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Origins: Rigs o' Rye / Two Rigs of Rye

DigiTrad:
RIGS O' RYE


Joe Offer 31 Aug 20 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,henryp 31 Aug 20 - 04:36 PM
The Sandman 31 Aug 20 - 04:43 PM
GUEST,henryp 31 Aug 20 - 05:06 PM
Reinhard 31 Aug 20 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,GuestTF 01 Sep 20 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,ottery 01 Sep 20 - 05:56 AM
Vic Smith 01 Sep 20 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 01 Sep 20 - 07:09 AM
Vic Smith 01 Sep 20 - 08:28 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Sep 20 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,RM 01 Sep 20 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,gillymor 01 Sep 20 - 01:14 PM
Noreen 01 Sep 20 - 06:56 PM
Tattie Bogle 01 Sep 20 - 07:02 PM
Joe Offer 01 Sep 20 - 08:21 PM
Joe Offer 01 Sep 20 - 08:35 PM
Joe Offer 01 Sep 20 - 09:13 PM
Joe Offer 01 Sep 20 - 09:19 PM
Richard Mellish 02 Sep 20 - 05:01 AM
Richard Mellish 02 Sep 20 - 05:15 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Sep 20 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,henryp 02 Sep 20 - 04:44 PM
Joe Offer 02 Sep 20 - 05:35 PM
Waddon Pete 09 Sep 20 - 06:49 AM
Richard Mellish 09 Sep 20 - 08:48 AM
Waddon Pete 09 Sep 20 - 09:38 AM
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Subject: Rigs o' Rye
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Aug 20 - 03:58 PM

Any other versions, background information? Here's the version from the Digital Tradition:

RIGS O' RYE

Twas in the month of sweet July
Before the sun had pierced the sky
'Twas in between two rigs o' rye
I heard two lovers talking.

The lad said, Lassie I must away
I have no longer time to stay
But I've a word or two tae say
If you've got time tae tarry,

Your father of you he takes great care
Your mother combs doon your yellow hair
Your sisters say that ye'll get nae share
If ye gang wi' me, a stranger.

Let my faither fret and my mither frown
My sisters words I do disown
Tho' they were deid and below the ground
I would gang wi' ye, a stranger,

Oh, lassie, lassie, your fortune's small
And maybe it will be nane at all
You're no a match for me at all
Lay your love upon some other,

The lassie's courage began to fail
Her rosy cheeks they grew wan and pale
And her tears came trickling doon like hail
Or a heavy shower in summer,

But he's taken his handkerchief linen fine
He's dried her tears and he's kissed her syne
Saying, Lassie, lassie will ye be mine?
I said it all just to try ye.

This laddie being of courage bold
A bonnie lad scarce nineteen years old
He's ranged the hills and the valleys over
And he's ta'en his lassie wi him.

And aye, this couple are married noo
And they hae bairnies one and two
And they live in Breckin the winter through
And in Montrose in summer.

DT #475
Laws O11

@courtship @Scottish @trick
recored by Sara Grey and by Jean Redpath
filename[ RIGSORYE
TUNE FILE: RIGSORYE
CLICK TO PLAY
SOF


Here's the Traditional Ballad Index Entry:

Two Rigs of Rye [Laws O11]

DESCRIPTION: (The girl tells her lover that her family opposes her marriage.) Uncertain of her dowry, he has doubts about the marriage. When she breaks into tears, he assures her he did not mean it. The two settle down to a long and happy marriage
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1905 (GreigDuncan5)
KEYWORDS: courting dowry marriage
FOUND IN: US(MW) Britain(England,Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Laws O11, "Two Rigs of Rye"
GreigDuncan5 1054, "The Rigs o' Rye" (29 texts, 24 tunes)
Ord, pp. 31-32, "The Rigs of Rye" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gardner/Chickering 58, "Two Rigs of Rye" (1 short text, 1 tune)
DT 475, RIGSORYE*

ST LO11 (Full)
Roud #985
BROADSIDES:
NLScotland, RB.m.143(122), "Twas in the Month of Sweet July," Poet's Box (Dundee), c. 1890
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "There Was a Squire" (tune, per GreigDuncan5)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Rigs of Rye
File: LO11

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2020 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 31 Aug 20 - 04:36 PM

From Mainly Norfolk:

This beautiful Scottish love song has long been popular with thirty-five versions in the Greig-Duncan collection. The earliest record of the song may be a chapbook with the title Ridges of Rye printed in Glasgow by J. & M. Robertson in 1799.

