Caller Herrin'

Caller Herrin' (Fresh Herring) was the call of fishwives in Edinburgh. It is a song about how dangerous the work of fishermen was. buy my caller herrin They're bonnie fish and halesome farin, Wha'll buy my caller herrin, New draaller ers maist despairin, Ca' them lives o men.

The original lyrics were written by Lady Nairne in the early 1800's. The tune is by Nathaniel Gow, son of the more famous fiddler Neil Gow.

The opening 'Wha'll buy my caller herrin' is based on the cries of Newhaven fishwives, who carried to town the fish that were caught overnight, using a large creel or basket resting on their backs. They stopped at people's homes selling the fish.

The start of the tune used for the verse is said to be based on the sound of the chimes of St Andrew's Church, on George Street in Edinburgh.