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Broadside ballad entitled 'Drucken Jock'


Verse 1: 'They ca' me drucken Jock; / That may a' be true - / I neither beg nor steal, / Although I'm sometimes fou. / I'm neither lame nor crazy, / And I pay for what I drink; / There's no sae muckle odds o' fock / As ane would think.' 'Drucken' means 'drunken' and 'fou' means 'intoxicated'. The name of the publisher is not included and the sheet is not dated.

Written from the wise perspective of a man who likes his drink but is no alcoholic, this thoughtful and light-hearted ballad rails against the hypocrisy of those people who criticise his drinking, but ignore their own drinking habits. In particular, the ballad targets kirk elders for their Janus-faced attitude towards drink. Resolving each verse with the philosophical and liberal refrain that folk are not so very different in their basic needs, this ballad is very much in the tradition of Burns' poems such as 'Address To The Unco Guid, Or The Rigidly Righteous'.

Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.

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Probable period of publication: 1860-1890   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(13b)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Drucken Jock'
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