Jane Turriff sang Rigs o' Rye at West Church Hall, Kinross Festival in 1979. This recording by Allan Palmer was included in 1996 on her Springthyme CD Singin Is Ma Life and in 2000 on the EFDSS anthology Everybody Swings. The original album's booklet noted:

Thirty-five versions of Hamish Henderson's favourite Jane Turriff song appear in the Greig-Duncan collection, including this fine verse:

This couple they are married noo,
And they have bairnies one or two,
And live in Brittany the winter through,
And in Montrose in summer.

Jane: “Oh it's a great song, it's a great song. It's ma grandma's song I learned aff o ma Ma.”

Includes the words sung by Jane Turriff, Fred Jordan and June Tabor and lists many more recordings.


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Aug 20 - 04:43 PM

    This couple they are married noo,
    And they have bairnies one or two,
    And live in Brittany the winter through,
    And in Montrose in summer.
brittany must be a mondegreen, ordinary people would not be living in brittany and montrose, more likely brechin and montrose, it is not a fine verse imo, it in effect makes it nonsensical


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 31 Aug 20 - 05:06 PM

I think it may have been a light-hearted remark, Dick.


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: Reinhard
Date: 31 Aug 20 - 05:06 PM

Jane Turriff's album's notes quote Greig/Duncan Volume 5, which is one of two volumes that I don't have, so I can't verify the "Brittany". All recordings I know indeed use "Brechin".


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: GUEST,GuestTF
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 05:23 AM

That'll be Brechin, Angus rather than Brittany.


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: GUEST,ottery
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 05:56 AM

In Jean Redpath's beautiful version, I think she sings "Crieff", but not sure.


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 06:58 AM

Brechin and Montrose were both towns where many Scots Travellers or "Summer Walkers" spent their winters in a "single fleabox room" as Adam MacNaughtan called their winter dwellings. The song also includes the lines:-
We'll bid fareweel tae Brechin
When yellow's on the broom.

Of the recordings of Scots travellers singing that I made, the one of Jane Turriff singing "The Rigs o' Rye" at her house in Gavel Street, Fetterangus in 1971 remains one of my favourites.


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 07:09 AM

I can remember well a lovely session in a Blairgowrie festival pub in 1967 with some travelling folk. I think we had started it, but they came up with some lovely old songs, including this one.

There were a crowd of noisy folk in one corner & one burst into song halfway through 'Rigs of Rye', with 'South Australia' or some such thing.

We told them to be quiet but one said 'see him, Ewan MacColl says he's the best shanty singer in Scotland' - not EM's fault of course, but I've always remembered it-
I asked Pete Shepheard who they were & I'm sure he said they were   Whites (or Whytes?)the whole thing collapsed into shanties after that but- did you ever record them,   Vic?


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 08:28 AM

I recorded Betsy Whyte - great singer.
I remember the first TMSA fest when it moved to Auchtermuchty. I entered the story-telling competition - Hamish was the judge. When I went into the hall, I saw Betsy and the seat next to her was free so I went and sat next to her though I had never talked to her before. When I was called up to tell my story, Betsy said, "So you're Vic Smith; I've always wondered what you look like."
At the end of the competition - after Betsy had been named winner - I went up to congratulate her and she told me she liked the way I told my story. "It was obvious that you learned it from Alex Stewart from the way you told it." I took that as a huge compliment.


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 12:28 PM

Roud 985, Laws O11. Earliest version I have off hand is Robertson, Glasgow 1806, though Batchelar printed a version in London about the same time. Robertson calls it 'The Ridges of Rye.' Dundee Poet's Box just uses the first line as title. It occurs in some American collections and an early oral version is in Christie, of course Ord as well.


