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Origins: Aikendrum

DigiTrad:
AIKEN DRUM
AIKEN DRUM (Willie Wood)
AIKENDRUM


Related threads:
modern arrangement of Aiken Drum (4)
Lyr Req: Eamon Drumm? / Aiken Drum (2) (closed)
Lyr Req: Achin' Drum? / Aiken Drum (4) (closed)
Lyr Req: Aiken Drumm? / Aikendrum (Jacobite) (4)


Bruce O. 03 Dec 99 - 06:51 PM
oggie 14 Sep 03 - 05:55 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Sep 03 - 06:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Sep 03 - 06:16 PM
GUEST 15 Nov 03 - 02:59 PM
GUEST 15 Nov 03 - 03:50 PM
Nigel Parsons 16 Nov 03 - 10:54 AM
GUEST 02 Mar 04 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,funky padre 04 Apr 04 - 01:30 PM
GUEST, Mikefule 04 Apr 04 - 02:11 PM
Joe Offer 08 Jan 17 - 11:32 PM
Acme 09 Jan 17 - 12:04 AM
Joe Offer 09 Jan 17 - 01:30 AM
Nigel Parsons 09 Jan 17 - 03:26 AM
Senoufou 09 Jan 17 - 04:14 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Jan 17 - 09:46 AM
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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Irish folksong- Eamon Drumm
From: Bruce O.
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 06:51 PM

Ewan MacColl sang an "Aiken Drum" that's not included in those that Murray on Saltspring contributed to the DT, but which he mentioned there as in Hogg's 'Jacobite Relics'. It commenced "Ken ye who a whig can fight, Aiken Drum, Aiken Drum". This might be called a war ballad.


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Subject: Origins: Aikendrum
From: oggie
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 05:55 PM

Hi There

Been listening to the Tannahills again. Silly question time - who was Aiken Drum? Was he a person or an idea? anyone able to help?

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aikendrum
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 06:09 PM

See: Aiken Drum
Also see the rhyme Edrin Drum


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aikendrum
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 06:16 PM

Also see the version from "Jacobite Relics." Aikendrum
May be post-Jacobite words.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aikendrum
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 02:59 PM

Hi
Here is what I found in soc.culture.scottish
Quote:
?        >Just as the home is a hame, an oak is an aik.

On another note, in "The Baronage of Angus and Mearns" there is the following curious account given, which seems to consider the names Aiken and Aikman to be of shared origin, neither of which has any relationship to the English name Atkins (except by virtue of vulgar confusion among the ignorant between it and the Scottish name Aiken). It reads:
AIKMAN of Cairnie
    "John Aikman, Esq., son of George Aikman of Loreburn, and grandson of John Aikman of Loreburn, Arbroath; got a charter under the great seal - Johanni Aikman, de Cairny, &c., near Arbroath, Angus, dated 15th July 1661. "Alysandre (Alexander) de Aikman was compelled to swear fealty to Edward I., A.D. 1296."
    "The traditional account of the origin of the name of Aikman is, that the officer who had command of the troops who beseiged the usurper Macbeath in Dunsinnane Castle, ordered all his soldiers to march to attack with branches of oak taken from "Birnam wood," near Dunkeld, and on that account got the name of Aikman. He is said to have been the progenitor of all the
Aikmans and Aikens in Scotland.[Baronage, P. 441.]
    "ARMS - Argent, out of a cloud at sinister side, a dexter hand holding a baton of oak, palewise, with a branch springing out of the top, proper, surmounted by a bend engrailed, gules. Crest - An oak tree, proper. Motto - Sun robore virtus (Valour under strength)."
AIKEN of Tarrie:
    "The Rev. Mr. Aiken or Aitken, purchased the estate of Tarrie, near Arbroath, about the end of the eighteenth century.
    "ARMS - Argent, a chevron, azure, between two cocks, in chief, and a round buckle, in base, gules, armed sable."

