Well, however it turns out in the end, this project has already taught me a few things. More on that shortly.
First, "Nae Hair On't" is one of The Bluetones' most popular B-sides thanks to both being on the other side of "Slight Return" and being the most simply gorgeous song they've ever recorded. It's by their standards unusually full of space and light, with a soft rhythym backing a progression picked out by a charmingly squeaking acoustic guitar. Adam Devlin's electric is as fanatstic as it always was at this time of their career but a lot more economic, teasing out peals that echo around the song here and there but never really taking the forefront. At one point it rumbles and threatens to take things to a dramatic conclusion but that never quite arrives, everything staying low key and gently reassuring right to the end.
It's reassuring and uplifting despite the phrase repeated most througout being 'it doesn't get any better, alone'. How does that work? Well, it reads to me like advice to someone who is down but isn't really willing to take it (they won't admit to it but 'your eyes will always give you away'), and that is the best way of encouraging them to reach out, adding just a hint of warning about the consequences of not taking the advice of the (beautiful) second verse:
Hang on to your sense of wonder,
Hang on to your gentle grace,
Hold out for a great blue yonder,
You'll find your resting place.
As for what I learned? Well, the typically cryptic song title clearly isn't in any modern English and I vaguely remembered reading about it being Robert Burns related. I decided to look it up to confirm that and see if there were "Keep The Home Fires Burning" style references to an original work in the song. A bit of searching led to finding that, aye, it's the name of one of his poems, and to indications that it was a bit rude.
After finding the whole thing thanks to Aberdeen Music forum, it turns out to have no particularly plausible links to the song, but definitely doesn't disappoint on the rudeness front. Note: I would advise against reading this if you like the song in question and are worried about resultant associations. For me, alas, it is too late.
Yesterday I wed a lady fair,
and you would believe me,
on her cunt there grows no hair,
that's the thing that grieves me,
it vexed me sir, it plagued me sir,
it put me in a passion,
to think that I had wed a wife,
whose cunt was out of fashion.
To quote the first reply on the forum, crikey.
mp3: Nae Hair On't and Nae Hair On't (live)