Wild Mountain Thyme
Artist & Tune
About the Song
While widely mistaken for a traditional song, the melody is the creation of McPeake, first performed in 1957 for the BBC radio music programme "As I Roved Out". The lyrics are adapted from an early 19th century song "The Brae o' Balquhidder", by Robert Tannehill first published in the 1820s. His poem was first set to music by the Scottish composer Robert Archibald Smith (1780-1829). McPeake is often found credited for the lyrics, but they are largely a modernized version of Tannahill's. It has been reported that Tannahill's lyrics are in turn based on an even earlier Scottish work of unknown authorship.
List of covers in Secondhandsongs: https://secondhandsongs.com/work/12407/versions
- American opera singer Alma Gluck apparently made the first recording of "The Brae o' Balquhidder"
- McPeake first recorded his version in 1955 on the BBC.
- Sandy Paton appears to have made the first American recording on his 1958 "The Many Sides of Sandy Paton" album on Elektra Records.
- David Hammond on his I Am the Wee Falorie Man - Folk Songs of Ireland album in 1959 on Tradition.
- Judy Collins released the first widely known recording of the song on her debut "Maid of Constant Sorrow" album in November 1961 on Elektra.
- The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem (as "Will You Go Lassies Go?") on their 1962 "The Boys Won't Leave the Girls Alone" album.
- Ewan MacColl recorded "The Braes o' Balquhidder" on his & Peggy Seeger's 1964 "Traditional Songs & Ballads" album on Folkways.
- Joan Baez included the song (as "Will You Go Lassies Go?") on her 1965 "Farewell Angelina" album on Vanguard Records.
- The Byrds recorded it on their 1966 "Fifth Dimnension" album.
- Sandy Denny recorded the song in 1970 as part of her short-lived rock band Fotheringay.
- many, many covers by Irish & Scottish traditional folk bands from the Chieftans to the Corries
- My personal favorite of the many covers is Kate Rusby's (which she called "Blooming Heather"), on her 2007 "Awkward Annie" album. She is accompanied on the refrains by English opera tenor John Hudson (who grew up in the same area, Barnsley near Sheffield as Rusby did) - along with Eddi Reader.
- The English actor Emily Blunt sang the song in the 2020 film "Wild Mountain Thyme".