Mudcat Café message #1000636 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13536   Message #1000636
Posted By: Jim Dixon
11-Aug-03 - 11:53 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Dreg Song (from Archie Fisher)
Subject: Lyr Add: DREG SONG #1 (from Cilla Fisher)
Not the version requested, I know, but possibly helpful:
Lyrics and notes copied from

(Trad - as sung by Cilla Fisher)

Fleemin's inkworks tae the gasworks
Dodge her weel and fill her creel

Jockie Lairdie's got a wee bairdie
What they ca' the skipper o' the Row

Maggie Miller has plenty siller
She fell back and I fell till her

Wattie Cochie lives in the row
Betty Buckie carries the creel

Mony a ship mony a boat
Tell me a true note

True note true song
I've dreg'd ower lang

Ower lang ower late
Quo' the haddock tae the skate

Quo' the skate tae the eel
Cock na I ma tail weel

[1965:] One of the songs in Herd's collection is the Dreg Song: nonsense verses forming a lengthy version of the half-traditional, half-improvised rowing song of the oyster-fishers of the Firth of Forth. When they were out at sea, the fishers took compass bearings on landmarks along the coast:

Fleemin's inkworks tae the gasworks
Dodge your wheel and fill your creel-a
Katie Bairdie's got a wee lairdie
That they ca' the skipper o' the Row-a ...

The 'New Statistical Account' (1845) tells us that 'long before dawn, in the bleakest season of the year, their dredging song may be heard afar off'. In the grey-shrouded mornings, a mile or two from the coast, the fishers could make out in the distance the huddled contour of Arthur's Seat, with the Newhaven lighthouse blinking nearby.

There's an auld carle sits by the sea
Wi' a white caun'le on his knee ...

The oyster-fishing is over now, but the Dreg Song lives on; in Newhaven, Leith, Portobello, Fisherrow and Musselburgh, detached fragments of it are still spinning like tops among the bairns, in the singing street. (Henderson, Alias MacAlias 6)