Cold Haily Windy Night / Cold Blow and a Rainy Night /
Let Me In This Ae Nicht / The Laird o' Windy Wa's
This night-visiting song is known as Cold Haily Windy Night and as Cold Blow and a Rainy Night in England but as Let Me In This Ae Nicht and as The Laird o' Windy Wa's in Scotland. “Windy walls” is an euphemism for the outdoors. The protagonist comes to the girl's window in bad weather and begs her to let him in. The girl protests but he convinces her to let him in discreetly. He takes her maidenhead and steals away.
James Bowie (Blind Jimmie) from Elgin, Morayshire, sang As I Came Ower the Muir o' Ord to Hamish Henderson in 1952. This recording was included in 1971 on the Tangent anthology Bothy Ballads (Scottish Tradition 1).
Jeannie Robertson sang The Laird o' Windywa's in 1960 on her Prestige album Scottish Ballads and Folk Songs. Hamish Henderson noted:
Throughout Northern Europe, and in many parts of the United States, there are songs associated with the old courting custom known as “night visiting”. The lover ‘must away’ through storms and snowdrifts to his beloved; he calls to her through her bedroom window, is admitted, and sleeps with her till dawn. The Laird o' Windywa's, which is an old song (a version is in Herd's collection of 1769) looks almost a conscious parody or burlesque of these plaintive night visiting songs. Burns, who should have known better, wrote an ‘improved’ version for Johnson's Scots Musical Museum.
The Exiles sang The Laird o' the Windy Wa in 1967 on their Topic album The Hale and the Hanged.
The Ian Campbell Folk Group learned The Laird o' the Windy Wa's from Jeannie Robertson and sang it in 1967 on their first album after Dave Swarbrick left, New Impressions. Their liner notes commented:
This was learned from Jeannie Robertson on one of the memorable occasions when she visited us in Birmingham. It is a fragment of a larger song, Let Me In This Ae Nicht to be found in Herd's Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs and in recent editions of the Merry Muses of Caledonia.
Ian Manuel sang Let Me In This Ae Night on his 1977 Topic album The Dales of Caledonia.
Cold Haily Windy Night is based on the version collected by Baring-Gould in the South West of England. The tune comes from Johnson's Musical Museum, with a composite text. Although this version may not be very old, in its various parts the idea is as old as the hills, for it is to be found, among other places, in the Song of Songs: “Let me in my love, my dove, my undefiled, for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.”
In the same year, Steeleye Span also recorded Cold, Haily, Windy Night for their second album, Please to See the King. Martin Carthy sings the verses with Maddy Prior joining on the chorus while Peter Knight's violin wails on this ghostly tale. The bass of Ashley Hutchings carries the melody with the other instruments accenting the beat. Compare to this the joyful and tender One Night As I Lay on My Bed from their first album: a similar story but this song is harsh and bitter.
A live recording from Steeleye Span's retrospective reunion concert at The Forum, London on 2 September 1995 was released on the 2 CD set The Journey and on the Martin Carthy anthology The Carthy Chronicles.
Johnny Collins and Friends sang Cold Blow and a Rainy Night on 1973 on their Traditional Sound album The Traveller's Rest.
Planxty sang Cold Blow and the Rainy Night as the title track of their 1974 album Cold Blow and the Rainy Night. The sleeve notes commented:
Many a traveller has found himself locked out on a stormy night but few have had the luck of the hero in Cold Blow and the Rainy Night. Christy [Moore] learned this version from Mike Harding of Crumpsall, Manchester.
Robin Dransfield sang Cold Blow and a Rainy Night to his brother Barry's fiddle accompaniment on their 1976 Free Reed album Popular to Contrary Belief. This track was also included in 2002 on the Free Reed anthology This Label Is Not Removable.
Just one of the many fine songs that gained currency among revival performers through the singing of the late Jeannie Robertson of Aberdeen. It is actually part of a longer song which is in David Herd’s Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs (1769, 1776).
Ossian sang O, Let Me In This Ae Night in 1977 on their eponymous Springthyme album, Ossian.
