Jacouse - "Home from the sea"


Here he lies where he longed to be; Here is the sailor, home from the sea, And the hunter home from the hill” 

by Robert Louis Stevenson

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The new CD "Home from the sea" by Jacouse contains 12 songs performed by Margo, Arthur and Andrew. You can read the sleeve note , historical notes on each song, and the lyrics on this page. 

"Home from the sea"

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notes and lyrics



A picture of arthur and margo

Arthur Wilson and Margo Falconer




Jacouse are Arthur Wilson and Margo Falconer, a brother and sister who have been singing together and recording as a duo and with bands for over 15 years. They have recently been joined by Andrew Hennessey on fiddle. and the result is an interesting blend of pop, traditional folk and country music

What makes Jacouse different is that not only are they comfortable playing their own music, but are equally at home playing traditional scottish music or contemporary pop.


Andrew Hennessey - aka - AMBASSADOR XORG - composes and plays, starfish electric fiddle, acoustic fiddle, whistle, keyboards, bodhran - with the cast of SOLAN GLOBAL FOUNDRY. 

  • Be sure to listen to these other CDs:

'Cauther Fairs, Something Old, Something New which enjoys favour with BBC Radio Scotland, presenting a variety of styles and Celtic sounds.

Andrew Hennessey - 'The Fidel of Xorg'  is a cross-section of musical idioms played on electric and acoustic violin by Andrew  - originator of the Edinburgh Fiddle Style.

The Mystery of Stargate Edinburgh - [narrated]  Hennessey backs up his Netradioshow with the amazing alien and masonic mystery of Edinburgh - one of the worlds best kept secrets - The Mystery of Stargate Edinburgh. X-Files research into the Edinburgh UFO scene - narrated by Margot Daru - with some excellent and uplifting piping at the end.

AEON - [narrated] A star wars faerie tale for the 3rd millennium.









a photograph of andrew

Andrew Hennessey


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Sleeve note by Giles Sutherland

What is tradition?; is a question which, at first, may seem to be answered easily. Surely tradition is what has been around forever, or at least as long as anyone can remember. But tradition is in fact a much more elusive term to define. Traditions can be invented literally overnight and a spurious genealogy used to support a fake heritage. In Scotland we are, arguably, world leaders in the manufacture of an often kitsch quasi-historical view of ourselves - a perspective which is then accommodated and augmented by others. Call it ‘Balmorality’ or the ‘Brigadoon Syndrome’, but there is a disingenuous and unforgivable mythologising around so many so-called traditional aspects of Scottish culture. Our national psyche is so over-burdened with Scotch Myths, that at times there seems little room left to entertain the possibility of vibrant and energetic cultural development.

One definition of tradition is not a moribund cultural fossil but rather what can be reinterpreted by successive generations who may find value and meaning for their own times. This is what Arthur Wilson, his sister Margo Falconer and their friend Andrew Hennessey have done in this collection. Scotland has a long tradition of song and it has been argued by the distinguished authority Hamish Henderson, amongst others, that there exists here less of a gap between folk culture on the one hand and high culture on the other than is the case with our southern neighbour, England. Whatever one thinks of this argument there is little doubt that a strong and vibrant undercurrent of song has always persisted in many parts of Scotland, often in those places where one may least expect to find it.

Lying only a few miles east of Edinburgh on the sea coast of the Firth of Forth the community of Prestonpans is one such place. Eclipsed by its larger neighbour, few visitors will venture to “The Pans”. Yet the town has a pride and fragile beauty which can only be experienced by going there, walking around and listening to its inhabitants. Arthur and Margo’s family tradition is rooted in this community - both their grandfathers were miners. Music was very much a part of their upbringing, inherited from both sides of the family, but in particular from their maternal grandmother McArthur (née Margaret Hamilton). These songs were known to and sung by her and were part of her musical heritage reaching back into previous generations. As with my own grandmother (née Agnes Burns) grandmother McArthur was born around the turn of the century and would have known those who could remember people born soon after Burns’ death in 1796. Thus a very real and living tradition can be claimed for the handing down of musical material recorded here.

