Blood & Roses Volume 5

by Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger

/
1.
O, wha would wish the wind tae blaw, And the green leaves fa' therewith? fall And wha would wish a lealer love Than Brown Adam, the smith? His hammer's o' the beaten gowd His study's o' the steel, His fingers white are my delight, He blaws his bellows weel. But they've banished him, Brown Adam, Fae his faither and his mither, They hae banished him, Brown Adam Frae his sister and his brither. They hae banished him, Brown Adam, Fae the flooer o' a' his kin; And he's biggit a bower on yon burn side To haud his lady and him. Then it fell oot upon a day He rose up wi' the sun; And he is tae the greenwood gane To hunt for venison. Wi' his bent bow ower his shouther And his sword intil his haund; He has gane tae the gay green wood As fast as he could gang. He's shot the hare upon the hill And the bird upon the briar; And sent them tae his ain true love Bade her be o' good cheer. O; he's shot up and he's shot doon The bird upon the thorn, And sent it tae his ain true love Sayin' he'd be hame the morn. And when he cam' tae his lady's bower, He stood a while forbye; And there he hard a fause knicht A-tempting his lady. This knicht's ta'en oot a gay gold ring, Worth guineas mair than ten; Says, Grant me love for love, lady, And this shall be your ain. I lo'e Brown Adam weel, she said And I ken that he loves me, And I wad nae gie Brown Adam's love For a knicht as fause as thee. This knicht's ta'en oot a purse o' gowd, Was fu' richt tae the string; Grant me love for love; lady, And this shall be your ain. I lo'e Brown Adam weel, she said, And I ken that he loves me; And I wouldnae be your licht leman For a' that ye could gie. Then he's ta'en oot his lang, lang sword And held it tae her e'en; Grant me love for love, lady, Or through ye this will gang. The lady grat and sighed fu' sair, Brown Adam tarries lang! Then up it starts Brown Adam, Sayin', I'm here, lass at your hand. He's made him leave his bow, his bow, And he's made him leave his brand; He's gart him leave a better pledge; Four fingers of his right hand.
2.
Rinordine 03:23
One morning as I rambled Two miles below Palm Roy, I met a farmer's daughter All on the mountain high. I said, My dear, my fair one, Your beauty shine so clear. All on this lonely mountain I'm glad to see you here. Your beauty has ensnared me, I cannot pass you by, But with my gun I'll guard you All on the mountain high. These words had scarce been spoken, She fell in a maze; Her eyes as bright as diamonds All on me she did gaze. Her rosy lips and cheeks They lost their former hue, And she fell in my arms Silent as morning dew. I had but kissed her once or twice, She come to again. And modestly she asked me, Pray sir, what is your name? Go look in yonder forest, My castle you will find 'Tis wrote in ancient history My name is Ryner Dyne. But now, my dear, my fair one. Don't let your parents know. For they may prove my ruin Also my overthrow. If you come to yonder forest; Perhaps you'll not me find. Enquire at my castle, Ask for Ryner Dyne. She sought him to his forest Perhaps she did him find. But she's not in that castle Nor is Ryner Dyne.
3.
O, are ye my faither or are ye my mither Or are ye my brither John? Or are ye James Herries, my ain true love To Scotland come again? I'm no' your faither, I'm no' your mither, I'm no' your brither John. But I am James Herries, your ain true love To Scotland come again. O, see ye no' yon seiven ships? The eighth brocht me to land, I've merchandise and mariners And wealth on every hand. But I am married to a carpenter Earns his braid upon dry land, And I hae borne him a bonnie young son And wi' you I winna gang. O, ye maun leave your husband dear And come awa' wi' me; I'll tak' ye whaur the white lilies grow On the banks o' Italy. Then she has gane tae her bonnie young son And kissed baith cheek and chin, And syne tae her husband, sleepin' soond, And done the same wi' him. They had nae sealed a league, a league, A league but barely three, When she minded her man and her bonnie young son And grat maist bitterly O, haud your tongue, my sprightly flooer Let a' your mournin' be, I'll tak' ye whaur the blind fishes swim At the bottom o' the sea. And aye he grew and higher he grew And sae tall he seemed to be Till the tapmost mast a' that bonnie ship Nae taller was than he. He struck the tapmast wi' his haund And kicked the mainmast doon, And he broke that bonnie ship in twa And a' the folk were drooned.
4.
There were a fair and a beautiful bride Children she had three; She sent them away to a northing school For to study gramaree. They were away but about three months Three months and a day; When there came death all over that land And stole her little babes away. There be a king in heavens above, Wearin' of a golden crown, Please send home my sweet little babes This night or in the morning soon. It were about old Christmas-time, And the nights was long and cool; She dreamed she seen them sweet little babes Come a-running to their mother's room. She set a table with a clean white cloth, Spread with bread and wine; Come eat, come drink, my sweet little babes, Come eat and drink of mine. We can't eat your bread, mother, We can't drink your wine; For in the morning, the morning soon, With our Saviour we must dine. She made a bed in the backmost room, Spread with a Holland sheet; And over the top run a golden quilt Come; my sweet little babes, and sleep, Green grass grown at our heads; mother, Green moss at our feet; And every tear you weeped for us Just wets our windin' sheet. Wake; awake; said the eldest one, Wake; It's almost day; Yonder stands our Saviour dear; And with him we must away. Farewell mamma and pappa too, Farewell Kitty and the Queen; How can I stay in this dark world? There's a brighter one for me.
