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Away From My Window

from Away From My Window by Iona Fyfe

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Hamish Henderson collected an unaccompanied recording of Jeannie Robertson singing the song in 1955 which is archived on Tobar an Dualchais. Jeannie’s version differs from that of Stanley’s in length, lyrics and melody - it also mentions a token ring. It’s noted that this version is American, but similar to a text found in the North of Scotland. It is thought that the Appalachian singer, Jean Ritchie, who visited Scotland in the 1950’s, taught this to Jeannie, who then recorded it, with guitar accompaniment from Josh McCrae, and released it on her 1957 Riverside album Songs of a Scots Tinker Lady. In 2009, The Elphinstone Institute released the song among 34 other recordings of Stanley Robertson in an album titled The College Boy. It is thought that the song is about a sexual sin which has taken place, but Jeannie informed Stanley that the song was actually about a young girl who got involved in crime, and robbed a bank with a partner. The girl was caught at the crime scene, but the man was not and this is what the terrible sin is about. Stanley comments that he learnt the song from “Burnter’s Bonnet’s Maggie” and that the tune is a piping retreat that he used to play.

“Here we have a haunting fragment of a folksong, the origin of which seems to be obscure. The title phrase is familiar in both European and American folksong, but this does not mean, of course, that songs in which it occurs have a common origin. It may well be a composed song based on some folk original and already on the lips of the people and in the process of becoming a folk song again.” – Hamish Henderson

Found in Peter Buchan’s Ancient Ballads and Songs Volume 2, Roud 966


Go away from my window, do not venture in
Go away from my window, do not enter in

I will tell my dear brother, of my terrible sin
Go away from my window, do not enter in

Go away from my window, take your form from my door
For my heart, it is sad and my spirit is poor

I will tell my old father, it will soon break his heart
Of my terrible sin, of what you took apart

Go away from my window, you have caused me much strife
For my heart, it is so low that I might end my life

I will tell my old mother, for she will understand
But I may well go to another strange land

Go away from my window, do not bother me
For my sister, she told me of things that would be

She said when I met you, that day I would rue
For no good could ever come from a man such as you

Go away from my window, do not venture in
Go away from my window, do not venture in


from Away From My Window, released March 24, 2018


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Iona Fyfe Scotland, UK

Aberdeenshire folksinger, Iona Fyfe, has become one of Scotland’s finest young folk singers, rooted in the singing traditions of the North East of Scotland. The first ever singer to win the coveted title of Musician of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2021, Iona has been described as “one of the best Scotland has to offer.” (Global-Music.de)

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