the song
title : Charlie is my darling
written by : Robert Burns / traditional
arranged by : Eddi Reader, Ian Carr, Phil Cunningham, Boo Hewerdine, John McCusker and Ewen Vernal
song copyright : none
Eddi said
“There are songs which are just part of the soundtrack as you grow up. This is such a song to me. I had a vague recollection of the melody and chorus. As I discovered, it also has a cheeky wee story. I was surprised to lean this was one of his.”
booklet note in her Burns albums (both original and deluxe editions)

the performance
musicians
Eddi Reader vocal, acoustic guitar?
with :
Ian Carr acoustic guitar
Phil Cunningham accordion
Boo Hewerdine acoustic guitar, backing vocal
John McCusker cittern, backing vocal?
Colin Reid acoustic guitar
Ewen Vernal double bass
music
key : E minor
time-signature : 12/8 and 4/4
tempo : MM 124
form : b′ b V C V C v b V C V C b V C C C
lyrics

Charlie is my darling

{m.d. giving time, spoken:} fog–horn, I said, leg–horn

’twas on a monday morning
right early in the year
that Charlie came to our town
the young chevalier

o Charlie is my darling
my darling, my darling
Charlie is my darling
the young chevalier

as he was walking doon the street
the city for to view
o there he spied a bonie lass
the windae peekin’ through

o Charlie is my darling
my darling, my darling
Charlie is my darling
the young chevalier

so light he jumped up the stairs
a tirl’d at the pin
and wha’s sae ready but herself
to let the laddie in?

o Charlie is my darling
my darling, my darling
Charlie is my darling
the young chevalier

he set his Jenny on his knee
all in his highland dress
for brawly weel he kent the way
to please a highland lass

o Charlie is my darling
my darling, my darling
Charlie is my darling
the young chevalier

it’s up yon heathery mountain
and down yon scroggie glen
we daur nae gang a-milking
for Charlie and all of his men…

o Charlie is my darling
my darling, my darling
Charlie is my darling
the young chevalier

Charlie, Charlie
{Charlie is my darling
my darling, my darling
Charlie is my darling
}
the young chevalier

Charlie is my darling
my darling, my darling
Charlie is my darling
the young chevalier

Charlie
{Charlie is my darling
my darling, my darling
}
Charlie is my darling…
the young chevalier

glossary
boniebonny; pretty pinlatch pin
brawlyvery much scroggiecovered with stunted bushes
daurdare tirledrattled
doondown weelwell
kent/ken’dknew windaewindow
naenot

in the music director’s introduction: ‘Foghorn Leghorn’ was a cartoon character in the Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes series

explanations

This lyric was originally a long romantic street ballad, probably descended from nationalist songs of the ’45 (Bonnie Prince Charlie’s revolt). A broadside from about 1775 was collected in 1903 (Ritter, Neue Quellenfunde). Burns’s version was first published in the 1796 volume of The Scots musical museum (editor James Johnson) and the following text is from the Hastie manuscript (British Library Add. MS. 22307, a collection of material for the SMM).

Charlie is my darling

’Twas on a monday morning,
  Right early in the year,
That Charlie cam to our town,
  The young Chevalier.

An’ Charlie he’s my darling, my darling, my darling,
Charlie he’s my darling, the young Chevalier.

As he was walking up the street,
  The city for to view,
O there he spied a bonie lass
  the window looking thro’.

An’ Charlie…

Sae light’s he jimped up the stair,
  And tirled at the pin;
And wha sae ready as hersel
  To let the laddie in.

An’ Charlie…

He set his Jenny on his knee,
  All in his Highland dress;
For brawlie weel he ken’d the way
  To please a bonie lass.

An’ Charlie…

It’s up yon hethery mountain,
  And down yon scroggy glen,
We daur na gang a milking,
  For Charlie and his men.

An’ Charlie…

source : No. 562 in Poems and songs of Robert Burns / edited by James Kinsley. – Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1968


the recording
personnel
produced by : Boo Hewerdine
recorded by : Robert Rankin at CaVa Studios, Glasgow – 2003-01
mixed by : Jon Kelly
mastered by : Tim Young at Metropolis Studios, London
technical
signal path : DDD
song timing : 3:15
released on
album : Eddi Reader sings the songs of Robert Burns track 8   timing : 3:22
album : The songs of Robert Burns (deluxe edition) track 8   timing : 3:22

commentary
sexual congress in a kilt (Victorian invention?)