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: GUEST,RM
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 12:49 PM

There is a lovely version by Alick Shand on the Kist o Riches site with a different tune and mentioning Forfar rather Brechin.


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 01:14 PM

In tracking down the Niamh Parsons version I found Port Celtic Songs, a Youtube channel with just some great music, songs and singers (including one of my favorites, Eilis Kennedy).

Rigs o' Rye at Port Celtic Songs


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: Noreen
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 06:56 PM

I feel Niamh Parsons learnt it from the wonderful recording by Robin Dransfield, as it is virtually identical.

Even Niamh can't improve on perfection :)


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Subject: RE: Rigs o' Rye
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 07:02 PM

Brechin - it has tae be!


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Subject: ADD Version: The Rigs o' Rye
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 08:21 PM

Here's the version on pp 31-32 of Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads

THE RIGS O' RYE

’Twas in the month o’ sweet July,
Before the sun had pierced the sky;
’Twas in between twa rigs o’ rye
That I heard twa lovers talking.

The lad said, “Love, I must away,
I’ve got no longer time to stay;
But I’ve got a word or two to say,
If ye’ve got time to tarry.

“Your father of you takes great care,
Your mother combs down your yellow hair;
And your sisters say ye will get nae share,
Gin ye gang wi’ me, a stranger.”

“Let my father fret and my mother frown,
My sisters’ Words I do disown;
Though they a’ were deid and below the groun’,
I’d gang wi’ you, a stranger.”

“Oh, lassie, lassie, your fortunes sma’,
And maybe it will be nane ata’;
Yer nae a match for me ava’,
Lay ye yer love on some ither.”

The lassie’s courage began to fail,
Her red, rosy cheeks grew wan and pale,
And her tears cam’ trickling down like hail,
Or a heavy shower in summer.

He took his handkerchief, linen ?ne,
He dried her tears, and he kissed her syne;
Says, “Dry up your tears, love, ye shall be mine,
I said it a’ to try you.”

He, being a boy of courage bold,
A boy that scarce was nineteen years old;
He made the hills and the valleys roar,
And he’s ta’en his bonnie lassie wi’ him.

This couple they’ve got married noo,
And they’ve got bairnies one or two;
And they live in Brechin the winter thro’,
And in Montrose in summer.


This fine old country song appears to have been missed by all the well-known collectors. I sent a copy of it to the late Robert Ford, but by the time it reached him his Vagabond Songs were in the press, so that he could not include it. The music is by Mr. J. B. Allan, organist, Glasgow, who noted it down from the singing of an ex-Aberdeenshire ploughman.


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Subject: ADD Version:Two Rigs of Rye
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 08:35 PM

Here's #58 in Ballads and Songs of Southern Michigan, by Emelyn Elizabeth Gardner and Geraldine Jencks Chickering (1967 Folklore Associates edition, originally published in 1939)

TWO RIGS OF RYE

It between two rigs of rye
. . . . . . . . .
Before the sun ‘had pierced the sky
I heard two lovers talking.

“Your father of you he takes good care;
Your mother combs down your yellow hair.
Your sisters says they'll ne'er do more
If you marry me so slender.”

He took his kerchief of Holland ?ne
And wiped the tears that came trinkling down
Saying, “Dry up those tears, love, for you’ll be mine;
I was only for to try you.”

“Let father fret and let mother scold,
Of my sisters’ Words you need not take hold
For if they were all lying dead and cold,
Along with you I’d wander.”


For a version of nine stanzas which tells the complete story see Ord, pp. 31-32. He says that “this ?ne old country song” was obtained from “an ex-Aberdeenshire ploughman," but he gives no other information. A text of seven stanzas which has lines similar to the Michigan text, but in which the lover rejects his sweetheart, who decides to follow him to “foreign climes," is in Bulletin, I, 8, with the note that “We have no data bearing on the history or distribution of this song.” For a longer text, interestingly similar, see Christie, II, 224—225.
The present version was sung in 1935 by Mrs. Jennie Hunter, Lowell, who learned the song from her mother, Mrs. Agnes Morrison Cheyne, when she was a small child. Mrs. Hunter was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in 1852. of Scotch parents.


