> Nic Jones > Songs > Ploughman Lads

The Plooman Laddies / Ploughman Lads

[ Roud 3448 ; trad.]

Enoch Kent sang The Plooman Laddie, collected from Arthur Argo, on the Exiles' 1967 Topic album The Hale and the Hanged. A.L. Lloyd and Gordon McCulloch commented in the album's sleeve notes:

A favourite love song among the ploughmen and bothy workers particularly in the Scottish Northeast. Many versions allied to, though not identical with, this one are known, some of them with fuller texts, carrying the action beyond the wedding of the elated girl and her ploughman sweetheart. The version sung here by Enoch Kent was collected not long ago by Arthur Argo, of Aberdeen. The smooth, graceful, relatively modern tune, a standard one for this ballad, is perhaps more familiar through its association with The Beggar Laddie, yet another song in which (as with The Jolly Beggar) the ragged vagrant turns out to be a gentleman in disguise.

Isla St Clair sang The Plooman Laddies in 1971 on her Tangent album Isla St Clair Sings Traditional Scottish Songs. Hamish Henderson commented in the sleeve notes:

Now one of the most popular songs in the Scots folk revival, The Plooman Laddies was put into circulation comparatively recently—in 1959, when it was recorded (on the family's tape-recorder) by Lucy Stewart of Fetterangus. It descents from a much longer ploughman song, sung to the tune of The Rigs o' Rye, but Lucy's version has distilled from the earlier words and tune an intense lyric love-song unsurpassed in North-east erotic tradition.

Linda Adams sang Ploughman Lads on the 1976 Fellside album The Best of BBC Radio Carlisle's Folk Workshop.

Bob Davenport sang The Ploughboy Lad in 1997 on his Topic album with The Rakes, 1977.

Nic Jones learned Ploughman Lads from the singing of Enoch Kent and sang it on two live performances from the late 1970s that were included on his anthologies In Search of Nic Jones (1998) and Game Set Match (2006).

Elizabeth Stewart sang Plooman Laddies on her 1992 cassette 'Atween You an' Me. This track was also included in 2004 on her Elphinstone Institute anthology Binnorie. The latter's album notes commented:

Plooman Laddies, sharing a tune with The Rigs o' Rye, is one of a huge family of songs in praise of the high-status ploughboy, king of the fermtoon (on wonders if these songs, were, perhaps, composed by the ploughmen themselves). These simple verses came into the folk scene through Elizabeth's aunt Lucy Stewart, who never performed in public, but who very generously recorded extensively with Arthur Argo, Hamish Henderson, Alan Lomax, Kenneth S. Goldstein, and others. Since the song's inclusion in Norman Buchan and Peter Hall's Scottish Folksinger (London and Glasgow: Collins, 1973; repr. 1986), p. 129, the song can now be heard at just about every folk festival or gathering of singers throughout Scotland, a fitting tribute to Elizabeth's ‘Queen of Song’. Wherever one hears the inversion of rhyme in the refrain, one is sure to be hearing a singer who learned their version from the Stewarts of Fetterangus. When Elizabeth first recorded this song for her cassette, 'Atween You an' Me (Hightop Imagery HTI 001, 1992), the tapes inexplicably featured a harmonising vocal, perhaps reflecting Lucy's omnipresent influence on Elizabeth's life.

Elizabeth Stewart and Alison McMorland also sang The Plooman Laddies at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2003 or May 2004. This recording was included in 2005 on the festival compilation Here's a Health to the Company (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 1).

Geordanna McCulloch sang The Plooman Laddies in 1997 on her Greentrax album In Freenship's Name. The liner notes give The Scottish Folk Singer as her source and she commented:

I have sung this for as long as I have been singing traditional song, and I almost certainly heard it first on a tape of Lucy Stewart which Norman used to play to us at school. It never fails to encourage audience participation, but for me its appeal lies in its straightforward declaration of love. I frequently include the song in performance, and always enjoy it.

Alasdair Roberts sang Ploughboy Lads in 2001 on his CD TheCrook of My Arm.

Lyrics

Elizabeth Stewart and Alison McMorland sing The Plooman Laddies

Doon yonder den there's a plooman lad,
And some summer day he'll be aa my ain.
And sing laddie O and sing laddie aye,
The plooman laddies are aa the go.

I love his teeth and I love his skin,
I love the very cairt he hurls in.
And sing laddie O and sing laddie aye,
The plooman laddies are aa the go.

Doon yonder den I could hae gotten a miller,
But the smell o dust wad hae deen me ill.
And sing laddie O and sing laddie aye,
The plooman laddies are aa the go.

Nic Jones sings Ploughman Lads

Down yonder glen there's a ploughman lad
And some summer day he'll be all my own.
Singing laddie-I, and sing laddie-O,
Ploughman lads are all the go.

I'll love his face, I'll love his skin,
I'll love the very cart he harrows in.
Singing laddie-I, and sing laddie-O,
Ploughman lads are all the go.

Down yonder glen, could've gotten a miller,
But all his dust would have made us choke.
Singing laddie-I, and sing laddie-O,
Ploughman lads are all the go.

Down yonder glen, could've gotten a merchant,
All of his goods were not worth a groat.
Singing laddie-I, and sing laddie-O,
Ploughman lads are all the go.

Oh see him coming down from the town
With all of his ribbons hanging down.
Singing laddie-I, and sing laddie-O,
Ploughman lads are all the go.

Sing laddie-I, and sing laddie-O,
Ploughman lads are all the go.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café threads Lyr Add: Plooman Laddies and Lyr Req: Ploughman Lads (from Nic Jones).