5.
At the Mill o' Tifty lived a man In the neighbourhood o' Fyvie, And he had a lovely dochter dear Wha's name was Bonnie Annie Lord Fyvie had a trumpeter Wha's name was Andrew Lammie; And he had the airt for to gain the hairt O' Tifty's Bonnie Annie. Lord Fyvie he rode by the door Whaur lived Bonnie Annie; And his trumpeter rod him before, E'en that same Andrew Lammie. Her mither cried her to the door, Says, Come to me, my Annie! Did ever ye see a prettier man Than the trumpeter o' Fyvie? Naethin' she said, but sighed sair 'Twas alas for Bonnie Annie, For she dursna own her hairt was won By the trumpeter o' Fyvie. At nicht when a' gang to their beds, A' sleep fu' soond but Annie; Love so oppressed her tender breast, Thinkin' on her Andrew Lammie. O, love comes in at my bedside, And love will lie beyond me. Love so oppressed my tender breast And love will waste my body. The first time me and my love met, It was in the woods of Fyvie; And he ca'd me 'Mistress', but I said, Na, I'm just Tiftie's Bonnie Annie. O, Fyvie's woods rin far and wide; And Fyvie's woods are bonnie; It's aft I've gane there to meet my love My bonnie Andrew Lammie. Her faither he's got word o' it, That the trumpeter o' Fyvie Had had the airt for the gain the hairt O' his dochter, Bonnie Annie. Wae be to Mill o' Tiftie's pride For it has ruined mony, He'll no hae it said that she should wed The trumpeter o' Fyvie. Her faither he's a letter wrote And sent it to Lord Fyvie, For to say his dochter was bewitched By the trumpeter o' Fyvie. Noo, I maun gang to Embro toon; And for a while maun leave thee; She sighed fu' sair, but said nae mair, But, I wish that I was wig' ye. Then he has gene to the high tap hoose To the high tap house o' Fyvie, And he's blawn his trumpet sae loud and shrill, It was heard at Mill o' Tifty, Her faither he aye locks the door, Stores up the key fu' canny; And when he heard the trumpet's blast, Says, Your coo is lowin', Annie. O faither dear, I pray forbear, And reproach nae mair your Annie; For I wouldnae gie that ae coo's low For a' the lands o' Fyvie. At that same time the Lord cam' by, Says, Whit ails thee, Annie? O, it's a' for love that I maun dee For the love o' Andrew Lammie. O, Mill O' Tifty, gie consent And let your dochter marry; No, it maun be ane o'higher degree Than the trumpeter o' Fyvie. Gin she were o' as high a kin As she is wondrous bonnie, It's I would tak' her to mysel' And mak' her my ain lady. O, Fyvie's lands rin lang and wide, And Fyvie's woods are bonnie; But I wouldnae gie my ain true love For a' the lands o' Fyvie. Her faither struck her wondrous sair, And also did her mither, Her sisters likewise took their score; But wae be tae her brither. Her brither struck her wondrous sair, Wi' cruel blows and mony, And he brak' her back ower the temple stane For likin' Andrew Lammie, O father and mither, why sae cruel? Why sae cruel to your Annie? My hairt was broken first by love, My brither broke my body. O mither, mither, mak' my bed, And turn my face to Fyvie, For it's here I'll lie and it's here I'll die, For my dear Andrew Lammie.
6.
There stands three trumpeters on yon hill, Blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw. And they blew their trumpets sae loud and shrill And the wind it blows my plaid awa'. Gin I'd his trumpet in my kist Blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw. And was in the lad'a airms that I like best, And the wind it blows my plaid awa'. Gin ye would be wed wi me; Blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw. There's ae thing ye maun dae for me. And the wind it blows my plaid awa'. Ye maun mak' me a linen sark, Blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw. Without a stitch o' needlewark. And the wind it blows my plaid awa'. Ye maun wash it in yon draw-well, Blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw. Where water never sprang nor fell. And the wind it blows my plaid awa'. Ye maun dry't on yon hawthorn, Blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw. That never saw blossom since Adam was born, And the wind it blows my plaid awa'. And gin I mak' a sark for thee, Blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw. There's ae thing ye maun dae for me. And the wind it blows my plaid awa'. My faither has an acre o' land, Blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw. Ye maun ploo it wi' your ae hand. And the wind it blows my plaid awa'. Ye maun sow it wantin' corn, Blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw. And roll it wi' a sheep's shank-bone. And the wind it blows my plaid awa'. Ye maun shear it wi' a scythe o' leather, Blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw. And bind it wi' a peacock's feather. And the wind it blows my plaid awa'. Ye maun stook it in the sea Blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw. And bring the wheatsheaf dry to me. And the wind it blows my plaid awa'. And gin ye dae noo a' this wark, Blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw. Come to me and you'll get your sark. And the wind it blows my plaid awa'.
