Cauld Kail in Aberdeen (1)

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X:1 T:Cauld Kail [1] M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Country Dance Tune B:James Aird – Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 5 B:(Glasgow, 1801, No. 126, p. 48) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D D|(F>A)d>B|A>FE>D|FA B/c/d/B/|A2D z/D/|F>Gd>B|GFE>D|FA B/c/d/B/|A2D || A|d>ef>d|e>cBA|d>ef>d|e>cA>A|d>ef>d|ge!fermata!c (e/d/c/B/)|A>Fd>B|A2D||

CAULD KAIL IN ABERDEEN [1]. AKA - "Cauld Kail (2)." Scottish, Song Air (2/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Howe): AABB (Gow). The song (with words adapted by Robert Burns) was included in Johnson's Scots Musical Museum vol. 2 (Edinburgh, 1788, p. 170), but had been published earlier (albeit with a different melody) in Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd (London, 1775, pp. 38-39). David Herd's lyric, from his Ancient and Modern Scots Songs (vol. 2, 1776, p. 205) begins:

The Cald kail of Aberdene
Is warming at Strathbogie
I fear twile tine the heat oer soon
And ne'er fall up the Bogie
The Lasses about Bogingicht
There Leems they are baith dear tight
And if they are but girded right
They'll dance the Reell of Bogie

The late Bruce Olson pointed out the "to dance the Reel of Bogie", like "The Shaking of the Sheets", is a common euphemism, and that the lyric printed in the Scots Musical Museum is a "purified and padded" version. A version of the song has been attributed to the Duke of Gordon, the same Duke who was the patron and source of encouragement to William Marshall (1748-1833), strathspey composer. The Duke's verses were much admired by Robert Burns, who thought them a fine example of Scottish song in the old style. Burns contributed the song to Johnson's Scots Musical Museum (1788, No. 162), and the melody was (according to Scott Douglas) one of the poet's favorites. Burns employed the melody for one of the songs in his collection of bawdy songs, The Merry Muses of Caledonia, published in 1800, after his death. This version is called "Gie the lass her fairin'", directed to be sung to "Cauld Kail in Aberdeen":

O gie the lass her fairin', lad,
O gie the lass her fairin',
An' something else she'll gie to you,
That's waly worth the wearin';
Syne coup her ower amang the creels,
When ye hae taen your brandy,
The mair she bangs the less she squeals,
An' hey for houchmagandie.

The gie the lass a fairin', lad,
O gie the lass her fairin',
And she'll gie you a hairy thing,
An' of it be nae sparin';
But coup her ower amang the creels,
An' bar the door wi' baith your heels,
The mair she bangs the less she squeals,
An' hey for houchmagandie.

An instrumental version of "Cauld Kail" appears in the early 19th century music manuscript collection of Aberdeen piper William Mackie, who played both Great Highland Bagpipe and Scottish small-pipes, but whose collection also appears to have sections for flute and/or fiddle.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 5), 1801; No. 126, p. 48. Carlin (Gow Collection), 1986; No. 21. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 3), 1806; p. 13. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 125. Wilson (Companion to the Ball Room), 1816; p. 56.

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