Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie To Thread - Forum Home

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Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie

06 Mar 00 - 03:13 PM (#190503)
Subject: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Peter T.

Listening to Jean Redpath's version of this, and wonder about the meaning of the lyrics: I ha meal and milk in plenty
I ha kale and cakes fee dainty
I've a but an ben fee genty [note: the DT has "gentry", a typo?]
But I want a wife like thee

Tho my mallen be but small

What is "but an ben fee (pronounced "foo") genty?" and "mallen"?

yours, Peter T.


06 Mar 00 - 04:51 PM (#190547)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,Murray on Saltspring

meal = oatmeal, the staple food; kale = cole, or cabbage -- in other words he can feed a wife well. but and ben = a two-room house (but is the first room, and ben the other one "through" the house). genty [which is correct; gentry has to be a typo] = neat, tasteful [really a version of "genteel"]. Mailen = a farm holding, property. Your "fee" is wrong, Jean sings "foo", usually spelled "fou", = "full", i.e. "very". Does that answer you well enough? Cheers Murray


06 Mar 00 - 04:52 PM (#190548)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Abby Sale

Ah. MacColl's Scots Folk Songs One of the records the wife & I both had when we met back in the early 1600's. Still have both records. Neither have the booklet. Also on Scots Popular Songs. My SPS has the book but no glossing here. And many, many Mondegreens & typos.

OK.

I ha kale and cakes fee dainty

MacColl gives "fo'" For 'full' or 'fully' Usually 'completely' (as in completely drunk but could be any usage of it) Kale is a common Scottish variety of cabbage. "Dainty" is 'dainty.'

I've a but an ben

A small cottage (used this way.) Just an outer & an inner room.

fee genty

This will be "fo' genty" - very genteel - neat - tidy.

But I want a wife like thee

But not necessarily her? I'm not sure here. Well, he does propose in the chorus & the song goes on that he's got all this stuff but he still needs a wife. Still, maybe he realizes that once he has the wife he won't have the stuff anymore. Hard to reckon, that.

Tho my mallen be but small

This is definitely not a sexual reference. Usually "mailen" but any spelling will do. A small farm or, more usually, a tennant-farm.

SPS gives "Will ye wed a mewlin jokie?" in the chorus. So if ever you feel you (or on one of those staggeringly - near impossible occasions, DT) maybe got it wrong - don't fret. Here's Folkways - generally superb in the notes, at its very worst. Should be 'muirlan Jockie' - a Scots country lad from the moors -.

Really a pretty song. Attributed to James Duff in 1816.


06 Mar 00 - 05:53 PM (#190612)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Peter T.

Thanks, Murray, Abby. Much appreciated. Hope a DT corrector notes. A lovely song. yours, Peter T.


06 Mar 00 - 10:32 PM (#190802)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: John Nolan

Must give Barry Finn a plug here. He does my favorite version of this song.


07 Mar 00 - 09:11 AM (#191077)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: kendall

I once used this gem as a proposal..it worked


07 Mar 00 - 11:33 AM (#191166)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Dan Evergreen

Yeah, this is a charming little song. I love it.


07 Mar 00 - 03:07 PM (#191312)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Peter T.

Anyone -- kendall? -- have the chords to play it? Jean Shepherd does a simple arpeggio, but I have no ear to take things off a recording. It sounds really simple. yours, Peter T.


07 Mar 00 - 03:09 PM (#191314)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Peter T.

Sorry, Redpath!!!!!!!!! (mind going) yours, Peter T.


07 Mar 00 - 08:16 PM (#191494)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: kendall

I do it on my 12 string which is tuned down to D, so, the chord position is G. (actually I'm in the key of F)

C G A G ..lassie wi' a yellow .. would ye. moorland D jockie
C G D G G lassie.. yellow would ...gang wi' me


07 Mar 00 - 08:24 PM (#191500)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: kendall

that didnt come out the way I intended..anyway, its a simple G progression


08 Mar 00 - 09:45 AM (#191815)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Peter T.

Thanks, Kendall, much appreciated. yours, Peter T.


09 Mar 00 - 08:42 AM (#192416)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Ferrara

Ewan MacColl (sp?) and Jean Redpath each include a verse that the other leaves out. Ewan's is very homely and Jean's is more high-flown.

I've always thought of "genty" as coming straight from the French "gentil." The Scots and French were allies for years against the British, many Scots spent time in France and vice versa. In "Banks & Braes of Bonnie Doon," Burns says, "How can ye chant, ye little birds?" where chant means sing as in French chanter. Also there's Silver Tassie, or My Bonny Mary, where tassie means cup as in French tasse.

Totally irrelevent to the song itself, but fun.

BTW this was the song I used to open the Mudcat Cafe sing-around at the Getaway. I love it.


18 Sep 14 - 08:52 PM (#3661667)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Dave Rado

I'm having trouble with the meaning of some of the old Scots that hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread.

In the Chorus:
Will ye busk an' gang wi' me? [what does "busk" mean in this context?]