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Subject: ADD Version: The Rigs o' Rye
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 09:13 PM

I'm not going to post all 29 versions from Greig-Duncan, but I'll post a few.

Here's #1054 A from The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection, Volume 5 (Mercat Press, University of Aberdeen, 1995)

THE RIGS O' RYE

’Twas in the month o’ sweet July
Before the sun had pierced the sky
’Twas in atween twa rigs o’ rye
I heard twa lovers talking.

They were to be heard, they were to be seen
Twas rigs o’ rye and they lay between
Twa rigs o’ rye and they lay between
And sae gently as they were talking.

He says, “My dear I must away,
I have no longer time to stay
I have just a word or two to say
If you have time to hear them.”

Your father of you takes good care
Your mother combs down your yellow hair
Your sister says you’ll have little share
If you go with me a stranger.

Let father fret and let mother frown
My sister’s words we shall never own
Tho’ they were a’ dead and below the groun’
Awa wi’ you I would wander.

O love, O love, your fortune’s sma
And for mysel’ I hae nane ava
Your love it’s nae for me at a’
Lay your love upon some other.

This fair maid’s courage began to fail
Her rosy cheeks they grew wan and pale
The tears came trickling down like hail
Or a heavy shower in summer.

He’s ta’en oot his napkin 0’ linen fine
He wiped her eyes and he kissed her syne
Says Dry up your tears love ye shall be mine
For I said it a’ to try you.

This couple they’ve got married noo
And they’ve got bairnies one or two
They live in Brechin the winter through
And in Montrose in summer.


Singer: J.W. Spence


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Subject: ADD Version: The Rigs o' Rye
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Sep 20 - 09:19 PM

Here's #1054 B from The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection, Volume 5 (Mercat Press, University of Aberdeen, 1995)

THE RIGS O' RYE

’Twas in the month of sweet July,
Before the sun did pierce the sky,
’Twas in atween twa rigs o’ rye,
I heard twa lovers talking.

He said, “My dear, I must away,
I’ve got no longer time to stay,
But I’ve a word or two to say,
If you’ve got time to hear them.

“Your father takes of you great care,
Your mother combs back your yellow hair
Your sister says you have no share
If you marry me a stranger.”

“Let father fret and mother frown,
And sister’s words I winna own,
Though they were all below the groun’
It’s awa wi’ you I’ll wander.”

He says, “Your tocher is but sma’,
And maybe it is nane ava,
And you’re nae a match for me ava,
Lay your love upon some other.”

The lassie’s courage began to fail,
Her rosy cheeks grew wan and pale,
And the tears came trickling down like hail
Like a heavy shower in summer.

He took a napkin o’ the cambric fine,
He wiped her cheeks and kissed her syne.
“Cheer up your heart, love, ye shall be mine,
I said it a’ to try you.”

This couple they are married noo,
And they have bairnies one or two,
And live in Brittany the winter through,
And in Montrose in summer.



Source: Mrs. Greig


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rigs o' Rye / Two Rigs of Rye
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 02 Sep 20 - 05:01 AM

This is one of those songs that are often sung in what I regard as a bastard mixture of Scots and English; and some of the sets of words upthread are likewise. Putting it entirely into English loses a few of the rhymes (such as "kissed her syne") but IMHO is preferable to the mixture.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rigs o' Rye / Two Rigs of Rye
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 02 Sep 20 - 05:15 AM

I should acknowledge that there is at least one point in this song where a rhyme depends on a Scots/English mixture; the last verse where "two" rhymes with "noo" but "now"/two"/"through" would not rhyme, nor would "noo"/"twa"/"through". So maybe what it really needs is Scots English, i.e. some flavour of the in-between language generally spoken by many Scots. But that is not the same as the bastard mixture that I complain about, which is in an English accent with an occasional Scots pronunciation.