        Frankly I don't buy the story either, but it does show that in Scotland the name Aiken was believed by its bearers to have a meaning and origin completely independent of the name Atkins, despite the fact that it was often confused with the name and thus would frequently end up with the inflicted "t" thrust into it by the Anglophilics. Also not the blazon for the arms of Aikman contains the charge "at sinister side, a dexter hand holding a baton of oak, palewise", not unlike the "at sinister side, a dexter arm in armour embowed fesswise holding in its hand a battle-axe".
Both arms contain the charge of an arm or hand issuing from the sinister side of the shield, holding an object in their grasp, in the case of Aikman, the object is a baton of oak (a canting of the name Aikman), whilst in the case of Akins, the object is a battle-axe (of the type held by the royal Nordic lion in King Haakon's arms). Clever chaps, those heralds.
Alex


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aikendrum
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 03:50 PM

I know we did a version at school, many years ago. Complete drivel about a bloke playing music on a ladle, and wearing a coat with buttons made of penny loaves, and that sort of stuff. I assumed at the time that his name was a Scottishized pronounciation of "I can drum".   As children, we sang the last line, "And he had an aching bum."

Does that help? :0)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aikendrum
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 10:54 AM

Guest the version you quote can be found from 'Q's first link and the link at the bottom of the page there. Or Go to I remember this from my childhood, and was reminded of it by a character in Julian May's book "The Golden Torc" named Aitken Drum. But at that time I couldn't find the requisite link.
It's nice to have the link restored.

Nigel


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Subject: Lyr Add: ACHIN' DRUM / AIKIN DRUM
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 09:02 AM

There was a man lived on the moon, lived on the moon, lived on the moon,
There was a man lived on the moon and his name was Achin Drum.
And he played upon a ladle, a ladle, a ladle,
And he played upon a ladle and his name was Achin Drum.

And his hat was made of good cream cheese, of good cream cheese, of good cream cheese,
And his hat was made of good cream cheese and his name was Achin Drum.
And he played upon a ladle, a ladle, a ladle,
And he played upon a ladle and his name was Achin Drum.

And his coat was made of good roast beef, of good roast beef, of good roast beef,
And his coat was made of good roast beef and his name was Achin Drum.
And he played upon a ladle, etc.

And his shoes were made of crusty pies, of crusty pies, etc.
And he played upon a ladle, etc.

And his shirt was made of penny loaves, of penny loaves, etc.
And he played upon a ladle, etc.


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Subject: RE: Achin' Drum ('There was a man lived in ...')
From: GUEST,funky padre
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 01:30 PM

You have the opening lines correct, but I've heard the following lines:

His hair was made of spaghetti, spaghetti, spaghetti, and his hair was made of spaghetti and his name was Achin Drum...

Now insert eyes made of meatballs

Then sing... "He played upon a ladle, a ladle....

Now insert nose made of cheese
Now insert mouth made of pizza...

and so on...


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Subject: RE: Achin' Drum ('There was a man lived in ...')
From: GUEST, Mikefule
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 02:11 PM

We were forced at chalkpoint to sing this appalling nonsense at school, which could well be one reason why folksong has such a bad name among the young...

And we sang, "And he played upon a table, a table, a table, and he played upon a table, and he had an aching bum." It added levity to an otherwise dull song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aikendrum
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 11:32 PM

The Traditional Ballad Index has two entries under this title, and rightly so - they are very different songs.

Aikendrum

DESCRIPTION: "Ken ye how a Whig can fight?" The ballad gives examples that Whigs can't fight, that Sunderland, who had sworn to clear the land, cannot be found. The song imagines "the Dutchmen" drowned, Jacobite victory, and King James crowned.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1821 (Hogg2)
KEYWORDS: rebellion Scotland humorous nonballad patriotic Jacobites
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (5 citations):
GreigDuncan8 1694, "Aiken Drum" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Hogg2 7, "Aikendrum" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, AIKNDRUM*
ADDITIONAL: Robert Chambers, The Popular Rhymes of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1870 ("Digitized by Google")), pp. 41-42, "Aiken Drum" ("There cam a man to our town, to our town, to our town") (1 tune)
Robert Chambers (Edited by Norah and William Montgomerie), Traditional Scottish Nursery Rhymes (1990 selected from Popular Rhymes) #101, p. 63, "Aiken Drum"

