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Silver Whistle

[ Roud - ; Ballad Index K009 ; trad. arr. Prior / Tabor; Johnny Moynihan]

Mrs Kate Buchanan and chorus sang An fhideag airid (The Silver Whistle) on the anthology Waulking Songs from Barra (Scottish Tradition 3; Tangent 1973; Greentrax 1994).

June Tabor and Maddy Prior sang this “Jacobite song from Flora MacNeil of Barra (in Peter Kennedy, Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, Cassell, 1975), substantially reduced,” in 1976 on their album Silly Sisters. It starts unaccompanied but adds Danny Thompson's double bass from the second verse on and is followed by a tune from Johnny Moynihan.


O who will play the silver whistle
When my king's son to sea is going?
To Scotland prepares, prepares his coming
Upon a large ship o'er the ocean

The ship it has three masts of silver
With ropes so light of french silk woven
Upon each end are fixed golden pulleys
To bring my king's son ashore and landed.

When my king's son he comes back home
No girdle scones will food be for him
But loaves of bread, bread will be baking
For Charles with blue eyes so enticing.

O welcome to you, fame and honour
Fiddles and choice tunes attend you
I will be dancing, I will be singing
And I will play the silver whistle.

And I will play the silver whistle.