I've a nasty feeling that I'm painting myself into a corner here, so maybe I should stop. :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rigs o' Rye / Two Rigs of Rye
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Sep 20 - 08:54 AM

I agree with you, Richard, but I think most of us would simply leave such a lovely song to the Scots to sing and we can sit back and enjoy. There are plenty of songs in English or our own dialects without ruining someone else's tradition. We were lucky in Hull as we had our own resident Scot, Jock Manuel, to sing to us all of these lovely songs. I could probably sing most of them just from hearing him sing them so often but I wouldn't want to make an arse of myself in doing so.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rigs o' Rye / Two Rigs of Rye
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 02 Sep 20 - 04:44 PM

From Joe Offer above; Here's the version on pp 31-32 of Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads

Again from Mainly Norfolk. Thank you, Reinhard.

A recording of Fred Jordan singing The Rigs of Rye made by Dave Bryant in 1978 or 1979 was included on his Veteran anthology A Shropshire Lad. Mike Yates noted:

It is not surprising that Fred should have picked up this fine Scottish song, which he probably first heard in a folk club or festival. At one time it must have been extremely well-known throughout Scotland, with Gavin Greig collecting at least 35 sets. John Ord, who included the song in his 1930 collection of Bothy Songs and Ballads, was clearly unaware of Greig's work when he wrote, “This fine old country song appears to have been missed by all the well-known collectors.” A chapbook version, dated 1806 and titled The Ridges of Rye, is housed in the Glasgow University Library.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rigs o' Rye / Two Rigs of Rye
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Sep 20 - 05:35 PM

Is that Mudcat's late Dave Bryant who recorded Fred Jordan?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rigs o' Rye / Two Rigs of Rye
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 09 Sep 20 - 06:49 AM

Joe asked me to post the lyrics of my version of Rigs of Rye that I sang at the Mudcat Singaround. I give no apology for these words as I learned them from a very good friend by osmosis! He used to sing the song regularly and when he died I found that the words were all there without the need to sit down and learn them. When you take part in sessions with the same friends for 20 years or so, such things can happen!

Rigs of Rye

‘Twas in the month of sweet July, just as the sun had tipped the sky
That I sat between two rigs of rye and heard two lovers talking.

The young man said, “Love, I must away. I fear I can no longer stay.
But there’s some words that I must say if you’ve the time to tarry.”

“Your father of you he takes great care. Your mother combs down your golden hair, but your sister says you’ll get no share if you go with me, a stranger.”

“Oh, let my father fret and my mother grieve, my sister’s words I do disown.
If they were dead, lying in their graves, I’d still go with you, a stranger.”

“Ah, but lassie, lassie your fortune’s small and soon it will be none at all
I fear you are no match for me. I think I’ll seek for another.”

Then the lassie’s courage began to fail, her features they grew wan and pale
And her tears came trinkling down like hail, or a sudden storm in the summer.

Then he’s taken his handkerchief of linen fine and he’s kissed her then and he’s wiped her eyes, saying lassie, lassie I will be thine! I only said that to try you!

Then this young man of courage bold, he being just 19 years of age
He’s made the mountains and valleys ring and they’ve gone away together.

This couple they are married now and they have babies one and two.
They live in Brechin the winter long and Montrose in the summer.

‘Twas in the month of sweet July, Just as the sun had tipped the sky,
That I sat between to rigs of rye and heard to lovers talking.

RIP Dave


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rigs o' Rye / Two Rigs of Rye
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Sep 20 - 08:48 AM

WP/Dave's version is a pretty decent rendering into pure English, accepting the sacrifice of a few rhymes. Fair enough! There is one odd exception though, "trinkling" where standard English would have "trickling". Then again, when did hail either trickle or trinkle?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rigs o' Rye / Two Rigs of Rye
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 09 Sep 20 - 09:38 AM

Dave was always fascinated by the word "trinkling". It was what attracted him to that version of the song. I think hail trinkles if it lands on a tin roof! It's an onomatopoeic word....


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