Tramps and Hawkers

One of the songs I’ve been enjoying recently, both as listener and as player, is “Tramps and Hawkers“. It’s a song that was written in the 19th century by a Scottish “hawker” named Besom Jimmy. Nowadays, a hawker would be a kind of travelling salesmen; here, it certain means some kind of traveling sort, though whether tinker, tailor, beggar, or peddler I don’t know. It begins like this:

Oh come a’ ye tramps an hawkers an gaitherers o bla,
That tramps the country roon an roon, come listen ane and a’
I’ll tell tae you a rovin tale and sights that I have seen
Far up into the snowy North and South by Gretna Green

It was collected by the ubiquitous Alan Lomax from a singer named Jimmy McBeath, and his version seems to be the canonical version.

I first came to know this song from a recording by Old Blind Dogs, on their album Fit?; but I can’t find their version on Youtube. Here’s a much older recording by Ewan McClennan, which has the same general flavor but is somewhat more plaintive:

It’s a neat song to play on the whistle; I’ll be posting the sheet music later on today.

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