Ale Wife and Her Barrel (The)

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X:1 T:Ale Wife and her Barrel, The M:C| L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Slow" B:Oswald – Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 8 (1760, p. 22) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G G3A G2B2|TA2G2 TA2 (GE)|d2G2G2B2|A2B2d4| e2G2G2B2|TA2G2TA2 (GE)|g2e2Td2B2|A2B2d4:| |:g2e2Te2d2|g2e2Te2 (dB)|d3e (ge)(dB)|A2B2e4| g2e2Te2d2|gaba gedB|d3e d2B2|A2B2d4:| |:G2g2G2b2|GFGB (AF) D2|GFGA BGAB|cABc d4| efge dfgB|cBAG TA2 (GE)|d3e gedB|A2B2d4:| |:g2e2 Te2d2|Bdge Te2d2|g2 (ba) gedB|A2B2e4| g2 (bg) e2 (gd)|B2 (gB) TA2 (GE)|d3e gedB|A2B2d4:| |:G2 Bd g2 BG|cABG TA2 (GE)|GBdg B2 ga|{ga}b2 ag Te4| d2 gB c2 ac|BdgB TA2 (GE)|g2 (eg) dBT(AG)|A2B2d4:| |:G2.g2.g2.g2|gdBG dA FD|G2 gd BG b2|agfe d3d| eg(ag) dg(ag)|caBg TA2 GE|gbaf gdBG|D2F2 G4:| |:g2 (b/a/g) Te2d2|g2 (b/a/g) d2B2|(cd)(ef) (ge)(dB)|A2B2 {B}e4| G2 bG F2aF|E2gE Dgfa|(gb)(eg) (de)(Bd)|D2TF2G4:| |:gaba (ge) d2|(eg)(ed) TB3c|dBgB dBgB|bagf e3f| g2 bd e2gB|cABG TA2 GE|b3a gdBG|d2D2G4:| |:G2g2 bgdB|gdBG d2D2|G2 AB cdef|gabc' d'4| d2 (b/a/d') c'2 (a/b/c')|b2 (g/a/b) a2d2|e3g dBT(AG)|D2F2G4:| |:G2 (G/B/d) G2 (G/c/e)|G2 (G/B/d) D2 (D/F/A)|G2 (G/B/d)A2 (bg)|fed^c d4| e2 (g/d/B) c2 (a/c/A)|B2 (g/B/G) A2D2|g2 (eg) dBTAG|D2TF2G4:| M:6/8 L:1/8 "Brisk"GBc def|gbd egB|ceA BdG|FdB AFD| GBc def|gfe bag|fed ^cde|A^ce d2:| |:def gdB|cfg acA|Bgf edc|BAG FED| GBc def|gbd (e/f/g)B|(c/d/e)A BdG|DFA G2:|]



ALE WIFE AND HER BARREL, THE. Scottish, Air & Country Dance. G Major: A Mixoldyian (McLachlan). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB' (Aird): AABB' (McLachlan). The melody appears in James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion (1760) and Neil Stewart's 1761 collection (p. 52). The title is also that of a country dance taught in a country dancing school as mentioned by MacTaggart in The Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia (1824).

Alewife.jpg

Several British musicians' manuscripts contain the tune, including those of H.S.J. Jackson (1823, Wyresdale, Lancashire) and John Fife (c. 1780, Perth, Scotland), and it appears in the Durham manuscript under the title "Lord Lovell's Reel." A similar title, "O the Ale Wife with Her Barrel Still Makes Me Uneasy" appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), published c. 1800. Multi-instrumentalist John Rook of Waverton, Cumbria, entered the tune (as "Auld-wife & her barrel") in his large 1840 music manuscript collection.

"The Ale Wife and Her Barrel" is the name of a song about a wife at once industrious and dissipated, printed in several 19th century anthologies. The brewing of ale was done by women, who afterwards retailed the product, occasionally sampling their own wares over-much (the bartender's temptation). The song (as given by Peter Buchan in his manuscript Songs of the North of Scotland) begins:

My mind is vex'd and sair perplex'd,
I'll tell you all that grieves me,
A drunken wife I hae at hame,
Her noisome din aye deaves me.

Chorus:
The ale-wife, the drunken wife,
The ale wife, she greives me;
My wifie and her barrellie,
They'll ruin me and deave me.

She takes her barrel on her back,
Her pint-stoup in her hand,
And she is to the market gane,
For to set up a stand.

The air employed for the song by William Christie in his Traditional Ballad Airs, vol. 1 (1876) goes:

X:1
T:Ale Wife and Her Barrel, The
M:2/4
L:1/8
R:Air
B:William Christie - Traditional Ballad Airs, vol. 1''' (1876, p. 190)
Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion
K:D
(dB)|AD {E}D(C/D/)|{DE}FE ~E (F/G/)|{F}AD D(F/A/)|B2 B(d/B/)|
AD {E}D(C/D/)|{DE}FE E(F/G/)|A>B (B/A/)(G/F/)|{F}A2 A||
(B/c/)|(dB) B(A/B/)|dB B(e>c)|{c}(dB) (=c/B/)(A/B/)|=c2 ~ce|
d>B (d/B/)(A/F/)|A(A/B/) d>A|B(d/B/) {B}AF|{F}A2 A||



Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. II), 1785; No. 72, p. 27. Callaghan (Hardcore English), 2007; p. 28. McLachlan (The Piper's Assistant), 1854; No. 37, p. 21. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 8), 1760; p. 22.

Recorded sources: -

See also listing at:
The Ballad Index [1]



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