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The Braes o Broo / The Ploughman Laddie

[ Roud 5572 ; G/D 3:443 ; Ballad Index Ord254 ; trad.]

Bothy Songs and Ballads

Gavin Greig collected The Braes o Broo from William Watson (1836-1919) and printed in the Buchan Observer on 16 March 1909.

Katherine Campbell included this as The Plooman Laddie in her book Songs from North-East Scotland, a selection for performers from The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection, and sang it on the CD included with the book.

Malinky sang The Braes o Broo in 2019 on their 20th anniversary album Handsel. They noted:

Fiona [Hunter] found this song in the Greig-Duncan collection, with particular thanks to Kath Campbell’s singers’ edition of the monumental 8-volume compilation which contains over 3,000 song versions. Sometimes called The Plooman Laddie, it’s an unusual female perspective on changing times and fashions of the time.

The text is mainly from the singing of William Watson of New Byth, a village between Turriff and Strichen in the North-East, with some additions from Margaret Gillespie, the sister of collector James Duncan and a prolific contributor to her brother’s work, with an astonishing repertoire of 466 songs.


Katherine Campbell sings The Plooman Laddie

Get up, get up, ye lazy loons,
Get up an’ waur them a’, man,
For the Braes o’ Broo are ill to ploo,
They’re roch and reesky a’, man.

Chorus (after each verse):
But the plooman laddie’s my delight,
And the plooman laddie loves me,
They say the plooman lad’s wi’ me
When I’m sure he is no near me.

Oh, he’s ta’en up his owsen gaud,
An’ it sets him weel to ca’, man,
He’s laid it o’er the owsen bow.
Says, Scurry, come awa’, man.

What think ye o’ oor ploomen noo,
Wi’ their high-cuttin’ ploos and a’, man?
But it wasna sae ance in a day
When the wooden pleuchie ploo’d a’, man.

What think ye o’ oor fairmers noo
Wi’ their binders ane and a’, man?
But it wasna sae ance in a day
When the plooman shure it a’, man.

What think ye o’oor fairmers noo
Wi’ their thrashin’ mulls and a’, man?
But it wasna sae ance on a day
When the plooman threesh it a’, man.

What think ye o’ oor lasses noo
Wi’ their bicycles sae braw, man?
But it wasna sae ance on a day,
That widna dee at a’, man.

It’s I will wash my plooman’s hose,
And brush his dubby sheen, man,
An’ I’ll maybe be a plooman’s wife
Or a’ thae days be deen, man.