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The Brewer Laddie

[ Roud 867 ; G/D 4:916 ; Ballad Index FVS095 ; trad.]

Frank Kidson printed The Brewer Laddie in his 1891 book Traditional Tunes. He commented:

The air for this ballad was communicated to me by my friend, Mr. Washington Teasdale, who heard it with a fragment of the words something like forty years ago, at a harvest-home supper at Brough, in Westmoreland.

Since Mr. Teasdale gave me the air, I have found the whole ballad in a reprinted old Glasgow chap book, the original dating perhaps from the last century. The air appears of fairly early date, but is more suggestive of an English military marching tune than that to a Scottish ballad. One can almost fancy the shrill notes of the fifes ringing in the ears.

Ewan MacColl sang Brewer Laddie in 1951 on a 78” Topic shellac record (TRC49). This recording was also included in 1954 on the very first Topic LP, the untitled album TRL1.

Laurence Platt sang The Brewer Laddie in 1972 on Notts Alliance's Traditional Sound album The Cheerful 'Orn. Their sleeve notes commented:

A song of many variants and many names—this is Laurence's. He didn't learn it from any other source but put it together to suit his own taste from the versions of several singers. In many songs the rejected lover wanders away to lonely valleys or across oceans. The philosophy of this song is far more realistic!

Sylvia Barnes sang The Brewer Laddie in 1985 on Scotch Measure's eponymous Topic album, Scotch Measure. They learned the song from Jez Lowe.

Cara sang Brewer Lad in 2001 on their CD Long Distance Love. They commented in their liner notes:

Learnt from [band member] Jeana [Leslie], this Scots song has a very useful moral—never slight your own true love, for fear you get a worse one!

Lyrics

The Brewer Laddie in Traditional Tunes Cara sing Brewer Lad

In Perth there live'd a bonny lad,
A brewer to his trade, O;
And he has courted Peggy Roy,
A young and handsome maid, O.

In Perth there lived a bonnie lad,
A brewer tae his trade, O;
And he has courted Peggy Roy,
A young and handsome maid, O.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
With a fol dol diddle, &c.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Wi' a fal dal diddle um a die dum doo,
Wi' a fal dal diddle um a die do.

He courted her for seven long years,
All for to gain her favour;
But there came a lad out of Edinburgh town,
Who swore that he would have her.

He courted her for seven lang years,
A' for tae gain her favour;
But there cam' a lad oot o' Edinburgh toon,
Who swore that he would have her.

“O, wilt thou go along with me,
O, wilt thou go, my honey?
And wilt thou go along with me,
And leave your own dear Johnnie?”

It's, “Will ye gang alang wi' me,
And will ye be my honey?”
It's, “Will ye gang alang wi' me,
And leave your brewer laddie?”

“O yes, I'll go along with you,
And along with you I'll ride, O;
I'll range with you the wide world o'er,
Tho' I'm to be the brewer's bride, O.”

“O I will gang alang wi' you,
And alang wi' you I'll ride, O;
I'll gang wi' you tae the ends o' the earth,
Tho' I'm spoke tae the brewer lad, O.”

The brewer he came home at e'en,
Inquiring for his honey;
Her father he made this reply,
“I've never seen her since Monday.”

The brewer he cam' hame at e'en,
A'speirin' for his honey;
Her faither he made this reply,
“She's no been here since Monday.”

Oh, wasna that an unco ploy,
Wuldna' onyone been offended?
Tae court wi' a lad for seiven years
And leave him at the end o't.

“Be it not, or be it so,
Little does it grieve me;
I'm a young man free, as you can see,
And a small thing will relieve me.

“O, be it so and let her go,
For it shall never grieve me;
I'm a lad that's free, as you can see,
And a sma' things will relieve me.

“There is as good fish in the sea
As ever yet were taken,
I'll cast my net once o'er again,
Altho' I am forsaken.”

“There's as guid fish intae the sea
As ever yet was taken;
I'll cast my net and try again,
Although I am forsaken.”

She's rambled up, she's rambled down,
She's rambled through Kirkaldy,
And many's the day she's rued the day
She forsook her brewer laddie.

She's rambled up, she's rambled doon,
She's rambled through Kirkcaldie,
And mony's the time she's rued the day
She jilted her brewer laddie.

He's ta'en his course and away he's gane,
The country he has fled, O;
And he's left nae sark upon her back,
Nor blanket on her bed, O.

The brewer he set up in Perth,
And often brew strong ale, O;
And he has courted a bonny lass,
And taken her to his sel', O.

The brewer lad set up in Perth,
And there he brew strong ale, O;
And he has courted anither lass,
And ta'en her tae himsel', O.

Ye lovers all, where'er ye be,
By me now take a warning;
And never slight your ain true love,
For fear ye get a waur ane.

Ye lovers a', where'er ye be,
Just let this be a warning;
And never slight your ain true love,
For fear ye get a waur ane.