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Tranent Wedding / Duncan M’Callpin

[ Roud 5982 ; Ballad Index FVS042 ; trad.]

Tranent Wedding is a song in Alexander Whitelaw’s The Book of Scottish Song, London: Blackie and Son, 1843. It is printed with the title Duncan M’Callpin in Robert Ford’s book Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland, London: Alexander Gardner, 1899, pp.  40-43.

Tranent Wedding is a staple from Siobhan Miller’s live repertoire. I heard it for the first time in March 2017 on her Germany tour. She recorded it in 2020 for her album All Is Not Forgotten.


Siobhan Miller sings Tranent

It was at a wedding near Tranent
Where scores an’ scores of fun were bent
Tae ride the broose wi’ full intent
Was either nine or ten, jo

Chorus (after each verse):
Aff they a’ went galloping, galloping
Legs an’ airms walloping, walloping
Deil tak the hindmost, quo’ Duncan M’Callpin
Laird o’ Jelly Ben, jo

Noo Will the weaver rode sae kittle
Ye’d thocht he was a flying shuttle
His doup it dabbit like a bittle
But wafted till the end, jo

The tailor had an awkward beast
It funket first an’ syne did reest
Then threw poor snipe five ell at least
Like auld breeks, o’er the mane, jo

The souter he was fidgin’ fain
An’ stuck like rosin tae the mane
To smash like auld boots in a drain
He nearly reach’d his end, jo

The blacksmith’s beast was last of a’
His sides like bellows they did blaw
Till him an’it got sic a fa’
An’ bruises nine or ten, jo

Noo Duncan’s mare she flew like drift
An’ aye sae fast her feet did lift
Tween ilka step she gi’ed a rift
Oot frae her hinder end, jo

Noo Duncan’s mare did bang them a’
Tae rin wi’ him they manna fa’
Then up his grey mare she did draw
The broose it was his end, jo