- The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond is a traditional Scottish song (Roud # 9598). It was first published in 1841 in "Vocal Melodies of Scotland" [ [http://www.csufresno.edu/folklore/ballads/FSWB257B.html Vocal Melodies of Scotland] ] .
Loch Lomondis a large Scottish loch located between the traditional counties of Dunbartonshire and Stirlingshire.
There are many theories about the meaning of the song. One interpretation is that it is attributed to a Jacobite Highlander who was captured after the
1745 risingwhile he was fleeing near Carlisleand is sentenced to die. The verse is his mournful elegy to another rebel who will not be executed. He claims that he will follow the "low road" (the spirit path through the underworld) and arrive in Scotland before his still-living comrade.
Another interpretation is that the song is sung by the lover of a captured rebel set to be to be executed in London following a show trial. The heads of the executed rebels were then set upon pikes and exhibited in all of the towns between London and Glasgow in a procession along the "high road" (the most important road), while the relatives of the rebels walked back along the "low road" (the ordinary road traveled by peasants and commoners).
About 1876, the Scottish poet and folklorist
Andrew Langwrote a poem based on the song titled "The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond". The title sometimes has the date "1746" appended [ [http://www.everypoet.com/archive/poetry/Andrew_Lang/new_collected_rhymes_THE_BONNIE_BANKS_OF_LOCH_LOMOND.htm Andrew Lang : Poems of Andrew Lang : THE BONNIE BANKS O' LOCH LOMOND ] ] --the year of the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie's rebellion and the hanging of some of his captured supporters. Lang's poem begins:
:There's an ending o' the dance, and fair Morag's safe in France,:And the Clans they hae paid the lawing,
Morag--"great one" in Gaelic--referred to Bonnie Prince Charlie, who fled to France after his forces were defeated [ [http://www.ambaile.org.uk/en/item/item_page.jsp?item_id=20103 Am Baile - The Songs and Hymns of the Scottish Highlands. Part II Song 5 ] ] "Lawing" means "reckoning" in Scottish dialect. The poem continues:
:And the wuddy has her ain, and we twa are left alane,:Free o' Carlisle gaol in the dawing.
"Wuddy" means "gallows", according to Lang's own notes on the poem; "dawing" is "dawn" [ [http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/2530.html RPO - Andrew Lang : The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond ] ] . The poem continues with the song's well-known chorus, then explains why the narrator and his true love will never meet again:
:For my love's heart brake in twa, when she kenned the Cause's fa',:And she sleeps where there's never nane shall waken
The poem's narrator vows to take violent revenge on the English:
:While there's heather on the hill shall my vengeance ne'er be still,:While a bush hides the glint o' a gun, lad;:Wi' the men o' Sergeant Mòr shall I work to pay the score,:Till I wither on the wuddy in the sun, lad!
"Sergeant Môr" is John Du Cameron, a supporter of Bonnie Prince Charlie who continued fighting as an outlaw until he was hanged in 1753 [ [http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/2530.html RPO - Andrew Lang : The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond ] ] .
Arrangements and recordings
"Loch Lomond" has been arranged and recorded by many composers and performers over the years, in styles ranging from traditional Scottish folk to barbershop to
rock and roll.
In 1921, the English composer
Ralph Vaughan Williams, a keen collector and arranger of folk music from around the British Isles, arranged "Loch Lomond" as a part songfor an unaccompanied four-part male voice choirwith baritonesolo. [cite book|last=Kennedy|first=Michael |title=A Catalogue of the Works of Ralph Vaughan Williams|publisher=Oxford University Press|date=1996|pages=85|isbn=0198165846|accessdate=2008-09-16]
Bill Haley & His Cometsrecorded a popular rock and roll version retitled "Rock Lomond". Noted concert band composer Frank Tichelicomposed a song called "Loch Lomond," based on the original, in 2002. Paul Robeson, who would sing many Irish and Scottish folk songs, recorded the song with Harriet Wingreen on piano in what has long been recognized as the definitive version.Who|date=September 2008
The song is featured in the 1946 film, "The Green Years", based on the novel of the same title by Scots author,
A. J. Cronin.
The Australian hard rock group
AC/DCperformed it as "Bonny", in which the band plays the music while the crowd sings the verse.
The progressive rock band
Marillionplayed the song with their former singer "Fish" in the 80's, under the title 'Margaret' (usually played as a special song at Scottish shows). A live version can be found on B'Sides Themselves, recorded at Edinburgh Payhouse in December 1983.
Scottish folk-rock band
Runrighave made the song their unofficial anthem, closing their concerts with a rendition for over 25 years. And had a top ten hit with a re-recorded version in 2007, Released for BBC Children in Need , hitting #9 in the whole of the UK and #1 in Scotland.
The lyrics are parodied by
Tenacious Dat the end of their song " Wonderboy".
Canadian punk band
Real McKenziesrecorded their own version of "Loch Lomond" on their 1995 debut album "The Real McKenzies" in their own Scottish-influenced Celtic punk styling. John Barrowmansang it as well.When
A version was recorded by the Scottish folk duo,
The lead singer of American group
The Frayhas also been known to do the chorus at gigs in Edinburgh while supporting The Feeling, and most recently their gig in Glasgow in October 2007.The reason for this appears to beOr|date=September 2008 as his Grandfather is Scottish. Dan Zanes' album "Catch That Train" features a version of the song in which he splits the vocal credits with the Natalie Merchant.
The film " the Last King of Scotland", features the song sung by an African choir and drummers.
Serbian band "
Orthodox Celts" recorded a version of Loch Lomond, featured by a Serbian actress Ana Sofrenovic.
The song is featured in the track "A Very British Tribute" on the "Royal Celebration" Album of the Band of the
Royal Scots Dragoon Guardsand the Band of the Coldstream Guards
King's Singersrecorded a version of Loch Lomond.
:By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes:Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond:Where me and my true love will ne-er meet again (alternate: Where me and my true love were ever lak/wont to gae):On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.
:"Chorus:" :O you’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak’ the low road:And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye:For me and my true love will ne-er meet again:On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.
:‘Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen:On the steep, steep sides o’ Ben Lomond:Where deep in purple hue, the hieland hills we view:And the moon comin’ out in the gloamin’.
:The wee birdies sing and the wild flowers spring:And in sunshine the waters are sleeping:But the broken heart, it kens nae second spring again:Tho’ the waeful may cease frae their greeting. (alternate: Tho' the world knows not how we are grieving)
Red is the Rose
The Irish variant of the song is called "Red is the Rose, [http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/users/01/jet/lyrics/redrose.html] " and is sung with the same melody but different (although similarly themed) lyrics. It was rewritten and popularized by Irish folk legend
The chorus of "Red is the Rose" is:
:Red is the rose that in yonder garden grows:And fair is the lily of the valley:Clear are the waters that flow from the Boyne:But my love is fairer than any
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.