Roud #2571
RECORDINGS:
Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, "Aikendrum" (on SCMacCollSeeger01)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Ye Jacobites By Name" (tune)
NOTES: Opie 7 quotes the first lines of this song noting that it is "a ballad about the opposing armies before the battle of Sheriffmuir (1715)." The Battle of Sheriffmuir took place November 13, 1715 between the Jacobites and Hanoverians. Told from the Jacobite viewpoint this song does not reflect the outcome of the battle. Both sides claimed victory in this biggest battle of the 1715 Jacobite uprising. - BS
The Digital Tradition lists this to the tune of "Captain Kidd." The two are related, I think, but Ewan MacColl's tune is shifted to minor and has other differences.
I suspect that the song may have been mistranscribed by Hogg. The first line was clearly heard as "Ken ye hoo a Whig can fight, Aikendrum, aikendrum." But "hoo" can be either "how" (as Hogg and the above description) or "who"; the latter makes more sense.
The song refers to "Sunderland," which on its face would appear to be Charles Spencer, Third Earl of Sunderland (1674-1722), a Whig politician who had been one of the leaders of the governments from 1706-1710, and who intrigued for high office under George I as well (OxfordCompanion, p. 900). In this period, though, he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and doing very little other than trying to get higher office out of George I.
I would point out, however, that Sunderland did, as the song claims, "vanish frae oor strand." He was forever trying to get George I's attention, and, according to Brumwell/Speck, p. 377, "His chance came when the king went to Hanover. Sunderland wend abroad ostensibly on health grounds, on to make a beeline for the royal presence."
Despite this, it is generally agreed that "Sunderland" is in fact "Sutherland," a Hannoverian general in Scotland who was responsible for guarding Scotland but who was outmanuevered by the Jacobite Sir Donald MacDonald.
Not that that Jacobite success did much good. John Erskine, Earl of Mar (1675-1732), had been part of the government under Queen Anne, but was dismissed after George I took the throne in 1714. He finally cast his lot with the Jacobite forces, and commanded the rebels at Sheriffmuir, the great battle of the 1715 rebellion.
His opponent, the Duke of Argyll (1678-1743), was a genuine soldier, having served with distinction under Marlborough. He had also actively supported the Act of Union (Brumwell/Speck, p. 31). He was an obvious choice to command the Hanoverian forces in Scotland.
According to Sinclair-Stevenson, p. 53, Sheriffmuir took place on a "bitterly cold day." The Jacobites had an overwhelming numerical advantage (usually listed as on the order of 9000 men to Argyll's 3500 or so), but Mar had no idea what to do with his troops and the battle -- the only serious clash of the 1715 Jacobite rebellion -- was a tactical draw, with both armies gaining ground on the right and yielding it on the left (Mitchison, p. 323). Mar, still possessed of his big numerical advantage, didn't even try to hold the field. He proceeded to wander around Scotland for a while, then fled into exile with the Old Pretender James (III).
As for James himself, he hadn't made it to Scotland at the time, and Susan Maclean Kybett (who is, to be sure, rather an anti-Stuart biographer) "wonders why James came to Scotland at all" (p. 16). She also notes that James came to be called "Old Mr. Melancholy" (which fits), adding that his presence largely quelled what enthusiasm for rebellion there remained.
I have never seen an explanation for the "Aikendrum" chorus. Alexander, p. 2, explains the name in a way somewhat reminiscent of J. K. Rowling and her "house elves": "AIKEN DRUM: A Scottish Brownie who lived in Galloway. Aiken Drum would clear up kitchen and complete any work left unfinished by members of the households he visited. In appearance he was unmistakable, as he wore only a kilt woven from rushes, yet if a grateful mortal left clothes out for him in appreciation of his nocturnal efforts, then he would leave the house, never to return.
Katherine Briggs, An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblines, Brownies, Bogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures, 1976 (I use the 1977 Pantheon paperback), p. 2, gives a firm date of 1878 for "Aiken Drum" as the name of a brownie mentioned by William Nicholson. - RBW
Hogg2 credits Sir Walter Scott as provider of the clue that "Sunderland should have been written Sutherland... [The song] refers to the state of the Jacobite and Whig armies immediately previous to the battle of Sheriffmuir [November 13, 1715], and must have been a song of that period." Hogg then has the verse beginning "Donald's running round and round" refer to "Sir Donald MacDonald [who] came down from Sky[e], with 700 hardy islanders in his train; on which ... they chased Lord Sutherland's men to the hills." He has the verse beginning "Did you hear of Robin Roe" refer to Sir Robert Monroe "who was joined with Sutherland at that period." - BS
Bibliography
  • Alexander: Marc Alexander, A Companion to the Folklore, Myths & Customs of Britain, Sutton Publishing, 2002
  • Brumwell/Speck: Stephen Brumwell and W. A. Speck, Cassell's Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain, Cassell & Co., 2001
  • Kybett: Susan Maclean Kybett, Bonnie Prince Charlie: A Biography of Charles Edward Stuart, Dodd, Mead & Company, 1988
  • Mitchison: Rosalind Mitchison, A History of Scotland, second edition, Methuen, 1982
  • OxfordCompanion: John Cannon, editor, The Oxford Companion to British History, Oxford, 1997
  • Sinclair-Stevenson: Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson, Blood Royal: The Illustrious House of Hannover, Doubleday, 1979, 1980
Last updated in version 3.2
File: RcAikDr1

