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Aikendrum

[ Roud 2571 ; G/D 8:1694 ; Ballad Index RcAikDr1 ; trad.]

Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger sang Aikendrum in 1956 on their Tradition album Classic Scots Ballads. He commented in the album's sleeve notes:

This spirited Jacobite song refers to the state of the Whig and Jacobite armies immediately previous to the battle of Sheriffmuir, and the intent of the song was to deprecate (and depreciate) the power and courage of the Whigs. Sutherland (Sunderland in the song) was in charge of King George's troops, 1200 strong, in the north, but was chased to the hills by 700 islanders from Skye, headed by Sir Donald Macdonald. The name ‘Aikendrum’ is taken from a Scots children's song for no other apparent reason but that it ‘sings’ well. The text appears in James Hogg's The Jacobite Relics of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1821).

Lyrics

Ewan MacColl sings Aikendrum

Ken ye how a Whig can fight, Aikendrum, Aikendrum?
Ken ye how a Whig can fight, Aikendrum?
He can fight the hero bright, with his heels and armour light
And the wind of heavenly night, Aikendrum, Aikendrum:
Is not Rowley in the right, Aikendrum?

Did ye hear of Sunderland, Aikendrum, Aikendrum?
Did ye hear of Sunderland, Aikendrum?
That man of high command who had sworn to clear the land,
He has vanished from our strand, Aikendrum, Aikendrum:
Or the eel has ta'en the sand, Aikendrum.

Donald's running round and round, Aikendrum, Aikendrum.
Donald's running round and round, Aikendrum.
But the Chief cannot be found, and the Dutchmen they are drowned,
And King Jamie he is crowned, Aikendrum, Aikendrum:
But the dogs will get a stound, Aikendrum.

We have heard of Whigs galore, Aikendrum, Aikendrum.
We have heard of Whigs galore, Aikendrum.
But we've sought the country o'er, with cannon and claymore,
And still they are before, Aikendrum, Aikendrum:
We may seek forevermore, Aikendrum!

Ken ye how to gain a Whig, Aikendrum, Aikendrum?
Ken ye how to gain a Whig, Aikendrum?
Look jolly, blythe and big, take his ain blest side, and prig,
And the poor, worm-eaten Whig, Aikendrum, Aikendrum:
For opposition's sake you will win!