> Martyn Wyndham-Read > Songs > Jamie Raeburn

Jamie Raeburn

[ Roud 600 ; G/D 8:1535 ; Henry H151 ; Ballad Index MA085 ; Bodleian Roud 600 ; trad.]

Jessie Murray, a fishwife from Buckie, sang Jimmy Raeburn at the 1951 Edinburgh People's Festival Ceilidh. She also sang it on the anthology Fair Game and Foul (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 7; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1970).

Davie Stewart sang Jamie Raeburn in 1957 to Alan Lomax in his London apartment. This recording was included in 2002 on his Rounder anthology Go On, Sing Another Song.

Ewan MacColl sang Jamie Raeburn's Farewell in 1960 on his Topic album Chorus from the Gallows. He commented:

In Robert Ford's Vagabond Songs and Ballads we are told that the hero of this broadsheet ballad was a baker by trade who was banished to Botany Bay for a theft of which his sweetheart claimed he was entirely innocent. The ballad found its way into the bothies and has been kept alive by the farm servants of North East Scotland for more than a hundred years.

Martyn Wyndham-Read sang Jamie Raeburn's Farewell in 1963 on his, Brian Mooney's and David Lumsden's Australian album Moreton Bay and in 1971 on his eponymous Trailer album, Martyn Wyndham-Read.

Daisy Chapman sang Jimmy Raeburn at the Aberdeen Folk Festival in October 1967. This recording made by Peter Shepheard was included in 2000 on her Musical Traditions anthology of songs from Buchan, Ythanside. Rod Stradling commented in the accompanying booklet:

This song remains popular and widely known in the living tradition in Scotland today. It is in Greig's Folk-Song of the North-East and also Ford's Vagabond Songs (published 1899) which was a widely available publication in the early part of the century. There are 48 examples in Roud; the vast majority are from Scotland, but it's also found in Australia, USA, the north of Ireland and in England, too. There are eight other known sound recordings, of which probably only Jim McGonigle (Inishowen Trad. Singers ITSC001), Jeannie Robertson (Folktracks 60-187), Davie Stewart (Folktracks FSA180) and Phoebe Smith (Veteran VT136CD) are still available.

Willy Scott sang Jamie Raeburn to Bill Leader in Camden Town, London, on November 3, 1967. This recording was published in the following year of his album of Border ballads, The Shepherd's Song. Maurice Lindsay commented in the album's liner notes:

A Glasgow song about a man expecting to be transported for a crime the nature of which we are not told. According to Robert Ford, editor of Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland, Raeburn was a baker, unjustly accused of theft and banished for life to Botany Bay, c.1840. However, the Glasgow policeman and folk song enthusiast, Supt. John Ord, had all the criminal records searched from 1833 on, without finding trace of Raeburn’s conviction. Still, the song, is a great favourite. “One of the most popular folk songs we have”, says Gavin Greig.

Cilla Fisher and Artie Trezise sang Jamie Raeburn in 1976 on their eponymous German Autogram album, Cilla Fisher and Artie Trezise.

Ian Manuel sang Jamie Raeburn on his 1977 Topic album of Scots traditional songs, The Dales of Caledonia.

Phoebe Smith sang Johnny Abourne—which seems to be a mis-hearing of Jamie Raeburn—to Mike Yates on 1975 or 1976. This recording was included in 1977 on the Topic anthology of Gypsy singers, The Travelling Songster and in 2001 on her Veteran anthology The Yellow Handkerchief.

Johnny Abourne is thought by most scholars to concern one James Raeburn, a Glasgow bakery worker, who is believed to have been transported to Australia in the first half of the 19th century. (Although rumour has it that the Scottish collector Superintendent John Ord of the Glasgow Police failed to trace Raeburn‘s supposed crime in police records.) The song appeared on numerous 19th-century English broadsides as The Hills of Caledonia but, to my knowledge, this is only the third set to have been collected so far in England, Ralph Vaughan Williams having previously noted it in Norfolk, and George Gardiner a set in Hampshire which has so far remained unpublished. The following verse, noted by John Meredith in Australia, is possibly nearer to the original than Phoebe’s 3rd verse:

I slowly rose, put on my clothes, my heart was filled with grief,
My comrades standing round me could grant me no relief.
As I stepped into the morning coach my heart was filled with woe
For to leave my friends, hills and dales of Caledonia.

As will be seen, Phoebe’s text has Abourne transported to Canada—no doubt as a result of an English singer’s mishearing of the word Caledonia.

Alistair Russell sang Jamie Raeburn in 1983 on his album Getting to the Border.

Lizzie Higgins sang Jamie Raeburn in a digital download bonus track of her 1985 Lismor album What a Voice.

Danny Stradling sang Johnny Heybourn on the 2005 Musical Traditions anthology of Songs from the Golden Fleece. She commented in the album's booklet:

This version of Jamie Raeburn was sung by the magnificent singer Phoebe Smith. Phoebe was a great inspiration to me when my singing was ‘growing’. She was a lovely woman with a huge store of songs, always sung with great dignity and passion, as well as with humour; a fact which is not always acknowledged.

In the penultimate verse of this song Phoebe sang a sort of phonetic version of the lowland Scots she had heard in it. I changed it to make it singable for me.

