Cameron's Got His Wife Again

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X:1 T:Cameron has got his Wife again M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel B:Robert Bremener - A Collection of Scots Reels or Country Dances (London, 1757, p. 4) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G B|dABF AA/A/ AB|dABF E/E/E Ee|dABF AA/A/ T(f>e)|dBAF DD/D/ D:| |:g|fdaf e(gTfe)|fdfa BB/B/ Bg|fdaf e(gTfe)|dBAF D/D/D D:|]

CAMERON'S GOT HIS WIFE AGAIN (Broigas Fada air Maighistir Ord). AKA – Cameron Has Got His Wife Again," "Campbel [sic] Has Got His Wife Again." Scottish (originally), Cape Breton; Reel and Strathspey. D Major (most versions): D Mixolydian (Bremner). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Howe, Surenne): AAB (Balmoral, Carlin, Cranford/Holland, Gow, Honeyman, Hunter, Kerr, Lowe): AABB (Bremner, Jones): AABB' (Athole, Skye). A popular and well-known Scottish reel in both strathspey and reel variants. The title may refer, somewhat crudely, to Cameron's wife's pregnancy. Mary Ann and William Hastings Hughes, in their book Letters and Recollections of Sir Walter Scott (1904), record the following in regard to the rather indelicate title and the prudish King George:

...after dinner one day while (Gen?) was playing in the adjoining room, the King was particularly pleased with an air and sent the Duke of Buccleugh to inquire the name: the boy came running back, and Sir Walter (Scott) who knew what was coming longed to intercept him, but there was no help—"Sir, the air is, Cameron has got his wife again"—everybody felt awkwardly, but the King instantly relieved them by smiling, and pretending to shudder and saying, "Oh! that is too much for me, you will send me off from you." (p. 63).

Robert Burns suggested "Cameron's got his wife again" or "Ruffian's Rant" as the air to a bawdy old Scots countryside song, adapted for The Merry Muses of Caledonia (c. 1800), called "Yon, Yon, Yon, Lassie":

I never saw a silken gown, But I wad kiss the sleeve o't; I never met a maidenhead, But I wad spear the leave ot'. O yon, yon, yon, lassie, Yon, yon, yon; I never met a bonnie lass But what wad play at yon.

John Glen (1891) finds the tune earliest in print in Robert Bremner's 1757 Scots Reels or Country Dances (p. 4), while another early version appears in the 1769 Gillespie Manuscript. It also was included in Northumbrian musician William Vickers' 1770 music manuscript book. Later the tune appears in James Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (vol. 4, 1796) and in Wilson's Companion to the Ballroom (1816). Glen (Early Scottish Melodies, 1900) gives that the tune is the air to the song "Have You any Pots or Pans?" and the original air to "Clout the Caldron" (although not the "Clout the Caldron (2)" that Johnson prints in the Scots Musical Museum). In Ireland the tune is played as a fling or Highland, and as a polka ("Gullane Polka (2)"). It has often been played in sessions in West Donegal.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Browne Family music manuscripts (c. 1825, Lake District, Cumbria) [Offord].

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 180, p. 68. Bremner (Scots Reels), 1757; p. 4 (appears as "Cameron has got his Wife again"). Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 238 {listed as a reel}. Cranford (Jerry Holland: The Second Collection), 2000; No. 92, p. 37. Feldman & O'Doherty (The Northern Fiddler), 1979; p. 108 (untitled tune at bottom of page). Gow (Third Collection of Niel Gow's Reels), 1792; p. 17 (3rd ed.). Honeyman (Strathspey, Reel and Hornpipe Tutor), 1898; p. 10. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 127. Hunter (The Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 93. Jones [Ed.] (Complete Tutor Violin), c. 1815; p. 3. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; Set 14, No. 5, p. 10. J. Kenyon Lees (Balmoral Reel Book), c. 1910; p. 10. Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 1), 1844–1845; p. 8. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 45. John Offord (Bonny Cumberland), 2018; p. 16. Preston (Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1799), 1799 (appears as "Campbel Has Got His Wife Again"). Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 84. Surenne (Dance Music of Scotland), 1852; pp. 122–123 (appears as "Cameron's Wife"). Wilson (A Companion to the Ballroom), 1816; p. 36.

Recorded sources : - Fife Strathspey and Reel Society – "The Fiddle Sounds of Fife" (1980). Parlophone GEP8735, Jimmy Shand – "Waltzing Thru' Scotland." Topic TSCD 602, The Four Provinces Orchestra – "Irish Dance Music" (1995. Appears as "Cameron's Wife," and is a reissue of the original 1928 recording).

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]

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