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In which Jeannie talks about her life as a tinker, tells stories and rhymes, a folktale about "Silly John" and a song, "Jimmy Raeburn". Her life story tells about her parents, when she cried for hunger, the freedom at the berry-picking, a raid on their camp, love, courtship and elopement, of sex, hawking and canvassing in summer, mischievous farm-servants, traveller's laws, learning songs, Davie Stewart and Jimmy MacBeath, birth, death, drink and children.

1. TALK ABOUT HER LIFE: Her own birth when her mother was out hawking/ very big child with black hair ("Earl of Hell's night-cap")/ good speaker/ 9 months old when her father died (mother 28)/ good father but weakness for drink/ mother re- married - a soldier, James Higgins/ 1914 War breaks out/ move to Perthshire (aged 5)/ only time she was hungry/ "greeting" (crying)/ the berryfields/ camping meant freedom from school/ crowded in Aberdeen/ after housework there were stories - "as old as Jerusalem"/ strange happenings/ men coming/ temptations of mischievous farm-servants/ protection with dogs/ "country yokels"/ stupid after drinking at bars/ traveller's laws/ nowadays new houses replacing market stances and greens - 15'33"


3. TYPES OF STORIES and how they started with opening rhyme 1'36"

4. Folk tale: SILLY JOHN AND THE FACTOR - 7'00"

5. TALK CONTINUED Separating lovers was a sin/ her first courtship/ parents against marriage/ ran away to Aberdeen to marry/ poor and humble/ worked hard/ family/ 9 years before began to travel/ summer canvassing soft-goods/ children - 6'31"

6. Song: JIMMY RAEBURN - 4'13"

7. TALK CONTINUED AGAIN: Talk about song/ what makes a good singer/ learning songs and memory/ Davie Stewart ("The Galoot") compared with Jimmy McBeath/ Geordie Stewart/ the Stewart family/ father/ her mother's gifts/ brothers and drink/ mother's temper & occasional beatings - 19'02"

Recorded by Peter Kennedy and Alan Lomax 1953. Edited by Peter Kennedy and first published by Folktrax 1979. Phonographic copyright control. Unauthorised public performance, broadcasting or copying is prohibited except by permission.

SILLY JOHN AND THE FACTOR has been transcribed from Jeannie Robertson by Hamish Henderson and appears in TOCHER No. 6 (1972) published by The School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh. Hamish adds the following note:- "This international comic tale is well-known in Gaelic and versions in Scots have been recorded as far afield as Shetland. The burial of the goat in place of the murdered man, and the rain of porridge, may both appear or be used by itself. Sometimes the factor is deliberately killed at the mother's instigation to prevent an eviction".

JEANNIE ROBERTSON (1906-1975) was awarded an M.B.E. for her service to Scottish music. Alan Lomax said of her: "Jeannie was one of the great ones. She had the refined mouth and the powerful throat that's typical of the great singer, and out of it came trumpet-notes suitable to the big ballad and soft flute-like tones suited to the sweet randy love-songs.....she had a great sense of how to lay a tune along the words, to make both shine more brightly, and she knew how to put in the delicate brush of embellishment, to make the song come to life in the most important parts" - see also FT-067 & FT-186

JIMMY MacBEATH - see FTX-058, FTX-059 & FTX-060

DAVIE STEWART - see FTX-180, FTX-461 & FTX-462

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