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Cameloun / Tarves Parish

[ Roud 5592 ; G/D 3:389 ; Ballad Index Ord260 ; trad.]

Katherine Campbell sang Cameoloun in 2009 on the CD accompanying her book Songs From North-East Scotland, a selection of songs from The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection.

Fiona Hunter sang this song as Tarves Parish in 2015 on Malinky’s CD Far Better Days. Their liner notes commented:

Also known as Cameloun o Fyvie (not to be confused with Camelon near Falkirk), this popular ploughman’s song from Aberdeeshire was collected by Gavin Greig from several singers in the 1900s. It details the plight of a ploughman having to endure a hard day’s work whilst battling a hangover!

The melody here was collected in July 1905 from James Wattie Spence (1867-1928) of Fyvie. Spence named the author as ‘R. Cooper’. Archive recordings of Willie Mathieson (1952) and Geordie Robertson (1954) singing the song (to different melodies) can be heard on the Kist o Riches / Tobar an Dualchais archive digitasation website.

Tarves is a village between Ellon and Oldmeldrum in Aberdeenshire, and the parish was nine miles long by six miles wide. The various farms of North, Meikle and South Cameloun are situated just north of the town of Fyvie.


Malinky sing Tarves Parish

Tarves Parish that I come frae
And tae tell ye that I am some wae
For there’s ae lang road that I maun gae
Tae the Fyvie lands in the mornin.

At Cameloun I did arrive
A pair of horses for tae drive
And ilka morn tae rise at five
And caa the fan in the mornin

I hadna weel began tae sleep
When the foreman he began tae creep
And oot o’s bed he sprang tae his feet
Cries, “Losh boys, rise, for it’s mornin!”

Tae caa the fan they set me tae
Which I began richt cannily
And took a look foo they wid dee
In the Fyvie lands in the mornin.

We hae a bailie stoot and stark
It sets him weel tae wark his wark
But owre his heid he’s drawn a sark
As lang’s himsel in the mornin

I hadna lang been at the ploo
When I began to couck and spue
The night afore I’d been some fu
Sae I had a dowie mornin

Tarves Parish is lang and wide
Tarves Parish is fu o pride
But in this cauld corner I’ll ne’er bide
Gin I had Whitsunday mornin