Brose and Butter

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BROSE AND BUTTER. AKA and see "Peacock Followed the Hen," "Peacock Follows the Hen (The)," "Cuddle Me Cuddy," "Yellow Stockings," "Mad Moll (1)," "Up and Down Again," "Virgin Queen (The)." AKA - "Uilleam 's Caulm's Mòrag" (William and Malcolm and Marion). Scottish, Country Dance Tune (9/8 time). C Major (Davie): D Major (Howe, Kennedy, Kerr, Martin): G Major {Bremner, Gow}. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Davie, Gow, Martin): AABB (Bremner, Kennedy, Kerr). The tune is a member of a very large tune family that also includes "Up with Aley," "Faraway Wedding (1) (The)," "Cummilum," "Ride a Mile," "Hey My Nanny/Nancy," "Honeymoon Jig (2)," "The Dusty Miller," "Kitten (The)," "Jerry Houlihan," "Cudgel (The)," "Drops of Brandy," "Drops of Whiskey," and "Follow Her Over the Border." According to Ford (Song Histories, 1900, pp. 189-190) "Brose and Butter" was a favourite air of Charles II in his exile. Despite the reference to the king (which would date it to the 1640's), John Glen (1891) does not find a printed version until Robert Bremner's 1757 collection. Brose is Scottish dish made with a boiling liquid and meal; "a dish of oat- or pease-meal mixed with boiling water or milk, with salt and butter etc added" (Concise Scots Dictionary). Origins of the term are unclear, although Webster's suggests perhaps it is an alteration of the Scots bruis broth, from Middle English brewes, from Old French broez, nominative singular of broet, diminutive of breu broth (see also note for "Atholl Brose").

There are suggestive lyrics to the melody printed by Herd (1776, vol. II, pp. 203-204):

CHO:
Gi'e my love brose, brose,
Gi'e my love brose and butter;
Gi'e my love brose, brose,
Yestreen he wanted his supper

Jenny sits up in the laft,
Jocky wad fain hae been at her;
There came a wind out of the wast,
Made a' the windows to clatter.

A goose is nae good meat,
A hen is boss within;
In a pye there's muckle deceit,
A pudding it is a good thing.

Poet Robert Burns printed a more-than-suggestive version in his Merry Muses of Caledonia: A Collection of Favourite Scots Songs Ancient and Modern; Selected for Use of the Crochallan Fencibles (1799). His lyric goes:

Jenny sits up i' the laft,
Jockey wad fain a been at her,
But there cam' a wind out o' the west,
Made a' the winnocks to clatter.

O gi'e my love brose, brose,
O gi'e my love brose and butter,
For nane in Carrick wi' him
Can gie a c__t its supper.

The laverock lo'es the grass.
The paitrick lo'es the stibble;
And hey, for the gardiner lad,
To gully awa wi' his dibble.

O gi'e my love, &c.

My daddie sent me to the hill.
To pu' my minnie some heather.
An drive it in your fill,
Ye're welcome to the leather.

O gi'e my love, &c.

The mouse is a merry wee beast,
The moudiewart wants the een;
And o' for a touch o' the thing,
I had in my nieve yestreen.

O gi'e my love, &c.

We a' were four yestreen,
The night shall be its brither,
And hey for a roaring pin.
To nail twa wames thegither.

O gi'e my love, &c.

The melody (which begins on the relative minor chord) is still used as a mess call in Highland regiments. Martin (2002) prints the tune (along with "I Hae a Wife of my Ain" and "Drops of Brandy") as a vehicle for the dance Strip the Willow. See also Francis O'Neill's (1903) version as "Up and Down Again."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Bremner (Scots Reels), c. 1757; p. 32. Davie (Davies Caledonian Repository), Aberdeen, 1829-30; p. 14. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 1), 1799, p. 22. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 73. Hughes (Gems of the Emerald Isle), c. 1860's; No. 58, p. 14 (appears as untitled slip jig). Kennedy (Fiddler's Tune-Book: Slip Jigs and Waltzes), 1999; p. 4, No. 7. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 3), c. 1880's; No. 294, p. 32. Donald MacDonald (A Collection of Piobaireachd), 1822; p. 6. Martin (Traditional Scottish Fiddling), 2002; p. 46.

Recorded sources: Culburnie Records CUL 121D, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas - "Fire and Grace" (2004). Maggie's Music MMCD222, Bonnie Rideout - "Scottish Fire" (2000).




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