Berryfields of Blair

DESCRIPTION: Singer describes migrant workers' descent on Blair in berry-picking time; there are city folks, miners, fisherfolk, and Travellers. Some are successful, some not; some work as a family, some alone. The singer praises all
AUTHOR: Belle Stewart (1906-1997)
EARLIEST DATE: 1955 (recorded from Belle Stewart)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Singer describes migrant workers' descent on Blair in berry-picking time; there are city folks, miners, fisherfolk, and Travellers from all parts of Scotland. Some are successful, some not; some work as a family, some alone; "some men share and share alike wi' wives that's no their ain." The singer praises them all and blesses the hand that led him to the berryfields of Blair
KEYWORDS: travel farming harvest work nonballad worker Gypsy migrant
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Stewart-Queen, pp. 41-42, "The Berry Fields o Blair" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy 339, "The Berryfields of Blair" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #2154
RECORDINGS:
Belle Stewart, "The Berry Fields O' Blair" (on Voice20) (on SCStewartsBlair01)
BROADSIDES:
cf. "Nicky Tams" (tune)
NOTES: Kennedy does not mention Belle Stewart's claim to have written this song -- but, in this instance, I see no reason to question it; this gives every evidence of being the work of a modern who is nonetheless steeped in traditional music -- and the dialect exactly fits Stewart's own. - RBW
Hall, notes to Voice20, re "The Berry Fields O' Blair": written in 1930. - BS
On the other hand, Sheila Stewart, on p. 40 of Queen Amang the Heather, says her mother wrote it in 1947. The 1930 date is possible -- Belle Stewart was born in 1906, so she had some experience with the work by then. But I'd incline to trust her daughter as the source!
File: K339

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