Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Canny Shepherd Laddie




There's songs aboot oor soldiers and oor sailors by the score,
Of tinkers and of tailors and of others there's galore;
But I'll sing ye a song that you've never heard before,
It's the canny shepherd laddie o' the hills.

Chorus

Oh the shepherds o the Coquet, the Alwin and the Rede,
The Bowment and the Breamish, they're all the same breed,
Wi their collie dog beside them and a stick with horn heid
It's the canny shepherd laddie o' the hills.

Chorus

They climb oot ower the mountain ere it's turned the break o' day,
Through the bent and moss hags and round bogs they wend their way,
Quick tae see a mawkit yin or a sheep that's strayed away,
It's the canny shepherd laddie o' the hills.

Chorus

They send the collie around the sheep with a yell o "Gan oot wide"
Then whistle with the notes so shrill the dog drops in his stride
"Come by Moss! Doon a bit I'll tak my stick oot ower yer hide"
It's the canny shepherd laddie o' the hills.

Chorus

If the lambing time is stormy he will curse and he will swear
There's a yowe that's lost its lamb and I've skinned an auld yowe there,
Some o them have ta'en the sickness, nae mair trouble can I bear
It's the canny shepherd laddie o' the hills.

Chorus

In the back-end tae the marts he'll gang if the prices they are dear
To celebrate he'll treat his pals tae whisky and tae beer,
But if the prices they are bad, it taks a dram tae cheer
The canny shepherd laddie o' the hills.

Chorus

In the winter when its stormy and drifts are piling high
He'll never flinch tae tak the risk that in the snow he may die
His first care is his sheep are settled and sheltered safe may lie
The canny shepherd laddie o' the hills.

Chorus

At Alwinton they may turn oot tae see the Shepherds' Show
Then into Foreman's for a drink they with their cronies go,
They'll argue and they'll sing and shout, but fecht, well bless me no
The canny shepherd laddie o' the hills.

Chorus

Now if ye've gaun among them as A've done for forty years
Nae kinder hearted folk you'll meet if you look far or near
The kettl'e set a boiling and they cry "Sit you doon here"
The canny shepherd laddie o' the hills.

Chorus

A've said nae words aboot their wives A'm shair there is no need
But in every house I've been tae yet they seem tae be the heid,
And I'm sure you'll all agree with me, it taks a hell of a good wife to breed
A canny shepherd laddie o' the hills.

From Herd Laddie o the Glen (1988)
Songs of a Border Shepherd
Willie Scott
Shepherd and Singer
Compiled by Alison McMorland

Also Sung by Jimmy White, Yetlington, Northumberland
Recorded by Peter Kennedy
Issued on Caedmon/Topic LP The Folk Songs of Britain Vol. 3 Jack of all Trades
These two verses, without any chorus, seem to be all that Jimmy White sang for Peter Kennedy

1 comment:

lilcowgal said...

I'm an American Johnston and love these old songs...
This one is such a beautiful song I listen to on a cd...reminding me to take good care of my 7 border collie dogs, 4 cats and 3 grandchildren and husband who is disabled. So I know how that shepherd feels.
When I read religious stuff about endless prayers and spirituality being the way to God I think of this song and it reminds me there's another way!

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