Stories of Scottish Songs

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

The Shearin's No For You

from the singing of Gordeanna McCulloch

The tune “The Shearin’s No For You” was later used for the 19th century lyric “Let Us Haste To Kelvingrove”.

Oh the shearing's no for you, my bonnie lassie o (x2)
Oh the shearing's no for you, for your back it winna boo,
An your belly's rowin fu, my bonnie lassie o

Dae ye mind on banks o Ayr, my bonnie laddie o? (x2)
Dae ye mind on banks o Ayr whaur ye drew me in your snare?
And you left me in despair, my bonnie laddie o

It was in the month of May, my bonnie lassie o (x2)
It was in the month of May when the flowers they were gay,
And the lambs did sport and play, my bonnie lassie o

Do you mind on yonder hill, my bonnie laddie o? (x2)
Do you mind on yonder hill where you swore you would me kill
If you didna hae your will, my bonnie laddie o?

Oh, it's you may kill me deid, my bonnie laddie o (x2)
Oh I'll no kill ye deid nor mak your body bleed,
Nor marry you with speed, my bonnie lassie o

For the pipes do sweetly play, my bonnie lassie o (x2)
Oh the pipes do sweetly play and the troops do march away,
And it's here I will not stay my bonnie lassie o

: cutting corn at harvest, in this case not shearing sheep. Harvest was a time when men and women worked together in the fields.

The version brought to Sangschule by Gordeanna McCulloch, implying a rape, is darker and more dramatic than others on the same theme of the girl betrayed and left pregnant. It is a thousand miles away from the sentimental “Kelvin Grove”, “where midnight fairies glide” which, according to Jeannie Robertson’s editors, was “cobbled” out of the traditional song by John Sim and Thomas Lyle.

The tune is the same, but Jeannie Robertson’s three verses – called “Tak The Buckles Frae Your Sheen” -quoted in her biography, have a different mood from Gordeanna’s:

Tak the buckles frae your sheen, bonnie lassie O/ Tak the buckles frae your sheen, for your dancin’ days are deen,/ For your dancing days are deen bonnie lassie O

Tak the flounces frae your goun, bonnie lassie O, / Tak the buckles frae your goun, mak a frockie tae your loon,/ Mak a frockie tae your loon, bonnie lassie O

Dae ye min’ on Glesca Green, bonnie lassie O?/ Dae ye min’ on Glesca Green, when I played on your machine?/ Dae ye min’ on Glesca Green, bonnie lassie O?

Two versions in the Greig-Duncan Collection vol.7 resemble Jeannie’s “Tak The Buckles Frae Your Sheen”.  Alex MacDonald has “Tak the ribbons fae yer hair, Jeannie Gordon, O / Tak the ribbons fae yer hair, for you’ll never dance nae mair”. Instead of making a “frockie” she is to make “hippens te yer loon” – (nappies”). His third verse is the same as Jeannie’s first.

Mrs Annie Shirer has first the verse about flounces, but ends “mak a frockie tae yer loon/ For ye’ll need it vera soon, bonnie lassie, O.” Then she has the “ribbons” verse, with the ending “You’ll never need them mair /Ye may toss them in the air, bonnie lassie O”.

The first version recorded in The Greig-Duncan Collection, vol.7, from Mrs Margaret Gillespie carries the same first verse as Gordeanna’s, except that the lassie’s “steys” were rowin fu, instead of her belly.

The other three verses carry on the conversation between male and female, but the scene is more seduction than semi-rape:
 “Don’t you mind o Kelvingrove, where to me you vowed your love/ And you said you’d constant prove, bonnie laddie, O
“Don’t you mind on Glasgow Green, where you said we wasna seen/ And you left me there aleen, bonnie laddie, O

Don’t you mind on Banks of Ayr, where you left me in despair/ And you said you didna care, bonnie laddie, O

Members Area

Newest Members