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Wild Mountain Thyme - Robert Lawrence

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Published on Aug 1, 2010

(Also known as... Will You Go Lassie Go) Written by Francis McPeake of Northern Ireland (1885-1971). First recorded by him in 1957.

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This song seems to create a lot of debate regarding its origins. The Irish claiming it as theirs and the Scots doing the same.

A few of the words might be similar to a song written by a Scottish weaver and poet named Robert Tannahill entitled "The Braes of Balquhidder" (pronounce "Bal-whither").

Robert Tannahill was born in Paisley in 1774. His death occurred in 1810, by suicide.

The earliest known version of The Braes of Balquhidder , which can be solidly attributed to Robert Tannahill, comes from the "Songs of Scotland" published in 1850 and edited by George Farquhar Graham. The lyrics in that book are as follows:

Will ye go, lassie, go, to the braes o' Balquhidder
Where the blueberries grow, 'mang the bonnie bloomin' heather;
Where the deer and the ram, lightly bounding together,
Sport 'he lang summer day 'mang the braes o' Balquhidder

Will ye go, lassie, go,
To the braes o' Balquhidder!
Where the blueberries grow,
'Mang the bonnie bloomin' heather

I will twine thee a bower by the clear silver fountain
An' I'll cover it o'er wi' the flowers o' the mountain;
I will range through the wilds, an' the deep glens sae dreary.
An' return wi' their spoils to the bower o' my dearie

When the rude wintry win' idly raves round our dwellin',
An' the roar o' the linn on the night-breeze is swellin'
Sae merrily we'll sing as the storm rattles o'er us,
Till the dear sheeling ring wi' the light liltin' chorus.

Now the summer is in prime, wi' the flowers richly bloomin'
An' the wild mountain thyme a' the moorlands perfumin'
To our dear native scenes let us journey together
Where glad innocence reigns 'mang the braes of Balquhidder
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The song that we all know today, entitled "Wild Mountain Thyme" was written by Francis McPeake of Northern Ireland, who may have copied a few of the words from The Braes of Balquhidder, but he changed most of the lyrics and changed all the music, to create a whole new song that we all know today. The two songs are very different.

Francis McPeake (the 1st) - 1885-1971 , wrote this version and dedicated it to his first wife. Long after she died, he married again and his son, Francis McPeake (the 2nd), wrote an extra verse to celebrate the marriage.

So...it is a song written by an Irishman, but the song has strong Scottish roots.

Anyway most of all it is a great Celtic song for all of us to enjoy.

The McPeake family are still very active and well respected musicians, and the band "McPeake" was recently in New York where my wife Jill Diana had the opportunity to chat with Francis McPeake (the 4th), who plays Uilleann pipes and low whistle in the band and also with other members of the band. "A great group and really nice people" she said.

They also run The Francis McPeake School of Music on Gloucester Street in Belfast.

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Copyright 2010 Robert Lawrence Music
http://www.robert-lawrence.com
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