In the second verse:
"Tho my mailen be but sma'.
An' little gowd I hae to show," [what does "gowd" mean?]

In the penultimate verse:
Nane on earth was e'er sae vogie, [what does "vogie" mean?]

Dave


18 Sep 14 - 09:10 PM (#3661672)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson

Busk usually means get/make ready or dress; gowd is gold or wealth; and vogie means merry, light-hearted or happy.


18 Sep 14 - 09:10 PM (#3661673)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: maeve

Dave Rado-

busk- get dressed
gowd- gold
vogie- delighted, happy, glad


18 Sep 14 - 09:13 PM (#3661675)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: maeve

Wonderful Anne Neilson beat me to it! We do have a http://mudcat.org/scots/index.cfm unfortunately the definition there for vogie is "vain" for some reason. Anne has it right.


19 Sep 14 - 04:05 AM (#3661721)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: The Sandman

vogie means jaunty. but and ben fu genty is a small cottage. this is a lovely song that i first heard john mearens sing, i still sing it but it i has gone out of favour and is not ung very often, mailen means farm, jockie is scotsman


19 Sep 14 - 04:11 AM (#3661725)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: The Sandman

jaunty is well turned out dandyish, not quite the same as vain,or self satisfied or sprightly, in this case i think it means well turned out dandy.


19 Sep 14 - 04:26 AM (#3661728)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: The Sandman

vogie , kind of means full of the joys of spring ,or bright eyed and bushy tailed, with a twinkle in the eye.


19 Sep 14 - 08:48 AM (#3661805)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,gutcher

Kail was the generic name for soup---usually broth.


19 Sep 14 - 08:59 AM (#3661810)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: The Sandman

another fine scottish song that is not heard much these days is kissin in the dark.
KISSIN' IN THE DARK
1.
For lang I courted Jeannie,
And wroucht wi' micht and main,
To get a puckle siller
And a biggin' o' my ain;
Ilka nicht I gaed to see her,
Be it late or be it mirk;
And when she cam' to meet me,
I wid kiss her in the dark.
[Cho.] The dark, the dark,
The dark, the dark, the dark;
And when she cam' to meet me,
I wid kiss her in the dark.

2.
Ae nicht I gaed to see her,
And my Jeannie bein' frae hame,
I slippit tae the window,
And rattled at the pane;
Oot cam' Jeannie's midder,
And the nicht it bein' sae dark,
I took her in my airms,
And kissed her in the dark.
[Cho.]


3.
She ruggit and she tuggit,
And she tried to won awa'
But I held her aye the closer,
Ay, and gid her idder twa.
Then oot she burst a-lauchin'
Says, "This is afa wark,
Tae touzle an auld body,
And tae kiss her in the dark."
[Cho.]

4.
Then I made for rinnin',
But she held me sure and fast;
Says, "Ye needna be sae hurry, lad,
The secret's oot at last.
Jeannie's doon at Auntie's,
And she'll get an awfu' start,
When I tell her foo ye touzled me,
And kissed me in the dark."
[Cho.]

5.
I stopped wi' Jeannie's mither,
Till my Jeannie did come hame,
She tell't her a' the story,
Which I thocht an afa shame;
But noo I have gotten Jeannie,
After a' the coortin' wark;
And there's few that lands sae lucky
Wi' their kissin' in the dark.
[Cho.]

6.
We hadna lang been marriet
When Jeannie's mither grew ill;
She sent me for a lawyer,
She was gaen to mak' her will.
She has left me a' her siller,
And made mony a remark;
For I got the auld wife's blessin'
For the kissin' in the dark.


21 Sep 14 - 05:32 PM (#3662460)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Dave Rado

Thanks for all the replies, especially those from Annie and Maeve. I'm confused by a couple of other replies though:

In one post, "Good Soldier Schweik" writes "jockie is scotsman" but earlier in the thread, Abby Sale wrote that a jockie was specifically a Scots country lad. In the context of this song, which is more accurate? (I.e. did the author mean to convey that the singer was from the countryside or just that he was from Scotland?)

In another post, "gutcher" writes: "Kail was the generic name for soup---usually broth." That confuses me on two counts: in every version of the song I've seen, it's spelt "kale", not "kail"; and earlier in the thread, "Murray on Saltspring" wrote "kale = cole, or cabbage". In the context of this song, which translation is more likely to be accurate - cabbage, or broth?

Dave


21 Sep 14 - 06:13 PM (#3662465)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson

Dave, there are several meanings for both these words -- jockie and kail -- but the most likely are 1) a country lad and 2) staple food on the table.

Spelling long ago was variable but the currently preferred spelling for cabbage/broth seems to be kail and my take on this line is that he promises that she will never starve -- there will always be the makings of a basic meal -- but that he will endeavour to provide treats for her when he can (the genteel cakes suited to what he thinks her social station requires).

In other words, he's hoping that the love between them will be sufficient to carry them through any hard times.

Hope this helps give you a handle on this lovely wee song.


