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Marnan Fair

[ Roud 5144 ; G/D 4:885 ; Ballad Index GrD4885 ; trad.]

John Mearns sang Dufftown Fair on his ca 1964-5 EP John Mearns Sings Another Five Scottish Folk-Songs.

Jimmy McBeath sang Marnin’ Fair to Peter Hall in a private house in Scotland in July 1971. This recording was released in 1978 on his Topic album Bound to Be a Row. Peter Hall noted:

This song in its various guises is popular to this day. In former times such fairs were the only proper holidays farm servants had. ‘Foggieloan’ is the local by-name for the village of Aberchirder.

Wille McKenzie sang Peter Fair on the 2007 Ross live album Tam Reid’s Ceilidh.

The Spiers Family sang Marnan Fair in ca 2012 on their album Plenty Brass and a Bonny Lass. They noted:

This is one of the songs Maggie [Spiers] loved to hear Jimmy McBeath sing. It’s unusual in that it tells of a man who is so in love with his wife, he has to tell all his friends how great married life is.


The Spiers Family sing Marnan Fair

My frien’s that’s gaithered here the nicht
Come listen tae my tale,
An I’ll tell ye o a lass I like
An she likes me as weel.
She has rosy cheeks an ruby lips
An bonny curly hair,
An I met her ower in Foggieloan
The nicht o a Marnan fair.

Chorus (after each verse):
So hurra boys hurra
For the life o a married man,
I’ve been as happy as a king mi lads
Since I mairried Mary Ann.
She’s a pair o een that ne’er wis seen
An the wye she wore her hair,
An I met her ower in Foggieloan
The nicht o a Marnan fair.

The first time that I’ve taen her ham
My bottle it wis fou,
The first time I gaed yon lang road
I’m sure I’ll niver rue.
Her parents they hiv gaed consent
So we hired a coach and pair,
And it happened we’ve got mairried on
The nicht o a Marnan fair.

We’ve wandered through the heather,
Aye the thistle and the sloe,
And that very nicht mi lads
I’ve taen her tae a show.
I’ve bocht her candy by the lumps,
She thocht that it wis rare.
An I’ve kissed the candy aff o her lips
The nicht o a Marnan fair.

An noo that we are mairried
And tae end oor earthly joys,
I’ll tell ye on the quiet
We’ve been blessed wi a pair o boys.
They’re the very image o their daa,
The neighbours a declare.
So we’re gaan tae open a baby show
The nicht o a Marnan fair.