From the recording One For the Road
Traditional, adapted by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser & Kenneth MacLeod
Mark Clavey: lead vocals, guitar
Mary Hanover: vocals, hammered dulcimer
Rachel Bowerman: vocals, percussion
Tara McCullough: fiddle
Here is one of, as Peter Kennedy puts it, "the songs of pleasure and complaint as voiced by the working people of the towns and villages of Britain", a working song. "Tae the Beggin'" is a Scots version of the English song "A-Beggin' I Will Go", and could seen to allude to James V of Scotland, and his penchant for traveling in disguise. This version is from an adaptation by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser that appeared in her collection "Songs of the Hebrides" sometime between 1909 and 1921. Marjory was the daughter of the well-known singer David Kennedy, and took a keen interest in the songs of the Hebrides, where she recorded them, arranged them for voice and piano, and published them with the words translated by Rev. Kenneth MacLeod. The tune that accompanies the song is "Maid Behind the Bar", an Irish reel (ordinarily played in D major). It was popularized through the recording by Sligo-born, Irish-American fiddler James Morrison (see "Morrison's Jig").
Of all the trades that I do ken, sure, the begging is the best for when a beggar's weary he can aye sit down and rest. Tae the beggin' I will go, will go, tae the beggin' I will go.
And I'll gang tae the tailor wi' a wab o' hoddin gray, and gar him mak' a cloak for me tae hap me night and day. Tae the beggin' I will go, &c
An' I'll gang tae the cobbler and I'll gar him sort my shoon an inch thick tae the boddams and clodded weel aboun. Tae the beggin' I will go, &c
And I'll gang tae the tanner and I'll gar him mak' a dish, and it maun haud three ha'pens, for it canna weel be less. Tae the beggin' I will go, &c
And when that I begin my trade, sure, I'll let my beard grow strang, nor pare my nails this year or day for beggars wear them lang. Tae the beggin' I will go, &c
And I will seek my lodging before that it grows dark - when each gude man is getting hame, and new hame frae his work. Tae the beggin' I will go, &c
And if begging be as good as trade, and as I hope it may, it's time that I was oot o' here an' haudin' doon the brae. Tae the beggin' I will go, &c
Of all the trades that I do ken, sure, the begging is the best for when a beggar's weary he can aye sit down and rest. Tae the beggin' I will go, &c