LISTEN: Pupils’ help means Arbroath smokie song is a sure-fire hit

It’s been adored by generations, it’s famous the world over and now the humble Arbroath smokie has been immortalised in a song.

Fit o’ the Toon (The Smokie Song) describes someone who is feeling hungry and chooses a “juicy big smokie” that’s “a’ golden broon and smokey” over a plate of mince.

The person purchases the smokie “a’ wrappit in a paper hankie” from John Swankie at the fit o’ the toon and then cooks it “richt through ower reed hot chips”.

Local band Slipway have recorded the track as part of a series of songs about Arbroath, which they are planning to release on a CD to raise funds for local causes.

The famous Arbroath smokies.© DC Thomson
The famous Arbroath smokies.

The song was first performed around three years ago at an Arbroath Rotary concert at the town’s Webster Theatre with primary three pupils from Timmergreens Primary School adding their voices to the song’s chorus.

At that time Slipway’s guitarist Ian Lamb, who composed the song, said that if it was ever recorded he would ask the pupils to perform their parts again.

The youngsters, who are now in primary six, were recorded by Graeme Watt from Seagate Studios in Dundee at the school.

“I wrote a song about the Bell Rock Lighthouse in Arbroath which got me back into the way of song writing and I thought it would be a good idea to do a few songs about Arbroath,” said retired journalist Mr Lamb.

“Fit o’ the Toon was performed a few years ago with pupils from Timmergreens at a concert at the Webster Theatre. It got the biggest cheer of the night.

“Now that we have decided to record all the Arbroath songs for a CD we invited the children to sing on the track.

“What really delighted me was we went back into the school last week to rehearse them on the song for the first time in three years and they were word perfect.”

Slipway consists of Mr Lamb on guitar, Alan Mowatt on vocals and Tony Simpson on keyboards and accordion.

There will be 10 songs on the charity CD which cover a variety of subjects including the reduction of the Arbroath shipping fleet, the Elliot train disaster of 1906, the town’s cliffs and the Arbroath lifeboat disaster in 1953.

Another song details the theft of trawler Girl Jean from Arbroath by 13-year-old John Guthrie in 1950, who was eventually found four days later off the coast of Norway.

Funding for the recording was provided by the Arbroath Improvement Trust and the Arbroath Guildry.

Mr Lamb added: “Fit o’ the Toon is a bit of fun that’s a bit different from the rest of the songs on the album, which are quite serious. It’s got a melody that gets right into your head.

“There is still some final mixing to be done on the CD, but we are hoping to get it finished in a few weeks’ time and 100% of the proceeds from it will be going to charity.”

Fit o’ the Toon (The Smokie Song)

What’ll I hae fur mah tea the necht
I’m feelin’ affa hungry
Ah could eat a muckle great plate o’ mince
But ah’d raither hae a juicy big smokie

Ah’m gaein’ doon tae the Fit o’ The Toon
Tae see mah pal John Swankie
He’ll gie me a smokie fur mah tea
A’ wrappit in a paper hankie
Oh a smokie is an affa fine fish
A’ golden broon and smokey
Cookit richt through ower reed hot chips
But no’ the kind ye buy in a pokie


No these hot chips cam frae a tree
A’ big an’ tall an’ oakie
It’s fine fur shadin’ ye frae the sun
But better for smoking smokies


Smokies are kent the hale warld o’er
Tae the south, west, east and no-arth
Ask fowks whit’s their favourite fish