More about this song
Burns's version of 'There's three true good fellows' appeared in James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum in 1796. While the chorus of the song is traditional, the verse is thought to be the poet's own.
According to a letter from Burns to Alexander Cunningham in May 1789, the poet turned his hand to this song to honour three of his good friends: Cunningham himself (d. 1812), Robert Cleghorn (d.1798) and William Dunbar (d. 1807).
Burns met all three men while in Edinburgh promoting Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1787) and it is thought that the comrades were all members of the convivial gentleman's club The Crochallan Fencibles, which met at Dawnie Douglas's Tavern in Anchor Close.