Despite its proximity to the avowedly Anglicised Athens of the North, the speech and character of Prestonpans is distinctively Scottish. Indeed, the Scots language finds a secure stronghold in this part of the country. This is no fake tradition but a living, loving tongue which persists to this day in the mouths of the people. It is a way of speaking shared by Arthur Wilson and his family. It is neither affectation nor imposition but a quietly proud mode of expression. A kind of music or a mouth-poem where the accumulated experience of history, geology and climate intermix. The sea, the land and the sky imbue it with a brittle flavour.

Scots is also the language of most of songs we hear in this collection. For let us be clear about a few facts. Scots is undoubtedly the majority language of Scotland. Grammar, phraseology, vocabulary and cadence set it apart from the English language. The language shares a common lineage with English but its use and currency go back many centuries and the literary tradition which evolved from a spoken one can be traced back at least as far as the 13th century.

And although Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, Lady Nairne and others knew the language and Burns, in particular, spoke Scots as his ‘mither tongue’, these figures functioned not as composers, but as collectors, often setting existing lyrics to older melodies, and modifying vocabulary and structure to suit their own tastes or the tastes dictated by the time.

Here we find not preserved remnants of song but an amalgam of various forms where older oral forms have been altered and preserved. One definition of tradition, therefore, may be a cultural form which has been continuously modified and remains open to reinterpretation. Interestingly, and in line with this tradition of evolution and adaptation, Arthur and Margo, assisted by Andrew have added their own touches and peculiarities to many of these songs. One of these is the instrumental version - performed by Andrew - of ‘Johnnie Cope’. This was composed in the aftermath of the battle of Prestonpans in 1745 - a Jacobite victory over the Hanoverian forces under the command of General John Cope. (The lyrics, by Adam Skirving of Haddington, and melody were transcribed by Burns around 1790). The setting here hints at the Gaelic tradition of its composition through the use of bodhran (a traditional small drum) and whistle. It is, in words which Burns may have used, ‘a richt guid rant’.

Returning to their own speech and their own community, Arthur, Margo and Andrew have found a music which best expresses their love of place and people.


Giles Sutherland is a writer and critic. He currently writes a column on visual art for ‘The Times’



Notes about each song, lyrics and glossary

Jock o' Hazeldean

This romantic ballad was one of many written by the famous Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832 who spent much of his time in his home, Abbotsford, in the Scottish Borders. He was very interested in preserving the local traditional songs and stories and he wrote this song for his daughter, basing it on an old border legend. It tells the story of a young girl being promised riches and titles if she marries a nobleman's son, Frank, Chief of Errington and Lord of Langley Dale However, she is crying because she is in love with someone else who does not have a title. The last verse is exciting and joyful as she runs away with her lover, Jock o' Hazeldean leaving the rich bridegroom standing at the altar.

"Why weep ye by the tide, ladye?
Why weep ye by the tide?
I'll wed ye tae my younger son,
And ye shall be his bride;
And ye shall be his bride ladye,
Sae comely tae be seen."
But aye she loot the tears doon fa'
For Jock o' Hazeldean.

"Now let this wilfu' grief be done,
And dry that cheek so pale:
Young Frank is chief of Errington,
And Lord of Langley dale;
His step is first in peacefu' ha',
His sword in battle keen."
But aye she loot the tears doon fa'
For Jock o' Hazeldean.

"A chain of gold thou shalt not lack,
Nor kaim to bind your hair,
Nor mettled hound, nor managed hawk,
Nor palfrey, fresh and fair;
And ye, the foremost o' them a'
Shall ride, our forest queen"
But aye she loot the tears doon fa'
For Jock o' Hazeldean.

The kirk was decked at mornin' tide
The tapers glimmered fair,
The priest and bridegroom wait the bride,
And dame and knight were there;
They sought her baith by bower and ha',
The lady was na' seen.
Fur she's owre the border and awa'
Wi' Jock o' Hazeldean.

loot - let
kaim - comb
kirk - church

Johnnie Cope (Instrumental)

This jaunty melody is an old Scottish fiddle tune and the title refers to an English general, Sir John (Johnnie) Cope. This instrumental version was arranged by Andrew while Arthur sings the song on track 12.

Aye Waukin' O!