7.
'Twas early one morning in the month of May O the wind and rain; Two sisters went a-fishing on a hot summer's day, Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. Two sweet Sisters side by side O the wind and rain; Both of them wanna be Johnny's bride Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. Johnny give the young one a gold ring O the wind and rain; Didn't give the other one anything Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. Two sweet sisters walking by the stream O the wind and rain; One come behind, pushed the other one in. Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. Pushed her in the river to drown, O the wind and rain; And watched her as she floated down. Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. She floated on down to the miller's pond, O the wind and rain; Father, father, there swims a swan. Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. The miller ran for his drifting hook, O the wind and rain; And brought that poor girl from the brook. Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. He laid her on the bank so dry, O the wind and rain; A fiddler man came walking by. Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. He saw that poor girl lying there; O the wind and rain; He took thirty strands of her long yellow hair. Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. He made a fiddle bow of her long yellow hair, O the wind and rain; He made fiddle pegs of her little finger bones. Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. He made a fiddle of her little breast-bone, O the wind and rain; With a sound that could melt a heart of stone. Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. And the only tune that fiddle would play, O the wind and rain; The only tune that fiddle would play, was Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. Was yonder's my sister sittin' on a rock, O the wind and rain; Tyin' my Johnny a true-love's knot. Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain.
8.
The lady stands at her bower door As straucht's a willow-wand The blacksmith stood a little forbye Wi' his hammer in his haund. O, weel hae ye dressed, ye lady fair In a' your robes o' reid. Before the morn at this same time I'll gain your maidenheid. Awa', awe' ye coal-black smith And wad ye dae me wrong? To think to gain my maidenheid That I hae kep' sae lang. Then she has hauden up her haund And swore by the Trinity, Though ye gie me thoosand poonds, Your leman I'd never be. And he has hauden up his haund tae And he swore by the Mass, I'll tak' ye tae my bed, lady, For the half o' that and less. Bide, lady, bide, And aye he bade her bide, The rusty smith your Leman shall be For all your muckle pride Then she became a turtle-dow To fly up in the air, And he became anither dow And they flew pair and pair. Bide, lady, bide, And aye he bade her bide, The rusty smith your Leman shall be For all your muckle pride She's turned hersel' intae an eel Tae swim intae yon burn, And he became a speckled trout To gie the eel her turn, Bide, lady, bide, And aye he bade her bide, The rusty smith your Leman shall be For all your muckle pride Then she became a duck, a duck To paddle in the burn, And he became a rose-kaimed drake To tread her at ilka turn. Bide, lady, bide, And aye he bade her bide, The rusty smith your Leman shall be For all your muckle pride She's turned hersel' intae a hare Tae run upon yon hill, And he became a guid greyhoond And coursed her at his will, Bide, lady, bide, And aye he bade her bide, The rusty smith your Leman shall be For all your muckle pride Then she became a bonnie grey mare And stood in yonder slack, And he became the gilt saddle That lay across her back. Bide, lady, bide, And aye he bade her bide, The rusty smith your Leman shall be For all your muckle pride Then she became a hot girdle And he became a cake; And a' the ways she turned hersel' The blacksmith was her make. Bide, lady, bide, And aye he bade her bide, The rusty smith your Leman shall be For all your muckle pride She's turned hersel' intae a ship To sail out ower the flood, But he's drove a nail intae her tail And syne that ship she stood. Bide, lady, bide, And aye he bade her bide, The rusty smith your Leman shall be For all your muckle pride Then she became a silken plaid And stretched oat on the bed, And he became a green blanket And gained her maidenheid. Bide, lady, bide, And aye he bade her bide, The rusty smith her leman was For a' her muckle pride.
9.
