Brian McNeill

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

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

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 the working man's dollar and the 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

My uncle Jim he could keep good time when the band played an eightsome reel
And he 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 the 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 lakeshore he whirled her round and round the floor
To show her how a Scotsman takes his chance
And he never missed a measure of the dance

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