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Battle of Waterloo

[Jim Malcolm]

Jim Malcolm sang his own song Battle of Waterloo in 1998 on his Greentrax album Rohallion. He set it to music adapted from a traditional pipe tune. This track was also included in the same year on the Greentrax anthology of traditional music from a new generation, Folkal Point: Edinburgh. A live recording from Glenfarg Village Hall in November 2003 was released in 2004 on his album Live in Glenfarg. Jim Malcolm noted on the original album:

I first heard this old pipe tune on a Tannas album and thought it would make a great song. I had to alter the melody to more clearly differentiate the verse from the chorus. The words came flooding out after I saw a documentary about the battle. I was shocked at the way the ordinary soldiers were marched like toys shoulder to shoulder against murderous fire. I have tried to get into the head of one poor soul who is remembered on a war monument in Kirriemuir, Angus.

Jim Malcolm also sang Battle of Waterloo in 1999 on Old Blind Dogs’ Green Linnet album The World’s Room. A live recording from their Spring 2004 USA tour was released on their 2005 CD Play Live. They noted:

Unlike the intrepid soldier of neighbouring Forfar, this Kirriemuir infantryman is slain at the final decisive engagement of the deadly wars with Napoleonic France.

Amy Lord sang The Battle of Waterloo during the TMSA Young Trad Tour 2008.

Siobhan Miller sang The Battle of Waterloo on her 2022 CD Bloom.


Jim Malcolm sings Battle of Waterloo

Spring comes to Kirrie, all the world’s in bloom,
Winter is forgiven now, fooled by April’s broom.
Kirrie, oh Kirrie, you were aye my hame
Till Napoleon’s bloody cannon hit their aim.

Jeanie, oh Jeanie, I am surely done,
Stricken down in battle at the mooth o’ Boney’s guns.
Jeanie, oh Jeanie, aye sae dear tae me,
Let me hold you in my mind afore I dee.

Chorus (after each verse):
For the cold returns in autumn when the wind rakes the trees,
And the summer lies forgotten in a cold bed of leaves.
As winter begins aye mind Boney, it wasn’t only you
Who was broken on the field of Waterloo.

Surgeon, oh surgeon, leave me wi’ my pain,
Save your knife for others who will surely rise again.
Surgeon, oh surgeon, leave my blood to pour,
Let it drain into the bitter clay once more.

Daughter, oh daughter, listen dear tae me,
Never wed a sodger, or a widow you will be.
Daughter, oh daughter, curse your lad to die
’Ere he catches the recruitin’ sergeant’s eye.

Boney, oh Boney, war was aye your game,
Bloody field your table, cannon yours to aim.
Boney, oh Boney, we aye lived the same,
Drillin’ laddies not to fear the muskets’ flame.