Gordon Easton sang Jimmy Raeburn at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in between May 2004 and May 2007. This recording by Tom Spears was included in 2007 on his Autumn Harvest CD The Last of the Clydesdales. The album's liner notes commented

The hero of this well known transportation ballad is reputed to have been a baker in Glasgow sentenced for petty theft—a song that Gordon remembers from his grandmother and also from the singing of Jessie Murray from Portsoy.

Robert Lawrence sang Jamie Raeburn's Farewell in 2010 on his CD of ‘Celtic folk songs’, The Journey Home.

Ewan McLennan sang Jamie Raeburn in 2012 on his Fellside album The Last Bird to Sing.

Andy Turner learned Johnny Abourne from Phoebe Smith's recording and from John Ord's Bothy Songs & Ballads. He sang it as the February 11, 2016 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.

Lyrics

Daisy Chapman sings Jimmy Raeburn

My name is Jimmy Raeburn, in Glesga I was born,
From my place and habitation I'm forced to leave in scorn;
From my place and habitation I noo must gang awa,
Far frae the bonnie hills and dales o' Caledonia.

'Twas early one morning, just by the break of day,
I overheard the turnkey who unto us did say;
“Arise ye hapless convicts, arise ye ane an aa,
This is the day ye are to stray frae Caledonia.”

We all arose, put on our clothes, our hearts were full of grief,
Our friends they aa stood roond the coach, could grant us no relief;
Our friends they aa stood roond the coach, their hearts were broke in twa,
Tae see us leave the hills and dales o' Caledonia.

Farewell my aged mother, I'm vexed for what I've done,
I hope none will upcast to you the race that I have run;
I hope you'll be provided for when I am far awa,
Far frae the bonnie hills and dales o' Caledonia.

Farewell my honoured father, he is the best of men,
And likewise my own sweetheart, 'tis Catherine is her name;
Nae mair we'll walk by Clyde's clear stream or by the Broomielaw,
For I must leave the hills and dales o' Caledonia.

If e'er we chance to meet again, I hope 'twill be above,
Where hallelujah will be sung to Him who reigns in love;
Nae earthly judge shall judge us there but He who rules us aa,
Far frae the bonnie hills and dales o' Caledonia.

Phoebe Smith sings Johnny Abourne

My name were Johnny Abourne, in Glasgow I were born.
My home and habitation that I have left and gone,
To leave those hills and bonny dales
To Canadee-i-o

Was on one Friday morning as we layed in our cells
Up stepped our boldly turnkey and these very words did say:
“Come rise you noble convicts I‘ll warn you one and all
This is the day that we sail away to Canadee-i-o.”

We early rose, slipped on our clothes, our hearts were filled with grief.
Strong iron chains we boundly stayed near Carr-a-gang-awa.
No more I’ll meet near Claddy Banks
To Canadee-i-o.

Good luck unto my mother dear who reared me many of years
And through my sad misfortune she has shed many of bitter tears.
And likewise to my father dear, he is the best of all,
Now the seas shall roar between us all in Canadee-i-o.

Danny Stradling sings Johnny Heybourn

My name were Johnny Heybourn, in Glasgow I were born.
My home and habitation that I have left and gone,
To leave those hills and bonny dales
To Canadee I go.

'Twas on a Friday morning as we laid in our cells,
Up stepped up our boldly turnkey and these very words did say,
“Arise you noble convicts, I'll warn you one and all,
This is the day that you sail away to Canadee you go.”

I early rose, put on my clothes, my heart were full of woe.
Heavy irons and chains they laid on me to march me from the town,
No more I'll wander on Clyde's dear banks
To Canadee I go.

Good luck unto my mother dear who have reared me many of years
And through my sad misfortune she has shed many's the bitter tear
And likewise to my father dear, he is the best of all.
Now the sea shall roar between us all in Canadee-i-o.

Gordon Easton sings Jimmy Raeburn

My name is Jimmy Raeburn fae Glesga toun I came,
My place o habitation I had tae leave in shame;
Fae ma place o habitation noo I maun gyang awa,
And leave the bonnie hills an dales o Caledonia.

It wis early in the mornin, afore the dawn o day,
Our keeper he come roon to us and unto us did say;
Arise ye hapless convicts, arise ye een and aa,
This is the day that ye maun stray fae Caledonia.

We mounted the coach and oor herts were full o grief,
Our parents, wives and sweethearts could grant us no relief;
Our parents, wives and sweethairts, their hairts were broke in twa,
Tae see us leave the hills and dales o Caledonia.

Fair weel my aged mother, I'm grieved for what I've done
I hope there's none cast up to you the race that I hae run;
The Lord he will protect you fen I am far awa,
Far frae fae aa the hills and dales o Caledonia.

Fair weel my honest father, you are the best o men,
Likewise my ane true sweetheart, it's Catherine is her name;
Nae mair we'll walk by Clyde's clear streams or by the broomie law,
Nor see again the hills and dales o Caledonia.

If we nivver met on earth again, we'll meet in heaven above,
Where hallelujahs will be sung tae him whar reigns in love;
Nae earthly judge shall judge us then but he who ruleth all,
Far, far frae all the hills and dells o Caledonia.
Far frae the bonny hills and dells o Caledonia.