Glencoe Massacre

I’m working on some Scottish poems and songs just now for an upcoming Burns’ Night. This is not Burns. But I went awandering through Youtube and ended up singing for most of the day. Mostly Scottish folk songs. And some Irish. The lyrics are by John McDermott and I first heard the song sung by a duo called The Corries. But there’s only one of me so I’ve laid down two tracks to manage the harmony. I’m not too convinced the harmony worked out but here it is anyway. You really have to imagine an open fire, a few haufs, good friends, some instruments and everybody and anybody joining in. Feel free. 🙂

The song is based on the Glencoe Massacre.

Oh cruel is the snow that sweeps Glencoe
And covers the grave o’ Donald
And cruel was the foe that raped Glencoe       And murdered the house o’ MacDonald

They came in the blizzard, we offered them heat,
A roof o’er their heads, dry shoes for their feet,
We wined them and dined them, they ate o’ our meat
And slept in the house o’ MacDonald
(chorus)

They came from Fort William with murder in mind,
The Campbell had orders, King William had signed,
Pit all tae the sword, these words underlined,
And leave none alive called MacDonald
(chorus)

They came in the night when the men were asleep,
This band o’ Argyll’s, through snow soft and deep,
Like murdering foxes, among helpless sheep,
They slaughtered the house o’ MacDonald
(chorus)

Some died in their beds at the hand of the foe,
Some fled in the night, were lost in the snow,
Some lived to accuse him, what struck the first blow
But gone was the house of MacDonald
(chorus )

 

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45 thoughts on “Glencoe Massacre”

    1. Now, I had to go look that up. 🙂 It’s not a term I’m familiar with but I get it now. It’s not exactly the same. That would be more like the Gaelic singing that goes on in the Highlands and Islands here. That’s pretty specialised. I was pretty much raised on folk music. Generally, someone just starts singing and someone else picks it up from there and we keep on. It’s great fun. Moreso if there are some musicians about. And there usually are a few. We just call it a singsong here. Cannae stop once we’ve started. 🙂

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    1. That’s a shame. We’re very fond of the old songs here. They kind of get passed on through the generations just by having singsongs whenever the mood comes on. Thank you for listening and for your kind comment.

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      1. You’re welcome! Unfortunately the U.S. doesn’t seem to value those kinds of things anymore. Even here in the South, where bits of the traditional way still linger, it has become a rarity.

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  1. Love this. Miss Glencoe! We were supposed to head to a Robbie Burns’ night thing- haggis and all (there are a whole lot of Scots- and Scots in spirit- here in TO!)- but had some other things come up, so will have to restrict my celebrating to a dram or two. xo

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    1. That still sounds like a plan. We don’t do it every year but some old friends have moved back up from England and I think they’re reconnecting with their roots! It’s an overnight in Burns’ country itself so I’ll be wasted by next Sunday. 😉

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  2. Really enjoyed this, thank you. We don’t have singalongs at all here in Australia. Made me remember the family getting together and having a good time – before we left to come here.
    “May I have some more please?” 😃

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    1. That’s quite a few people have commented that. I can’t imagine not having an impromotu singsong. I mean, we don’t do it all the time, but it happens. Somebody has a guitar and, before you know it, we’re off. My house is like a set from The Sound Of Music most days with everybody singing. Unfortunately, we’re not always singing the same song at the same time! Gets a bit raucous. :/ People shouting at other people to put a sock in it because they can’t hear the TV or are trying to study. We tend to just sing quieter then. 🙂

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    1. 😀 Well, I’ll be going through all my favourites this week to prep for Burns’ Night. In case I forget the words! I might do another. I’ve even written a wee ode to the bard but I won’t post that till next weekend, nearer his birthday.

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      1. Dust the vocal chords off, these get together’s are always full of beautiful energy, and the sharing of a vibration like no other. Enjoy momus, let it bring the heart out to play 😀

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    1. I keep saying to others here, how sad that is. They’ll die out if we don’t keep them alive. So many of the Scottish and Irish ones have a historical context that needs remembering. Lots of love ones, too, right enough. 🙂

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    1. I don’t know that I blame the Campbells all that much. I blame the crown. Political shenanigans. Nothing changes. Worth singing the songs to keep history in mind when it comes to wondering whether you might get screwed over if you’re too trusting. :/

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      1. Atlanta, Georgia. We have a good mix with friends and family: Ferguson, Bell, Gunn, McPherson and Douglass. We rent a big house in the mountains for a couple of days and call it “Weekend at Rabbies.”

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