Dandy O (1) (The)

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DANDY O [1], THE. AKA - "Brandy O," "Peg of Darby," "Peggy of Darby," "Peggy of Derby," "Peggy Derby," "Pretty Peggy (5)." Irish, English; Air (2/4 time). England; Shropshire, Lincolnshire. D Major (O'Farrell, O'Neill): G Major (Ashman). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Sumner): AABB (Ashman, O'Farrell, O'Neill). The melody was the vehicle for several late 18th and early 19th century songs, including "Pretty Peg of Derby," Thomas Moore's "Evelyn's/Eveleen's Bower," "Bonny Lass of Fyvie (The)," "Chesapeake and the Shannon (The)," and the American "Constitution and the Guerriere," (the latter an American song commemorating a naval engagement if 1812). It was the tune used for a broadside ballad "Dandy (The)" (Later English Broadside Ballads edited by John Holloway and Joan Black, London 1979, vol. 2 p. 274). O'Neill (1915) states his version (presumably taken directly from O'Farrell's collection) bears no resemblance to others of the same name, however, Ashman's printing is clearly cognate if not so elaborate. O'Farrell gives an Irish provenance for the melody. According to Alfred Moffet, the tune was printed by Brysson in his Curious Collection. In America, it appears in Riley's Flute Melodies (1814, p. 43) under the title "Brandy O or Peg of Darby," in an instrumental setting, notes Bruce Olson. Comic words to the tune begin:

Tho' late, as a waiter, I ran up and down,
With bottles, glasses, Claret, Rum and Brandy-O;
Now an officer I'm made, I'll have servants of my own
And be among the ladies quite the dandy-o.

My cravat sticks out like a pigeon's breast,
My hat so smart, my sword so long so handy-o;
Like a sheep's tail at each ear my hair's completely drest,
And crops I'm sure you'll own are quite the dandy-o.

See Bruce Olson's extensive and excellent notes on this song family at the Digital Tradition [1]. They read, in part:

[The song appears earliest]...in a play published in 1785,Two to One, written by George Colman (the younger), and produced the previous year. The music for the play, composed and/or arranged by Dr. Samuel Arnold, was published separately from the play text, but with the play title, on July 5, 1784. The tune is Air V, p. 16, with the title "Peggy of Derby O!". The tune is a vocal arrangement with instrumental introduction and conclusion, and is a setting for Colman's song on "Little Tippet." This song is without title in the play, and without title or tune direction in a songbook, The New Vocal Enchantress, London, 1789, p. 275, but Colman's song was also published with the title "The Dandy O!" in the same year in The Charms of Chearfulness, p. 11, London, again without tune direction. This song, one of Colman's earliest, is not one of his better efforts, even to this tune, as we shall see later.

Source for notated version: a c. 1837-1840 MS by Shropshire musician John Moore [Ashman]; the 1823-26 music mss of papermaker and musician Joshua Gibbons (1778-1871, of Tealby, near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire Wolds) [Sumner].

Printed sources: Ashman (The Ironbridge Hornpipe), 1991; No. 103b, p. 41. O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. IV), 1810; p. 105. O'Neill (O'Neill's Irish Music), 1915; No. 114, p. 64. Sumner (Lincolnshire Collections, vol. 1: The Joshua Gibbons Manuscript), 1997; p. 83 (miss-labelled "A Andy O" in the contents).

Recorded sources: Topic TSCD494, Eliza Carthy - "Rice."

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