Songs about life In An Aroon Anster

1 The East Neuk o Fife
Jack Cockroft

Frae Fife Ness tae Largo Law
There's nae place that's half sae braw
As where the bonnie touns lie
Beside the Firth of Forth
There's nae lassies half sae fair
There's nae ladies can compare
Wi' those who spend their life
In the East Neuk of Fife

Crail wi its harbour there
Cellardyke and Anster fair
The Billowness where lassies dream
O courting lads frae Pittenweem
St Monans where the auld kirk stands
And Elie with its golden sands
There's nae place at aw
Like the East Neuk o Fife


Cauld though the East winds blow
Oer the wild sea comes the snow
The friendly folk still cheerful bide
By each blazin ingleside
May Isle wi it's cheerful light
Keeps shinin out sae clear and bright
Tae guide the boats tae harbour
In the East Neuk o Fife


Kinneuchar wi its curlin loch
Carnbee and Arncroach
Balcomie whar the gowfers play
Lookin ower the Firth of Tay
Kilrennie wi its couthie farms
Dunino, Boarhills and Kingsbarns
There's nae place at aw
Like the East Neuk o Fife


2 Thar She Blows
Jennifer Gordon
Sitting here in Pittenweem, I allowed myself to dream
of a whaler with nerves of steel, breaking through the ice with a sturdy keel.
Let the north wind blow with all it's might and we'll reach the pole by the end of the night.
Raise the sails, hoist the flag, there she blows boys, it's in the bag.
And we'll return to the port of Leith, each with a flower between his teeth,
for the lovers on the quay and put salty kisses where tears used to be.

3 Scandinavian High (Except for maybe in the East)
Jim Hall
There’s a high over Scandinavia and you’d think that would mean a lot
But the way that I’m feeling on this beach is not exactly what you’d call hot
The weatherman said, twenty seven degrees
So why am I shivering, with the water hardly up to my knees?

Scandinavian high, why am I feeling so low
And if it doesn’t get better, I think we’ll pack up and go

And while the rest of the country melts away with a heat so hard to resist
We can only snuggle up together for warmth underneath this blanket of mist
The weatherman said, everywhere will be fine
Except for maybe in the east where I doubt if you’ll see the sun shine

Scandinavian high, why am I feeling so low
And if it doesn’t get better, I think we’ll pack up and go
Scandinavian high, why am I feeling so low
And if it doesn’t get better, I think we’ll pack up and go

The weatherman said, people may die from the heat
So why am I left wondering why my ice cream’s as cold as my feet?

Scandinavian high, why am I feeling so low
And if it doesn’t get better, I think we’ll pack up and go
Scandinavian high, why am I feeling so low
And if it doesn’t get better, I think we’ll pack up and go

4 Mary Walks
Andy Shanks

Mary walks to see the mountains
Far away and west of here
Remembers days of horse and harness
The sound of early morning gear.

Out amang the stoor and clatter
Swinging lamps out to the byre
Singing songs to sooth the cattle
Smoke drifts up from early fires.

As Mary walks and Mary sings
And Mary walks and Mary sings…
Of home

Heavy horses spark the cobbles
Breathing mist into the air
Mary fills the byre with laughter
As the dew falls on her hair.

Doing what her mother told her
She swings her lamp out from the byre
Its aye the outsides keep the insides
We’re spinning gold from dub and mire.

Sitting here in far Bonervie
Watching boats out on the bay
She minds o’ horse and kye and clatter
As the clouds drift owre the Isle o’ May

5 La Magnifica
James Yorkston
What would you say, if I offered this all up,
to move, like a wreck, to the neuk?
With a room for your art, and a room for your tunes,
and a promise, we both kept, never to leave.
just say the word..
You can't manufacture love, build a flutter out of paper,
hoodwink my heart, sure you wouldn't know where to start.
so i, i can say without fear, just catch my eye, in a certain way,
and we'll be out of here.
just say the word...

