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Origins: Eence Upon a Time

In Mudcat MIDIs:
Eence Upon a Time [from the singing of Jeannie Robertson] (from The Scottish Folksinger, Buchan & Hall)


Joe Offer 22 Apr 05 - 12:25 PM
Scotus 22 Apr 05 - 12:38 PM
Joe Offer 22 Apr 05 - 12:48 PM
Drumshanty 22 Apr 05 - 05:19 PM
Joe Offer 24 Apr 05 - 03:07 AM
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Subject: Origins: Eence Upon a Time
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Apr 05 - 12:25 PM

This is the title song of the CD Maureen Jelks did recently on the Tradition Bearers label, and a good song it is. I think the lyrics below are the version Jelks sings - but I can't understand her singing very well and the CD booklet doesn't have lyrics.
Can anybody post related songs or earlier versions, background information, and the like?
-Joe Offer-

Eence Upon a Time

Eence upon a time,
When I was young and bonnie,
Eence I had a bonnie lad,
But noo I hae nae ony.

When I was cook aboot the hoose,
And he was bit a laddie,
I gied him a' my breid an' ale
To be my bairnie's daddie.

My mistress oft times says to me,
And wed weel I ken she's richt-o,
That I maun be safe in the hoose,
More Afore 'twas candlelicht-o.

But Johnny took me for his ain,
And I was weel contented,
But noo those nichts are past and gaen,
It's oft times I've repented.

Noo Johnny he is long since gaen,
And thinks of me nae mair-o,
And I maim maun seek another lad,
To faither Johnny's bairn-o.

But dinna you think, my bonny lad,
That I am mad about ye,
For I can dae wi' a man,
And I can dae withoot ye.

So lasses all, tak' heed of me,
When the threshing time it fa's-o,
Be sure ye gaither in the grain,
And not the chaff that blaws-o.

For when I was cook aboot the hoose,
And he was bit a laddie,
I gied him a' my breid an' ale
To be my bairnie's daddie.

from The Scottish Folksinger (Norman Buchan & Peter Hall)

Original version (verses 1, 5, 7) from the singing of Jeannie Robertson. Additional verses by Ray Fisher
    (corrections made as pointed out by Scotus below) - the wrong words I had were scanning errors, compounded by hasty proofreading.)

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eence Upon a Time
From: Scotus
Date: 22 Apr 05 - 12:38 PM

Hey Joe,

I can't add anything to the attributions in 'The Scottish Folksinger' (a wonderful source of songs BTW). It was recorded (as I recall) on the Topic 'Fisher Family' album, sung by Ray.

The reason everyone is having trouble understanding Maureen's great recording of the song isn't so much that it's in Scots, as that Maureen has a wonderful Dundee variation of Scots, where (among other things) the 'oo' sounds become 'ee' and the 'eye' sounds become 'eh'.

Here is my 'take' on some of the lines you posted (corrections capitalised in brackets):

Eence Upon a Time

Eence upon a time,
When I was young and bonnie,
Eence I had a bonnie lad,
But noo I hae nae ony.

When I was cook aboot the hoose,
And he was bit a laddie,
I gied him a' my breid an' ale
To be my bairnie's daddie.

My mistress oft times says to me,
And wed (WEEL) I ken she's richt-o,
That I maun be safe in the hoose,
More (AFORE) 'twas candlelicht-o.

But Johnny took me for his ain,
And I was weel contented,
But noo those nichts are past and gaen,
It's oft times I've repented.

Noo Johnny he is long since gaen,
And thinks of me nae mair-o,
And I maim (MAUN) seek another lad,
To faither Johnny's bairn-o.

But dinna you think, my bonny lad,
That I am mad about ye,
For I can dae wi' a man,
And I can dae withoot ye.

So lasses all, tak' heed of me,
When the threshing time it fa's-o,
Be sure ye gaither in the grain,
And not the chaff that blaws-o.

For when I was cook aboot the hoose,
And he was bit a laddie,
I gied him a' my breid an' ale
To be my bairnie's daddie.

Cheers - Jack Beck

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eence Upon a Time
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Apr 05 - 12:48 PM

Thanks, Jack - I did a quick scan of the song while I was getting ready to leave for work, and I guess I missed a few scanning errors.
Great song, isn't it? I'll post a MIDI tomorrow.
And by the way, it's nice to have you here.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eence Upon a Time
From: Drumshanty
Date: 22 Apr 05 - 05:19 PM

Sheila Douglas's book "Come gie's a sang" says: "Ray Fisher learned this as a fragment from Jeannie Robertson, consisting of verses 1, 2 and 6, and added the other verses herself, which she felt were in keeping with the song".

There is also a long paragraph about the song at page 217 of "Jeannie Robertson: Emergent Singer, Transformative Voice".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eence Upon a Time
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 03:07 AM

Here's the MIDI from The Scottish Folksinger.

Click to play


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