Rattlin‘, Roarin’ Willie slip jig

Also known as Rantin, Roarin Willie, Rantin, Roarin Willy, Rantin‘ Roarin’ Willie, Rantin‘ Roarin’ Willy, Rantin‘, Roarin’ Willie, Rantin‘, Roarin’ Willy, Ranting Roaring Willie, Ranting Roaring Willy, Rattlin Roarin Willie, Rattlin Roarin Willy, Rattlin‘ Roarin’ Willie, Rattlin‘ Roarin’ Willy, Rattlin‘, Roarin’ Willie, Rattlin‘, Roarin’ Willy, Rattling Roaring Willie, Rattling Roaring Willy.

There are 3 recordings of this tune.

Rattlin‘, Roarin’ Willie appears in 1 other tune collection.

Rattlin‘, Roarin’ Willie has been added to 2 tune sets.

Rattlin‘, Roarin’ Willie has been added to 53 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Four settings

X: 1
T: Rattlin', Roarin' Willie
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|:B|AFD DED F>AB|cBc E[CFc]E G2 B|AFD DF/E/D F>A^c|d^cd FDF A2 B/c/|
dcB AFD F>AB|cBc E[CFc]E G2 E|D2 d F2 D F>Ad|FD/E/F E[CFc]E D2:|
|:B|AFD dFD A>FD|E[CFc]E G[CFc]E G2 B|AFD dFD F>A^c|d^cd FD/E/F A2 B/c/|
dcB AFD F>AB|cBc E2 F G2 E|D2 d F2 D F>Ad|FDF E^DE =D2:|
X: 2
T: Rattlin', Roarin' Willie
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmix
|:d|B2 G GAG B2 e|fcA F2 A c2 e|B2 G GAG B2 ^f|g2 G G2 B d2 ^f|
g^fe dBG B/c/de|f2 c A2 F c2 e|dB/c/d e2 d Bd/e/^f|gGB AFA G2:|
|:e|d2 G gBG dBG|AFA fAF c2 e|d2 G gBG dBG|gfe dBG dd/e/^f|
gfe dB/A/G B/c/de|fef A2 B c2 e|dBG e2 d e<gd|B2 B AF/G/A G2:|
X: 3
T: Rattlin', Roarin' Willie
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
d|B2 G GAG Bde|=f2 c AFA c2 d|B3 GGA GBd|gfg B2 c d2||
e/f/|gfg dBG Bde|=f2 c AFA c2 e|dBd e2 d egd|BGB AFA G2||
X: 4
T: Rattlin', Roarin' Willie
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
|:f|ecA ABA cef|!trill!=g3 {fg} BGB !trill!d2 f|ecA ABA ceg|!trill!a3 {ga} ecA e2 f/2g/2|
{b}agf ecA cef|!trill!=g3 {fg} BGB !trill!d2 B|ABA !trill!c2 A cea|cAc BGB A2:|
|:f|ecA acA ecA|B=GB =gdB !trill!d2 f|ecA acA ecA|{b}agf ecA e2 f/2g/2|
{b}agf ecA cef|{a}=gfg BGB !trill!d2 B|ABA !trill!c2 A cea|cAc BGB A2:|

Forty-five comments

“Rattlin‘, Roarin’ Willy(ie)” ~ played in D, G & A Mixolydian

Yes, I know, so hold off Dow, slainte and the rest of ye buzzards… This carcase is a fresh kill…both barrells, in two keys… 😎

I will be adding more, a bit of history and links to relatives, as well as a slew of alternate names. However, I am expecting, or hoping, that someone Northumbrian way, or Dow, will do justice to another relative in 9/4… It deserves that consideration don’t yuh think?


O rattlin’, roarin’ Willie O he held tae the fair
For tae sell his fiddle and buy some other ware,
But partin’ with his fiddle a salt tear blin’t his eye.
Rattlin’, roarin’ Willie you’re welcome home tae me.

O, Willie come sell your fiddle, O sell your fiddle sae fine.
Willie come sell your fiddle and buy a pint o’ wine.
“If I should sell my fiddle the world would think I was mad
For many a rantin’ day my fiddle and I hae had.”

