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Tatties an Herrin

[ Roud 16927 ; Bodleian Roud 16927 ; Wiltshire Roud 16927 ; trad.]

Cilla Fisher sang Tatties and Herrin' in 1983 on her album Songs of the Fishing.

Maureen Jelks sang Tatties an' Herrin' on her 1988 CD First Time Ever.

Tom Spiers sang Tatties and Herrin on the The Gaugers 1994 cassette / 1999 Sleepytown CD Awa wi the Rovin Sailor. and on the 2004 anthology CD of folk songs and fiddle music from North East Scotland, Where the Laverock Sings. The liner notes of their album commented:

This is another song from the repertoire of Thomas Stott, Tom's grandfather, who came from the Buchan fishing village of Collieston (see also [Stott's song] Ogilvie's Boat [on the same album]). He learned this while a fisherman sixty years ago. It belongs to Peterhead and takes its' title from the staple diet of the fisher folk of the area. The line about “the harbour of refuge” in the last verse refers to the bay enclosed by a breakwater built from granite quarried by inmates of Peterhead prison, which was shelter for the ships of the First World War Grand Fleet caught between their anchorages in Scapa Flow and Rosyth.

In May and June 1995, BBC Radio 2 transmitted the programme Tatties & Herrin'. Isla St Clair sang the songs and told the stories of her own people from North-East Scotland. The series of six programmes was divided equally into two themes—The Land and The Sea—and was recorded on location before a very enthusiastic audience. In 1997 this programme was released on two Greentrax CDs, Tatties & Herrin': The Land and Tatties & Herrin': The Sea, with the song Tatties and Herrin' starting and ending each album.

Jock Duncan sang Tatties an' Herrin in 2001 on his Sleepytown CD Tae the Green Woods Gaen.

Old Blind Dogs sang Tatties and Herrin' in 2001 on their Green Linnet CD Fit? (What?).

Lyrics

Tatties an' Herrin' in The Scottish Folksinger

(Jake Mitchell, Peterhead: text; Isobel Baird, Boddam: tune.)

Noo your hard-workin' Scotsman's gone crazy I fear,
Each day ye maun hae your bit beef and your beer,
But ye dinnae ken though you're maybe nae carin',
Your natu-ral food it is tatties and herrin'.
    Tatties and herrin', tatties and herrin',
    Your natural food it is tatties and herrin'.

Noo a pound in the week, ye maun aye be content,
Ten bob tae lay by for the claes and the rent,
Half a croon ye aye can be sparin',
Ye've aye seven an' sixpence for tatties and herrin'.

When the Queen wanted someone tae fecht wi' her foes,
It wisnae awa' tae the lowlands she goes,
But awa' tae the hills where the brave an' the darin',
The lads that were fed upon tatties and herrin'.

On Alma's Heights noo the Russians said:
“We were forced tae tak' wyss for the kilt an' the plaid,”
But they didnae ken 'twas the brave an' the darin',
The lads that were fed upon tatties and herrin'.

When the harbour o' refuge was first spoken aboot
Aiberdeen and Stonehaven they were fairly pit oot,
For the Queen kent the convicts wid get their best farin'
Upon Buchan tatties an' Peterheid herrin'.

Cilla Fisher sings Tatties an Herrin

Your hardworking Scotsman's gone crazy I fear
Each day ye maun hae your bit beef and your beer
But ye dinna ken though you're maybe no' carin'
Your natural food is tatties and herrin'
    Tatties and herrin', tatties and herrin'
    Your natural food is tatties and herrin'

Wi' a pound in the week ye maun aye be content
Ten bob tae lay by for the claes and the rent
Half a croon o' yer ain will ye aye can be sparin'
And seven and sixpence for tatties and herrin'
    Tatties and herrin', tatties and herrin'
    And seven and sixpence for tatties and herrin'

When the Queen wanted someone tae fecht wi' her foes
It wisna awa tae the lowlands she goes
But awa tae the hills o' the brave and the darin'
The lads that were brought up on tatties and herrin'
    Tatties and herrin', tatties and herrin'
    The lads that were brought up on tatties and herrin'

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Analysis of Tatties and Herrin.