Aiken Drum

DESCRIPTION: Aiken Drum lives in the moon, plays with a ladle, dresses in food including breeches of haggis bags. Willy Wood lives in another town, plays on a razor, eats Aiken Drum's clothes but chokes on the haggis bags
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1828 (Lyle-Crawfurd2)
KEYWORDS: clothes death food humorous talltale
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Bord))
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Lyle-Crawfurd2 164, "Aitken Drum" (1 text)
Opie-Oxford2 7, "There was a man lived in the moon, lived in the moon, lived in the moon" (1 text)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #254, pp. 157-158, "(There was a man lived in the moon, lived in the moon, lived in the moon)"
Montgomerie-ScottishNR 97, "(There came a man to our town)" (1 short text)
Dolby, p. 25, "Aiken Drum" (1 text)
DT, AIKDRUM* AIKDRUM3*
ADDITIONAL: Katherine Briggs, _An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblines, Brownies, Bogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures_, 1976 (I use the 1977 Pantheon paperback), p. 2, article "Aiken Drum" (1 partial text plus extended discussion)

Roud #2571
NOTES: A haggis bag, I guess, would be a sheep's stomach lining. - BS
The dating on this song is a bit uncertain. The Opies apparently cite 1821 on the basis of Hogg's Jacobite Relics -- but that is the other "Aikendrum" ("Ken ye how a Whig can fight, aikendrum, aikendrum). It is generally claimed that the word "Aikendrum" in that song is derived from the character in this, which would of course make this older -- but I know of no proof of that assertion. Hogg does quote a snippet of what appears to be this song, but the whole thing is awfully thin. The Lyle-Crawfurd 1828 date is firmer. Briggs gives a firm date of 1878 for "Aiken Drum" as the name of a brownie mentioned by William Nicholson. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.3
File: OO2007

Go to the Ballad Search form
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The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aikendrum
From: Acme
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 12:04 AM

Here's a performance with the Scottish influence by mudcatter threelegsoman. He thoughtfully included captions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aikendrum
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 01:30 AM

Thanks, Acme. I thought we were missing something. There are two Scottish versions, and one American camp song.
Threelegsoman's recording is of the Willie Wood version - and the camp song is a parody of it.

-Joe-


Here are the Digital Tradition lyrics of the Willie Wood version:

AIKEN DRUM (Willie Wood)

There cam a man to our town, to our town, to our town,
There cam a man to our town, and his name was Willy Wood.

And he played upon a razor, a razor, a razor,
And he played upon a razor, and his name was Willy Wood.

His hat was made o' the guid roast-beef, the guid roast-beef,
His hat was made o' the guid roast-beef, and his name was Willy Wood.

His coat was made o' the haggis bag, the haggis bag, the haggis bag,
His coat was made o' the haggis bag, and his name was Willy Wood.

His buttons were made o' the baubee baps, the baubee baps, the baubee baps,
His buttons were made o' the baubee baps, and his name was Willy Wood.

But another man cam to the town, cam to the town, cam to the town,
Another man cam to the town, and they ca'd him Aiken Drum.

And he played upon a ladle, a ladle, a ladle,
And he played upon a ladle, and they ca'd him Aiken Drum.

And he ate up a' the guid roast-beef, the guid roast-beef, the guid roast-beef,
And he ate up a' the guid roast-beef, and his name was Aiken Drum.

And he ate up a' the haggis bag, &c.

