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Up and Awa’ Wi’ the Laverock
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Lizzie Higgins sang Up and Awa’ Wi’ the Laverock as the title track of her 1975 Topic album Up and Awa’ Wi’ the Laverock. A live recording made by Peter Hall at the 1973 Aberdeen Folk Festival was included in 2006 on her Musical Traditions anthology In Memory of Lizzie Higgins. Peter Hall noted on the Topic album:
Like many pipe tunes, the Jig o’ Slurs has a series of parts, and Andy Hunter has taken two of them to make the verse and chorus of this song. Andy was a regular visitor to the Higgins household, learning songs from Jeannie [Robertson] and piping from Donald and Isaac [Higgins]. The chorus is a simple catchy stanza of the sort that pipers commonly use as an aide memoire; the verses are more elaborately well made.
And Rod Stradling noted in the Musical Tradition album’s booklet:
Lizzie’s recording is the only entry for this song in Roud’s Index.
Andy Hunter, who was taken into Jeannie Robertson’s family when a student in Aberdeen, composed this song, the tune having been taken from the third and fourth parts of Pipe Major G.S. MacLennan’s Jig of Slurs. He heard this tune played by Eddie Hutchison on his box and was enchanted by it. The ‘Jaw’ refers to the Jaw Loch reservoir in the Old Kilpatrick Hills where his father used to take him and his brother fishing. Lizzie did not know this loch and transformed the line from “For there’s troot in the Jaw” into “….there’s troot in yer jaw…” Also the second verse should begin “Wi your cast and your gut and your flea[fly] and your heuk” and the third line of the sixth should be “Wi your drum on the fire ye canna weel tire”. Songs Andy created were readily sung by Lizzie and her mother—Jeannie also sang Andy’s Ye Heilan Chiels—a good example of their constant willingness to take on new material.
Andy’s song originally appeared on his King Fareweel in 1984, and has since been lifted by a number of singers such as Heather Heywood, Lassies Fair and Laddies Braw where, curiously, Heather says she prefers to sing Lizzie’s version to Andy’s original!
Andy Hunter sang his own song Up and Awa’ Wi’ the Laverock in 1984 on his Lismor album King Fareweel.
Heather Heywood sang Up and Awa’ Wi’ the Laverock in 2000 on her Tradition Bearers CD Lassies Fair and Laddies Braw. She noted:
I got this song from Lizzie Higgins. I thought that it was an old song but it was written relatively recently by a singer called Andy Hunter. Lizzie had either changed the words—or simply got them wrong—so the text here is how I learned it. I have listened to Andy’s version but decided to keep the words as I got them from Lizzie, as this is how it is in my mind. I am sure that Andy will take a certain satisfaction from the fact that this song is going through the normal process of being adopted and adapted in the tradition. If you want to learn this song it would be worth the effort to seek out Andy’s original words. Andy sings it on King Fareweel on the Lismor label.
Janice Burns and Jon Doran sang Up and Awa’ on their 2022 album No More the Green Hills. They noted:
This song made its way into the traditional canon through the singing of Lizzie Higgins. The words were written by Andy Hunter to the tune of the Jig o’ Slurs by Pipe Major G.S. MacLennan. As another song celebrating a life in nature, we felt it sat perfectly alongside The Corncrake.
This video shows them in a concert at University of Leeds on 7 October 2022:
Lizzie Higgins sings Up and Awa’ wi’ the Laverock
Chorus (after each verse):
Up and awa and awa wi the laverock,
Up and awa and awa in the morning,
Up and awa and awa wi the laverock,
Up and awa tae the hills for me.
Wi your cast and your gut and a wee puckle luck,
Wi your cast and your gut and your rod and your reel,
Wi your cast and your gut and a wee pickle luck,
Ye’ll hae plenty o fish for tae fill up your creel.
Wi your troot in the Jaw and there’s troot in Loch Awe,
There’s troot in the Leven, the Tummel, the Spey.
Loch Keterin’s watter is guid for a batter;
The mair ye can slaughter, the mair ye can fry.
Wi your drum on the fire ye’re laird o the Shire,
Wi your drum on the fire, ye’re makkin your tea,
Wi your drum on the fire, ye’re laird o the Shire;
Oh, the wheeplin curlews are coorlin free.