As I came by Crochallan, I cannily keekit ben,
Rattlin’, roarin’ Willie was sitting at yon board en’.
Sitting at yon board-en’ amang guid company.
Rattlin’ roarin’ Willie ye’re welcome home tae me.

I believe the first verse/ chorus are traditional, then Robbie Burns added the last verse.

Yeah, right, like I hadn’t already… Thanks for nothing…

~ seen the comments section…previously known about tune #1757… Did you bother to read the comments that preceed your ‘great revelation’? 😏

~ Up at the very top, that first comment!?

‘c’, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

"Yes, I know, so hold off Dow, ~


“I am expecting, or hoping, that someone Northumbrian way, or Dow, will do justice to another relative in 9/4… It deserves that consideration don’t yuh think?” ~ hmmmm… 😏

Obviously ‘consideration’ is missing altogether, eh?

I already transcribed it in 9/4 ages ago. I don’t understand what you’re raving on about. ???

We have been here before, with a certain 7-step…

So, you obviously, as already said in one word, don’t understand… Ah well, I tried… I hoped… But in vain, eh…

But the 7-steps were different tunes.

C to C ~ D Mixolydian, bars 2 & 6 of the A-part, for example ~ ECE

I see that so far the only transcription that has converted is the on in D Mixolydian. It was transcribed for tune limited instruments that generally can’t reach the middle C. There are a few instances where I’ve given it up an octave, and I quite like that jump, but you can also play it down to the C…

“Rattlin‘, Roarin’ Willy(ie)” ~ G Mixolydian

That interval direction and other options are illustrated here ~

X: 1
T: Rattlin‘, Roarin’ Willie
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
R: slip jig
K: G Mixolydian
|: d |
B2 G GAG B2 e | fcA F2 A c2 e |
B2 G GAG B2 ^f | g2 G G2 B d2 ^f |
g^fe dBG B/c/de | f2 c A2 F c2 e |
dB/c/d e2 d Bd/e/^f | gGB AFA G2 :|
|: e |
d2 G gBG dBG | AFA fAF c2 e |
d2 G gBG dBG | gfe dBG dd/e/^f |
g^fe dB/A/G B/c/de | fef A2 B c2 e |
dBG e2 d e<gd | B2 B AF/G/A G2 :|

I think the differences with the half-a-tune linked to above by Dow, the ‘song’, should be obvious…


I wrote quite extensively on this tune in the Core Tunes section of the FARNE website. I don’t know if that stuff was referenced here before.

One thing I was convinced of from studying some of the earliest and (IMO) most authoritative versions of this tune is that it’s not *quite* a mixolydian tune in essence, in that the middle beat of the last bar of each strain is based on the dominant, not the subtonic chord, and the 7th of the scale, if present, is sharp. William Dixon’s bagpipe version neatly avoids the note.

Great tune in any case, and there really are loads of versions.

FARNE ~ Folk Archive Resource North East

Core Tunes
Rattlin‘ Roarin’ Willie

Thanks heaps Matt. I keep forgetting to nod in that direction. FARNE is a fabulous, priceless resource, much appreciated…

There you go Dow, a constructive comment. Yes, I’m a grouch these last few days, I think I’m coming down with something, but traffic jams and you poking me in the ribs doesn’t help… 😉

Correction ~ | gfe dB/A/G B/c/de | ~

The previous version in G, the B-part, bar 5 should not start with the f# / ^f, but as natural. Only ascending to f leads to it being sharp, f# / ^f, and as you can see that only happens in the second octave…

“Rattlin, Roarin Willie” ~ courtesy of the FARNE site & Matt Seattle

X: 3
T: Rattlin, Roarin Willie
S: Scots Musical Museum, published by James Johnson, 1777
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
R: slip jig
K: G
|: d |
B2 G GAG Bde | =f2 c AFA c2 d |
B3 GGA GBd | gfg B2 c d2 e/f/ |
gfg dBG Bde | =f2 c AFA c2 e |
dBd e2 d egd | BGB AFA G3 :|

Haha check your e-mail old fool 😉

Unhhh! ~ now you have me scared, and I’m already feeling like shight. Really, I feel awful right now… I hope this isn’t the flu… 😏

Middle-aged fool then

Well, you can’t be that badly p*ssed if you’re able to string a sentence and a thought together, however simple, though I did notice the full stop is missing.

