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Logie o’ Buchan

[ Roud 1994 ; G/D 4:828 ; Ballad Index SWMS197 ; Bodleian Roud 1994 ; DT LOGIBUCH ; Mudcat 10962 ; trad.]

101 Scottish Songs

Jean Redpath sang Logie o’ Buchan on her 1977 album Song of the Seals. She noted:

This song is generally ascribed to George Halket of Aberdeen, He was schoolmaster at Rathen and Peter Buchan (Gleanings of Scarce Old Ballads, Peterhead, 1825) dates it 1736. Halket was a Jacobite of the most intense description and the sum of £100 was offered for his arrest by the Duke of Cumberland because of a pasquill he had written on George II. Halket died in 1756.

“The Logie mentioned is situated in Crimond, a parish adjoining the one where Halket resided and the hero of the piece was a James Robertson, gardener at the mansion of Logie” (Songs of Scotland, George Farquhar Graham). The song first appeared in Johnson’s Musical Museum along with its tune.

Cilla Fisher sang Logie o’ Buchan on her 1986 album with Artie Trezise, Reaching Out.

The Tannahill Weavers sang Logie o’ Buchan in 1992 on their Green Linnet album The Mermaid’s Song. They noted:

Here is one of two songs on this recording dealing with the same problem: that of choosing a partner. In this case, the lady chooses (and rightly so we feel) for Jamie, who plays pipes and fiddle (something like giving a cat its own fishmonger) in preference to Sandy, who is only rich and has cattle and sheep, a house and other boring stuff.

You may notice here the custom of the broken token: “He had but ae saxpence, he broke it in twa, and he gied me the hauf o’t when he gaed awa’.” When a couple were going to part for any length of time, a token of their love (in this case a sixpenny piece) would be broken in half. Each partner would then carry one half with them wherever they went until they met again.

The Scottish custom of using half coins was very practical, especially for sailors, who would come home after ten years at sea, their faces a hazy memory to their partners, and soldiers, who would return with their faces rearranged. When the two halves of the token were fitted together you knew the person with the second half was your true love! The whole token had also the added advantage of being negotiable currency for a bottle of cheap plonk and a Chinese takeaway for two.

This tradition was in every way much more efficient and labour saving than the English custom of tying trees round their bonnets, as in: “All around my hat I will wear a green willow, all around my hat for twelve months and a day. If anyone should ask me the reason why I’m wearing it, it’s all because my true love is far far away.”

Moira Craig sang Logie of Buchan on her 2000 album On ae Bonny Day. She noted:

101 Scottish Songs, Norman Buchan 1962. I decided to learn this song because it had the names of two of my nephews in it, so, in the true traditional manner, I wrote a verse for my other nephew. Those of you who know the song will know which one it is; those of you who don’t will have to guess! No prizes I’m afraid!

Heather Heywood sang Logie o’ Buchan in 2000 on her Tradition Bearers CD Lassies Fair and Laddies Braw. She noted:

I don’t remember where I heard this song, but I got the words from 101 Scottish Songs, a book that was edited by Norman Buchan. The song is one of a family of ‘broken token’ ballads where a coin or token is broken in two before the man goes off to war. Often the soldier returns and tests his lover’s fidelity before revealing himself as the returning hero. In this song the woman is still waiting for her man to return.

Iona Fyfe sang Logie o’ Buchan in 2015 on her EP The First Sangs.

Sheena Wellington sang Logie o’ Buchan in 2016 live at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, at a concert celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the TMSA. This concert was released on the TMSA DVD 101 Scottish Songs: The Wee Red Book.

Claire Hastings sang Logie o’ Buchan on her 2019 CD Those Who Roam. She noted:

Written in the 18th century by George Halket.

‘Jamie’ is said to have been James Robertson, gardener at the place of Logie.


Claire Hastings sings Logie o’ Buchan

O Logie o’ Buchan, o Logie the laird,
He has ta’en awa Jamie that delved in the yaird,
Wha played on the pipes and the viol sae sma’,
He has ta’en awa Jamie the flo’er o’ them a’.

Sayin, “Think nae lang lassie though I gang awa’
For I’ll come and I’ll see ye in spite o’ them a’.”

Though Sandy has owsen, has gear and has kye,
A hoose and a hadden and siller forby,
I would tak my ain lad wi’ his staff in his hand
Before I’ll tak Sandy wi’ houses and land.

My daddy looks sulky, my minny looks sour,
They flight upon Jamie because he is poor.
Though I lo’e them as weel as a daughter should do
They’re no’ half sae dear tae me Jamie, as you.

I sit at my creepie and spin at my wheel
And think of the laddie that lo’es me sae weel.
Ha had but ane sixpence, he broke it in twa,
And he gied me the half o’t when he gaed awa.

Then haste ye back, Jamie, and delve na awa,
Haste ye back, Jamie, and delve na awa.
The simmer is comin, cauld winter’s awa,
And ye’ll come and ye’ll see me in spite o’ them a’.

Ye said, “Think nae lang, lassie, tho I gang awa,
For I’ll come and I’ll see ye in spite o’ them a’.”

“Think nae lang, lassie, tho I gang awa,
For I’ll come and I’ll see ye in spite o’ them a’.”