the song
title : I love my Jean   also known as   O a’ the airts
written by : Robert Burns
arranged by : Eddi Reader and Christine Hanson
song copyright : none

the performance
musicians
Eddi Reader vocal, backing vocal
with :
Ian Carr acoustic guitar
Phil Cunningham accordion
Christine Hanson cello
Boo Hewerdine acoustic guitar
John McCusker fiddle, whistle
Colin Reid acoustic guitar
Ewen Vernal double bass
music
key : A major
time-signature : 4/4
tempo : MM 84
form : v V V v V v
lyrics

O a’ the airts

– cello has tune

of all the airts the wind can blow
I dearly like the west
for it’s there the bonny lassie lives
the lassie I love best
where wild woods grow and rivers row
and many’s a hill between
but day and night my fancy’s flight
is ever wi’ my Jean

I see her in the dewy flowers
I see her sweet and fair
I hear her in the tuneful birds
I hear her charm the air
there’s not a bonny flower that springs
by fountain, shaw or green
there’s not a bonny bird that sings
but minds me o’ my Jean

– accordion with tune, fiddle descant

I see her in the dewy flowers {ah-ah…}
I see her sweet and fair
I hear her in the tuneful birds
I hear her charm the air
there’s not a bonny flower that springs
by fountain, shaw or green
there’s not a bonny bird that sings
but minds me o’ my Jean

– whistle and fiddle with tune and decorations

glossary
airtsdirections, quarters
blawblow
bonypretty, bonny
mindsreminds
monymany
o’of
shawa small wood in a hollow
tunefu’tuneful
wi’with
explanations
According to Burns ‘the song I composed out of compliment to Mrs Burns. N.B. It was during the honeymoon’. It was written to a tune by William Marshall, butler to the Duke of Gordon, who based it on Alace I lie my alon. Two additional stanzas, by the music publisher John Hamilton, are often added, but are not used nor reproduced here.

The song was originally published in the 1790 volume of The Scots musical museum (editor James Johnson), which is the origin of the title. The following text is from the Hastie manuscript, collated with the 1790 publication:

I love my Jean

Of a’ the airts the wind can blaw,
  I dearly like the West;
For there the bony Lassie lives,
  The Lassie I lo’e best:
There’s wild-woods grow, and rivers row,
  And mony a hill between;
But day and night my fancy’s flight
  Is ever wi’ my Jean.

I see her in the dewy flowers,
  I see her sweet and fair;
I hear her in the tunefu’ birds,
  I hear her charm the air:
There’s not a bony flower, that springs
  By fountain, shaw, or green;
There’s not a bony bird that sings
  But minds me o’ my Jean.

source : No. 227 in Poems and songs of Robert Burns / edited by James Kinsley. – Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1968


the recording
personnel
produced by : Eddi Reader
recorded by : Robert Rankin at CaVa Studios, Glasgow – 2003-01
mixed by : Jon Kelly
mastered by : Tim Young at Metropolis Studios, London
technical
signal path : DDD
song timing : 4:39
released on
album : The songs of Robert Burns (deluxe edition) track 18   timing : 4:46

commentary
recorded with the other Burns material, this song was selected as the ‘bonus’ track for the Burns single (My love is like a red red rose/Jamie come try me) which was not, in the end, released; thus it had to wait until the deluxe edition of the album was put together to get an ‘airing’ (ouch!)