Children's Album of the Year--Parent's Choice Gold Winner

An introduction to Scottish music and culture with music and songs on Scottish fiddle, Highland pipes and drums, Celtic instruments; sing-alongs and street rhymes from Glasgow and Aberdeen and the Western Isles, a rousing children's chorus and Robert Louis Stevenson's poetry recited in Scots' brogue. Includes words to all the songs (see liner notes below) and a detailed booklet with original drawings by Bonnie Rideout. (49:29 minutes)

How to order

MM219 CD is unavailable via PayPal
Listen to all tracks, or buy: Buy from CDbaby
Download from

"One of the world's leading Scottish fiddlers"

- Bob Edwards, NPR's Morning Edition

Parent's Choice Gold AwardGi'me Elbow Room and the Parent's Choice Gold Award: The Parents' Choice Gold Awards are given to those books, toys, games, videos, software, magazines, audio recordings, and television programs that are judged as the highest quality, most appealing products in their genre.

Tune List

  1. Marching Song (2:21)
  2. Gi'Me Elbow Room (4:56)
  3. Morrison's Jig (2:14)
  4. My Kingdom (1:47)
  5. Bobby Shafto (1:32)
  6. The Hen's March (4:57)
  7. Hiccup (:08)
  8. Have You Ever Seen A Lassie (1:43)
  9. From A Railway Carriage (3:43)
  10. There Was A Wee Cooper (1:29)
  11. Hoky Poky (:11)
  12. Hurry Burry (3:00)
  13. Looking Forward (:10)
  14. Fiddler From Dooney (2:54)
  15. Hickory Dickory Dock (:36)
  16. Corn Riggs (5:37)
  17. My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean (2:10)
  18. Wee Willie Winkie (2:15)
  19. Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be (3:40)
  20. Northwest Passage (3:43)

Liner Notes


Bonnie Rideout ~ vocals, fiddle, viola

With Special Guests
Rod Cameron ~ narration and vocals
Chris Caswell ~ harp, bagpipes, whistle and percussion
Al Petteway ~ guitar
Betty Rideout ~ piano
Douglas Rideout ~ ocarina
Maggie Sansone ~ hammered dulcimer
Nicholson Pipes and Drums ~ pipe band
University Park E.S. Chorus ~ chorus
Produced by Marcy Marxer

Dear Listener,
I grew up listening to many of these songs. Some I learned while sitting on the piano bench next to my mother or baking with her in the kitchen, or shucking peas with my dad at the picnic table, or being tucked into bed at night. Living in Scotland as an adult, I learned more songs and rhymes when my first child was born. I have also written songs in the hope that they will speak to all children everywhere. Much on this album is very easy to learn -- so I hope you will sing along just as my own children do when they are beside me at the piano...or baking...or shucking peas...or being tucked in at night.

1. Marching Song/Scotland the Brave/Auld Lang Syne (2:21)
I have set this Robert Louis Stevenson poem, "Marching Song," to one of Scotland's most famous pipe marches. Vocals (Bonnie), Tinkertoy can, coffee can (Chris), kazoos and pipe band.

Bring the comb and play upon it!
Marching, here we come!
Willie cocks his highland bonnet,
Johnnie beats the drum.

Mary Jane commands the party,
Peter leads the rear;
Feet in time, alert and hearty,
Each a Grenadier!

All in the most martial manner
Marching double-quick;
While the napkin like a banner
Waves upon the stick!

Here's enough of fame and pillage,
Great commander Jane!
Now that we've been round the village,
Let's go home again

2. Gi'Me Elbow Room (4:56)
The original text to this rhyme is from Galloway in Scotland. It is about a tailor, but I have substituted a variety of musicians in order to introduce our instruments (Celtic harp, bodhran, fiddle, guitar, pennywhistle, pipes and children's chorus) which are common in Scottish traditional music. Vocals (Bonnie), ensemble and chorus. Melody and new lyrics by Bonnie Rideout, © Bonnie Rideout, Tulloch Music, ASCAP.

Gie me elbow room!
Oh, gie me elbow room!
Gie me elbow room!
Oh, gie me elbow room!

