Hamish Imlach- "Coulter's Candy/Ali Bali Bee" (Scotland)

Sep
9

bigmanio | January 27, 2008
Old Childrens nursery song for all ages

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from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coulter's_Candy
"Coulter's Candy, also known as "Ally Bally", is a Scottish folk song, originating from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders.

It was written by Robert Coltard (died 1890) as an advertising jingle for an aniseed-flavoured sweet, manufactured in Melrose. The recipe is no longer known, but the song lived on. In 1958 a letter to The Weekly Scotsman reported that a man remembered hearing it from his grandmother, who in turn had learned the song in around 1845. It was collected in a children's playground in 1964 by James T. Ritche, who published it in a book called The Singing Street.

However, Norman Buchan published it earlier in "101 Scottish Songs", Collins, 1962. He states there: "This song probably produced more correspondence than any other when I printed it in 'The Weekly Scotsman' a few years ago. Robert Coultart - the 'Coulter' of the song - made and sold his own candy round all the country fairs and markets in the Borders..............etc. "...

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This video is also reposted on http://www.cocojams.com/content/showcase-videos. A parody of this song is posted on http://www.cocojams.com/content/childrens-parodies-0

Also visit http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=1183 lyr/Origins: Coulter's Candy (Caulter's ?) for a discussion about this song. In addition, visit http://www.mamalisa.com/?p=787&t=es&c=110 for other versions and commentary about this song.

2 comments

webmaster

Three Examples of "Coulter's Candy" lyrics:

Coulter's Candy
Trad

Chorus:
Ally Bally Ally Bally Bee
Sittin' on your mammy's knee
Greetin' for a wee bawbee (greetin' - crying; bawbee - halfpenny)
Tae buy some Coulter's candy

Ally Bally Ally Bally Bee
When you grow up you'll go to sea
Makin' pennies for your daddy and me
Tae buy some Coulter's candy

Mammy gie's ma thrifty doon (thrifty - money box)
Here's old Coulter comin' roon'
Wi' a basket on his croon (croon - head)
Sellin' Coulter's candy

Puir wee Annie, greetin' tae (puir wee - poor little)
What can puir wee mammy dae
Gie them a penny atween them twae
Tae buy some Coulter's candy

Puir wee Jeannie, she's lookin' awfu' thin
A rickle o' bones covered ower wi' skin (rickle - bundle)
Noo she's gettin' a wee double chin
Sookin' Coulter's candy

As sung by Iain MacKintosh & Hamish Imlach

http://mysongbook.de/msb/songs/c/coulter.html [retrieved September 9, 2010]

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Coulter's Candy

Chorus:
Ally, bally, ally bally bee,
Sittin' on yer mammy's knee
Waitin' for a wee penny
Tae buy mair Coulter's candy.

1. Mammy gimme ma thrifty doon
Here's auld Coulter comin' roon
Wi' a basket on his croon
Sellin' the Coulter's candy
Chorus

2. Little Annie's greetin' tae
Sae whit can puir wee Mammy dae
But gie them a penny atween them twae
Tae buy mair Coulter's candy
Chorus

3. Ally bally, ally bally bee
When ye grow up you'll go tae sea
Makin' pennies for your daddy and me
Tae buy mair Coulter's candy
Chorus

4. Times are gettin' hard the noo
Yer daddys singin' on the brew
Yer Mammys' still got a penny or two
Tae buy some Coulter's candy
Chorus

5. Poor wee Jennie's lookin' awfu' thin
A rickle of banes kivvered o'er wi' skin
Noo she's gettin' a wee double chin
From sookin' on Coulter's candy
Chorus

6. Come my boy, my wee, wee man
Run doon that road as fast as y'can
Pay your money tae the sweetie man
For a big bag of Coulter's candy
Chorus

http://www.glasgowguide.co.uk/wjmc/allyball.shtml [retrieved September 9, 2010]

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Coulter's Candy

Alibali alibalibee
Sitting on your Mammy's knee
Greeting for a wee bawbee
To buy mair Coulter's candy

Mammy gi't me my thrifty doon
Here's old Coulter coming round
Wi' his basket on his croon
He's selling Coulter's candy

Our wee Jeannie was awfy thin
A wrickle of bones just wrapped in skin
Noo she's getting a wee double chin
Through eating Coulter's candy

Go to sleep now my bonny wee one
It's six o'clock and your playing's done
When you wake up in the morning sun
You'll get more Coulter's candy

Translation!
greeting = crying
bawbee = halfpenny
mair = more
thrifty doon = pocket money

[From Joy's childhood singing.] [Key F]

http://www.youngfolk.org.uk/SongWords/AliBali.html ; [retrieved September 10, 2010]

webmaster

Selected viewer comments from

http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments=1&v=8uO9aeERILI

Posted in 2008:

ambs99- fantastic, I remember singing this as a kid in glasgow and then singing it to my kids,Hamish was a great entertainer and is much missed I have this song on a vinyl album

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bigangie1-i used to sing this to the children when i was a nursery nurse, they always loved it! Good wee soothing song!!

