Jimmy MacBeath : Tramps & Hawkers

(
Rounder Records
)

Recorded 1951–1953 by Alan Lomax
Notes by Ewan McVicar and Hamish Henderson

Jimmy MacBeath’s warm, husky voice made him one of Scotland’s most beloved traditional singers. This collection of songs, stories, and reminiscences draws from his varied life as soldier, farm laborer, and traveling singer in the British Isles, Europe, and Canada. Jimmy MacBeath was born in 1894 and died in 1972.

“The beauty of this album is not just in the fantastic clear voice of Jimmy MacBeath. It is the fact that we get re-introduced to old songs and we also get the stories that go with them. ‘Drumdelgie’ is a song about the reality of farm life — of the horses to be tended, winnowing, plowing, and carting . . . ‘Down by the Magdalene Green’ [tells] a sailor’s tale as he repents the folly of his treatment of a young girl: ‘Tae court a girl, then sail away, is neither calm nor clean, / And never do as I have done down by the Ma’dlin Green.’ This album is a must for anyone professing to have an interest in folk music, Scotland, or the plight of our fellow man.” —Nicky Rossiter, Rambles