Jock Stewart


Another from camp and Jon says,“From FSC and a great chorus, although there’s not much else to recommend it, but there it is.” That’s slightly dismissive perhaps as there’s more to this than first meets the eye. This seems to be a Scottish or Borders version of an Irish song call I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day, a version of which, I believe appeared on the Pogues Rum, Sodomy And  The Lash, but also seems to have some considerable history. Mudcat offers this thread for starters and there’s lots more if you search around here for example, although I caution you that this latter link drifts into pointless time theft. Perhaps Jon’s right and the chorus is it. While you’re there then, mine’s a pint!

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21 Responses to “Jock Stewart”

  1. Jane Ramsden says:

    A nice drunken swell there to the voice, Jon! And a swell drunk… met many of them along the way. There’s always an amazing similarity for a man you don’t meet everyday! Hahahaha! Most could not sing that well in their cups!

  2. muzza says:

    Another song I’ve never heard before (just me then) the “Eyes closed-Head back” chorus and gratefuly snatched for my repertoire. I trudged through the Mudcat forum……My view on the evolving Folksong words/tune: The original writer provides the “Inspiration”and to that person goes the honour & hopefully-the acknowledgement. If it was perfect..nobody would change it-but having set the hares running-it will be “as a rampant child chasing butterflies through a field of wheat, until it falls and lapses into
    comforting sleep”………and we all sing our personalised version.

  3. Stuart says:

    I still maintain that I learnt all I know of folk music from my Punk days! Rum, Sodomy and the Lash is still in my favourite LP’s of all time list (and Navigator one of my favourite songs to sing). That alongside the Pistols Friggin in the Riggin, the Clash Bankrobber and Nick Cave’s Kickin Against the Pricks LP seeded my interest.

    Anyway I doubt whether any of you are going to be googling those for sing-around inspiration (could make for a fun night though!)

    Well done Jon for furthering my interest and well sung mate.


  4. SRD says:

    Sung by Cait O’Riordan, Elvis Costello’s girlfriend at the time (he produced the album I think) on the Pogues version. I’ve always considered Punk to be closer to Folk music than the vast majority of the overblown folk/rock productions.

    Nicely done here if a little strident.

  5. Reinhard says:

    “An Irish narrative ballad that has been shortened to an Aberdeenshire drinking song,” as Archie Fisher explained. On Mainly Norfolk you can find Archie Fisher’s lyrics (similar to Jon’s), Sheila Stewart’s with two extra verses written by an anonymous donor for her father, piper Alex Stewart, and Chris Foster’s singing of the original Irish music hall song.

  6. Phil says:

    I had very mixed feelings about the version Cait O’Riordan sang – I felt she bent the tune out of shape somehow, or bent it into a neater shape than it should have had. Now Jon’s bent it back the other way, but… I dunno… I’m obviously going to have to learn it myself and work out how I feel it ought to be done!

    Seriously, this is the great thing about this series – the songs Jon absolutely nails are great, but the songs that sound just slightly ‘wrong’ are even better, because they inspire us to seek out other versions and get hold of the song ourselves. I did the London Waterman at a sing the other night – it was nothing like the way Jon sang it, but if it hadn’t been for Jon’s version the song wouldn’t have stuck in my mind & demanded to be learnt.

  7. Pete says:

    Cait O’Riordan, who sang the version of the song on Rum, Sodomy & the Lash, was The Pogues’ original bass-player. Elvis Costello produced the album, and it was then that Cait got together with him, subsequently leaving the band to tour with Mr Costello. I’ve always loved The Pogues’ version of the song, which is a rather darker take on the “story” than usual. The dog gets shot.

  8. Stuart says:

    Well well – lots of old Punks here then, no wonder Ade Edmonson is doing so well (I’m sure he must have been listening to some mad late night rambling with me and some friends regarding a great idea we had for Folk Punk!)

    Always loved Cait’s lilt in the song too and I suppose first impressions do last.

    Now how about taking as look at the original Man in Black (No not the stranglers) and the Folksinger – brought to my attention from Mr Caves aforementioned album, his verion here –

    It’s dark but enjoy

  9. SRD says:

    I’d not taken the shooting of the dog as literal but to mean he’d shot all over the county with the dog, as one would fish all a county’s rivers with a favourite rod.

  10. Simon Dewsbury says:

    Interesting to see the number of posts linking punk and folk. I agree and suspect that a lot more people overlapped between the two than is obvious. Any views out there on why this should be?

  11. Jim Beestone says:

    I love both versions of this song, although I probably prefer Jon’s version; there’s something fitting about a song like this being a one-man-and-his-instrument affair.

    I likewise drifted across to the folk side of things from punk (partially due to the Pogues), I think it’s more to do with the songs’ content more than anything; both genres are concerned primarily with the lot of ordinary, normal people and both tend to be a somewhat raucous celebration of everyday life. People tend to develop a sense of shared ownership of punk and folk songs (come on, at least once in your life you must have thought Buzzcock’s ‘Ever Fallen in Love’ was written for you…),which for me is what makes these genres so accessible and enduring.

    At least, that’s where I stand on the matter. No doubt someone more musically gifted than I can provide a more technical analysis…

  12. wilmott says:

    Do you think the connection between punk & folk lies in the “anyone can (& probably should) do it” ethos? Similar in the days of skiffle – ow, am I really that old?

  13. SRD says:

    Got it in one wilmott – Punk, being a kick against the overblown lunacies of Pomp Rock, was an effort to bring music back to the people (as well as being a means for certain impresarios to make a load of dosh) and skiffle was also a way for ordinary people to make music without having to fork out a fortune for expensive instruments.
    Whether this really makes it traditional folk music is a moot point but I think it’s just as much folk music as the vast majority of singer/songwriters who masquerade as folk musicians.

  14. Rosie says:

    This was a nice surprise. Rum, Sodomy and the Lash has always been one of my favourite C.D,s.
    Well sung Jon.

  15. Jane Ramsden says:

    Beautifully sung, lovely accompaniment, but the song still doesn’t do it for me, I’m afraid. And punk thankfully passed me by. Can’t be too young, so must be too old methinks! Or I just missed out on a chunk of my potential musical lifetime to other things along the way, but I never found it very accessible. Off to listen to the Buzzcocks now!

  16. Jan says:

    Jane, do try Rum, Sodomy & the Lash while you’re at it!

  17. Jan says:

    – I mean the album of that name, of course. Sounds a bit dodgy otherwise.

  18. muzza(S.E.England) says:

    Wow Jan……………….that must be the quickest correction of a comment ever known…we believe you…………..
    I stopped at Rum and the Lash (I cut out the middleman) snarf snarf!

  19. Diana says:

    Short and to the point.

    @ Muzza: Glad to hear that with regard to the above comment.

  20. Roddy Johnston says:

    I dont know if its true but I have heard that Jock(Alex) Stewart in none other than the husband of Belle Stewart ,this would tie in with the river Tay. I have heard that the morning after a cèilidh he found the words anonymously attached to a fence post,presumably a gift of one of the guests from the night before,

  21. OldMuzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Yeah………just about managed the old throw back yer head chorus…….very addictive.

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