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LOMANDYO-Thanks for this one,I used to sing this to my son 20yrs ago when I bathed him and to this day he thought I made it up,so now he knows his dad is not so talented lol.

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paigencassie- aww my grandma used to sing this to me :'(

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Ali5378- My grampa used to sing this to me when i was wee. I'm in floods of tears watching this! Its great xxx thank you xxx

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Berwallace- My Wee Ma sang this 2 Me & aw My Siblings N then also 2 aw her Granweans ....

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Posted in 2009:

shonajw- I want tae be a bairn again.

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katieburns23- HMM this brings back a lot of fond and loving memories from my child hood, when my granfather was alive, it still makes me smile. i know one thing for sure, when i have children of my own i'll be a singing this to them aswell

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maureenvallis- I know what 'thrifty' means but not sure about 'doon' in this context. Help please...

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JCMcGee- @maureenvallis : Hope this helps...some words are Scottish, some desended from Scandinavian (Bairn) some just Glaswegian: Afie: awfully/very (as in" you are looking awfully/verry  ill") Sookin: Sucking Banes: Bones Muckle: Many/a pile of Greetin: crying Doon: down Bawbee: 5 pence Atween them twae: between the two of them Auld: Old Roon: around Croon: forehead/head Bairnies: children Grannie: grandmother Clatie: disgusting [Posted in 2010]

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weegem88 - Is there not a bit that goes:

Coulter's candy a penny a lump,

That's the stuff tae make ye jump

When ye jump yer sure tae faw

Okie dokie, that's it aw.

I used to sing that between the verses when I was younger, anyone else?

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PaulRoast - My Mum used to sing this song to me when I was young. I used to then sing it at school to. Never thought it would be on you tube!

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feefeetrixabella - When i was a student nurse working in a nursing home, this song was sung often by the residents..bless xx

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wendeebop64 - This how I remember the song: Ally bally, ally bally bee. Sittin' on yer mammy's knee. Greetin' fer anither bawbee. Tae buy maer Coulters candy. Mammy gi' me yer thrifty doon. Here's ol' Coulter a'comin roon. Wi' a basket upon his croon. Sellin' Coulters candy. Little Annies a'greetin tae. Saw what can yer poor mammy dae. Gi'em a penny a'tween them twae. Tae buy maer Coulters candy.

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Posted in 2010:

gordonw01- Makes ye proud tae be Scottish this doesn't it ?

LIke everyone else of a certain age i remember my Maw used to sing this( to my younger Brother Alan),his face was always covered in chocolate so really was quite apt for him..i apparently used to get jealous and she would have to sing to me "A Gordon For Me" haha..growing up in Scotland really was/is special.Thanks for posting this mate.

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GirvanLighthouse77- I named my youngest son Alistair after Ali Bali Bee !! He is 7 months the now and loves the song sitting on his mammy's knee !! His Big brother loves it too like I do and my late dad did and my grandma who used to teach it to the kids at playgroup and tufty club she ran !!

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raglngbull - I heard this performed last night by a scottish folk band in Denmark, the danes seem to have known it however they was singing the chorus in danish (apparently a danish guy used the song at some point), anyone know the danish lyrics/versions name? would be greatly appreciated.

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fringedweller99 - always a favourite as my Father used to sing this to me, now I am 50 and he is 82, ye canna buy that memory

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XbeebethybooX- i love this :) brings back so much memorise. My Papa would sit me on his knee and sing it to me but instead of "sitting on yer mammies knee" it was "sitting on yer Pappies knee" :( i love my papa (L) x

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kimberleyley - a song for all scottish children who used to wait for the tally van :) still love it!!

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maureenvallis- Thanks for responding to my inquiry to the meaning of 'doon'. Of course it means 'down'. (I'm from Greenock) I think I was looking for a noun.

Now I understand 'Mammy gie me my thrifty doon'. Like yelling up to your Mammy in the tenement, 'Throw me doon a piece 'n jam'..:)

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amurray8900 - A bawbee was ha'penny (half penny) actually :) 

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supermyrab- dont think a bawbee was as much as fivepence a halfpenny maybe ,,a farthing

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NorseWinter-My father used to sing this song for me when I was a tiny little thing, being from Denmark as I am he sang a danish version of this song, back from the sixties. It was only this day when at a fair I heard a Scottish singer talk about this song, it's scottish origin and then singing it... made my day I must admit

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truscotsman45 - this song brings back great memories of my childhood sitting in my grans and grandads house with hte radio on and listening to the old scottins songs

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