Wild Mountain Thyme


Jon recalls, “Sung a lot on FSC (and everywhere else of course.) Recently heard a wonderful version by the McPeakes on the Topic re-release – a fair bit more bite than the Rod Stewart version that’s for sure.”

The song is actually credited to Francis McPeake and is a re-working of The Braes Of Balquhidder by Robert Tannahill. You can Wiki the basics here and you’ll find the parent song on Mudcat here in all its will-she-won’t-she glory. There is also a Mudcat thread about the non-rhyming first verse, which I won’t trouble you with but mention because it raises the question of whether that was what was intended, or whether the chorus has somehow been mixed in and that’s just how the oral tradition has carried it. It is a lovely song none the less, although it possibly lends itself towards the overwrought treatment that thankfully Jon has avoided – in fact I really like the way this is played.



34 Responses to “Wild Mountain Thyme”

  1. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    A good little song………….and whenever it is sung it is protocol to stare mournfully into your tankard and nearly blubb like a big girl’s blouse…….

  2. Ed Cooper says:

    This is a great version of a lovely song. From Sarah, myself and all who work with Marked Film Productions, we would like to pass on our congratulations to Jon and Proper for supporting what must have been a very demanding yet hugely rewarding journey over the past year. There’s a whole career worth of recordings here, with some great surprises along the way. It really doesn’t seem that long since we filmed ‘Canadee-I-O’ & ‘Bold Sir Rylas’ with you back in July.

    Although it’s slightly early to say this as there are still a few days left, but this is a wonderful achievement and many congratulations Jon.

    Ed & Sarah x

  3. John Biggs says:

    This fine song with it’s heart wringing chorus is used to end so many singing sessions, that I thought Jon may have had it ear-marked for the final song of this project. But no, here it is, and in a beautifully sung version with not too much emotion.
    I have written before about the value of this project and can only echo what Ed and Sarah say above, it has been a very enjoyable and worth while journey that so many of us have taken with Jon and a tremendous achievement for him.
    So, what, I wonder, is going to be the final song ?

  4. Reinhard says:

    John, I think it’ll be a very fitting one for the occasion. Think of the Carmina Burana 😉

  5. Jane Ramsden says:

    Love it! The song, the singing and the accompaniment. Just loved the whole project *sighs*

    @ Muzza: No need to mention my blouse, Muzza! Hahahaha!

    @ Reinhard: Old Spice?

  6. Reinhard says:

    Sorry Jane, I don’t think I’m allowed to reveal any titles; I may already have overstepped my limits by hinting..

  7. Shelley says:

    A brave choice, as it is one that has be done to death. However, Jon has redeemed it by keeping a decent pace, and adding that lovely accompaniment.

  8. Jane Ramsden says:

    I understand, Reinhard. Shaving too close with the hint even… (I’m joshing with you here!)

  9. John Purser says:

    Strangely enough I first learnt this 40+ years ago with a rhyming first verse that went “and the wild mountain thyme o’er the moorlands is perfuming”. No idea where it came from I’m afraid.

  10. Phil says:

    May I be the first to complain about Jon’s decision to conclude the series with a solo unaccompanied rendition of O Fortuna, while grudgingly complimenting him on how well he brought it off. Or orff.

    (Yes, I know Reinhard didn’t mean that. I’ll shut up now.)

  11. Reinhard says:

    Phil, the Carmina Burana was a hint at the motif, not the solution; that would be too easy. Think more in the direction of Ray Fisher and Louis Killen….

  12. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    All you guys and gals trying to guess the last song !
    (will it be on 23rd?)…
    I’ll bet you all open your birthday cards and Christmas presents before the big day as well!…
    Bye the the way….I haven’t got a clue, despite the apparantly strong hints from Reinhard/Phil/Jane….and as for the mittens yesterday…what’s that all about!
    I am going to miss you all.

  13. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    See how you are confusing me…the mittens are tomorrow in the “Rag Fair Comments”
    That’s that Jane going on about her blouse.

  14. Nick Passmore says:

    Great version again: reminding me of the last night of Whitby Folk Week in a pleasantly nostalgic way…

  15. Pewter says:

    Interestingly, Dick Gaughan and a few well known friends performed this on a Transatlantic Session with a rhyming first verse (“…colours are perfuming”).

