This song is known in Scotland and the north country (in England)...

Dance Tae Yer Daddy - Scottish Children's Songs - Scotland - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


hame = home
breekies = breeches
soople Tam = top


Jim Linwood wrote me, "Dance To Yer Daddy is generally believed to be a song from Northumberland in England and was the theme tune of the classic BBC series When The Boat Comes In."

Bonny Newman wrote, "As a music teacher in the UK, I can tell you that it is originally English. It comes from the area around North East England, around Northumberland where there was and still is a fishing industry. Hence, 'You shall have a fishie on a little dishie!' and the word 'boat' in Northumberland dialect would sound more like 'boot'."

Derek Paice wrote, "I notice you have filed 'Dance to Your Daddy' under Scotland. I was always under the impression that it was English. The song is usually associated with the north-east (i.e. Newcastle-upon-Tyne) and Geordie culture."

Ernestine Shargool was kind enough to clear this up for us...

"RE: 'Dance tae your Daddy':
It's in the Montgomerie collection of traditional Scottish nursery rhymes;
I've just checked in the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes by the Opies:

pg: 140:

'A dandling song known particularly in Scotland and the north country, sometimes (as in 1842) with the additional verse

And ye'll get a coatie
And a pair of breekies
Ye'll get a whippie and a supple Tam!
The last line has also been heard as:
An' a whirligiggie an' a supple Tam.

In Fordyce's 'Newcastle Song Book' it is given, to a delightful tune, as the refrain of a five-verse ditty 'The Little Fishy' by William Watson.'

So looks like both places can claim it."

I found another version of Dance to Your Daddy that I believe comes from North England. (You can click the link to get to that version.) -Mama Lisa

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Ernestine Shargool for contributing this song and Monique Palomares for translating it. Thank you all for your enlightening comments! - Mama Lisa

The illustration comes from Harry's Ladder to Learning (1850).

Thanks so much!