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Sandy Paton Origins: Old Maid In the Garrett -- Recorded By? (54* d) RE: Old Maid In the Garrett -- Recorded By? 01 Jul 06

No, guest Hootenanny. I learned it from Lizzie Higgins and her mother, Jeannie Robertson. My wife and I stayed with them in Aberdeen for a week in September, 1958. We had planned to camp outside of town, but Jeannie wouldn't hear of it. So we spread our sleeping bags out in the front room of their tiny house. In the mornings, Isaac, Donald Higgins' brother (Donald was Jeannie's husband, Lizzie's father), would bring us tea and scones, served to us "in bed." Every evening we sang, and sang, and then sang some more when neighbors dropped in to share the music. Jeannie kept asking me to sing the Virginia version of Mattie Groves that I had learned from Paul Clayton. Later, I heard two English singers singing that melody, with a good Scottish text worked out for it, and read that they had learned it from Jeannie.
    Lizzie informed us that the REAL way to end "The Auld Maid in a Garret" was "I'll dee an auld maid in a garret. Wi' a carrot." Polite singers sang, "wi' a parrot," as did I when I recorded it for Elektra in 1959. I figured that was the wiser course, since I was earning my family's living by doing school assembly programs at that time, and felt some school authorities might object to hiring a singer of such bawdy material.

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