Rantin' Laddie   

Traditional, Scots


I first heard this in the late 1960s on the radio, sung by the great collector, singer and writer Ewan MacColl.  Soon after, I ran across the words and learned it, and taught it to Cindy when we met in the early 1980s.  The chords and bouncy rhythm are ours, but I'd still call this Ewan's version.


G: 12- String                           C: steel 6-string                                                              


Oft have I played at the cards and dice

With my bonnie Rantin' Laddie

But now I'm sitting in my father's hall

Singing ba to my bastard baby


Oh, if I'd been wise as I've been nice

And done what my bonnie lad told me

I'd have been married a year or more

To my bonnie Rantin' Laddie


Oh, my father dear, he knows me not

My mother she ignores me

My friends and relations slight me all

And the servants, they quite hate me


Is your love a lord or is he a laird

Or is he but a caddie

That you so oft call on his name

Your bonnie Rantin' Laddie


If I had a horse at my command

As oft times I've had many

I'd ride away to the gates of Aboyne

To my bonnie Rantin' Laddie


Then up and spake a kitchen boy

Saying, though I'm but a caddie

It's I will run to the Gates of Aboyne

With a letter to your Rantin' Laddie


And as he ran through Buchanshire

And Buchan shone so bonnie

It's there he spied the Earl of Aboyne

That they call the Rantin' Laddie


And when he looked the letter on

Oh, but he was sorry

They've been cruel and fell unkind

To my bonnie Rantin' Lassie


Oh, my father dear…


Go get thee out 500 men

And see that they ride so bonny

We'll bring the lassie back to Aboyne

The bonnie Rantin' Lassie


When she was up behind his back

Wrapped in her hieland plaidie

The birds in the trees sang never so sweet

As the bonnie Rantin' Lassie


And they rode on through Buchanshire

And Buchan shone so bonnie

Rejoice, rejoice ye bonnie maids all

An see that ye be not sorry


If you lay your love on a lowland lad

Be sure that he'll betray ye

But lay your love on a hieland lad

He'll do all that he can to raise ye



Rantin' Laddie is recorded on the album Neighbors