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Jock Hawk / Jock Hawk’s Adventures in Glasgow

[ Roud 2331 ; Ballad Index Ord278 ; trad]

Roy Palmer: Everyman’s Book of British Ballads John Ord: Bothy Songs and Ballads Norman Buchan and Peter Hall: The Scottish Folksinger Peggy Seeger, Ewan MacColl The Scottish Folksinger

Ewan MacColl sang Jock Hawk’s Adventure in Glasgow in 1961 on his Folkways album Bothy Ballads of Scotland.

The basic bothy theme of the farm-servant exploited by the rich farmer is, in this ballad, altered slightly to become the farm-servant exploited by city-slickers. The general bothy pattern, however, remains unchanged and, as usual, no element of self-pity is allowed to interfere with the humour.

The Clutha sang Jock Hawk’s Adventures in Glasgow in 1971 on their Argo album Scotia!. An October 1981 live recording from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, was released in 2019 on their album Live From Harvard. Don Martin noted on the original album:

One tends to think of the bothy ballad as an exclusively Aberdeenshire phenomenon. Here, however, is a song with all the characteristics of that genre, but which apparently has its origins considerably farther south. According to John Ord it was sung all over the country in farm kitchens and at feeing markets during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century.

Smalltalk sang Jock Hawk in 1994 on their eponymous Greentrax album Smalltalk. They noted:

This tongue-in-cheek tale of an Ayrshire farmworker’s exploits in the big city was popular amongst bothy hands at the end of the last century. It predates Glasgow’s designation as a ‘European City of Culture’.

Arthur Watson with Peter Shepheard and Tom Spiers sang Jock Hawk’s Adventures at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2003 or May 2004. This recording was included in 2005 on the festival anthology Here’s a Health to the Company (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 1). Shepheard, Spiers & Watson also sang it in 2005 on their Springthyme album They Smiled As We Cam In. They noted:

One of many northeast songs, along with The Tarves Rant and My Rovin Eye, which warn the unsuspecting ploughman of the allure and consequences of going on the spree in village, town or city. In Aberdeenshire, Jock Hawk’s Adventures commonly shares a tune with the bothy song Guise o Tough Here we use another Guise o Tough tune collected in the Alford area by Peter Hall in the 1960s.

Fiona Hunter sang Jock Hawk’s Adventures in Glasgow in 2014 on her eponymous album Fiona Hunter. She noted:

I discovered this song while looking for some bothy ballads. The version I found was recorded by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger and can be found on Bothy Ballads of Scotland. I loved the humorous narrative about a young ploughboy who heads to Glasgow and meets a young girl. They go to a tavern and are joined by a group of sailors. Many drinks later the sailors leave and Jock is left to pay the bill. He vows he will never return to Glasgow again!

Robyn Stapleton sang Jock Hawk’s Adventures in Glasgow in 2015 on her album of songs of the Scottish and Irish folk traditions, Fickle Fortune. She noted:

I love the story of this North East song, and the chorus, which always has the room singing. Jock Hawk is a young man who comes to Glasgow from the countryside looking for a good time, but instead, poor Jock gets taken advantage of by the locals, and vows never to return to Glasgow again. I first heard this song from Tom Spiers and Arthur Watson when they performed it at the Scots Trad Music Awards in Aberdeen.


Smalltalk sing Jock Hawk

Well tae Glesca toon I went ae nicht tae spend my penny fee
And a bonnie lass soon gaed consent tae bear my company.
I said, “I am a plooman lad and a stranger tae the toon.”
She said that needna hinder ye Tae jog it up and doon.

We wandered up Jamaica Street, doon by the Broomielaw,
Where the organ lads play rich and sweet and fiddlers ane or twa.
And as we walked in through the crowd I could hear the people say,
“There goes Jock Hawk, he’s got a miss but he’ll repent that play.”

And we gaed intae a tavern then and I ca’ed for the gin.
The lads and lasses a’ looked roon and smiled as I cam in.
The sailor lads a’ shook my hand, their welcome was rieht free,
And ilka toast that e’er they gaed was the bonnie young lass and me.

The spree gaed on wi mirth and song till daylight did appear,
When the bosun o’ the ship cam roon, says, “Lads on deck appear.”
The lasses gaed a partin kiss, the lads a’ said goodbye.
The hinmost yin as he gaed oot says,“ Jock ye’ve a’ tae pay.”

My hairt it dropped intae my boots as he gaed oot the door,
The landlord he took haud o’ me, says, “Noo lad pay your score.”
I pit my hand intae my pouche, laid a’ my money doon,
But I kent it wisnae near enough by the way that he did froon.

He’s ta’en frae me my watch and chain, my spleuchan and my knife,
Its a wonder that he didna tak my wee bit spunk o’ life.
He’s robbed me o’ my Sunday coat, my waistcoat and my shin,
As for my hat I ne’er saw that since first I ca’d the gin.

So cam a’ ye brisk young ploomen lads, this warning tak frae me,
And never gang tae Glesca toon tae tak a penny spree.
For I cam back frae that auld place sae naked and sae bare,
And I’ll ne’er gang back tae Glesca toon tae take a spree nae mair.

Shepheard, Spiers & Watson sing Jock Hawk’s Adventures

Ah tae Glesga toun I gaed ae nicht tae spend a penny fee,
A bonnie wee lass she gied consent tae bear me company.

Chorus (after each verse):
Hooch on linkie doo, linkie doodle day,
Hooch on linkie doodle toor aye ae.

We wandered through Jamaica Street doun by the Broomielaw,
The organ lads played rich and sweet and fiddlers ane or twa.

We gaed intae a tavern, I ordered up some gin,
And aa the folk aboot the place they smiled as we cam in.

We hidnae been in there an hour fan in cam half a score
O sailor lads and quines sae braw we’d never seen afore.

I bocht them each a gless o gin, they drank it aff richt free,
And ilka ane they drank success tae the bonnie wee lassie and me.

The nicht gaed on wi mirth and sang till daylicht did appear,
Syne up come their bosun says, “All hands on deck appear.”

The sailors took a pairtin giess, the lassies said, “Goodbye.”
The hindmost ane as he gaed oot says, “Jock ye’ve aa tae pey.”

Noo they’ve taen fae me ma watch and chain and they’ve taen fae me ma knife.
It’s a wunner they hanna taen fae me ma wee bit spunk o life.

Weel I cam intae this world a bairn, sae nakit and sae bare,
And I’ll ging oot the same fae Glesga, I’ll never ging nae mair.

So come aa ye jolly plooman lads, a warning tak fae me:
Never ging tae Glesga toun, ye’re better in Lochee.

Last chorus:
Hooch on linkie doo, linkie doodle day,
Hooch on linkie doodle toor aye ae;
Hooch on linkie doo, linkie doodle day,
Hooch on linkie doodle toor aye ae.