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Thatchers o’ Glenrae

[ Roud 13358 ; Henry H186 ; Ballad Index HHH186 ; trad.]

Dick Gaughan sang The Thatchers o’ Glenrae in 1972 on his Trailer album No More Forever. He noted on his now defunct website:

Gordon MacAuley from Campbeltown, Kintyre gave me this song. Unfortunately, I appear to have forgotten the tune by the time I came to sing it and the tune I used is a variant of Erin Go Bragh. But I was adamant it was the tune I had learned from him until he sang it to me again. Naturally, it was totally different! The guitar was tuned in the standard EADGBE tuning.


Dick Gaughan sings The Thatchers o’ Glenrae

The first time I cam tae the shire o Argyll
I went tae Dalmore where I wrocht a good while
The job bein finished big Jimmie did say
“Will ye gang an theek rashes twa days in Glenrea?”

When I crossed over the mountains sae high
I met an auld man wi a patch on his eye
Says he “Ye’re a stranger whit brought ye this way?”
“I was sent by big Jimmie tae thatch in Glenrea”

The farmer says slyly, “I’ve little to do”
Says I, “Then ye’re better wi Jamie or Hugh”
Then either tae fright me or scare me away
“Can ye theek wi auld rashes?”, says McNeill o Glenrea

“I can theek wi auld rashes, wi heather or ling
Bent bracken or dockens or any one thing”
“Oh, ye’re just the man’ll get plenty tae dae
An I’ll get ye a ladder”, says McNeill o Glenrea

I waited on there til I’d finished the job
Then it’s ower yon wild mountains I had for tae jog
Should I stay in this country til my hair it turns gray
I’ll never go back for tae thatch in Glenrea

Then I took a notion it’s home for tae go
I went to Ballycastle, the wages wis low
I went up tae Hughie an this I did say
“I’ll go back tae Kintyre but no tse Glenrea”