"Border Reiver" as written by and Mark Knopfler....
Southern bound from Glasgow town, she's shining in the sun
My Scotstoun lassie, on the border run
We're whistling down the hillsides and tearing up the climbs
I'm just a thiever, stealing time
In the Border Reiver.

Three hundred thousand on the clock and plenty more to go
Crash, box and lever, she needs the heal and toe
She's not to cold in winter but she cooks me in the heat
I'm a six foot driver but you can adjust the seat
In the Border Reiver

Sure as the sunrise, that's what they say about the Albion
Sure as the sunrise, that's what they say about the Albion
She's an Albion, she's an Albion

The ministry don't worry me my paperwork's alright
They can't touch me, I got my sleep last night
Its knocking out a living wage in nineteen sixty nine
I'm just a thiever, stealing time
In the Border reiver.

Sure as the sunrise, that's what they say about the Albion
Sure as the sunrise, that's what they say about the Albion
She's an Albion, she's an Albion

Lyrics submitted by DogSwede, edited by Metalyrical

"Border Reiver" as written by Mark Knopfler

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Border Reiver song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThis is about a truck driver journeying from Glasgow to the South (probably England)in a lorry called an Albion Reiver (makers name: Albion Motors of Scotstoun) They used to have a 'rising sun' emblem on the grill at the front of the truck, and were known for reliability, the company has long since gone, Mark sings of his paperwork being OK and of having enough sleep, that would have been the 'log sheets' that drivers had to fill out daily telling of their journey details and rest periods etc. this is the only tune I can recall that mentions trucks and trucking, especially British trucks.
    harrigeorgessonon September 17, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My Opinionexcellent catch on the lyric!

    not sure if the six foot driver "can't" or "can" adjust the seat. sounds like MK is streaching out the "n" sound rather than a "t".

    In that stanza, the driver is describing the attributes of his Albion & being able to move the seat back is necessary for a 6 foot driver with a "crash box & lever" that "needs the heel & toe". My 1949 Dodge truck with the unsyncronised gear box needed double clutching & not being able to move the seat closer (I'm not 6 foot) was inconvenient at best.

    walterbyrd: don't believe this trucker has a government job; reference to the Ministry is the regulatory agency for truck drivers. What he is stealing is "time". He's driving fast "whistling down the hillsides & tearing up the climbs", using the heel & toe to shift quickly, to make a decent wage. He may be cheating a bit in his logs about sleep time.

    He loves his truck; he repeatedly stresses that "It's an Albion". Not so much gloating as praising his Scotstoun lassie, sure as the sun rise, it's an Albion!
    thieveron October 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning"Crash box and lever
    - she needs the heel and toe"

    This seems to be a reference to a manual transmission without a synchroniser. Such transmissions require double-clutching to shift gears. The driver pushes on the clutch to shift to neutral, then releases the clutch and immediately depresses it again to shift to the new gear.... hence "she needs the heel and toe."

    Wonderful song! Being in the US I will likely never see an Albion, but will certainly keep an eye out for them.
    redgeckoon January 07, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNone of the commentators thus far have picked up on the true significance of the song title - Border Reiver. The Border reivers were feuding families that lived along the Scottish-English Border causing mayhem for 300 years during the middle ages; a region which neither the Scottish or English thrones had much control over; and so, in the name of survival in an era of lawlessness, turned their focus to thieving from each other; principally cattle! During this time, the border region was known as the debateable lands; perhaps for obvious reasons. And the people that lived there were known as Reivers. Another name for reiver, is raider. They were raiders! So Mark is just playing with a double entendre in referencing a lorry called a reiver whilst setting it in the border region. Very Good Mark. Next!!
    rodavlason January 21, 2015   Link
  • 0
    Memorysuch a beautiful song~ the melody is so enjoyable~ you just wanna dance to it.
    leafverton September 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRetrograde: the truck is the "Reiver", an Albion Reiver. Albion named their truck models to imply toughness. The driver is just a working man trying to make a decent living. Don't think is a bad guy, just a hard worker.
    thieveron October 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaning"Stealing time" when driving is like "making time" and is a euphemism for speeding.
    saethion October 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt must be "But you CAN"T adjust the seat" surely, to make sense..?
    Isambardon August 25, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentShould anyone be interested, this is the Wikipedia page on Albion Motors...and about 3/4 of the way down the page in workman blue, there's a Reiver. :)

    kyfho23on June 17, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about having diarrhea in the back of a tour bus.
    OddLeggedOswldon October 10, 2016   Link

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