Because He was a Bonny Lad

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X:1 T:Because I was a bonny Lad M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel B:David Young – Drummond Castle/Duke of Perth Manuscript (1734, No. 34) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Amix e|Tc>Baa faef|TcAec B/B/B Be|Tc>Baa faef|TcAec A/A/A A:| |:e|Tc>BAc defd|TcAec B/B/B Be|Tc>BAc defg|a/^g/f/e/ ac A/A/A A:|]



Peacocks Tune book cover
BECAUSE HE/I WAS A BONNIE/BONNY LAD (she bid him aye come back). AKA and see: Because I was a Bonny Lad, Boney Lads, Boney Lad, Bonny Lads, Jack's Favourwright (2), Jack's Favorite (2), Gin I was a Bonny Lad, Bonnie Lad (The), Bonny Lad (1), Highland Ladies Fishing, Sandy's Scotch Reel

A popular country dance dating back to at least 1752, according to Alburger (1983), when fiddler and dancing master John McGill of Girvan wrote down the instructions for his pupils. Glen finds its earliest appearance in print in Robert Bremner's 1757 collection (p. 14), in which year it also appeared in London publishers Charles and Samuel Thompson's first country dance collection (London, 1757). The tune appears, however, in the somewhat earlier Drummond Castle Manuscript, inscribed "A Collection of Country Dances written for the use of his Grace the Duke of Perth by David Young, 1734." Dancing master and musician Young's MS was in the possession of the Earl of Ancaster at Drummond Castle in the early 1970's, and hence its present-day title. Nearly simultaneously, the melody was printed in London by John Walsh in his Third Book of the Compleat Country Dancing Master (1735). John Oswald included it in his Caledonian Pocket Companion (London, 1760). It retained its popularity through that century and into the next, for the title appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes, which he wrote c. 1800, and is a core tune in Northumbrian piping repertory. The tune, attached to an alternate second strains, turns up in southwestern Pa. as 1) a fife tune (4/4 time) in the repertory of Hiram Horner (1944) who had the tune from a Scottish fifer, and known simply as "Old Bagpipe Air" [Bayard, 1981; No. 252, p. 216], and 2) as a jig called Nancy Fat <div class="mw-ext-score" data-midi="/w/images/lilypond/l/8/l84k2lwpzruwyh0imih4q03yjas1jr7/l84k2lwp.midi"><img src="/w/images/lilypond/l/8/l84k2lwpzruwyh0imih4q03yjas1jr7/l84k2lwp.png" width="465" height="52" alt=" X:1 M:6/8 L:1/8 K:G Bcd G2G|gfg dcB|BdB G2G|A3 A2z| "/></div> played by fifers in Greene County, Pa., and by one "crippled Jack Anderson" in particular [Bayard, 1981; No. 566, p. 503]. A reel setting of the melody appears in the large mid-19th century music manuscript collection of County Cork cleric and uilleann piper Canon James Goodman under the title "Bonny Lads" (vol. 3, p. 107). See also Highland Ladies Fishing <div class="mw-ext-score" data-midi="/w/images/lilypond/6/p/6p0dsd25t47hai3mow043kkluv605g3/6p0dsd25.midi"><img src="/w/images/lilypond/6/p/6p0dsd25t47hai3mow043kkluv605g3/6p0dsd25.png" width="697" height="52" alt=" X:1 M:C L:1/8 K:Amix e/d/|cBAe gaec|dfec BBBd|cBAe gaec|dfec AAA:| "/></div> , a version of the tune from Glasgow piper, pipe teacher and pipe-maker William Gunn from his Caledonian Repository of Music Adapted for the Bagpipe (1848).

County Leitrim fiddler and piper Stephen Grier's "Peggy Reilly" is cognate in the first strain with "Because He was a Bonny Lad."


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. II), 1785; No. 122, p. 45. Aird ('Selcetion of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 64, p. 26. Bremner (A Collection of Scots Reels), 1757; p. 14. Bruce & Stokoe (Northumbrian Minstrelsy), 1882; p. 155. Cocks (Tutor for the Northumbrian Half-Long Bagpipes), 1925; No. 9, p. 9. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 46. Gow (Complete Collection, Part 1), 1799; p. 23. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 118. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 2), c. 1880's; No. 10, p. 4. J. Kenyon Lees (Balmoral Reel Book), Glasgow, 1910; p. 11. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 9. McGlashan (A Collection of Reels), 1786; p. 44. Northumbrian Pipers' Tunebook, 1985; p. 10. O'Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922; No. 225. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 183. William Ross (Ross's Collection of Pipe Music), 1869; No. 169, p. 117. Skinner (Harp & Claymore), 1904; p. 92. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 13. Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1), 1757; No. 169. David Young (Drummond Castle/Duke of Perth Manuscript), 1734; No. 34. William Wright (A Favorite Collection of Tune with Variations Adapted for the Northumberland Small Pipes, Violin or Flute) First time printed at his music shop, High Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne - c. 1800 - 1805.

Recorded sources : - Rounder 7011, "The Beatons of Mabou: Scottish Violin Music from Cape Breton" (1978). Folkways Records, SFW CD 40507, The Beaton Family of Mabou - "Cape Breton Fiddle and Piano Music" (2004).

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]



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