Stories of Scottish Songs

Tales of Scottish traditional
and newer songs 
sung by Sangschule 
of Linlithgow

Do You Love An Apple

Alternative titles: Still I Love Him, Black Shawl, He Comes Doon Oor Alley.

Do you love an apple, do you love a pear?
Do you love a laddie with curly brown hair?

And still I love him, can’t deny him
I’ll go with him wherever he goes

When I was single I wore a black shawl
But now that I’m married I’ve nothing at all

He stood at the corner, a fag in his mouth
Two hands in his pockets, he whistled me out

He works at the pier, for nine pound a week,
Saturday night he comes rolling home drunk

Before I got married I’d sport and I’d play
But now, the cradle it gets in me way

Do you love an apple, do you love a pear?
Do you love a laddie with curly brown hair?

This version was brought to Sangschule by Gordeanna McCulloch, who later added another verse:

He went to the jeweller’s to buy me a ring
Then he and the jeweller went out on a fling

A version appears in Travellers’ Songs From England and Scotland by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger -“Still I Love Him” as sung by Charlotte Higgins.

For he comes to the wagon, he whistles me out,
 A light brown suit and his shirt hanging out

Still I love him, can’t deny him
 I’ll go with him wherever he goes

He bought me a muffler, both red white and blue
Because I wouldn’t wear it he tore it in two

Before I was married I wore a black shawl,
Now since I’m married I’ve sweet bugger-all

This last line was also in Gordeanna’s version but she agreed to modify it in view of Sangschule’s youngest members at the time.

MacColl comments “This is probably one of the most frequently reported songs in the British Isles and, undoubtedly, one of the least printed. ….
“In North America there is a large group of songs with roughly the same theme, usually beginning in the following manner:
When I was single, I dressed all so fine, / Now I am married, go raggedy all the time / Lord, don’t I wish I was a single girl again!

MacColl also points out similarities with the street song “When I Was Single” as included in The Scottish Folksinger.

He says that in all these single versus married songs, marriage is viewed as the source of the heroine’s unhappiness, but in “Still I Love Him” the emphasis is different. She has much to complain about, “but she has by her side a flesh-and-blood companion – less than perfect perhaps, but human and therefore capable of inspiring love in spite of the institution.”

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