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Skippin' Barfit Through the Heather

[ Roud 9750 ; trad.]

Jessie Murray of Buckie, Morayshire, sang Skippin' Barfit Through the Heather at the Edinburgh People's Festival in 1951. This recording was included in 2006 on the Rounder CD 1951 Edinburgh People's Festival Ceilidh.

Alison McMorland learned her version of this song from Jessie Murray and recorded it in 1977 for her album Belt wi' Colours Three. She also sang it in 2000 on her Tradition Bearers CD Cloudberry Day.

Gordeanna McCulloch got Skippin Barfit Thro' the Heather from Norman Buchan's 101 Scottish Songs and sang it in 1997 on her Greentrax CD In Freenship's Name. She commented in her sleeve notes:

Norman Buchan was stunned by Jessie Murray's rendition of this haunting song. It was, I am told, one of his favourites and he set his own song, The Auchengeich Disaster, to this tune. I have known it since my school days but have only started singing it in recent years. This one is for Norman, who never heard me sing it. I hope he would have approved.

Rachel Newton of The Furrow Collective sang Skippin' Barfit Through the Heather on their 2014 album At Our Next Meeting. She commented in their sleeve notes:

A popular Scottish song, one of a handful in which a high-born gentleman makes an unsuccessful attempt at wooing a country lass. I learned this song from Alison McMorland, who in turn learned it from the singing of Jessie Murray. It is one of my favourite melodies of all time and of course I like the fact that the young woman in the song so strongly knows her own mind!

This video shows The Furrow Collective at The Glad Cafe in Glasgow in February 2014:

Lyrics

Rachel Newton sings Skippin' Barfit Through the Heather

As I was walkin' doon yon hill,
'Twas on a summer evenin',
There I spied a bonny lass
Skippin' barfit through the heather.

Oh but she was neatly dressed,
She neither needed cap nor feather;
She was the queen among them a,
Skippin' barfit through the heather.

Her gown it was a bonnie blue,
Her petticoat of pheasant colour,
And in between the stripes was seen
Shinin' bells o' bloomin' heather.

“Oh lassie, lassie, will ye come with me?
Will ye come wi' me and leave the heather?
It's silks an' satins you shall have
If ye come wi' me and leave the heather.”

“Well kind sir, your offer's good,
But it's well I ken you'll deceive me.
Gin I gie my heart awa
Better though I'd never seen you.”

Oh but she was neatly dressed,
She neither needed cap nor feather;
She was the queen among them a,
Skippin' barfit through the heather.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: Skippin Barfit through the Heather.