Fitba Crazy

This song reminds us that football can be dangerous as well as fun. It is sung by adults as well as children.


You aa know ma wee brither, his name is Jock McGraw,

He’s lately jined a fitba club, for he’s mad aboot fitba.

He has two black eyes already, and teeth lost frae his gub,

Since Jock became a member o that terrible fitba club.



For he’s fitba crazy, he’s fitba mad,

The fitba it has robbed him o the little bit o sense he had,

It would take a dozen skivvies, his claes tae wash and scrub,

Since Jock became a member o that terrible fitba club.


The first game he took part in, I was there masel and saw,

There were jaickets for the goalposts and a tin can for the ba.

The Prince of Wales was there himsel, in his dinner suit,

Jock he passed the ball across, and shouted, “CHARLIE, SHOOT!”


His wife she says she’ll leave him, if Jock he doesn’t keep

Away from fitba kickin, at night time in his sleep.

He calls her Charlie Tully, and other names so droll,

Last night he kicked her out of bed and swore it was a goal.


In the middle of the field at Hampden, the captain said,’McGraw,

‘Will you kindly take this penalty or we’ll never win at aa.’

Jock took three steps backwards, and shot off from the mark.

The ball went sailin over the bar and landed in New York.


 Your ‘gub’ is your mouth. ‘Skivvies’ are young girls who work in a house and do the worst cleaning tasks.

Some people say that it began as an Irish song, which was brought over to Scotland and then the words were changed. You could try translating this song from Scottish into English. 



A bouncy little song with a very sad message. Children enjoy making the letter shapes (see below the lyric) with their fingers as they sing, but adults looking after small children have to be careful about singing this kind of sad lyric to anyone who does not have a father present in their household.


I've a laddie in America

I've another in Dundee aye ee aye ee

I've another in Australia

And that's the one who's goin tae marry me aye ee aye ee


First he took me tae the dancin

Then he took me tae my tea aye ee aye ee

Then he ran away and left me

Wi three bonny bairnies on my knee aye ee aye ee


One was sittin by the fireside

Another was sittin on my knee aye ee aye ee

Another was sittin by the doorway

Singin ‘Daddy, daddy, please come back tae me aye ee aye ee.’


When you sing 'aye', hold up your index fingers to make the letter 'I'.

When you sing 'ee', hold up your thumbs, index and middle fingers to make the letter 'E'.



Collier Sweetheart

Ewan McVicar was asked to write songs with the P5 class in East Plean Primary School, near Stirling.

Ewan’s mother was born in Plean and Ewan remembered that his grandfather, Hugh Reynolds, had told him about being in a mining disaster. Ewan's grandfather had heard the sound of the 1921 explosion when he was hewing (cutting coal) in the next-door pit. Ewan looked up old newspapers to get details of what happened. Then he and P5 wrote this song.

My mother said I could not have a collier

If I did it would break her heart

I didn’t care what my mother told me

I had a collier for my sweetheart


But one day up Cadger’s Loan

The siren screamed at Pit Four head

All of Plean ran to find out

How many living, how many dead?


Lowsing time in the Carbrook Dook

The young shotfirer fired his shot

Dynamite blew up the section

Twelve lads dead, seventy caught


Their holiday bags were lying waiting

The men were lying down below

he wee canaries they died too

Salty tears in the sad Red Rows


The young shotfirer had no certificate

My young collier gave his life

Fate was cruel to my sweetheart

And I will never be a wife


My mother said I could not have a collier

If I did it would break her heart

I didn’t care what my mother told me

I had a collier for my sweetheart

A collier is a coal miner. Cadger’s Loan ran from Plean village up the hill to where the coal pits were. The Loan has been renamed President Kennedy Avenue.

The shotfirer is the man who bores a hole, packs it with dynamite, then fires the dynamite to open up a new area of rock for the miners to get the coal from.

The men expected to come up after their shift and collect their holiday bags for their annual two weeks' holiday from work. The miners lived in streets called the Red Rows, because they were built of red brick.

The first verse is from a traditional song about a girl who wants to marry a coal miner. The tune is sometimes called 'Willie Taylor'.

'Collier Sweetheart' was written for a Stirling Tolbooth project.

'Collier Sweetheart'

Performed by Ewan McVicar, accompanying himself on guitar and mouth organ. 


Bananas are the Best

This song is a big favourite with young people, who like to shout now and then.

The words of the song happened in a very surprising way.