6 Wullie’s Back Frae Yarmouth
Margot Cook

Wullie’s back frae Yarmouth, he’s comin’ hame the day
His boat sails up the winter Firth, ploughin’ the saut sea spray
Oor hoose is clean frae end tae end, and the bairns are oot tae play
A man maun hae his welcome hame, when he’s been twelve weeks away

He’s been twelve weeks away by noo, and I love my Wullie dear
I can hear his buits comin’ up the wynd, soon oor hoose’ll ring wi cheer
He’ll hae dolls for the lassies, a bike for the lad and cheenie plates for me
And the nicht the crew come roond for their share and an eightpence pie tae their tea

He sails hame bricht on a Friday nicht, for a wee while by my side
Then as share as daith there’s herrin’ in the Firth and he’s up and awa’ wi the tide
We live our lives by the tides of the sea, keep a weather e’e on the sky
And we lippen on the Lord in times o’ need tae keep oor courage high

We a’ work hand in hand wi oor men, to mend the nets and gear
Getting’ ready for the winter herrin’ at the turnin’ o the year
I’ve knitted Wull a split new gansie, I like tae keep him braw
Wi a shift in his back and five in the kist each time he sails awa’

The Yarmouth fishin’ starts again at the back end o’ the year
And when the gless draps low and the winds blaw high, oor hearts are filled wi fear
We pray to the Lord to guard them a’, and we hope the yields go weel
And then we pray again for the boat and the men and the skipper at the wheel

7 Pulling up Creels
King Creosote

where were your thoughts
when the waves pulled you down?
i'm sitting on these seaweed rocks
feeling damp inside and out
the sun behind the cliff tops
is still shining out to sea
they're pulling up creels
and feeding the gulls
that are floating so high
compared to their catch of the day.
further out must be denmark
what a pity
i'd have preferred exotic islands, pirate bones
and clear blue waters
white-toothed natives eating missionaries
anything but this beautiful view
and the lonliest thought that there's no more like you.
where were your thoughts when the waves pulled you down
i'm feeling damp inside and out.

8 The Floo’er o’ Anster Toon
Matt Armour

King James, the Gaberlunzie Man
Would roam his country roond
He found the Dreel in raging spate
As he cam’ bye oor toon.
The fisher lassie bore him ower
And set him on dry ground.
And he gi’ed the Beggar’s Benison
Tae the floo’er o’ Anster Toon.

The floo’er o’ Anster Toon
The floo’er o’ Anster Toon
In the Kingdom fair, nane can compare
Wi’ the floo’er o’ Anster Toon

Rab the Ranter chanced herebye
Heading tae the fair
Met Maggie Lauder on the road
Atween Pittenweem and here.
Wis it a chanter he pu’ed oot
Tae play sic a bonnie tune
That caused the knees and thighs to crack
O’ the floo’er o’ Anster Toon?


The Makar o’ this wee-bit sang
Has his ain tale has tae tell
For a rose did grow by Dreelside
And, vow, he kent her well.
So, sit ye by the harbour heid
And cast your gaze aroond
A passer-by might catch your eye
Your ain floo’er o’ Anster Toon.

9 Guiding Light, Evening Star
Scott Murray

Guiding Light and the Evening Star
Spes Malore and the Anster Belle
Nae boats noo doon at the harbour
But aye, Ah mind on them weel

In darkness ye'd look ower the Forth
Tae see the boats by their lichts
Awa tae the east o the May
Like a toon lit up in the nicht

An ye kent the sabbath was endin
When ye heard the buits o the men
Cam doon the wynd tae the harbour
- Time for the fishin again

Ye thocht on the man who was lost
Ta'en frae his boat by a wave
Pit back on deck by anither
We thanked the Lord he was saved

There's nae drifter noo, nae trawlers
Ye're nearer tae Dogger at Shields
They've telt me a the guid reasons
It's tae dae wi siller an yields

10 The Anster Bienvenidos
Gifford Lind

An Anster man
Stood on the land
Looking out at the cold North Sea
Heard a sailor cry
From a boat going by
Echamos el ancla aqui?

Echamos el ancla aqui?
Echamos el ancla aqui?
Should we anchor here? He said
Echamos el ancla aqui?

It was a hungry man
From a foreign land
With a look of fear in his eye
He was the Duke of Medina Sedonia
He waved and I heard him cry

Podemos quedarmos aqui?
Podemos quedarmos aqui?
Can we all stay here? He said
Podemos quedarmos aqui?

