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Banks of Inverurie

from Away From My Window by Iona Fyfe

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I first heard this song from fellow Huntly singer, Shona Donaldson, when she was a guest at Cullerlie Traditional Singing Weekend in 2016. Shona attributed it to the singing of Gordon Easton, who, at 84 years old, recorded it on his Springthyme album, The Last of the Clydesdales. It was also sung by Jock Duncan who recorded it on his 1996 album Ye Shine Whar Ye Stan! Jock learnt it from itinerant farm worker Jimmy McBeath in 1971.

A song of rejection, the Banks of Inverurie, echoes’ the form and structure of the American folksong, The Lakes of Pontchartrain. The de nite origins of the song remain unknown, but it is thought that it originated in Scotland and was brought to America by soldiers fighting for the British army in Louisiana and Canada in 1812. It could be argued that Aberdeenshire is the source region of the localised song, by its inclusion in Greig-Duncan and the song being set on the banks of the River Ury. It is also printed
in two Broadside forms: The Banks of Inverury and The Banks of Inveraray. The prints are the same, with the place name the only di erence. Until half way through the 19th century, Inverurie was spelt as Inverury. One version of the broadside uses the historical spelling of Inverury, which proves that the song existed before 1866, when the town clerk made the spelling change to Inverurie official, after post (and songs) got mixed up between Inverury and Inveraray, in Argyll. The Gaelic title for Inverurie is still Inbhir Uraidh, meaning “Con uence of the Ury”.

Found in Robert Ford’s Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland, John Ords, Greig Last Leaves, Greig-Duncan (6:1263) Roud 1415


One day as I went walking and doon as I did pass,
By the banks o Inverurie I spied a bonnie lass;
Her hair hung o’er her shoulders broad, an’ her eyes like diamonds shine,
On the banks of Inverurie and oh gin she were mine

I did embrace that fair maid wi a’ the haste I could,
For her hair hung o‘er her shoulders broad all in its threads of gold;
Her hair hung o‘er her shoulders broad, an’ her eyes like diamonds shine,
On the banks of Inverurie and oh gin she were mine

Well she said, “My man give over, do not delude me so,
For aifter kissin’ wooing comes an’ aifter wooing woe;
My tender hairt ye will ensnare an’ I beguiled will be,
On the banks of Inverurie I‘ll walk alone,” said she

She says, “My man, give over your company refrain,
For I know you are of gentle blood, but of a graceless clan;
I know your occupation, lad, and good it cannot be,
On the banks of Inverurie I‘ll walk alone,“ says she

Well he said, “My pretty fair maid, the truth I‘ll ne‘er deny,
On the banks o Inverurie fair maids beguiled have I;
I used to flatter fair maids but now I’ll faithful be.
On the banks of Inverurie, if you would marry me“

He’s pit a horn tae his lips an’ he blew loud and shrill,
Till four and twenty armed men came tae their master‘s call,
“I used to flatter fair maids but now I‘ll faithful be,“
“On the banks of Inverurie if you would marry me,
On the banks of Inverurie, I’ll walk alone” said she


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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