  16. OLd Muzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Wow…see how I’ve aged over the two years…
    from ‘little m in se England’ to ‘Old M’.
    And all that chat about the site reaching the end of the project is disturbing.
    However, I did go out and buy a copy of The Carmina Burana-not realising the content.
    Unfortunately, at the time I had just had my first hip op and was not able to benefit from the treasures therein.
    The good news is that I can now manage most of the positions…but the ‘Wild Mountain climb’ has defeated me so far….and blooming Heather laughing at my efforts doesn’t help!

  17. Pewter says:

    By the way, I much enjoyed Janie’s J M Blunt (ye Olde Englishe Folke Songe Collector) links under the Lock Keeper comments t’other day! I got the joke eventually (Blunt being the opposite of Sharp, hahahaha!).

  18. Old Muzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    @Pewter……Thanks Pewter…I need people like you to explain the subtleties of humour…that Blunt /Sharp joke went right over my head..but, as Skippy and Rammy will confirm……. I’m not the sharpest knife in the Lock keeper’s collection.

  19. Diana says:

    Play this one often on the old ipod. Really great and Jon gives his usual good performance.

    Muzza I see you are in cracking form with the jokes. Now do read comments yesterday (I think) and stop with feeling sorry for yourself with the OLd (why a small d?).

    Pewter sometimes these jokes are hard to get – one really has to think about it – especially Jane’s dialect ones. I was slow on the uptake the other day.

  20. Linda says:

    @Reynard, hope you caught Mike Harding !

  21. Muzza (N.W.Surrey.UK) says:

    Light blue touch paper and retire to a safe distance……..OK here goes

  22. Linda says:

    @ Muzza can’t see an old man waiting for a comment it’s amazing the things that a song brings to mind!

  23. Jane Ramsden says:

    Ay, up, Muzza! How very dare thee! Only someone who is neither Yorkshire or Scots would say that! Your honorary Yorkshire status is now stripped!

    Not only are we generous to a fault in Yorkshire, but we love our animals as well, as evidenced by the following tale…

    A Yorkshireman’s dog died and, as it was a much-loved pet, he decided to have a gold statue made by a jeweller to remember his dog by.

    Yorkshireman: “Can tha mek us a gold statue of yon dog?”

    Jeweller: “Do you want it 18 carat?”

    Yorkshireman: “No, I want it chewin’ a bone, yer daft begger!”


  24. Muzza (N.W.Surrey.UK) says:

    Well set me on fire, roast me and throw me in the toaster
    (or whatever it was that Diana’s dad said)………it worked…
    lovely to know that all is well oop Norf.

    @Jane that same Yorkshireman had another clash with authority:-
    He took his recently gold statued dog to the Antiques Roadshow
    “Ooh!” said the presenter, “This is very rare, produced by the celebrated ‘Johns Brothers’, goldsmiths who operated in London since the turn of last century.
    “Do you have any idea what they would fetch if they were in good condition?”
    “Sticks?” was his reply

  25. Diana says:

    Just like old times today but I am tardy!

  26. Jane Ramsden says:

    Hellooo Diana!

    Nay, Muzza, the dog would fetch a rabbit or summat else useful for the little pot stove à la Lincolnshire Poacher, but in Yorkshire we are canny… and they canny hang us for what the dog done! If they can, ‘might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb,’ but we need a d*mn big dog for that! More an Irish Wolfhound than a Yorkshire Terrier – lol!

  27. OldMuzza (N.W Surrey-UK) says:

    I wonder what blooming Heather is doing theses days………..wonder if she still goes?

  28. Diana says:

    Probably not Muzza. But still a good song.

  29. Old Muzza (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Going to Snowdonia next week…….bring back memories of the 60s when climbed up to the ‘Lloyd George stone’ and sang this song (and David of the white rock) at the top of my voice,in the fog…..no wonder my wife left me.
    No chance of a repeat performance…….the old Zimmer frame wont get up those rocky paths.

  30. Linda says:

    Glad to have you back Diana……..

  31. Old Muzza(N.W.Surrey UK) says:

    Still good to listen to and followed up by the Dick Gaughin & friends video….they get really down on it!

  32. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Blimey…it’s a bit off when a bloke has to laugh at his own jokes (see 2012 comment) about Carmina Burana sounding a tad like Karma Sutra as nobody else seemed to catch on to the innuendo (Italian suppository)…..sigh…

  33. Linda says:

    Still lurking Muzza

  34. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Yhee and me Lindy Lou….what happened to summer!

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