I’d never heard of this song before, but after a quick Google expedition it appears to me that this is something of a Scottish traditional (Scots, correct me if I’m wrong!):
A song long associated with the late, great Hamish Imlach (1940 – 1996), whose ‘evil’ laugh added immensely to the number. His recording of ‘Cod Liver Oil’ became the most requested song on British forces Radio. Hamish was probably the most popular and best loved singer/entertainer during the Scottish folk Revival. He is sadly missed.
I nabbed this from Song By Toad a month or so ago but only got around to hearing it this Friday evening, and I love it. This particular version is by The Fence Collective, which from what I can gather from their website is a collection of Scottish artists who collaborate on various musical endeavours – in this case I believe this performance comes courtesy of King Creosote, Player Piano and the Pictish Trail. I can’t listen to it without breaking into a big dopey grin at the ‘aw haw’ bits and I LOVE that gorgeous Scottish accent. In the words of my former eight year old self: I love it, I wanna marry it.
Oh, oh, Glory Hallelujah,
Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice.
Oot o the East there cam a hard man.
A’, A’, the way frae Brigton.
He went intae a pub an he cam oot paralytic.
Aw haw, V. P. an cider.
‘Does this bus go tae the Denny Palais,
Aw haw, I’m lookin for a lumber,’
In the Palais he met Hairy Mary,
Aw haw, the flo’er o the Calton.
He says tae her : ‘Hey hen are ye dancing?’
‘Naw, naw, it’s just the way ah’m staunin.’
He says tae her : ‘Ye’re wan in a million.’
‘Aw, haw so’s yer bloody chances.’
‘Can I run ye hame, I’ve got a pair o sannies.’
‘Aw haw, ye’re helluva funny.’
Up the back close an doon the dunny.
Naw, naw, it wisna for the first time.
Her mammy came oot tae go tae the didgy.
Aw haw, he buggered aff sharpish.
She tried tae find the hard man. He’d jined the Foreign Legion;
Aw haw, Sahara an the camels.
So Hairy Mary had a little baby.
Aw haw, its faither’s in the Airmy.
Reading the lyrics, it’s clearly a sad tale, but you wouldn’t know it from the sound of the song itself. And there are some bloody great lines in there – it’s damn good fun from start to finish. So much so that I think I’ve listened to it seven, eight, nine times already tonight. You should too.
I don’t have any cod liver oil. Sadly. Or orange juice. I’ll be making do with the glorious nectar you see above – what’s left of it. And the background? That’s the sheet I strung up last week to cover up the brown brick wall in my loungeroom. Yes, I know it needs an iron. Be quiet.