    But withoot a doot MacGinty's pig is wishin' fur anither
    O' MacGinty's meal and ale whaur the pig gaed on the spree

    howe - glen;
    jinkies - fun

    sowens - husks (?),
    sauty bannocks - oat pancakes
    toddy - whisky, sugar and warm water;
    skirl - scream;
    teuchit - lapwing;
    ashet - oval dish;
    dreepin' - fat;
    peel his croon - cut his head;
    rickle - fall;
    kirn- churn;
    yirnin' - rennet?;
    gollach- earwig;
    trickle - treacle;
    soss - mess

    ruggit - hauled;
    humbuggit - defeated;
    rummlin' - tumbling;
    spurtle - wooden spoon;

    claw whaur it wis never yockin'
    (scratch where there was no itch) -
    smart/regret the things he'd done;

    pigs - jars;
    wheech - carry;
    shutter - board

    rosit - cobbler's wax;
    syne - once;
    harl't - supplied;
    weary - curse;
    keetcher - mess about in mud

    (as sung by Ray Fisher)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1965:] An earlier folk-song revival in Buchan at the turn of the century produced a number of local song-writers including George Bruce Thomson, the author of this song. It is a tribute to his feeling for the idiom that it was in circulation even before Gavin Greig printed it in the 'Buchan Observer'. Today, many slight variants, possibly the result of these early orally learned versions, are in common currency and one of these was recorded and subsequently published by the bothy-style entertainer, Willie Kemp, who is often mistakenly described as the author. The tune Thomson used is a variant of the reel Roxburgh Castle, 'adapted (and ruined)', as he jokingly put it to Greig. (Peter Hall/Arthur Argo, notes 'The Singing Campbells')

  • [1971:] One of the great occasions of the year was the "meal-and-ale", a jollification after the harvest. This time the ever-present oatmeal was mixed with the contents of several bottles of whisky, and was merely the preliminary to a big feed of mutton-broth or vegetable broth. (Hamish Henderson, notes 'Bothy Ballads')

  • [1973:] A song by a highly individual composer in the genre [...] which points forward to the Scottish music-hall. (David Buchan, Ballads 6)

  • [1983:] [...] undiluted Buchan Scots [...] (Henderson, Alias MacAlias 69)

  • [1991:] According to Chambers Scots Dictionary, the phrase 'meal-and-ale' was a mixture of oatmeal, ale, sugar and whisky, which was prepared when all the grain crop was cut. This tongue-twister of a song, written by George Bruce Thomson to a tune attributed to one Willie Kemp, tells of the goings-on at the celebrations following the harvest at the farm of Mr. MacGinty of Balmannocks. [...] There are so many dialect words contained in this bothy ballad that one might be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Chambers used the song as a basis for his Scots Dictionary! (Notes Ray Fisher, 'Traditional Songs of Scotland')


Quelle: Scotland

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aktualisiert am 26.11.2000