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The Barnyards o’ Delgaty
; G/D 3:347
; Ballad Index
Norman Buchan: 101 Scottish Songs Katherine Campbell: Songs From North-East Scotland
Jimmy McBeath from Banffshire sang The Barnyards o’ Delgaty to Alan Lomax and Peter Kennedy in between 1951 and 1953. This recording was included in 2002 on his and Davie Stewart’s Rounder anthology Two Gentlemen of the Road. He also sang it in 1967 on his Topic album Wild Rover No More. This track was also included in 1998 on the Topic anthology Come All My Lads That Follow the Plough (The Voice of the People Volume 5). Peter Hall commented in the original album’s sleeve notes:
Probably the best known of all bothy ballads it is closely related to another of the genre, Rhynie and verses are often found wandering from one song to the other. The last verse in this version is also used to end Rhynie. Jimmy sings the old set of the tune with its line sweeping contour, and not the harmonically more conventional but much less interesting jingle usually heard with the song nowadays.
Davie Stewart sang The Barnyards o’ Delgaty on the 1955 album of songs and ballads of England and Scotland collected by Peter Kennedy, Folk Song Today.
Ewan MacColl sang The Barnyards o’ Delgaty on his 1962 Folkways album Popular Scottish Songs. He also printed this song in his 1965 book Folk Songs and Ballads of Scotland.
Alex Campbell sang Barnyards o’ Delgaty at a folk concert recorded in London in May 1963 that was published in the same year on the Decca album Hootenanny in London.
Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor with The Galliards sang The Barnyards o’ Delgaty on their 1963 album The Next Tonight Will Be With ….
The Clancy Brothers with Louis Killen sang The Barnyards o’ Delgaty live at the Bushnell Auditorium in Hartford, Connecticut on 17 March 1972. A recording of this concert was published in the following year as Live on St. Patrick’s Day.
Luke Kelly sang The Barnyards o’ Delgaty at a folk concert at Edinburgh Usher Hall promoted by the Corrie Folk Trio and Paddie Bell that was released in 1964 on the Waverley album Folk Festival.
John Mearns sang The Barnyards o’ Delgaty in ca. 1964-65 on his Scottish Records album John Mearns Sings Folk-Songs of the North-East.
Charlie Allan sang Barnyards o’ Delgaty on his 1979 cassette of bothy ballads, Blue Grey Coo.
Willie Clark and The Sair Heidies sang Barnyards o’ Delgaty in 1984 on the Springthyme anthology Bothy Greats.
Old Blind Dogs sang Barnyards o’ Delgaty on their Lochshore albums Tall Tails (1994) and Live (1999).
Isla St Clair sang Barnyards o’ Delgaty in her BBC Radio 2 series Tatties & Herrin’, transmitted in 1995. This song was included in 1997 on her accompanying Greentrax album Tatties & Herrin’: The Land.
Jock Duncan sang Barnyards o’ Delgaty on his 1996 Springthyme album Ye Shine Whar Ye Stan!. Peter Shepheard noted, quoting Jock Duncan:
One of the most famous of all the old bothy ballads. The farm of Barnyards is on the Delgaty estate a mile north east of Turriff. Greig opens his Buchan Observer article on Ploughman Songs with Barnyards (FSNE 4, GD 347, Kennedy 340, Ord p214). The song is no doubt a parody of life as it would really have been on this particular farm. The song, which was probably written early last century, seems to be related to Rhynie. There is an overlap between the various versions of each, both song and tune.
Jock: There’s no way that any place, Barnyards o Delgaty or anywhere else, would hae a deen pair of horses. The Barnyards had aye the best horses—a great ferm toun that. I jist wonder what the present owner that cam back fae Canada thinks o the song. I aye reckon that Drunken Scot wisna mairried—that wis his sister, Lang Meg Scot, that wis in the hoose.
Joe Aitken from Kirriemuir in Angus sang Barnyards o’ Delgaty on the 1999 Sleepytown anthology The Bothy Songs and Ballads of North East Scotland Vol. 1.
Gordon Easton sang Barnyards o’ Delgaty at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2006. A recording of this was included in the following year on the festival anthology Some Rants o’ Fun (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 3) and on Easton’s Autumn Harvest CD The Last of the Clydesdales. The first album’s notes commented:
The farm of Barnyards on the Delgaty castle estate a mile from Turriff gave rise to this—one of the most famous of the old bothy ballads. The song is no doubt a parody of life as it would really have been on this particular farm which was one of the finest in the northeast.
Joe Aitken sang Barnyards o’ Delgaty at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2010. A recording of this was included in the following year on the festival anthology Hurrah Boys Hurrah! (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 7)
The Barnyards o’ Delgaty was sung by all singers at the 50th Anniversary of the TMSA concert in 2016. This was released in the same year on the TMSA DVD 101 Scottish Songs: The Wee Red Book.
Geordie Murison sang Barnyards o’ Delgaty on his 2017 Tradition Bearers album The Term Time Is Comin Roon.
Jimmy McBeath sings The Barnyards o’ Delgaty
As I gaed up tae Turra Market,
Turra Market for tae fee
I met in wi’ a wealthy fairmer
By the Barnyards o’ Delgaty.
Chorus (after each verse):
Liltin adie toorin adie,
liltin adie toorin ae
He promised me the two best horse
That ever gaed on iron sheen
When I gaed to the Barnyards
There wis nothing there bit skin an’ bane
The aul’ grey meer lay on her hunkers,
The aul’ dun horse lay on her wime
An’ all that I could whup an’ cry,
They widna rise at yokin’ time.
Meg Lang Scott aye mak’s ma brose
An’ her an’ me can never ’gree
Here’s a mote an’ syne a k-not
An’ aye the ither splash o’ bree
Jean MacPherson mak’s ma bed,
Ye’Il see the marks upon ma shins
For she’s the coarse ull-tricket jaud,
She fills ma bed wi’ prickly wins
Barny’s milk it’s nae sae fine,
An’ Barny’s meal it is gey raw
If ye dinno bile the bree,
The brose they winna sup ava
Soir I vrocht, aye sair I’ve vrocht
An’ I hae won ma penny fee
I’ll gyang home by the gait I’ve cam’
An’ o better bairnie I will be
Gordon Easton sings Barnyards o’ Delgaty
As I gaed doun tae Turra market,
Turra market for tae fee,
I fell in wi a fairmer chiel,
Fae the Barnyards o Delgaty.
Chorus (after each verse):
Liltan adie, touran adie,
Liltan adie, touran ae,
O liltan louran louran louran,
The Barnyards o Delgaty.
He promised me the twa best horse,
That ever gaed in iron sheen;
Fen I gaed hame tae the Barnyards,
There wis naething there but skin an bane.
Noo the auld black horse stood on his hunkers,
The auld dun meer lay on her wime;
An aa that I could up an cry,
They widna rise at yokin time.
Noo lang Meg Scot, she maks ma brose,
It’s wi her I canna gree;
First a mote and syne a knot,
An aye the ither jilp o bree.
Noo Jean MacPherson maks ma bed,
Ye sud see the marks upon ma shins;
Jean, the coorse illtrickit jaud,
She fills ma bed wi prickly whins.
Fin I gang tae the kirk on Sunday,
Mony a bonnie lass I see;
Sittin by her faither’s side,
An winkin ower the pews at me.
Noo some can drink an nae get drunk,
Some can fecht an nae get slain;
I can coort anither chiel’s lass,
An aye gang welcome tae ma ain.
Ma cannle’s nearly burnt oot,
The snotter’s fairly on the wane;
So fare ye weel ye Barnyards,
You’ll never catch me here again.