Farewell to the Creeks

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FAREWELL TO THE CREEKS. AKA - "Banks of Sicily" (Song). Scottish, English, American; Pipe March and Jig. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "Farewell to the Creeks" is a well-known north country tune composed by Pipe Major James 'Pipie' Robertson of Boyne, Banffshire, in 1915 when he was a prisoner of war in Germany. According to Norman Kennedy, the 'Creeks' refers to the Native-American tribe the Creek Indians and not streams. It is the vehicle for Hamish Henderson's popular song "The Highland Division's Farewell to Sicily," also called "Banks of Sicily," composed while he was Intelligence Officer for the Highland Division in World War II. G. W. Lockhart (in Fiddles and Folk, 1998) relates that Henderson had been viewing the smoke curling from Mt. Etna's crater in the distance behind the Pipes and Drums of the division's 153 Brigade, when the band launched into "Farewell to the Creeks." "Without hindrance," said Henderson, "the words came flowing to me."

The pipie is dozie, the pipie is fey-
He winna come roon for his vino the day.
The sky ow'r Messina is unco an' grey,
And a' the bricht chaulmers are eerie.

"Banks of Sicily" was the first recording made by the Scottish group the Whistlebinkies, on a Hamish Herderson compilation album in 1976.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Hinds/Hebert (Grumbling Old Woman), 1981; p. 20.

Recorded sources: Front Hall FHR08, Alistair Anderson - "Traditional Tunes" (1976). Topic 12TS239. Topic TSCD 669, Will Atkinson (et al) - "Ranting and Reeling: Dance Music of the north of England" (1998).




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