Robbie Tamson’s Smiddy reel

Also known as Baljaclett, Billiaclett, Robbie Tampson’s Smiddy, Robbie Thompson’s Smithie.

There are 2 recordings of this tune.

Robbie Tamson’s Smiddy has been added to 13 tunebooks.

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Sheet Music12
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Nine comments

More Shetland

Here is another transcription from the playing of Gibbie Hutchison of Whalsay. Thanks to Ceolachan for proofing it before it got posted, and for pointing me in the direction of related tunes, i.e. Billiaclett or Baljaclett, also from Shetland, and the Scottish Robbie Thompson’s Strathspey or the song Robbie Thompson’s Smithy. Haven’t been able to find any written or recorded versions of those tunes, so if anyone knows them, maybe they could post them here?


“Robbie Tamson’s Smiddie” ~ dots and lyrics

T: Robbie Tamson’s Smiddie
B: “English County Songs”, by Lucy Broadwood, Leadenhall Press, London, 1893
S: Mrs T. H. Farrer
Z: J. A. Fuller-Maitland
N: Lucy Broadwood notes are:
N: The words and tune were collected from a Mrs. T. H. Farrer, who had learned the song in Canada from a Mr. Richard Turner.
N: There are also Scottish versions
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: E Dorian
D |
B,<EE>D B,2 B,>A, | D>DF>D F<A z B | G>EF>^D E>E B,E/G/ | B>AG>F F/ E z/ E<D |
B,<EE>D B,>A,D>D | F>DF>D F<A z B | G>EF>^D E>E B,G/A/ | B>AG>F F/ E z/ E<D |
B,<EE>F E>DB,>A, | D2 F>D D<A z B | G>EF>^D E<E B,G/A/ | B>AG<F F<E z2 |]

Me mither mend’t me auld breeks,
But ay! but they were diddy;
She sent me to get shod the mare
At Robbie Tamson’s smiddie.
Now t’ smiddie lies ayent the burn
That wamples thro‘ the claughin’
And ne’er a time I pass that way
But aye I fall a-laughin’.

Singing fol lol de lol de rol,
Ri fol lol de laddy,
Sing fol de du-y, du-y day,
Sing fol de du-y daddy.

Now Robin was a canny lad
Wha had an ainly daughter;
He’d niver let her tak a mon,
Though mony a yan had sought her.
I’ll tell you news of my exploits
The time the mare was shoeing
I steppit in ahint the lass
And quickly fell a-wooing.

It’s aye she eyed my auld breeks
The time that they were making;
Say I, "My lass, ne’er mind my breeks.
There’s new yans in the making.
Gin ye’ll agree to gang wi’ me,
And leave the carle thy father,
Ye’ll hae my breeks to keep in trim,
Myself and a’ together."

The lassie smiled and shook her head,
Says she "You offer’s clever;
I think I’ll gang awa‘ w’ yan,
We’ll baith gae on the back o’t.
For gin I wait my father’s time
I’ll wait till I bin fifty;
So I think I’ll tak ye at your word,
And make a wife sa thrifty."

Now Robbie was an angry man
For a‘ t’ loss of his daughter,
Through all the town baith up and down,
And far an near he sought her.
But when he cam to our gude inn
And found us baith together,
Says I "My lad, I’ve tick your bairn,
Tho’ ye mak tak my mither."

Now RObbie grinned and shook his head;
Quo’ he, "I think I’ll marry;
And so I’ll tak ye at your word,
To end the hurry burry."
So Robbie and our ain gudewife
Agreed to creep together:
So I’ve ta’en Robbie Tamson’s pet,
And Robbie’s ta’en my mither.


The Tannahill Weavers do a fun version of this song on their album, Epona. Good CD.

Posted by .

…I’m NOT saying it’s a duplication, though, just in case Jeremy gets the wrong end of the stick.

1893 ~ ? 😏

Do you think maybe the date might be telling? ~ Since the shared similarities seem to be with the song rather than the given single reel? 😉

“Catriona Macdonald: Bold”

2.) 2. Shetland Reels:
Three Drunken Fiddlers / Muckla Skerry A’ Three / Robbie Tamson’s Smiddy

Unfortunately the person who submitted the album and details omitted the titles for tunes, as well as other basic information about the album and musicians involved… 😏

Sorry - I overlooked that date. The answer is probably neither, then - it was the Scots.

Northumbrian? ~ to be middlin’ about it… 😉