3. Morrison's Jig (2:14)
I heard this rhyme from a mother bouncing a baby on her knee during my first train ride from London to Edinburgh. The fiddle jig is a popular country dance tune. Vocals (Clarice and Molly Medrano, Adam Shaughnessy), fiddles and drums (Marcy and Chris).

One, two, three, four, five,
Thought I caught a fish alive.
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
Had to throw him back again.

Why did you let him go?
Because he bit my finger so!
Which finger did he bite?
This little finger on my right!

4. My Kingdom (1:47)
A poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. Piano, narrator (Rod).

Down by a shining water well
I found a very little dell,
No higher than my head.
The heather and the gorse about
In summer bloom were coming out,
Some yellow and some red.

I called the little pool a sea;
The little hills were big to me;
For I am very small.
I made a boat, I made a town,
I searched the caverns up and down,
And named them one and all.

And all about was mine, I said,
The little sparrows overhead,
The little minnows too.
This was the world and I was king;
For me the bees came by to sing,
For me the swallows flew.

I played there were no deeper seas,
Nor any wider plains than these,
Nor other kings than me.
At last I heard my mother call
Out from the house at evenfall
To call me home to tea.

And I must rise and leave my dell,
And leave my dimpled water well,
And leave my heather blooms.
Alas! And as my home I neared,
How very big my nurse appeared,
How great and cool the rooms.

5. Bobby Shafto (1:32)
A Scottish nursery rhyme set to music. Vocals (Bonnie), viola, harp and recorder. Melody by Bonnie Rideout, © Bonnie Rideout Tulloch Music ASCAP.

Bobbie Shafto's gane tae sea, siller buckles on his knee;
He'll come back an mairry me, Bonny Bobbie Shafto.
Bobbie Shafto's fat an fair, combin doon his yalla hair;
He's my love forever mair, Bonny Bobbie Shafto.

6. The Hen's March/Tail Toddle (4:57)
These songs are almost three hundred years old. At that earlier time, it was popular for fiddlers to imitate birds. It was also common for people to imitate pipers and fiddlers while singing "mouth music" for dancers. Most of the words they sang did not mean very much. Vocals (Bonnie), fiddle, bodhran.

7. Hiccup (:08)
A traditional nursery rhyme

Hiccup, hiccup, go away,
Come again another day.
Hiccup, hiccup, when I bake,
I'll give you a butter cake!

8. Have You Ever Seen A Lassie (1:43)
A traditional song. Fiddle, piano and chorus.

9. From A Railway Carriage (3:43)
This was my favorite Robert Louis Stevenson poem as a little girl. I remember asking my father to read it again and again. Each time he read it faster and faster, making it almost as exciting as a real train ride! You will hear his influence in the melody I wrote especially for this poem. Vocals (Bonnie), fiddle, guitar (Al). Melody by Bonnie Rideout. © Bonnie Rideout, Tulloch Music, ASCAP.

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadow the horses and cattle:

All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself in the gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing daisies!

Here is a cart run away in the road;
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone forever!

10. There Was A Wee Cooper (1:29)
Traditional. Each evening my brother and sister and I took turns picking the songs we wished to hear at bed time. This is the one tune that never caused any arguments! In the recording studio, the University Park children's chorus sang it so perfectly and joyfully that we have used their one and only "first take"! Vocals (Bonnie), chorus, fiddle and piano.

There was a wee cooper wha lived in Fife,
Nickety, nackety, noo, noo, noo,
And he had gotten a gentle wife,
Hey Willie Wallachy, ooh John Dougal,
Alane quo Rushety, roo, roo, roo!

She wadna bake and she wadna brew,
Nickety, nackety, noo, noo, noo,
For spoiling o' her comely hue,
Hey Willie Wallachy, ooh John Dougal,
Alane quo Rushety, roo, roo, roo!

She wadna card and she wadna spin,
Nickety, nackety, noo, noo, noo,
For shaming o' her gentle kin,
Hey Willie Wallacy, ooh John Dougal,
Alane quo Rushety, roo, roo, roo!

11. Hoky Poky, Penny The Lump (:11)
A Scottish nursery rhyme about ice cream.

Hoky-Poky, penny the lump,
That's the stuff to make you jump!
When you jump, you're sure to fall,
Hoky-Poky, that is all

12. Hurry Burry (3:00)
The words in the chorus come from a traditional nursery rhyme from the county of Angus in Scotland. That verse inspired my own song which reflects the condition of many modern households, including ours! Vocals (Bonnie), chorus, sound effects (Marcy and the Rideout/Medrano family). © Bonnie Rideout, Tulloch Music, ASCAP.