So I gave him a shout
And soon found out
That the Spannish Armada was here
With a welcoming grin
I waved them in
And heard the Spaniards cheer

Si Si nos quedamos aqui
Si Si nos quedamos aqui
Yes yes we’re staying here they cried
Si Si nos quedamos aqui

Twas a time in the land
When protestant hands
Were pulling the churches down
And many would rant
And say you cant
Bring a papish crew tae yer toun
There were meetings and talks
And the Anster folk
Asked God what should they do
In the name of Christian charity
They welcomed the Spanish crew

Who cried
Aqui estamos a salvo
Aqui estamos a salvo
We’re safe in here, they said with a cheer
Acqui estamos a salvo

Now the Duke of Medina Sedonia
Sailed back to Spanish shores
His money box stayed in Anster toun
Muchas gracias por todo
And for many years
When Anster men
Sailed off to Spanish shores
The Duke of Medina’s welcome was
Que sean bienvenidos

Que sean bienvenidos
Que sean bienvenidos
Give welcome to our Anster friends,
Que sean bienvenidos

11 Stepping Out At Midnight
Kirk McGeachy

Steppin out at midnight out along the old stone pier
With just the wind for company, the ocean in my ear
The moon is rising high above the raging Northern Sea
With no-one in this lonely place but me

So silent in the falling night the gulls they wheel and glide
Lights of port and starboard dancing circles on the tide
Nets and gear are stowed below, hatches battened down
Turn her head to face the fishin grounds

The Crimond and the Minnie Wood are heading out to sea
Harvest Reaper, Ocean Spray, familiar names to me
Following their fortunes through starry skies above
Off to reap the harvest of the sea

The lights are fading gently in the windows on the shore
The east wind begs forgiveness as it whistles round my door
Huddled in the darkness wives and children deep in dreams
As night like velvet falls upon our dreams

I wish I was that fisherman out rocked upon the deep
Hunting for the silver shoals when all the world's asleep
Untroubled by the brooding sky, the restless sea his love
Protected by his trust in faith above

The bright lights of the great big city they lured me far away
I landed in a distant place, I never thought I'd stay
But the windswept shore, the ocean's roar were never far from me
They always brought me back down to the sea

12 A Night
Johnny Lynch

I think maybe I write songs way too late at night
I stay awake for as long as possible
Waiting for an idea to stir inside
Instead I just become incredibly tired
And wait through these hours
Before I close my eyes
Even in this state i'll wait
A good ten minutes in a darkness that's self made
Until I reach out
Reach out and switch off the light;
Turn towards a blood-red beam burning through my eyes
Before, before, before I fall asleep.
I've had this dream for a while now
Where I'm standing on a wall in Cellardyke Harbour
I've climbed all on my own
And I stare out to sea.
It isn't long before
The cracks start to show
My smile begins to fade
And the thrill slowly wane
On ground unknown my feet break stone
And angers me, endangers me
I slip and I scrape
Down all I've climed before
Before, before.

13 A Dyker’s Compliments To Her Neebors
Scott Murray

Keep yer ain fish guts tae yer ain sea maws
Ainster daws, tattie shaws
Keep yer ain fish guts tae yer ain sea maws
Lyin amang the deid craws

An wha's acht you ma bonnie lass
That moved here in the simmer
Ah kent yer faither at the scale
A torn-ersed Pittenweemer

Ye lookin at me, ye Ainster daw
Ah'll cowp ye in a dub sir
An wha cried ye a partan face
An ye sae like a lobster

What's that ye're sayin, ah canna tell
Ye styupit shilpit moaner
Ye're no frae here, ah'm shair o that
Ye're a St. Minnens droner

Ye can keep yer Crail, yer Pittemweem
Yer Ainster and St Minnens
Daft dykers what ye ca us aa
Awa back hame, guid riddence

14 The Sea and the Land
Margot Cook

All alone in the early light
She walked upon the sand
And before her lay the shimmering sea
And behind her lay the land
She dreamed of how her life might be
Would she wear a golden band
But her lover he was born to the sea
And she born to the land

Her father said she must not wed
Her fisherman so strong
Mending nets and baiting lines
For her was surely wrong
His kin would not accept her
And she must understand
She would live her life as a farming wife
And learn to work the land

So they met at night by the lantern moon
And wandered hand in hand
The velvet night caressed them
As they loved upon the sand
They were cast adrift on a rising tide
Which neither could withstand
And the wanton breeze stirred the restless seas
And a seed sprung in the land

Already she could feel the babe
That stirred beneath her breast
She had kept her secret from him
When he sailed far to the west
Ah but he’d come back and marry her
That was what they planned
They would live on the harvest of the sea
And the harvest of the land

A keening moan on the western wind
When she walked upon the strand
And she knew from deep within her soul
That he’d never come to land
All alone in the early light
No ring upon her hand
Her love was asleep in the cold cold deep
So she turned to work the land

15 East Neuk of Fife
Jim Hall

Oh how my heart is aching, to be where you are
I know the road I’m taking, it’s not too far
Soon I’ll be home with you love, to pick up my life
I know you’re waiting there love, in the East Neuk of Fife