And he ate up a' the baubee baps, &c.
________________________________________________________

Chambers PRS (1870), 41, with music. SNR 98 (no. 120; two
stanzas only, with music). Cf. Halliwell NRE (1842), p.
33 (li), no provenance given:

There was a man in our toone, in our toone, in our toone,
There was a man in our toone, and his name was Billy Pod;
And he played upon an old razor, an old razor, an old razor,
And he played upon an old razor, with my fiddle fiddle fe fum fo.

And his hat it was made of the good roast beef, the good roast beef, &c.
And his hat it was made of the good roast beef,
and his name was Billy Pod;
And he played upon an old razor, &c. &c.

And his coat it was made of the good fat tripe, the good
fat tripe, the good fat tripe,
And his coat it was made of the good fat tripe, and his
name was Billy Pod;
And he played upon an old razor, &c.

And his breeks they were made of the bawbie baps, the
bawbie baps, &c.
And his breeks they were made of the bawbie baps, and
his name was Billy Pod;
And he played upon an old razor, &c.

And there was a man in tither toone, in tither toone, in tither toone,
And there was a man in tither toone, and his name was Edrin Drum;
And he played upon an old laadle, an old laadle, an old laadle,
And he played upon an old laadle, with my fiddle, fiddle fe fum fo.

And he eat up all the good roast beef, the good roast beef, &c. &c.

And he eat up all the good fat tripe, the good fat tripe, &c. &c.

And he eat up all the bawbie baps, &c. and his name was Edrin Drum.

The tune is given in G.F. Graham, Songs of Scotland (Glasgow,
J. Muir Wood, n.d. [1848-9]), III.26-7, with specially-
written words ("When lang sinsyne I married", etc.). G.F.G.
notes that the air was sung in his boyhood "to ludicrous but
unmeaning stanzas, beginning--

There lived a man in our town,
In our town, in our town,
There lived a man in our town,
And his name was Aiken drum.

We were told that this man wore a strange coat, with buttons
of `bawbee-baps', and that `he played upon a razor.'" This
takes it back to the turn of the century, he being born in
1789.

Hogg Jacobite Relics II (1821), 22, gives a political song
of circa 1715 [?] with the chorus "Aikendrum, Aikendrum",
though the tune there = My Luve's in Germanie. He quotes a
stanza of another song, evidently a version of our text:

There was a man cam frae the moon,
Cam frae the moon, cam frae the moon.
There was a man cam frae the moon,
An' they ca'ed him Aikendrum.

William Nicholson's "The Brownie of Blednock" bears the
mysterious name (originally in The Dumfries Magazine, Oct.
1825), and in another poem Aikendrum turns out to be a lover
in disguise, namely David Vedder's "Aikendrum", in e.g.
Whitelaw BSS ([1844], 1875), 418, beginning "A warlock cam'
to our town". It first appeared anonymously in The Edinburgh
Literary Gazette.
Graham prints (in Appendix, 167), as to the air, "The Piper
o' Dundee", which usually goes to its "own" tune, a version
of the reel The Drummer. Cf. ODNR 52 (No.7), text from Walter
Crane's Baby's Bouquet, 1879, which begins like Hogg's
fragment; the second man is called Willy Wood. Chambers may
have been mistaken here. Moffat also has "There cam' a man...
Aiken Drum" [8 lines only] (50 TSNR, 1933, 19), with the music.

@kids @food
filename[ AIKDRUM3
TUNE FILE: AIKDRUM
CLICK TO PLAY
MS


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aikendrum
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 03:26 AM

Guest, Mikefule above (2004) says they were forced to sing this at school.
A quick check shows that it was on the list several times, appearing in "Singing Together" in 1953, 1961, 1970 & 1977.
Someone must have thought it was popular :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aikendrum
From: Senoufou
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 04:14 AM

Yes Nigel, I remember 'doing' it with several classes during the seventies in Singing Together. It was never very popular with my pupils as the tune is rather repetitive.
His coat being made of 'good roast beef' makes me think of an outfit recently worn by Lady Gaga!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Aikendrum
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 09:46 AM

The Jacobite piece referred to above does indeed seem to be related.

There was a man came from the moon,
And landed in our town, sir,
And he swore a soplemn oath
That all the knaves must down , sir,
He had an axe into his hand,
A rope around his crap, sir;
And he swore a solemn oath,
That all the rogues must strap, sir.

Jean Harrowven in 'Origins of Rhymes, Songs and Sayings' assumes that the 'man in the Moon' in these rhymes refers to either James or Charles Stuart.


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