A very sad song written by Robert Burns, 1759 - 1796. The person in the song is grieving after losing a lover and cannot sleep (Aye waukin' oh - always awake). What makes it so poignant is that the joy of spring time contrasts with the lover's sadness. This song was sung last year at the funeral of Donald Dewar, the First Minister of the new Scottish Parliament.

Aye waukin' o! Waukin', aye, an' wearie;
Sleep I canna get, for thinkin' o ma dearie.
Spring's a pleasant time, floo'rs o' ilka colour;
The birdie builds her nest, an' I lang for my lover.

Aye waukin' o!' etc

When I sleep, I dream, when I wake, I'm eerie;
Rest I canna get for thinkin' o' ma dearie

Aye waukin' o! etc.

Lanely nicht comes on, a' the lave are sleepin'
But I think on my lad an' blear ma e'en wi' greetin'.

Aye waukin' o! etc.

aye waukin' o' - always awake
ilka - every
lave - rest
blear - make watery eyed

The De'il's awa' wi' the Exciseman

A lively dance tune called "The Hempdresser " with words by Burns. It shows how much the people wish that the exciseman (custom's officer) would be taken away, so that they enjoy themselves drinking and dancing. Various Scottish dances are mentioned in the song. Burns wrote the words when he was actually working as an exciseman himself!

The de'il cam' fiddlin' thro' the toun,
An' danced awa' wi' the exciseman,
And ilka wife cried. "Auld Mahoun,
Ah wish ye luck o' the prize, man".

The de'il's awa', the dei'l's awa',
The dei'l's awa' wi' the exciseman,
He's danced awa', he's danced awa',
He's danced awa' wi' the exciseman.

We'll mak oor maut, we'll brew oor drink,
We'll dance and sing and rejoice man,
And mony braw thanks tae the muckle black de'il
That danced awa' wi' the exciseman.

The de'il's awa', the de'il's awa', etc.

There's threesome reels, there's foursome reels,
There's hornpipes and strathspeys, man,
But the ae best dance that cam' tae the land,
Was the de'il's awa' wi' the Exciseman".

The de'il's awa', the de'il's awa', etc.

de'il - devil ilka - every
auld mahoun - other word for Devil
maut - malt braw - great
muckle - huge ae - one

The Queen's Marys

There are many versions of this ballad. It is based on the legend that Mary, Queen of Scots had four ladies in waiting and one of them was executed on the Queen's orders. This was because she had caught the attention of the Queen's husband. In the song the unfortunate lady is sadly lamenting how it was her beauty that led to her death. There are also various suggestions as to who the "me" in the song refers to. Could it be, Marie Hamilton, Marie Fleming, Marie Ogilvy? Who knows? The list is endless.

Yestreen the Queen had four Marys,
The nicht she'll hae but three,
There was Mary Seaton and Mary Beaton,
And Mary Carmichael and me

Oh! Often hae I dressed my queen,
And put gowd in her hair;
But noo I've gotten for my reward,
The gallows tae be my share.

Yestreen etc.

Oh little did my mither think,
The day she cradled me,
That I should die sic a like daith,
And hang on the gallows tree.

Yestreen etc.

Oh! Happy happy is the maid,
That's born o' beauty free,
It was ma dimplin' rosy cheek,
That's been the dool o' me.

yestreen - yesterday evening
nicht - night
gowd - gold
gotten - got
mither - mother
sic - such
daith - death
dool - downfall

Duncan Gray

Again, this is an old Scottish fiddle tune used by Burns to reflect the jauntiness of Duncan in this poem. When Duncan continually tries to woo Maggie she spurns his advances, but when the tables are turned and he ignores her pleas, she is not long in attempting to do a bit of wooing herself! All ends happily.

O gin I Were a Baron's Heir

In this Burns song the young man is admitting to his girl that he has nothing to offer her but his love, admitting that he has no riches or titles. We are led to expect that the girl will say she loves him, as he is expressing his feelings so beautifully. The melody is an old Scottish air.

O gin I were a Baron's heir,
And could I braid wi' gems your hair,
And mak' ye braw as ye are fair,
Lassie, wid ye lo'e me?
And could I tak' ye tae the toun,
And show ye braw sichts, mony a ane,
And busk ye fine in silken goon,
Lassie, wid ye lo'e me?

