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The Braes o Killiecrankie

[ Roud 3363 ; Ballad Index RPG048 ; trad.]

The Braes o Killiecrankie is a short comic song outlining a disastrous meeting of two lovers, during which the man sits upon a thistle, and the woman's undergarments fall down or burst open. It is somewhat similar to Harry Lauder's 1911 recording Killiecrankie, about a “lass o Killiecrankie” called Jean MacPhail.

Jeannie Robertson sang The Braes o Killiecrankie at a 1958 concert in Edinburgh that was recorded by Hamish Henderson. It was released in 1984 on her Lismor album Up the Dee and Doon the Don. She also recorded it in 1959 on her EMI/HMV EP of tender and ribald songs of Scotland, Jeannie's Merry Muse, where Hamish Henderson noted:

The text of The Braes o Killiecrankie is little more than ‘daring’ playground doggerel, but its spritely dance measure has made it popular wherever Jeannie has sung it.

Lyrics

Harry Lauder's Killiecrankie

Oh, years ago I used to be the smartest chap as you would see,
The Prince of Wales he wanted me to go and join the army.
Now I'm turning old and frail, like a dog without a tail,
And it's all through Jean McPhail the lass o' Killiecrankie.

Chorus (after each verse):
Too-ral-oo-ral-oo-ral-oo
Fal-the duddle-al-the duddledy
She's as sweet as honey-dew
The lass o' Killiecrankie.

Oh, one day I was ‘cutting it fat’, and as she passed I raised my hat.
As her little nose was wet, I handed her my hankie.
“Jean,” said I, “You're looking smart, could you masticate a tart?”
She smiled a smole near broke my heart—the lass o' Killiecrankie.

Oh, maybe I was acting rash, when I tried her waist to squash,
She said, “Although you're on the mash, stop your hankie-pankie.”
She said that married we would be, then she heaved a sigh, you see,
Then she heaved a brick at me, on the braes o' Killiecrankie.

Oh, I was kilted to the knee, “Jock, my dear,” she said to me.
“We'll sit down two hours or three,” said I, “My darling, thank ye.”
But very soon I changed my tune, for on a thistle I sat doon
And I nearly jumped up to the moon on the braes o' Killiecrankie.

Jeannie Robertson sings The Braes o Killiecrankie

For on a thistle I sat doun,
I nearly jumpit tae the moon,
I nearly jumpit tae the moon,
For the lass that stole my hankie.

Chorus (after each verse):
O too-ral-oo-ral-oo-ral-ay,
O fal-da-doodle-aye-do-ay,
O fal-da-doodle-aye-do-ay,
On the braes of Killiecrankie.

For Jean MacNeil she's fair an' fat,
An' she wears her hair below her hat;
She wears her hair below her hat
On the braes of Killiecrankie.

For her feet is big an' her face is flat,
An' her curly locks hang doun her back;
Her curly locks hang doun her back
On the braes of Killiecrankie.

For Jean she began tae curse,
Her bloomers fell doun an' her stays did burst,
She gied her aul ‘erse a twust
An she caa’d it through a windae.