Fine Floors in the Valley

by Lori Watson

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about

The fifth monthly Yarrow Acoustic Sessions single is a beautiful version of the traditional song shared with me by Anne Neilson. Anne’s interpretation of traditional song, the way she develops a personal connection with songs, stories, people, perspectives has been an important inspiration to me over the years.

Birth, death, vulnerability, violence, deep sorrow, bitterness: a newborn baby is murdered and buried, the mother is tormented. This is a Scottish variant of The Cruel Mother (Child 20). But we as humanity are responsible for this. There are several versions of the story; some published in broadsides in the late 1700s and more taking place today. The chorus lines gain weight through each verse of the song as the tragedy of the child and the mother’s situation sink in. The melody is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard.

This arrangement was created with Fiona Black. If you haven’t already, you can hear her playing with the Outside Track and various other collaborations. She writes brilliant tunes too.

lyrics

She sat doon alow a thorn
Fine floors in the valley
An there she has her sweet babe borne
An the green leaves they grow rarely

Smile nae sae sweet, ma bonnie babe
Fine floors..
An ye smile sae sweet, ye'll smile me deid
An the green ..

She's ta'en oot her little penknife
Fine floors..
An twinned the sweet babe o its life
An the green ..

She's howket a grave by the light o the moon
Fine floors..
An there she's buried her sweet babe in
An the green ..

As she was gaun tae the kirk
Fine floors..
She saw a bonnie bairn playin in the dirt
An the green ..

O bonnie bairn, an thou wert mine
Fine floors..
I wad cleeth thee in silk sae fine
An the green ..

O mither dear, when I was thine
Fine floors..
You didna prove tae me sae kind
An the green ..

credits

released June 23, 2017
Traditional arr. Lori Watson and Fiona Black
Vocal and fiddle by Lori Watson
Accordion by Fiona Black
Recorded and mixed by Duncan Lyall at Red Deer
Mastered by Iain Hutchison at Glo Worm Studios

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