21 Sep 14 - 06:13 PM (#3662466)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson

Dave, there are several meanings for both these words -- jockie and kail -- but the most likely are 1) a country lad and 2) staple food on the table.

Spelling long ago was variable but the currently preferred spelling for cabbage/broth seems to be kail and my take on this line is that he promises that she will never starve -- there will always be the makings of a basic meal -- but that he will endeavour to provide treats for her when he can (the genteel cakes suited to what he thinks her social station requires).

In other words, he's hoping that the love between them will be sufficient to carry them through any hard times.

Hope this helps give you a handle on this lovely wee song.


22 Sep 14 - 03:54 AM (#3662524)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Tattie Bogle

Gaberlunzie still sing Lassie Wi the Yellow Coatie at their gigs, and you sometimes hear it around the sessions.


22 Sep 14 - 05:07 AM (#3662535)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Jim Carroll

In Chambers Scots Dictionary "busk" is also given as 'get ready' which I find a little more generally satisfying the 'get dressed'.
Robert Ford, in his 'Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland' (1899) wrote of the song,
"Fifty years ago this was a popular song in Perthshire, to which county, by authorship it belongs.
The writer, James Duff, known as 'The Methven Poet,' was a gardener to trade and flourished in the early years of the present century.
A volume of his poems was published at Perth in 1816

Gavin Greig's not in The Greig Duncan collection reads:
LASSIE WI' THE YELLOW COATIE Cf. Ford, p. 198. Alan Reid gives the following note with a version in the Rymour Club Miscellanea, 2.119: "The complete text of this popular old song has a place in Ford's Vagabond Ballads, but without the air, which neither Mr Ford nor I could gather when his book was in preparation. Mrs Jessie Patrick Findlay has, however, been able to recover it, the set here given having been noted from her mother's singing. The popular version, a single stanza of which accompanies the music, was written by James Duff, the Methven poet, and appears in his volume of Poems and Songs, published by Morrison, Perth, in 1816. Another and entirely different version of the song and air, attributed to John Hamilton of 'Cauld and Raw' fame, is given in [James Wood and Learmont Drysdale,] Song Gems [London, 1908, pp. 128-9]." "From the place-name in our version [B] of 'Lassie wi' the Yellow Coatie' people in the north have taken the song to belong to Donside. Ford, however, who does not give the localising verse, says the song belongs to Perthshire, and was written by James Duff, known as 'The Methven Poet,' who was a gardener to trade, and published a volume of his poems [A Collection of Poems, Songs, Etc., chiefly Scottish] at Perth in 1816. Although the song appears in this volume [pp. 172-3] as the production of Duff, it is quite possible that he worked on an older model. Ford himself says that Duff's book contains a somewhat flabby and diffuse version of 'Bessie Bell and Mary Gray,' and that the song, 'Lassie wi' the Yellow Coatie,' is the only one of his productions which has attained any popularity. All which is just a little significant. The tune, which is very pretty, does not seem particularly old in its present form, but we should not wonder if it were an adaptation from a strathspey of the type of 'Whistle o'er the Lave o't.' As it stands, it suggests an affinity with [348] 'Jock o' Rhynie.' A variant will be found in 'Can Ye Lo'e Me Weel, Lassie?' in Lyric Gems (1856)."
Jim Carroll


22 Sep 14 - 05:08 AM (#3662536)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: Dave Rado

Thanks Annie. Tattie Bogle - yes it was through Gaberlunzie's version that I fell for this song. I don't know why Gaberlunzie aren't more well known - I think they're as good as anyone performing today.


22 Sep 14 - 05:23 AM (#3662542)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: The Sandman

i think kale is most likely to be accurate, but ann hits the nail on the head, with her interpretation.
"Spelling long ago was variable but the currently preferred spelling for cabbage/broth seems to be kail and my take on this line is that he promises that she will never starve -- there will always be the makings of a basic meal -- but that he will endeavour to provide treats for her when he can (the genteel cakes suited to what he thinks her social station requires)."
jockie is probably scottish countryman, is this dialect the doric language [mid northern scots]?.


08 Apr 16 - 06:11 AM (#3784166)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,Tall Crofter

It is Kale, a member of the brassica family. Kale or leaf cabbage is a group of vegetable cultivars within the plant species Brassica oleracea. They have green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. My grandfather grew it and my grandmother made a very fine soup with it. Very nutritious!


09 Apr 16 - 03:57 AM (#3784337)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST, DTM

Kale has always been cabbage soup to me.
Btw, I first came across "Yellow Coatie" on a Jim Reid recording.


19 Apr 16 - 11:26 AM (#3786047)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: GUEST,ShapeNoteSinger

This has been a very helpful thread. Many thanks to all! But tell me--is the "yellow coatie" a coat? Or a petticoat?


19 Apr 16 - 11:36 AM (#3786052)
Subject: RE: Query: Lassie wi' the yellow coatie
From: The Sandman

A COAT ,is how I have always thought of it