Or should ye be content tae prove,
In lowly life unfading love
A heart that nocht on earth could move,
Lassie wid ye lo'e me?
And ere the laverock wing the sky,
Say wad ye tae the forest hie,
And work wi' me sae merrily,
Lassie, wid ye lo'e me?

An' when the braw moon glistens owre
Oor wee bit bield an' heathery mair,
Will ye no' greet that we're sae puir,
Lassie, for I lo'e ye.
For I hae nocht tae offer ye,
Nae gowd frae mine, nae pearl frae sea,
Nor am I come o' high degree,
Lassie, but I lo'e ye.

gin - if
braw - bonnie
lassie - girl
lo'e - love
toun - town
busk - dress up
goon - gown
laverock - lark
bield - shelter
gowd - gold
mair - moor

Logie o' Buchan

The girl in this song appears to be telling the local laird (lord) about the pressure she is under to marry a well off suitor after her young lover has been taken away. However she vows to remain true to him, just as he has promised he will return to her. The words are set to an old Scottish melody.

O Logie o' Buchan, o Logie the Laird
They ha'e ta'en awa Jamie,
Wha delved in the yaird;
Wha play'd on the pipe
And the viol sae sma';
They ha'e ta'en awa Jamie,
The floo'r o' them a':
He said "Think na lang lassie
Tho'I gang awa,
For I'll come and see thee
In spite o' them a'."

O, Sandy has oosen, has gear and has kye,
A hoose and a hauden and siller forbye,
But I'd hae ma ain lad,
Wi' his staff in his hand,
Before I'd hae him,
Wi' his hooses and land
But simmer is comin', cauld winter's awa'
And he'll come and see me in spite o' them a'."

I sit on my creepie an' spin at my wheel
An' think on the laddie
That lo'es me sae weel
He had but ae saxpence, he brak' it in twa
And he ga'e me the half o't,
When he gaed awa'
He said "Think na lang lassie
Tho' I gang awa'
For I'll come and see thee in spite o' them a'."

laird - lord
delved - dug
yaird - yard
oosen - oxen
gear - property
kye - cattle
haudin - small farm
siller - silver \ money
creepie - padded stool
laddie - boy
lo'es - loves
weel - well
saxpence - sixpence
brak - broke
ae - one
twa - two

Iona Boat Song

The story goes that this melody was sung by the monks of long ago, when they rowed the dead Kings of Scotland from the mainland to be buried on the sacred island of Iona, off the West coast of Scotland. Macbeth and Duncan, who were immortalised in the play "Macbeth" by Shakespeare are buried there and their graves can still be found. The melody was arranged and the words written by Sir Hugh S. Roberton, who was the founder of The Glasgow Orpheus Choir.

Softly glide we along,
Softly chant we our song
For a king who to resting is come.
O, beloved and best
We are faring out West
To the dear isle Iona, my home.

Calmly there shalt thou lie,
With thy fathers gone by,
Their dust mingled deep with thine own,
Ne'er again to awake,
Till the last dawn shall break
And the trump of the judgement is blown.

Softly glide we along,
Softly chant we our song,
For a king who to resting is come.
O. beloved and best
We are faring out West,
To the dear isle Iona, my home
To the dear isle Iona, my home.

The Laird o' Cockpen

The Laird in this song is a comical character, as he is puffed up with pride. This song was written by Lady Nairne and she pokes fun at the Laird (Lord), who is all dressed up to go courting and is amazed when the object of his affections turns down his offer of marriage. The melody is an old air "When she cam' ben, she bobbed"

The Laird o' Cockpen, he's prood and he's great,
His mind is tae'n up wi' the things o' the state,
He wanted a wife, his braw hoose tae keep,
But favour wi' wooin' was fashious tae seek.

Doon by the dykeside a lady did dwell,
At his table heid, he thocht she'd look well;
Macleish's ae daughter, o' Clavers-ha' Lea,
A penniless lass, wi' a lang pedigree.

His wig was weel pouther'd, as guid as when new,
His waistcoat was white, his coat it was blue;
He put on a ring, a sword, an' sword and cock'd hat,
An' wha' could refuse the laird wi' a' that?