There was a sister and her brither, The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood Wha maist entirely loved each other. God, gif we had never been sib. Sister, we'll gang tae the broom The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood O sister, I would lay thee doon, God, gif we had never been sib. Brither, alas, would ye dae sae? The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood I sooner would my deith gang tae. God, gif we had never been sib. A' the folk they talk through ither The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood That the lass is wi' bairn to her brither. God, gif we had never been sib. O, brither ye hae done me ill, The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood And we will baith burn on yon hill. God, gif we had never been sib. Ye'll gang tae my faither's stable, The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood And tak' twa horses stout and able. God, gif we had never been sib. She's up on the white horse, he's on the black, The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood Wi' his yew-tree bow slung fast tae his back. God, gif we had never been sib. They hadnae rode a mile but ane The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood E'er her pains they did come on. God, gif we had never been sib. I would gie a' my faither's land The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood For a good midwife at my command, God, gif we had never been sib. Ye'll gang tae yon high high hill, The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood And tak' your how and arrows wi' ye, God, gif we had never been sib. When ye hear my loud, loud cry. The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood Then bend your bow and let me die. God, gif we had never been sib. He's gane tae yon hill sae high, The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood He bent his bow and let her die, God, gif we had never been sib. When he cam' tae her beside; The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood The babe was born, the lady deid. God, gif we had never been sib. Then he has ta'en his young, young son, The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood And borne him tae a milk-woman. God, gif we had never been sib. He's gien himsel' a wound fu' sair, The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood Well never gang to the broom nae mair. God, gif we had never been sib. O mither, I hae tint my knife; The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood I lo'ed it better than my life, God, gif we had never been sib. But I hae tint a better thing, The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood The bonnie sheath my knife was in. God, gif we had never been sib. Is there no' a cutler intae Fife The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood That could mak' to thee a better knife? God, gif we had never been sib. There's no' a cutler in a' the land, The sun gaes tae oot owre the wood That could mak' sic a knife tae my command. God, gif we had never been sib.
10.
O who will shoe my pretty little foot, Who will glove my hand? Who will kiss my rosy lips When you're in a foreign land? Your papa can shoe your pretty little foot, Your mama can glove your hand, I will kiss your rosy lips When I come back again. O, if I had a sailing boat And men to sail with me - I'd sail tonight to my own love Since he will not sail to me. Her father made her a sailing boat. And sent her to the strand; She set her baby on her lap And turned her back to land. She hadn't been a-sailing about three months It was not more than four, When she brought her sailing boat Right to her lover's door. She's took her baby in her arms And to his door she's gone, She called, she cried, she called again But answer got she none. The night was dark and the wind was cold, Her lover was asleep, And the baby in poor Annie's arms Began to cry and weep. O, open the door, my own true love, Open the door, I pray, Your young child that's in my arms Will be dead before it's day. Go away, you wild woman, For here you cannot stay, Go drown you in the salt, salt sea, Or hang on the gallows tree. Don't you remember, my true love, When we sat at the wine? We changed the rings from our fingers, And the brightest one was mine. Don't you remember, my true love, The vow you made to me? We vowed an oath and it bound us both For the years that are to be. Go away, you wild woman, For here you can't come in, Go drown you in the salt, salt sea Or hang on the gallows pin. The cock did crow, the sun did rise And through the window peep; Up he rose, her own true love, And sorely did he weep. O, mother, I dreamed of my true love, She lives across the sea; I dreamed she stood at our front door A-weepin' sore for me. There were a lady here last night With a baby in her arms, I would not let her in to you For fear she'd do you harm. He ran, he ran to the salt sea-shore And looked out on the foam, There he saw fair Annie's boat Go tossin' toward her home. He called, he cried, he waved his hand, He bid her sore to stay, The more he called and the more he cried, The louder roared the sea. The wind did blow and the sea did roar, It tossed her boat on shore, It brought his true love to his feet But he saw his son no more. The first he kissed her rev'ly cheek, The next he kissed her chin - Then he kissed her rosy lips, There was no life within. Don't you remember, my true love, When we sat at the wine? We changed the rings from our fingers And the brightest one was mine. Don't you remember, my true love. The vow you made to me? We vowed an oath, and it bound us both For the years that are to be. A curse I put on thee, mother, A curse I put on thee! That you would not let my Annie in When she come so far to me.

