Mudcat Café message #577169 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #40279   Message #577169
Posted By: GUEST,Mars Burnside
22-Oct-01 - 12:09 AM
Thread Name: Help: American songs from Scotland?
Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
Becky (Desert Dancer),

You are right; I am looking for songs with Scotch roots, not just British Isles or European. These will, after all, be performed for the Southern Arizona Scottish Society's winter concert in between sets of bagpipe tunes, highland dancing, and Scottish Country Dancing. For the most part we will probably just do the American versions and simply tell people that the songs have Scottish roots. However, if we can pull together material that shows how the song evolved as it crossed the "pond" I think that we be good too. We don't' really need all that much, as we will only be a small part of the program.

Of the stuff that has come in, I think we can use Turkey in the Straw, Froggie Went a Courting, I gave my Love a Cherry, and if Samuel Pepys, heard it in Scotland in the 1600s, we should be able to use "Barbara Allen". I am not familiar with Dumbarton's Drums, but I will bring it up to the others and see what they know. I would love to use Streets of Laredo, but although I have a Scottish version of the Unfortunate Rake from which it derives, the Unfortunate Rake appears to be older, the oldest version being a fragment from County Cork, Ireland from1790.

(Anyone who is interested in evolution of Streets of Laredo should get a hold of Folkways FA 3805, The Unfortunate Rake, which was originally published as a very full two sided LP with excellent liner notes with different variations of the song. Some versions are in a minor key, some in a major key, some about young men, others about women. The early ones deal with death from sexually transmitted disease. The American version, Streets of Laredo, of course, cleans this up to a wholesome death by gunshot. I originally taped this from a record in the Berkeley Public Library in the early 70's. More recently I was able to get a copy on a CD-R from the Smithsonian. They do have it, although I don't know if it is listed in their catalog.)

No, Becky, a lot of people don't know where Auld Lang Syne comes from, and Guest Boab is right. Much of Burns stuff was collected, not original. His intent was to collect, starting with songs he learned from his mother. When he couldn't find a whole song, he added to it or modified it as he saw fit. The idea of collecting the stuff was kind of new, much less preserving it without modifications. Lucky for us he did collect these songs. We will be performing a number of them for the annual Burn's Dinner here in Tucson on Burns' birthday. I find these events kind of futsy, but I love the music.

Mars