Played by his great-great-grandson Dave Edwards – first public performance of this piece, at Dragon Inn, Featherston, NZ, 6 Feb 2019
HERE’S A HEALTH TO MY CRONIES.
HERE’S a health to my cronies where’er they reside, Whether this side or that o’ yon big rowin’ tide ; I care na what country or kingdom they claim, Be they English or Irish to me it’s the same, Gif their hearts to a glass o’ gude whisky incline, I instantly class them as “Cronies o’ mine.”
Awa wi’ yon nabob purse-proud o’ his gear, Neither he nor his wealth hae charms for us here; Awa wi’ yon fop wi’ his clear headed cane, A bit trip through the warld, it’s use may explain; But welcome my cronies wherever ye be, To join in this gude reekin’ bumper wi’ me.
A ﬁg for the wealth that this warld can gie, We naething brought here, sae we’ve naething to lea; The farmer wi’ ousen an’ acres galore, Has his crosses just now, an’ may sune count on more; Then come here, my cronies, let’s kick awa care, As lang’s we’ve a groat or a shilling to spare.
from his book Poems and Lyrics in the English and Scotch Dialects, published in Scotland in 1856
John Collie emigrated to New Zealand in 1858. This poem seems to anticipate his leaving Scotland forever, to start a new life in a new country on the opposite side of the world.
In May I performed it live on Wairarapa TV.
A song written by my great-great-grandfather John Collie, in Banffshire, Scotland, in 1856.
It also appeared on
Where it marked a return to my solo acoustic approach of early years.
This Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Le Quesnoy, in France, a week before the end of WW1.
New Zealand soldiers recaptured the town from German occupation, climbing the walls with a ladder to avoid civilian casualties.
My great granduncle Victor Bernard was one of over 100 New Zealanders killed there that day, so I’ve been reminded of him.
I was born in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. My earliest NZ ancestors are my great great great grandparents Abraham and Sophia Harris, from Essex, England. They arrived in Wellington in 1840 aboard the sailing ship Bolton.
1861 revisited – my first pakeha (European) Edwards ancestors, Totara Jack and Mary, arrived in the South Island of New Zealand on board the Olympus and settled in Nelson.
When I lived nearby a century and a half later,
I found the address where they’d lived, just below a spot on a hill that marks the geographical centre of NZ. To the north is Tasman Bay, and south are the foothills of the Southern Alps.
I jammed with South Island musicians; studied at the Nelson School of Music; played in Hokitika, Greymouth, Westport, Nelson, Blenheim, Lyttelton and Dunedin (as well as Brisbane, Australia); and recorded the sound of tui and makomako (native birds) in Nelson Lakes National Park.
Dave Black – acoustic guitar, banjo, drums, harmonica, laptop, field recordings, tenor sax, and vocals
Cylvi M – vocals & phat beatz
Hayden Gifkins / Matt Thornicroft – electric guitars
Frey – no-input mixing desk
Haz / Cookie – drums