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Alan Brown: Music


(Alan Brown)
(This song was runner-up in the 1990 songwriting competition to celebrate the centenary of the building of the Forth Railway Bridge)

Oh my name is Geordie Simpson, I’m a riveter to trade, you’ll find me where the big ship and the iron horse are made
Where the fires o’ hell are burnin’, through the smoke and through the steam turnin’ steel and girders to the draughtsman’s dream

I have travelled through the Empire layin’ doon the track and bridgin’ muckle rivers wi’ the sun upon my back
But in all these far flung places, all the spans I’ve helped to rig, you‘ll never see the likeness o’ the new Forth Brig

It took fifty thoosan’ ton o’ steel an’ near five thoosan’ men, though fifty-seven briggers never saw their hames again
‘Twas the jewel o’ the Empire, the glory o’ the North, the wonder o’ the warld across the mighty Forth

In the year o’ 1890 the Prince o’ Wales appeared an’ spoke a puckle words while the lads aroon’ him cheered
But the wind blew up a hurricane, an’ fearin’ for his life, they stowed him in a carriage all the wey frae Fife

Oot frae Waverley we’ve journeyed as far as Aiberdeen, shovellin’ on the footplate to keep oor heid o’ steam
When we opened up the country for a hundred miles aroon’ and brought the iron railway to the sleepy toun

Oh the times we’ve spent a-drinkin’ at the inn alow the spans wi’ foreign lads we worked wi’ but couldna’ understand
But they helped tae build the caissons an’ they telt us whaur to dig an’ thegither, oh we builded us the new Forth Brig

(Brigger - bridge builder; muckle - mighty; hames - homes; warld - world; puckle - few; wey - way; Fife - Scottish county which borders the Forth estuary; Waverley - Edinburgh railway station; telt - told; the inn alow the spans - the Hawes Inn in South Queensferry below the spans of the Forth Bridge. It is famously mentioned in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped)