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I Am a Miller tae My Trade

[ Roud 888 ; G/D 7:1489 ; Ballad Index K218 ; trad.]

John McDonald of Elgin, Moray, sang this song as The Buchan Miller in a recording made by Peter Kennedy on the anthology Jack of All Trades (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 3; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1968).

Cindy and Joyce Fisher sang I Am a Miller tae My Trade on the Fisher Family's Topic album of 1966 Traditional & New Songs from Scotland. Their sister Ray Fisher sang Miller tae My Trade in 1982 on her Folk-Legacy album Willie's Lady. She commented in the accompanying booklet:

An outstanding song from the impressive repertoire of Lucy Stewart of Fetterangus. Norman Buchan played me a tape of the song and verbally explained how Lucy produced the watermill wheel sound. The movements that I do are not absolutely the same as Lucy's, but I think the end effect is the same. This type of rhythmic accompaniment is unique—so, too is Lucy Stewart.

Davie Stewart sang I Am a Miller tae Ma Trade at a concert in The Angus Hotel, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, on August 13, 1967. The concert recording was published in 1968 as the Topic album Festival at Blairgowrie, and this track was also included in 1998 on the Topic anthology Come All My Lads That Follow the Plough (The Voice of the People Series Volume 5).

Lyrics

Ray Fisher sings Miller tae My Trade

I am a miller tae my trade, and that sae weel ye ken, O,
I am a miller tae my trade, and that sae weel ye ken, O.
I am a miller tae my trade, aye, and mony a sack o' meal I've made
And mony a lassie I hae laid at the back o' the sacks o' meal, O

As merrily as the wheel gaes roond, the rate sae weel ye ken, O,
As merrily as the wheel gaes roond, the rate sae weel ye ken, O.
O, as merrily as the wheel gaes roond, wi' grinding peas and corn, O,
A better job was never foond since ever I been born, O.

It happened ae nicht in June, when I was in mysel', O,
It happened ae nicht in June, when I was in mysel', O.
O, the lassie cam' tripplin' doon the lane, said, “I hear your mill a-clackin' in,
Aye and I thocht that I would just look in, for tae see if you're in yoursel', O.”

“You're welcome here, my bonnie lass, you're welcome here for aye, O,
You're welcome here, my bonnie lass, you're welcome here for aye, O,
You're welcome here, my bonnie lass, aye, whit's the news that I maun hear?
Will ye consent tae bide wi' me, aye, and bide wi' me for aye, O?”

The lauchin' lassie gied a smile, she said she couldna tell, O,
The lauchin' lassie gied a smile, she said she couldna tell, O.
O, the lauchin' lassie gied a smile She said, “Young man, ye'll wait awhile.
When I hear your mill a-clackin' in, then ye'll hae me tae yoursel', O.”

I kissed her lips as sweet as honey, as sweet as honey dew, O,
I kissed her lips as sweet as honey, as sweet as honey dew, O.
I kissed her lips as sweet as honey until a tear cam' in her e'e,
“Oh I'll leave my mammy a' for thee, aye, and I'll bide wi' ye for aye, O.”