I Have Two Yellow Goats

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I HAVE TWO YELLOW GOATS. AKA and see “Highland Laddie (1).” Irish, Air (4/4 time). Ireland, north County Clare. G Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Doolin, north County Clare, tin whistle player Micho Russell said the tune was used to accompany the dance Pheilim Laddy (a curious corruption of the Scottish “Highland Laddie (1)”), in which dancers would form squares on the floor by laying down crossed flat sticks, and dance within the form. The melody has Irish Gaelic words set to it that Russell translated as:

I have two yellow goats
And a goat that has no milk.
It breaks my heart to bring them home
To bring them home.
I have no place to milk them
Only into my hat
My hat is holed and the milk flows down
‘long the valley.

That is a tune that the piper has not,
Helian Laddy, Helian Laddy,
John Kelly the piper he’ll be that way,
He’ll be that way.

Russell also remembered his mother singing another old verse to the tune:

There is a dandy cap put on Sheila
And she will be dancing around all the time.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Russell (The Piper’s Chair), 1989; p. 23.

Recorded sources:




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