about

WHEN IS A BALLAD NOT A BALLAD? WHEN IT HAS NO TUNE. It is with this conundrum and its answer that Bertrand Bronson opened his introduction to The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads. While agreeing with the spirit of the answer, we would go a little further and say that "a ballad is not a ballad until it is sung."

We had been singing ballads for quite a long time when this recording was made. Of the hundred-and-forty albums we had made, more than half have contained at least one or two ballads; and as far as live concerts and clubs are concerned, we have both regarded the ballads as a necessary part of any program.

What is it about the ballads that we find so fascinating? Well, the stories themselves are first rate. They have certainly stood the test of time, and that isn't a bad recommendation. Then again--the poetry can be breathtaking. Most of the ballads we've sung contain some memorable lines: perhaps it is just a phrase, a line of incremental repetition, or it can be an entire stanza: but however brief the moment of pure poetry, it generally generates enough heat and light to radiate an entire ballad. Finally, there is the element of challenge. The mere length of most of the ballads is challenge enough. We sometimes regard them as actors regard the great classic roles of Hamlet, Lady MacBeth, Clytemnestra and King Lear.

On the face of it, the challenge is a formidable one. You are faced with an audience made up of a number of separate individuals who may or may not share anything in common (other than the more or less sophisticated attitude to life and each other, which is the result of long exposure to TV and radio, with its instant news, instant politics, instant simulated passion yelled, sobbed and moaned by a never-ending succession of pop-singers).