I think of it every morning, and how it will be
Feeling the time that’s coming, waiting for me
Never have been so lonely, in all of my life
Dreaming I’ll soon be going, to the East Neuk of Fife

How many roads I’ve travelled, and places I’ve seen
None of them ever like home to me, nowhere I’ve been

Never have been so lonely, in all of my life
Dreaming I’ll soon be going, to the East Neuk of Fife

How many roads I’ve travelled, and places I’ve seen
None of them ever like home to me, nowhere I’ve been

16 Dark Eppie
Matt Armour

In the toon of Anster, in years so long away
Lived a wife called Auld Eppie at the fit o’ the brae.
Some said she had the evil eye; some said she was a witch
But nane would venture, in the dark, by the hoose where Eppie lived.

Sing a song of potions, crab-shell and herring-bone
Dread and superstition; Dark Eppie all alone.

The seaman and the fisherman would come, at the break of day,
To seek for a charm to keep them frae harm, as they sailed far away.
Their wives would bring the tattie-scones, a puckle milk and cheese,
To leave by Eppie’s lintel-stone to bring luck to the seas.

But then there cam’ an engineer, in Anster Town to stay,
To build a mighty lighthouse on the Island o’ May.
When his work was over wi’ the lassies he would play
And bonnie Bella Watson gave her young heart away.

So, Bella went to Eppie, a love-bag for to buy
To win the heart of her engineer; to her he would be tied.
But still he laughed and spurned the lass, till he caught Auld Eppie’s eye.
In a storm off the May, the very next day, just one man died.

Then the preacher and the teacher said Eppie couldnae stay;
That the people o’ the toon and the country roond should drive the witch away.
And the word ga’ed out in a whispered shout frae the pulpits up on high,
To the elders o’ the kirk and the men at work: Eppie had to die!

They took Eppie out on a summer’s day, to the rocks along the Hynd.
They ducked her and they burned her and her ash blew on the wind.
But, in the dark, in their ain hames, they thought on what they’d done
And lived in far for hundred years: Eppie wisnae gone!

So, if you rove by the Anster shore, on a night when the new moon shines
And you see a breeze, you cannae feel, ruff the waters o’ the Hynd
And you ken there’s someone there – someone you cannae see.
Tak’ a limpet-shell and cross yersel’: frae Eppie you’ll bide free.

Note: The Hynd is the old name for the wee bay to the west of town, by the golf course, now know as the Billowness

17 The Coal Dust Still Moves in the Sand
Gifford Lind

Walkin In the East Neuk o Fife
Lookin out for the spires o the toun
And the tiles of red brought in by the sea
Where crabs and prawns live with fishermen's bones
While the stones of the past wear away
Washed into sea
And the coal dust still moves in the sand
And the coal dust still moves in the sand

Where holy men lived in the caves
And churches and martyrs burned
Where Beaton first sailed to Mary's right hand
Where fights were fought and the ruins still stand
And the great wise men of old
That ran the land
Were left out in the cold
Were left out in the cold

I see in a moment that time has moved on
And summer's been put to the plough
And I stand in a land of forgotten dreams
And wonder where can it go now
And wonder where can it go now

Where the haar o the sea meets the land
Lookin out to the Bass and the May
Where the black boats once drifted with fish in the hold
A haven for oil skinned men of old
And fiery volcanoes once roared
Long before there was man
And the coal dust still moves in the sand
And the coal dust still moves in the sand

18 Out of Ainster
Andy Shanks

Won’t you find me a road that’s out of Ainster
I’ve got to leave this couthy world behind
The shoes on my feet they are for leaving
If I don’t I just know ill lose my mind

Just take me home to the place that I belong
Just take me home to a place that I belong

I'll never be a fisher or a miner
There’s nothing here but empty sheds and creels
Don’t want to be a waiter in a diner
You’ve no idea how dead this old town feels

In Glasgow they've got jobs that fill your pockets
Though they’ve never heard the wind tear off the sea
They’ve more than the echo of nostalgia
A museum’s no a place I want to be.

Take me home …take me home
To a place where I belong

19 The B931
Jennifer Gordon

How lucky we are to live here, all through the year.
When the visitors go and the sand turns to snow,
how lucky we are to live here.
To hear poetry from Roy, songs from the boys
how lucky I am to live here.
To go to the Dreel and ask for "my usual"
and have all our needs catered for by Abdul.
So here's to the boys of the East Neuk of Fife
Who started this fire which burns in my life
how lucky I am to live here
year after year.