Hairst o' Rettie, The
DESCRIPTION: "I hae seen the hairst o' Rettie... I've heard for sax and seven weeks The hairsters girn and groan... But a covie Willie Rae... Maks a' the jolly hairster lads Gae singing down the brae." The singer praises Rae's efficient, comfortable organization
EARLIEST DATE: 1906 (GreigDuncan3)
KEYWORDS: farming work moniker
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Greig #3, pp. 2-3, "The Hairst o' Rettie" (1 text)
GreigDuncan3 408, "The Hairst o' Rettie" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Ord, pp. 271-272, "The Hairst o' Rettie" (1 text)
cf. "The Parks o' Keltie" (tune, per Greig)
cf. "The Boghead Crew" (subject: harvest crew moniker song)
cf. "The Kiethen Hairst" (subject: harvest crew moniker song)
cf. "The Ardlaw Crew" (subject: harvest crew moniker song)
cf. "The Northessie Crew" (subject: harvest crew moniker song)
NOTES: This song is so unusual that it's almost hard to describe (and impossible to keyword). Whoever heard of a bothy song in praise of the owner? - RBW
The "bothy song in praise of the owner" is not so strange considering that the crew is not hired for six months but only for the harvest. Peter A Hall, "Farm Life and the Farm Songs" in GreigDuncan3: "Improvement [technological] also had its effect on harvest, which as well as being the culmination of the farm year, was a most important social event particularly in terms of courtship ([GreigDuncan3] 406). The harvest crew was composed of farm workers, along with many temporary employees from the district ([GreigDuncan3] 401), drawn from a wide variety of occupations." (p. xxv); [the] last of the bothy ballads of the old pattern are from the 1880s ([GreigDuncan3] 372, 374), and although certain features are carried over into some of the local harvest songs ([GreigDuncan3] 408 to 412), they lack both the emotional tone and the structure of the older pieces." (p. xxx).
Greig: "Most people, we fear, will think that the poetry of the harvest field is ... gone; but that something may be made even out of the mechanical reaper is evident from the following clever and spirited ditty...."
GreigDuncan3 has a map on p. xxxv, of "places mentioned in songs in volume 3" showing the song number as well as place name; Rettie (408) is at coordinate (h6-7,v6) on that map [near Banff, roughly 42 miles NNW of Aberdeen]. - BS
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