Get away from the keyboard, you can’t afford to get sick all over it… 😛

I’m p*ssed enough to make a prank phone call to the Australian Department of Immigration pretending to be a transsexual having problems filling in their forms for citizenship! You don’t even know how lucky you are not to have spoken to me today 😀

Well let’s hope Immigration doesn’t have caller i.d…..

Posted .

I managed to get through to bb twice after insisting that she was my case officer, even though she doesn’t work in the citizenship department. bb dealt with me very well actually, but I hope I didn’t get her the sack…

LOL, well I’ll remember that she works in immigration when I apply for my visa to come haunt your session for years on end…..

Posted .

Pleaes tabby, go put the poor lad straight, or crooked as may needs be… Your ears should have been on fire the day the two of us cracked the Hendricks…

Hey Dow, I also have a curious single thread version of this tune I’ve dug out and will be adding in the ‘comments’ for that other…

You do that. I promise not to interfere or even mention it, even behind your back. What you submit to the database is your business!

The Lowland and Border Pipers’ Society


“Matt Seattle’s exploration of the well-knwon song and tune as it appears in a variety of sources, including his own bagpipe arrangement” ~

Rattlin‘ Roarin’ Willie - - - Introduction

Rattlin Roarin Willie is most familiar today as a Burns song, often performed, widely recorded, and featuring in many Scottish song anthologies. Some fiddlers also play the song tune or the Niel Gow dance version, and a few Northumbrian pipers play an elaborate version called The Mitford Galloway.

Gordon Mooney and myself also included versions of Rattlin Roarin Willie in our respective reconstructions of a Border bagpipe repertoire. We were both working on the assumptions that
• this was a tune with strong Border associations, and
• it could be played on the pipes, therefore
• it was a prime candidate.
And we were both right: it is the last tune in William Dixon’s manuscript, a highly playable setting lying within the range of a 9-note chanter.

While Dixon’s setting would grace the repertoire of any Lowland or Border piper, this article aims to place the tune within a larger context, cultural and musical, and to take a longer view of its history, a closer look at its individual features, and a broader look at its many different manifestations. We will also look further afield than the previous exploration of the tune on the FARNE website, which by its nature was principally concerned with Northumbrian sightings.

We will consider Rattlin Roarin Willie as a song, a fiddle tune and a pipe tune, and thanks both to recent work and to older work recently come to light, we will delve further into the history of the tune and of the person it commemorates. As well as Robert Burns and Niel Gow, we will meet James Oswald and Sir Walter Scott, along with many whose names are less familiar and many whose names we do not know, all of whom had an encounter with Rattlin Roarin Willie and contributed in their own way to his story, his song and his tune.

~ Matt Seattle

The rest of the article is to be found following the link or downloading the PDF, see below, with much thanks to its author for all he has contributed to our further understanding and appreciation of this music we share a passion for…

& a PDF for download:

Thanks Matt & The LBPS, much appreciated… 🙂

@ ceolachan - and to think I was playing his tune tonight just before I saw your post - he must be in the air again

Thanks Matt, who luvs yuh?! 😉

Re: Rattlin‘, Roarin’ Willie

Just remembered a couple of stories about this title :
Roy Gullane of the “Tannahill Weavers” introducing the song - “This is a song by our national poet Robert Burns. It’s called ”Rattlin‘ Roarin’ Willie“. Some people think that that’s what he died of”.
Also -
Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain were guests on a cookery programme hosted by Ainslie Harriot [ I think it was ].
AH - “right boys, while this is cooking, why don’t you play us a tune ? What will you play ?”
PC - “ a tune from Scotland called ”Rattlin‘ Roarin’ Willie".
AH - “Rattlin‘, Roarin’ Willie ? What’s that all about, then?”
PC - “It’s what you get when you eat too much haggis”.