The Beggarman

Date August 1954
Track ID 38040
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In this song a beggar comes looking for a place to stay. The woman of the house says she'll never lodge a beggar again, as she had a daughter Jeannie who ran away with a beggarman. Jean is then seen "comin ower the lea" with three children. [Tape break.] She will dress up as a beggar and go away with him. The beggar says she is too young and doesn't have "the cant of the beggin tongue".

Jeannie Robertson got the song from her mother.

Item Notes

5 verses. Incomplete compared with other versions. Jeannie Robertson got this version from her mother. Jeannie's daughter Lizzie Higgins sings a different version, which she got from her father. This recording seems to be something of a composite, as there is a tape break after verse three (which is normally a closing verse in Lizzie Higgins' version). The verse order is considerably different from Lizzie Higgins' version. In this version there is a preponderance of "Laddie wi ma tow row ay (which normally alternates between laddie and lassie depending on who has just spoken in the song). Porter and Gower's printed version in 'Jeannie Robertson: Emergent Singer, Transformative Voice' (1995, pp. 149-150), though based on this tape, is different again.

This song is Child 279 'The Gaberlunzie Man', from Child's appendix, rather than the main Child 279 song, 'The Jolly Beggar'. Bertrand Bronson classes this as the 'B' version of the song ('The Singing Tradition of Child's Popular Ballads', 1976, pp. 481-483).

Recording Location

County - Aberdeenshire

Parish - Aberdeen

Village/Place - Aberdeen








R119; GD275; C279A;