Drinkers Drouth sang Let Me In This Ae Night on their 1982 album When the Kye Comes Hame.
Alistair Russell sang The Laird o' Udny's Wa's on his 1983 album Getting to the Border.
Patti Reid sang Cold Haily Windy Night in 1987 on her eponymous Fellside album Patti Reid.
Eliza Carthy sang and played this as Cold, Wet and Rainy Night, in 1996 on her CD Heat Light and Sound and on her anthology The Definitive Collection. She commented in her original album's sleeve notes:
From Cecil Sharp's collection of English folk songs in two volumes. One of the many “trick the lass and run off” songs...! The tune [The Grand Hornpipe] is from A Northern Lass compiled by Jamie Knowles.
Billy Ross sang O, Let Me In This Ae Night on the 1996 Linn anthology The Complete Songs of Robert Burns Volume 2.
The Unusual Suspects sang Cold Blow live at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness and Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, in February 2004. This concert's recording was released in the same year on their album Live in Scptland.
Sheffield band Silverwheel sang Cold Haily Windy Night in 2006 on the Seville House anthology Forged in Sheffield.
Chris Wood, Eliza and Martin Carthy and The Young Coppers with Trans-Global Underground sang Cold Hailey Rainy Night in 2007 on The Imagined Village. This track was also included in 2009 on Chris Wood's anthology Albion. They also performed it on 15 February 2008 on Later… with Jools Holland:
and at Liverpool Philharmonic on 25 May 2012 with ‘guest’ vocalists Johnny Kalsi and Kevin Boyd:
Another Chris Wood live recording can be found on the 2014 Cambridge Folk Festival anthology Celebrating 50 Years.
Jane and Amanda Threlfall sang Cold and Haily Night on their 2007 CD Revisited. They noted:
Scottish in origin, Cold and Haily Night first appeared in David Herd's Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs (1776). This variant was collected from blacksmith John ‘Ginger Jack’ Woodrich, at Wollacot Moor, Thrushelton, Devon, by Sabine Baring Gould in 1892 [VWML SBG/1/3/158] .
Scottish versions usually end with discovery, followed by remorse on the part of the female, whereas this Devonshire version is more akin to other Southern English night-visiting songs, which tend to end in more socially tolerant bliss and contentment.
Joglaresa sang Cold Haily, Windy Night on their 2009 album of “Irish and English songs of Wintertide”, In Hoary Winter's Night.
Isambarde sang Cold Hailey Night on their 2010 CD Telling Tales.
Jon Boden learned Cold Blow and the Rainy Night from Planxty and sang it as the 5 February 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.
Barbara Dymock sang Let Me In This Ae Nicht on her 2011 CD Hilbert's Hotel. She noted:
Night visiting songs commonly tell of the pleading lad getting in to the girl's room eventually, then leaving sharpish in the morning—the girl lamenting her lost maidenhead. I rather like this shortened Burns version where she doesn't actually let him in at all.
Joshua Burnell sang Cold Hailey Windy Night on his 2019 album The Road to Horn Fair. He noted:
I first heard this one sung by Martin Carthy. It has this dark, hypnotic quality to it as it churns round and round in your head. It somewhat echoes the sinister image of that soldier standing out in the wind and hail, calling again and again until he is let in.
Ed always says this one reminds hime of the Monsters soundtrack so now I can't help but imagine a family of vampires and zombies dancing along to it.
|Jeannie Robertson sings The Laird of Windywa's||Archie Fisher sings The Laird of Udny|
For I'm the laird o' Windywa's
O I'm the laird o' Udny's Wa's
My mother, she does soundly sleep
O I'll oil the door or it be's weet
I'll oil your door gin it maun squeak
But when he got in he was sae gled
When he's got in he was sae gled
But when he got in he was sae gled
When he got in he was sae gled
|Martin Carthy sings Cold Haily Windy Night|
Oh me hat is frozen to me head
“Oh me father he watches down on the street,
Oh she's rose up and let him in,
“Oh soldier, soldier, stay with me?
And he's jumped up all out of the bed