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Coulter’s Candy

[ Roud 19019 ; Ballad Index MSNR154 ; Robert Coltart]

Robin Hall and Jimmie NacGregor with The Galliards sang Coulter’s Candy in 1961 on their album Scottish Choice.

Sandy and Caroline Paton sang Coulter’s Candy in 1966 on their Folk-Legacy album Folksongs and Ballads.

Ray Fisher sang Coulter’s Candy in 1991 on her Saydisc CD Traditional Songs of Scotland. This track was also included in 2003 on the Holmfirth Festival 25 years anniversary CD Roots & Wings. Ray commented in her album’s liner notes:

This is surely the most widely known, and most regularly sung, lullaby in the Scottish repertoire. Mr Coulter would go around the streets selling his ‘sweeties’ from a basket which he carried on his head. Norman Buchan, in his 101 Scottish Songs (Collins) says that Mr Coulter plied his trade in the Border area of Scotland. Countless children have been sung to sleep with this song—my own included!

Martin Hall sang Coulter’s Candy in 1992 on his Fellside cassette Ringing the Changes. He commented:

Widely performed, this song, now almost a nursery rhyme, began as an advertisement for the wares of Robert Colthart. Children’s demands rarely change.

Judy Dunlop sang Coulter’s Candy on her 1999 CD My Arms Are a Cradle.


Ray Fisher sings Coulter’s Candy

Chorus (after each verse):
Ally, Bally, Ally Bally Bee,
Sittin’ on your mammy’s knee,
Greetin’ for a wee bawbee,
Tae buy some Coulter’s candy.

O Ally, Bally, Ally Bally Bee,
When you grow up you’ll gang to sea,
Makin’ pennies for your Daddy and me,
Tae buy some Coulter’s candy.

Now pair wee Jeannie, she’s lookin’ awful thin,
A rickle o’ banes covered ower wi’ kin,
But soon she’ll be gettin’ a wee double chin,
Wi’ sookin’ Coulter’s candy.

Mummy, hand me my thrify doon,
Here’s old Coulter comin’ roon,
Wi’ a basket on his croon,
Selling Coulter’s candy.

So go to sleep my bonny wee lamb,
It’s seven o’clock and your playin’s done,
But when you rise wi’ the morning sun
You’ll get mair Coulter’s candy.