The Best O' The Barley

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My uncle Jim he served his time
on the shore o' the Forth as a joiner
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and three pounds ten a week was all he earned
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but the wages were better working Michigan pine
so he sailed on an ocean liner
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to build a better life with the trade he'd learned.
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And the shore he reached in twenty-three
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the home of the brave, the land o' the free
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was dry as the devil's tongue on Judgement Day
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but to find a dram in a foreign land
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it's the natural gift of a Falkirk man
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and Lady Liberty looked the other way
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or so I've always heard my uncle say:

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For he's the best o' the barley cream o' the crop.
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Easy on the water and I'll tell you when to stop.
So would you please charge your glasses
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with the real pure drop,
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and drink to the best o' the barley.

My Uncle Jim was a child of his time
and the tricks of the time they were dirty,
and the dirtiest of all was the one they played
on a workingman's dollar and a poor man's dime
between twenty-nine and thirty,
for they killed all the steady jobs in the building trade.
And the only way that Jim could see
was to play the game with Lady Liberty
though no one ever told him all the rules,
and when fainter hearts were homeward bound
Jim sold Michigan ice by the pound
with a leather sling and an iron hook for tools
just to show the Yankees how to keep their cool.


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My Uncle Jim, he could keep good time
when the band played an eightsome reel,
and loved to waltz away the summer nights,
and the spring in his step kept him in his prime,
through the turns of fortune's wheel
as it spun him through the darkness and the light.
And to dance a jig called history,
Jim took the hand of the century,
and he never let her steal a backward glance.
From the D-Day beaches to the cold lake shore,
he whirled her round and round the floor
to show her how a Scotsman takes his chance,
and he never missed a measure o' the dance.

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Here's a health to the best o' the barley
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To Scotland and the best o' the barley.

(Noten)   (Midi)