Oh, such a hurry-burry,
Oh, such a din!
Oh, such a hurry-burry,
Our house is in!

My brother's skinned his knee,
My mom's on the phone,
My sister's in a tantrum,
Just leave me alone!


The tub is overflowin',
Someone's bangin' on the door,
While the T.V.'s a'blarin',
Puppy's peein' on the floor!


My toast is turnin' black,
The smoke alarm has just gone off,
None of this is helping
Granny's constant nagging caugh!


Our cat has climbed the curtains,
The baby's on the stair,
I thought I'd blow a bubble
Now there's gum in my hair!


I will hide in my closet,
Or lay under a bush,
To eliminate the hurry-burry's
My only wish!


13. Looking Forward (:10)
A poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. Rod, narrator

When I am grown to man's estate
I shall be very proud and great
And tell the other girls and boys,
Not to meddle with my toys.

14. Fiddler From Dooney (2:54)
Among traditional musicians (Irish or Scottish), this poem is perhaps one of W.B. Yeats' most well known Once while rummaging through old school papers in my parents attic, I discovered a folder of pictures and poems I had written in the autumn of 1970 when I was eight. I was just learning to play the violin, so this poem made a great impression on me. I had copied it out and added this simple melody, chorus, and a very happy picture of a dancing fiddler on a hill! Vocals (Bonnie), chorus, fiddle and harp. Melody/chorus © Bonnie Rideout, Tulloch Music, ASCAP.

Oh, I love my fiddle, I love my song,
I love to sing and dance along,
Get up in the morning, stretch my arms,
And start all over again!

When I play on my fiddle in Dooney,
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,
My brother in Mocharabuiee.


I passed my brother and cousin,
They read in their books of prayer;
I read in my book of songs,
I bought at the Sligo fair.


When we come to the end of time,
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on the three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate.


For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle,
And the merry love to dance.


And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With "Here is the fiddler of Dooney!"
And dance like a wave of the sea.

15. Hickory Dickory Dock (:36)
A nursery rhyme. Vocals (Clarice Medrano), narrator and ocarina.

16 Corn Riggs/The Old Grey Cat/Ships are Sailing (5:37)
A nursery rhyme and traditional reels. Vocals (Bonnie), fiddle, guitar (Al), whistle and bodhran.

There was a piper had a cow
And he had nothin' for to give her,
He took out his pipes and played her a tune
And bade the cow consider.

The cow considered very well
And gave the piper a penny,
That he might play the tune again;
"Corn Riggs are Bonny"!

17. My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean (2:10)
A traditional song. Vocals (Clarice Medrano and Rod), fiddle and dulcimer.

18. Wee Willie Winkie (2:15)
A Scottish nursery rhyme. Rod, narrator and guitar (Marcy).

Wee Willie Winkie rins through the toun,
Up stairs and doon stairs in his nicht-goon,
Tirlin at the winnock, cryin at the lock,
"Are the weans in their bed, for it's noo ten o'clock!

Hey, Willie Winkie, are ye comin ben?
The cat's singin grey thrums tae the sleepin hen,
The dog's speldered on the flair and disna gie a cheep,
But here's a waukrife laddie that winna fa asleep.

Onything but sleep, ye rogue! Glowrin like the mune,
Rattlin in an airn jug wi an airn spune,
Rumbling, tumblin, roond aboot, crawin like a cock,
Skirlin like a kenna-whit, wauknin sleepin folk.

Hey, Willie Winkie, the wean's in a creel!
Wamblin aff a body's knee like a verra eel,
Ruggin at the cat's lug, ravelin a' her thrums,
Hey Willie Winkie, see there he comes!

Wearied is the mither that has a stoorie wean,
A wee stumpy stousy that canna rin his lane;
That has a battle aye wi' sleep before he'll close an e'e
But a kiss frae aff his rosy lips gi'es strength anew tae me.

19. Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be? (3:40)
A traditional rhyme which probably originated in Aberdeenshire. Robert Chambers included it in his book, Popular Rhymes, in 1826. Vocals (Bonnie), chorus, fiddle and piano.