He took the gray mare and he rade cannilie
An' he rapp'd at the yett o' Clavers ha' Lea;
"Gae tell mistress Jean to come speedily ben,
She's wanted tae speak wi the Laird o, Cockpen."

Mistress Jean she was makin' the elderfloor wine
"And what brings the Laird at sic a like time?"
She aff wi' her apron an' on her silk goun,
Her mutch wi' red ribbons and gaed awa' doon.

An' when she cam' ben he bobbit foo low'
An' what was his errand he soon let her know;
Amaz'd was the laird, when the lady said "Na!"
An' wi' a laigh curtsey she turned awa'.

Dumfooner'd was he, but nae sigh did he gi'e,
He mounted his mare and he rade cannilie;
An' aften he thought as he gaed through the glen,
"She's daft tae refuse the Laird o' Cockpen!

laird - lord
prood - proud
braw - beautiful
fashious - annoying
dyke - wall
table heid - head of his table
thocht - thought
pouthered - powdered
canniliie - carefully
rapped - knocked
yett - gate
ben - through the house
mutch - bonnet
bobbit - bowed
dumfooner'd - bewildered
daft - stupid

Oh, Wert Thou in the Cauld Blast

This tender love song is reputed to be one of the last songs written by Robert Burns and he wrote it for young Jessy Lewars who helped the Burns household during the poet's final illness and his wife's confinement. In it a lover is expressing the depth of his love for the young woman by declaring how he would protect her and share her worries and she would be the most important possession in his life, even if he had great riches and ruled the world. The beautiful melody is by Mendelssohn.

O wert thou in the cauld blast,
On yonder lea, on yonder lea,
My plaidie to the angry airt,
I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter thee.
Or did misfortune's bitter storms
Aroond thee blaw, aroond thee blaw,
Thy bield should be my bosom
To share it a' to share it a'.

Or were I in the wildest waste,
Sae black and bare, sae black and bare,
The desert were a paradise,
If thou wert there, if thou wert there.
Or were I monarch of the globe,
With thee to reign, with thee to reign
The brightest jewel in my crown
Wad be my queen, wad be my queen

cauld - cold
lea - grassland
plaidie - length of tartan cloth
airt - direction
aroond - around
blaw - blow
bield - shelter

Johnnie Cope

This jaunty melody is an old Scottish fiddle tune and the title refers to an English general, Sir John (Johnnie) Cope. The writer of the lyrics, Adam Skirving, is mocking the general, whose army was defeated by the Highlanders, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, at the Battle of Prestonpans during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.

Cope sent a challenge frae Dunbar,
Sayin' "Chairlie meet me gin ye daur,
An' I'll learn ye the art o' war.
If you'll meet me in the mornin'."

Hey Johnnie Cope, are ye waukin'yet,
Or are yer drums a beatin' yet?
If ye were waukin' I wad wait
Tae gang tae the coals in the mornin'.

When Chairlie looked the letter upon,
He drew his sword the scabbard from,
"Come follow me my merry men,
An' we'll meet Johhny Cope in the mornin'."

Hey Johnnie Cope, are ye waukin'yet etc.

"Now Johnnie be as guid's your word
Come let us try baith fire an'sword
An' dinna flee like a frichtet bird
That's chas'd frae its next n the mornin."

Hey Johnnie Cope, are ye waukin' yet etc.

When Johnnie Cope he heard o' this,
He thocht it wadna be amiss,
Tae hae a horse in readiness,
Tae flee awa in the mornin'.

Hey Johnnie Cope, are ye waukin' yet etc.

"Fie Johnnie, noo get up and rin
The Highland bagpipes mak a din
It's best to sleep in a hale skin
For ‘twill be a bluddie mornin"

Hey Johnnie Cope, are ye waukin' yet etc.

When Johnnie Cope tae Berwick came,
They spiered at him,"Where's a' yer men,
The de'il confoond me, I dinnae ken,
For I've left them in the mornin'.

Hey Johnnie Cope, are ye waukin' yet etc.

gin - if
daur - dare
waukin' - awake
chairlie - charlie
thocht - thought
spiered - asked
de'il confoond me gin I ken - the devil confound me if I knew


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