In about 1964 Ewan McVicar was working in Nairobi, Kenya, and he heard a Swahili pop song that had this tune. Some of the words were:


Si ni lala, ne wapi banana? (When I am sleeping, where are bananas?)

Ata tembaya, ni wapi babana (And when I'm walking, where are bananas?)

Ata chakula, si wezi kula (And eating, when you are eating)

Kula na banana. (Eat bananas)


Then 20 years later, Ewan was working back in Scotland. One day he got a phone call from Artie Trezise of The Singing Kettle. They were working on a new album of songs and needed more material. Did Ewan have any new songs?

Ewan answered, 'No. I could write one, but what about?'

'Well, bananas are always funny,' said Artie.

Ewan remembered the Swahili pop song. And turned it into a Glesga (Glasgow) song.

'Manãna' is a Spanish word that means 'tomorrow'.

Many school classes have made new verses for this song with Ewan and other singers. In this recording of Ewan and children from Errol Primary School, near Perth, the first verse was made by the children.



Banana, banana, bananas are the best

A nice squishy middle in a big yella vest

Today or manyana, ah'll be sayin ‘Can ah,

Can ah have a ba-na-na?’


You can use it for a fearsome gun - banana!

Slice it up and put it in a bun - banana!

It's a lot of healthy fun - banana!

Can ah have a ba-na-na?


What am ah goin to have for ma tea? Banana!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday? Banana!

What's ma Sunday dinner goin to be? Banana!

Can ah have a ba-na-na?


You can slide down a tree on the skin - banana!

Wear it on your head for a hat - banana!

Try and use a cokey-nut for that - banana!

Can ah have a ba-na-na?


Fifty million monkeys can't be wrong - banana!

From totie wans tae Old King Kong - banana!

They all love to sing this song - banana!

'Can ah have a ba-na-na?'


It's perfect with ice cream - banana!

It's a banana dream - banana!

We're all going to SCREAM - banana!

Can ah have a ba-na-na?


Additional verses you can sing if you want to

You can stick it in your ear for a phone

Throw it tae yer dog for a bone

Give me a jungle of ma own

Can ah have a banana?


It's long and it's yella and it's bent

The taste is heaven sent

Don't waste your money on yer rent

Can ah have a banana?



A bothy ballad about a young woman farm worker who admires the handsome young ploughman from afar.

Doon yonder den there’s a plooboy lad,

And some simmer’s day he’ll be aa my ain.


An sing laddie aye, and sing laddie o,

The plooboy laddies are aa the go.


Doon yonder den I could hae gotten a miller,

But the smell o stour would hae deen me ill


Doon yonder den I could hae gotten a merchant,

But aa his riches wereny worth a groat


I love his teeth and I love his skin,

I love the very cairt he hurls in


I see him comin fae yond the toon,

Wi aa his ribbons hingin roon an roon


And noo she's gotten her plooboy lad,

As bare as ever he's left the ploo

Additional verse

It’s ilka time I gang tae the stack,

I hear his whip gie the ither crack.

Often bothy ballads about farm work speak of kindness to the unmarried men who live in the bothy from the ‘kitchie deem’, the kitchen maid, who lived in the farmhouse along with the farmer and his family, and who worked very hard.

In this song the farm girl wants to escape the drudgery of the farm, including getting fuel for the fire from the ‘stack’, but rejects her maybe real, maybe dreamt-of admirers in the town, the merchant and the miller. In this context ‘den’ means a farm in a narrow wooded valley.

'Plooman Laddies'

Performed by Christine Kydd.
From Dark Pearls (CD), CUL 115D, Culburnie Records.


Friday Barney

Made up and sung by Carnwarth Youth Theatre

Johnnie O Breadislie

Johnnie was using his bow and arrows to hunt the dun deer, helped by his two grey hounds. 

Locheil's Awa Tae France

Parcel of Rogues

A song made up by Robert Burns

The Barnyards of Delgaty

The Barren Rocks of Aden

The Blantyre Explosion

The Bloody Fields of Flanders

Is a bagpipes tune 

The Largo Fairy Dance

The Merry Boys of Greenland

The Rolling Hills of the Borders

The Sticky Jig

A tune made up by Heather Yule and played by her on the clarsach

The Trows of Truggles Water

Who's That up the Chimney?

A song made up by Ewan McVicar  on a tram in the Russian city of Perm

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin was from Russia, and flew in to space