> Folk Music > Songs > Adieu to Bogieside

Adieu to Bogieside

[ Roud 4593 ; G/D 8:1517 ; Ballad Index FCS265 ; John Riddell]

Katherine Campbell: Songs From North-East Scotland Alison McMorland / Elizabeth Stewart: Up Yon Wide and Lonely Glen John Ord: Bothy Songs and Ballads

Lizzie Higgins sang Adieu to Bogieside on the 1968 Topic album of songs and ballads from the Lowland East of Scotland, Back o’ Benachie, and on her 2006 Musical Traditions anthology In Memory of Lizzie Higgins. Peter Hall noted on the first album:

There is obviously a close connection between this song and the better known Bogie’s Bonnie Belle although it would be difficult to guess which came first. It is widely held in Aberdeenshire that the writer of Bogieside was [John Riddell], while Bonnie Belle was made by a farm worker called Geddes. It is a compliment to both authors or, more probably, to the process of oral communication that each song achieves a different but happy marriage of text and melody. The effect is further enhanced in this rendering by Lizzie Higgin’s calm lyricical singing, perfectly in keeping with the song.

And Rod Stradling noted on the MT anthology:

Roud has only 20 instances, all from Scotland with Lizzie the only singer of whom there is a recording.

Adieu/Farewell to Bogieside is but one of a number of ‘goodbye to’ songs extremely popular in Lizzie’s area, addressing both people and places, as can be seen in Volume 8 of the Greig-Duncan, where 17 versions of this song alone are recorded. Although the attributed author, John Riddell (of Jock o’ Rhynie fame) departed only for London, many emigrated further, especially to the States on the relatively cheap and fast steamships, especially following the economic downturn of farming from the 1880s onwards. Lizzie learned the tune, The Corncrake Amang the Whinny Knowes from her mother as a child, but later set this version of Farewell to Bogieside to it (although singing the Corncrake itself in private, when about household tasks).

The lovely Strathbogie (valley of the River Bogie) south of Huntly gave rise to a number of songs. In contrast to this rather ‘flowery’ piece in ‘high’ English is one of the ‘totem’ songs of Aberdeenshire, the earthy and moving Bogie’s Bonnie Belle, sung in the vernacular. In that, the hero is flung off the Bogieside farm for getting the farmer’s daughter pregnant.

Shona Donaldson sang Adieu tae Bogieside in 2010 on her Deveron Projects album Short Nichts and Lang Kisses. She noted:

This song had no tune when I found it so I wrote the melody and tried to keep in the traditional style. When I was younger and still staying at home I printed out the words and had them on my bedroom wall. Even with all my travelling and now being settled in Tarland the words of this song always stay with me wherever I go, especially the fourth verse.


Lizzie Higgins sings Adieu to Bogieside

Assist me, all ye Muses, your downcast spirits raise,
And join me in full chorus to sing brave Huntly’s praise,
For the girl I left behind me whose charms were all my pride,
When I said fareweel tae Huntly Toun1 on bonny Bogieside.

For it’s doon the road tae Huntly Lodge wi pleasant steps I’ve rode,
Almost inspired with rapture the sweet girl that I loved,
Who join’t me in my rambles and choosed me for her guide
To walk upon the Deveron’s banks, on bonny Bogieside

Fareweel, ye lads o Huntly Toun, tae you I’ll bid adieu;
The pleasures of a even’s walk I’ll share nae mair wi you;
The sky was clear an bonny when on an eventide
I’ll lay me doon and rest awhile upon that Deveronside.

May the powers above protect this girl, so young and fair and fine,
And save her from all dangers who has this heart of mine,
Until ma hairt2 forgets to beat and aifters3 us divide.
For I’ll return tae Huntly Toun on bonny Bogieside.

Shona Donaldson sings Adieu tae Bogieside

Assist me all you muses, my downcast spirits raise,
And join me in full chorus to sing dear Huntly’s praise.
For I leave a girl behind me whose joy was all my pride,
And I’ll bid fareweel tae Huntly toon, and adieu tae Bogieside.

Companions of my youth fareweel, I’ll bid ye a’ adieu;
The pleasures of an evening’s walk I’ll no more share wi’ you.
Where e’er I chance tae wander in regions far and wide
My hairt will be in Huntly toon and on sweet Bogieside.

How heartsome I have wandered to see the gowans spring,
All in the merry month of May and hear the linties sing.
When wearied with my fishing rod and when at even tide
I’ll sit me doon tae rest a while, upon sweet Bogieside.

Farewell ye lovely meadows of you I’ll often talk,
Likewise the hawthorn bushes that grace the gravel walk.
The pleasures I’ve enjoyed wi’ you they in my hairt will bide
When I am far fae Huntly toon and from sweet Bogieside.

Providence protect the girl to whom I’ve sent these lines
And keep her free from danger who has this heart of mine.
Bless her with contentment and keep her free from pride
Till I return tae Huntly toon and to sweet Bogieside.