> Folk Music > Songs > Up the Noran Water / Shy Geordie

Up the Noran Water / Shy Geordie

[ Roud 23398 ; Helen Cruickshank]

Jim Reid sang Helen Cruickshank‘s poem Shy Geordie, using the first line Up the Noran Water as the title, and set to his own music, in 1984 on his Springthyme album I Saw the Wild Geese Flee and in 2005 on his Greentrax CD Yont the Tay. He noted:

The poem was published as Shy Geordie in Helen Cruickshank’s first collection, Up the Noran Water, in 1934. In her writing she uses the natural Scots language of the Angus countryside that she had from childhood. Her innate sympathy for the country people shines through her writing and never more so than in Shy Geordie with her depiction of the folk of the Noranside in their warm feeling for quiet Annie who would never name the father of her young child, and of Geordie who wishes that he was the lucky lad. The Noran Water flows into the South Esk near Brechin.

Joe Aitken sang Up the Noran Water (Shy Geordie) in 1990 on his Springthyme cassette If Ye’ve Never Been tae Kirrie.

Isla St Clair sang Up the Noran Water (Shy Geordie) in her BBC Radio 2 series Tatties & Herrin’, transmitted in 1995. It was then included in 1997 on her Greentrax CD Tatties & Herrin’: The Land.

Jim Malcolm sang Up the Noran Water in 1995 on his Greentrax album Sconeward.

Robyn Stapleton sang Noran Water on her 2015 album of songs of the Scottish and Irish folk traditions, Fickle Fortune. She noted:

This a poem called Shy Geordie, which was written by North East poet, Helen Cruikshank. It describes the joy that a child can bring to a person and a community. I heard the song from the singing of Len Graham from County Antrim. These lyrics are a slight variation on the poem as Helen wrote it.

Lyrics

Jim Reid sings Up the Noran Water

Up the Noran Water
In by Inglismaddy,
Annie’s got a bairnie
That hasna got a daddy.
Some think it’s Tammas’s
An some think it’s Chay’s;
An naebody expectit it,
Wi Annie’s quiet ways.

Up the Noran Water
The bonnie little mannie
Is dandlit and cuddled close
By Inglismaddy’s Annie.
Wha the bairnie’s faither is
The lassie never says;
But some think it’s Tammas’s,
And ithers think it’s Chay’s.

Up the Noran Water
The country folk are kind:
And wha the bairnie’s faither is
They dinna muckle mind.
But oh! the bairn at Annie’s breist,
The love in Annie’s ee –
Wad mak me wish wi aa ma micht
That the lucky lad wis me!

And oh! the bairn at Annie’s breist,
The love in Annie’s ee –
Wad mak me wish wi aa ma micht
That the lucky lad wis me!

Robyn Stapleton sings Noran Water

Up the Noran Water and in by Inglismaddy,
Oh Annie’s got a bairnie that hasna got a daddy.
Noo some say it’s Tammas’s, an ithers say it’s Chay’s
But naebody expected it, wi Annie’s quiet ways.

Up the winding river, the bonnie little mannie
Is dandled an cuddled close by Inglismaddy’s Annie.
An wha the bairnie’s faither is, the lassie never says
But some say it’s Tammas’s, an ithers say it’s Chay’s.

Up the Noran Water, the country folk are kind
An wha the bairnie’s faither is they dinna muckle mind.
But oh, the bairn at Annie’s breist an the love in Annie’s ee
Would mak me wish wi a ma micht that the lucky lad was me.