Oh dear! What can the matter be?
Oh dear! What can the matter be?
Oh dear! What can the matter be?
Johnny's so long at the fair.

He promised to bring me a basket of posies, a garland of lillies, a garland of roses;
He promised to bring me a bunch of blue ribbons to tie up my bonnie brown hair.


Now, Johnny shall have a blue bonnet, and Johnny shall go to the fair;
And Johnny shall have a new ribbon, to tie up his bonny brown hair


And here is a leg for a stocking, and here is a foot for a shoe;
And here is a kiss for his daddy, and two for his mommy, tr


Hey, Johnny come lend me your fiddle, if ever you mean to thrive;
Oh no, I'll not lend my fiddle, to any man alive!


20. Northwest Passage/Cradle Song (3:43)
This poem by Robert Louis Stevenson is set to one of Scott Skinner's most famous melodies. Narrator (Rod), fiddle and harp.

When the bright lamp is carried in,
The sunless hours again begin;
O'er all without, in field and lane,
The haunted night returns again.

Now we behold the embers flee
About the firelit hearth; and see
Our faces painted as we pass,
Like pictures, on the window-glass.

Must we to bed indeed? Well then,
Let us arise and go like men,
And face with an undaunted tread
The long, black passage up to bed.

Farewell, O brother, sister, sire!
O pleasant party round the fire!
The songs you sing, the tales you tell,
Till far tomorrow, fare ye well!

All round the house is the jet-black night;
It stares through the windowpane;
It crawls in the corners, hiding from the light,
And it moves with the moving flame.

Now my little heart goes a-beating like a drum,
With the breath of the Bogie in my hair;
And all round the candle the crooked shadows come
And go marching along up the stair.

The shadow of the balusters, the shadow of the lamp,
The shadow of the child that goes to bed--
All the wicked shadows coming, tramp, tramp, tramp,
With the black night overhead.

Last, to the chamber where I lie
My fearful footsteps patter nigh,
And come from out the cold and gloom
Into my warm and cheerful room.

There, safe arrived, we turn about
To keep the coming shadows out,
And close the happy door at last
On all the perils that we passed.

Then, when mamma goes by to bed,
She shall come in with tiptoe tread,
And see me lying warm and fast
And in the land of Nod at last.

Article and Review:

Music for Kids and Christmas Albums: excerpts from article by Ed Pearlman: It's Christmas eve at the magic hour of midnight, and kids old enough to know better lie secretly awake, straining their ears to be the first to really hear the thump on the roof or the tinkle of sleigh bells high in the sky. They will, no doubt, always remember their young hopes and noble effort. For them as for most of us, Christmas and children will always be tightly linked.

So it seems appropriate to review together some of the key children's and Christmas albums coming out of the Scottish and Nova Scotian traditions. We'll start with the kids' music and then take a look at Christmas music for the grownups.....In the U.S., two children's recordings with a Scottish flavor have won the Parent's Choice Gold Award in recent years: Nancy and Jerry Bell's Celtic Tales for Bedtime Kids and Bonnie Rideout's Gi'me Elbow Room.

Fiddler Bonnie Rideout's Gi'me Elbow Room is full of singing, fiddling, poems and children's rhymes. The singing is by Bonnie herself and by children, a homey plus for some listeners, though perhaps a musical minus for others. Children and parents will enjoy many of the familiar tunes, songs and rhymes on this recording.

There is here and there a tinge of nostalgia, however, which may account for one child's comment that the album wasn't as cheerful as he had hoped. Rideout's Christmas album, A Scottish Christmas, is a highlight of the genre, a varied, all-instrumental exploration of traditional music relating to the season.

Bagpiper Eric Rigler (of Braveheart and Titanic soundtrack fame) joins the fiddle, guitar, hammer dulcimer and cello for a mostly quiet album, ranging in pace from slow to moderate. Including popular melodies as well as aptly titled traditional tunes, it could well serve as a nice antidote to holiday stress. Nothing has the power to boost--or calm--your holidays as well as music.

So to your kids and to you all, Nollaig Chridheil, and much happy music!

Gi'me Elbow Room
  1. Marching Song Bonnie Rideout 1:10
  2. Gi'me Elbow Room Bonnie Rideout 1:37