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The Nicht That Oor Mag Had Her Bairn / Maggie’s Bairn

[ Roud 22223 ; Ballad Index Gath076 ; trad.]

Nigel Gatherer: Songs and Ballads of Dundee

Charlie Lamb of Lochee sang The Nicht That Oor Mag Had Her Bairn, which “he inherited from his family’s strong singing tradition”, on the 1985 Springthyme album of songs and ballads of Dundee, Coorse and Fine.

Jim Malcolm sang Maggie’s Bairn on his 2009 album The First Cold Day. He noted:

This is an old song from Dundee. It’s special to me because I sang it the night I met Susie [Malcolm, née Allan], at a Davy Steele concert in Forfar. I was toiling with it on this recording until Marie Fielding fired up a wonderfully jaunty fiddle accompaniment and brought it to life.


Jim Malcolm sings Maggie’s Bairn

Well I’m just getting back frae a wee social crack
At the public hoose doon by the station
We blaw’d off oor heids, wi a’ oor grand deeds
And the things that’s important tae nations
When my guid brother Jim, he come runnin in,
And by God, he did gie us a swearin’,
Ye ocht to feel shamed for ye should have been hame
For your Maggie she’s haein a bairn.

Well I didna tak time for tae bid them goodnicht
‘Fore oot the pub door I gaed spinning
I ran up the lane, the shortest road hame
Never lookin tae where I was running
When I tripped ower a stane, nearly brak my shin bane
I rowed intae a heap o coo’s sharn
My clathes were a sicht, would gie ye a fricht
The nicht that oor Mag had her bairn.

When I got tae the door there was whisky galore
On the table was cheese, the best gowdie
And a neighbour she spied and here’s what she cried:
“Ye’d best run awa for the howdie.”
Wi a glass in her hand, she bid me nae stand:
“Run away now for Mistress McLaren,
She’s the best in the toon when a woman lies doon
And ye’ll soon hae a bonny braw bairn.”

Well I ran for the midwife and I soon found her oot
She thocht I had left o my senses
When I fell through the floor and I started tae roar:
“Come awa wife, and I’ll pay all expenses.
If ye don’t see my wife, she will soon lose her life,
She’s as fat as yon bundles o yarn.
If ye dee yer job richt, ye’ll be well paid the nicht,”
The nicht that our Mag had her bairn.

When you’ve got on in life, and ye have a braw wife
Yer troubles and joys to be sharin’
I’m sae happy within I could leap oot my skin
For my Maggie’s jist had a braw bairn.