And the ballad singer, for the next eight or ten or twelve minutes is going to sing a tale in the form of a long narrative poem organised into twenty or thirty (or more) quatrains, tied to a melody that will be repeated every four lines. Not much room for manoeuvre! Furthermore, the poetry is of a kind that few people in the audience have had the opportunity to become familiar with. It is full of odd usages, repetitions, strange combinations of romantic love and incredible violence. To complicate matters still further, some of the texts are in braid Scots. A challenge indeed...!

Occasionally, the challenge has been taken up with results that have been less than encouraging. "Sir Patrick Spens" with spangles and a rock accompaniment; they have dragged "Barbara Allen", protesting, into the Middle Ages to the (albeit skilled) thrumming of shawns and crumhorns. But the ballads don't lend themselves to this kind of treatment. They don't make good "production numbers". The poetry gets in the way: too much action, too many incidents, and the quality of the language leads to a kind of rock parody. The words of the ballads have something of the feeling of stones fashioned into a smooth perfection by endless tides. Attempts to create settings, arrangements for the poetry only succeed in making it seem overdressed--like putting a silk garter on the Venus de Milo. Also, in a curious way, a ballad appears to have difficulty breathing inside an arrangement, for though the bond that fuses the ballad text and tune into a single whole is oddly flexible and appears to be constantly shifting its centre of gravity, it appears to be unable to function in the proximity of foreign musical influences.

Our own feelings for the ballads are something that we have nurtured throughout most of our joint working life as singers. Time and again we have returned to this or that ballad and discovered

something new in it. Occasionally we have been led to conduct major explorations into territory that we thought we already knew. The end result has been the complete reworking of a ballad...and a new search for the degree of tension to match one's new understanding of the piece. Finding the right amount of tension and sustaining it over thirty or forty stanzas: That's where the skill lies!

And what is tension? It is compounded of many elements. It is the right weight of vocal attack, the weight which best suits the theme and the nature of the ballad; it is the right tempo, the one in which the action of the story has time to unfold without confusing the listener; it is the right pulse, that is the right combination of breathing, articulation, sense and shape of the tune; it is complete empathy with words and music; it is the right length of pause, of silence between the verses, during which both listener and singer make the jump into thinking to a new unit of the story; and finally, it is creative judgment, the singer's knowledge of how far tune and text can be teased out and worked in each performance without destroying any part of the ballad's structure; it is the singer's ability to add colour to a word, to thicken or attenuate a line, to let a hint of harshness creep into the tone, to suggest that somewhere--not far off--there is a laugh lying in wait..and to be able to do all these things without upsetting the delicate balance of the ballad, and, moreover, without the listener being aware that it is being done.

There comes a moment during the singing of a long ballad when everything is working. You have moved into the story crabwise, not giving too much of yourself at first. Then, suddenly, for a moment you are conscious of the people listening, and they are all breathing in time with you! And all around you there is silence, except for the voice guiding you through the ineluctable dark landscape of the ballad.

© Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger (1979)

About Child and Bronson:

The definitive collection of traditional ballad texts was made by Francis J. Child (The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1882-1892, five volumes).

The definitive collection of tunes was made by Bertrand Barris Bronson (The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads, Princeton, New Jersey, 1959-1972, four volumes).

credits

released September 14, 1986

Produced by Calum MacColl
Engineered by Nigel Cazaly

license

all rights reserved

tags

about

Ewan MacColl London, UK

This site is maintained by the MacColl family, aiming to make Ewan's catalogue available to download.
Ewan MacColl is known to most as a songwriter and singer, but he was also of significant influence in the worlds of theatre and radio broadcasting. His art reached huge numbers through the folk clubs, greater numbers through his recordings and untold millions through the radio. ... more

contact / help

Contact Ewan MacColl

Streaming and
Download help

Shipping and returns

Redeem code

Report this album or account

Ewan MacColl recommends:

If you like Blood & Roses Volume 5, you may also like: