Cut Him Down Susie

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X:1 T:Cut him down, Susie, a Strathspey M:C L:1/8 R:Strathspey N:No composer attribution B:John Pringle – A Collection of Reels, Strathspeys & Jigs (1801, p. 17) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D B|A<FDF ~E>FGB|A<FDF A<d~d>B|A<FDF E>FGB|A<Fd>F Add:|| |:A|d>fe>g f>dcA|dfeg f<a~a>f|g>ef>d e>dcA|{Bc}dBAF Add:|]

CUT HIM DOWN SUSIE. AKA - "Cut him down Shusie." AKA and see "Knock Him Down Susie," "Susie (Cut him down)." Scottish, Strathspey. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Glen (1891) finds the earliest printing of the tune in Neil Stewart's 1761 collection (p. 35). Among James Boswell [1] (1740-1795) of Auchinleck's papers at Yale are words to "Cut Him Down Susie" [M350] that he copied (there is no evidence he wrote them, and the collection records only they were copied by him). They go:

Cut him down, Susie:
Haste ye wi' your gully knife -
Ye'se get him for your ain gudeman,
Gin ye contrive to save his life.

Cut him down and tak him hame
And send for folk to dance and sing,
And pit your arms about the neck
That on the gallows tree did hing.

A Mudcat thread [2] gives an interesting speculation that attempts to link the song to Boswell's failed legal defense of a man accused of sheep-stealing, which ended with the prisoner being executed.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Glen (The Glen Collection of Scottish Dance Music), vol. 1, 1891; p. 4. Pringle (A Collection of Reels, Strathspeys & Jigs), 1801; p. 17. Robbins Music Corp. (The Robbins collection of 200 jigs, reels and country dances), New York, 1933; No. 153, p. 49. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 92.

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