Mingulay Boat Song

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The "Mingulay Boat Song" was a song written by Sir Hugh S. Roberton (1874–1952) in the 1930s. The melody is described in Songs of the Isles as a "traditional Gaelic Keppoch tune arranged by Hugh S Roberton"[citation needed], however the original tune was part of an old Gaelic song, "Oran na Comhachaig" (the 'Creag Ghuanach' portion); from Brae Lochaber.[citation needed]

Lyrics[edit]

Chorus:
Heel y'ho boys, let her go, boys
Bring her head round now all together
Heel y'ho boys, let her go boys
Sailing homeward to Mingulay!

What care we tho' white the Minch is
What care we for wind and weather?
Let her go boys, every inch is
Wearing homeward to Mingulay!

Chorus

Wives are waiting on the bank, boys, .
Looking seaward from the heather.
Pull her 'round boys, and we'll anchor
'Ere the sun sets at Mingulay!

Chorus

Alternative lyrics[edit]

Chorus:
Heel y'ho boys / let her go boys
Bring her head round / into the weather
Heel y'ho boys / let her go boys
Sailing homeward / to Mingulay!

What care we boys / how white the Minch is?
What care we boys / of windy weather
when we know that / every inch is
sailing homeward / to Mingulay?

Chorus

Wives are waiting / on the pier heads,
Gazing seaward / from the heather.
Pull her head 'round / and we'll anchor
Ere the sun sets / on Mingulay!

Chorus

The Corries version[edit]

Chorus
Heel yo ho, boys, let her go, boys
Swing her head round and all together
Heel yo ho, boys, let her go, boys
Sailing homeward to Mingulay

What care we though white the minch is
What care we for wind or weather
Swing her head round, every inch is
Sailing homeward to Mingulay

Chorus

Wives are waiting by the quayside
They've been waiting since break of day-o
Swing her head round, every inch is
Sailing homeward to Mingulay

Chorus

When the wind is wild with shouting
And the waves mount ever higher
Anxious eyes turn ever seaward
To see us home, boys, to Mingulay

[1]

Recordings[edit]

  • The Idlers have performed this song since 1957.
  • Robin Hall & Jimmie MacGregor perform this song on their 1961 album, Scottish Choice.
  • The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem perform this song on their 1966 album, Isn't It Grand Boys.
  • The Corries performed the song on their television series and recorded it on the 1974 LP Live from Scotland Vol 1 on the Pan-Audio label.
  • Drifterfolk perform this song on their 1974 album Reflections.
  • The McCalmans perform this song on their 1986 album Scottish Songs.
  • Wolfstone, a Scottish Celtic rock band perform an instrumental version on their 1990 Wolfstone II album.
  • Paddy Hernon performs this song on his 1994 album By Request.
  • Ceilidh Friends perform this song on their 1994 album, Yellowknife Evening, featuring Steve Goff on lead vocal.
  • Casey Neill, a Portland, Oregon folk/punk musician, performs a version of this song (as the Casey Neill Trio) with slightly different lyrics and an additional verse, on the 1999 album Skree.
  • The Jolly Rogers perform this song on their 2000 album, Midnight Buffet.
  • Dan Zanes performs this song in his 2002 album Sea Songs.
  • The Poxy Boggards perform this song on their 2002 album, Lager Than Life.
  • Kris Delmhorst performs this song on her 2003 album, Songs for a Hurricane.
  • Tom & Chris Kastle A Chicago, U.S. Maritime folk duo performed this on their 2005 album, Familiar Waters
  • Heather Alexander performs this song twice on her 2006 album Arms of the Sea. The first instance is listed in the liner notes; the second version is a hidden track after the end of the last track.
  • Richard Thompson performs this song on the 2006 compilation CD, Rogue's Gallery and on his 2009 live recording, Live Warrior.
  • Fisherman's Friends perform the song on their 2010 album Port Isaac's Fisherman's Friends.
  • Gaelic Storm perform this song on their 2013 album The Boathouse.
  • Oceans 5 perform a progressive rock version of this song on their 2013 album Return to Mingulay.

References[edit]