High Road to Linton

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X:1 T:Highway to Linton, The M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel B:Archibald Duff – Collection of Strathspey Reels &c. (1794, p. 28) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:A ceef a2 ae|(fe).f.g a2 ae|(ce).e.f a2 ae|face {c}TB2A2:| |:(ce).e=.g fddf|(ec).c.e (fB).B.d|(ce).e=.g (fd).d.f|(ec).a.c TB2A2:|]



HIGH ROAD TO LINTON (An Bóthar Mór go Linton). AKA and see "Cuddle in a Boasie" (Shetland), "High Road to Lynn," "High Way to Linton," "Highway to Linton," "Jenny's Gone to Linton," "Kitty Got a Clinking Coming from the Races (2)," "Kitty in the Lane (5)," "Leinster Highroad (The)," "Quadrille des bûcherons: 1e figure," "Trip to Cartmel," "Uncle Hugh's." Scottish, Shetland, Irish, English, Canadian; Reel or Fling. Canada; Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton. Scotland, Lowlands. England, Northumberland. A Major (Breathnach, Cranitch, Lowe): A Major/Mixolydian (Perlman, Songer, Surenne): A Mixolydian (Mallinson). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Breathnach, Cranitch, Surenne): ABB (Gow, Carlin): AABB (Athole, Gow/Repository, S. Johnson, Honeyman, Hunter, Kerr, Lowe, Neil, Skye, Williamson): AABBCC (Mallinson): AABBCCDD (Martin, Perlman, Songer). Linton is a small town in the Borders region of Scotland and England, strategically located in the center of lowland Scotland. It was a major hub for the old drove-road network that fed Highland cattle to the lucrative English markets, and was as much a "cattle town" as any in the American wild west. Despite recent assertions that the title is a corruption of "The High Road to London," Several think (Gordon Mooney, Stuart Eydmann) that the Linton title is correct and that the 'high road' refers to an old drove road (also known as "The Thieves Road" due to the numerous reivers and bandits which often plagued those who travelled it). This road crossed the Pentlands from West Linton to the Catslacksburn, and was at one time the main route for cattle droving from the Scottish Highlands through the Borders to the English markets. The introduction of the improved "Linton" breed of sheep from the border uplands to the Highlands helped hasten the end of the cattle trade and was a factor which led to the infamous Highland clearances. The October, 1999, issue of the Scottish periodical Box and Fiddle (the magazine of the National Association of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs) printed a piece about the Dickson family of West Linton, residents of the town since the mid-18th century with quite a few musician members since the 19th century. Dickson family lore has it that "High Road to Linton" was composed by a James Dickson (1827–1908), under the title "Ower the Garle" (the Garle was the road from Medwynbank/Garvald to West Linton). However, there are (two-part) versions of the tune older than Dickson's dates; one of which is in Robert Mackintosh's A Third Book of Sixty-Eight New Reels and Strathspeys. Also above forty old Famous Reels (Ediburgh, 1796), under the "High Road to Linton" title, while another printing is in McGlashan's 1798 collection.

The melody is known as a (Scottish) Lowlands tune, despite the fact that Gaelic words are sometimes sung to it (see below). The title appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), which he published c. 1800. English titles include "Jenny's Gone to Linton," and, in Norfolk, "The High Road to Lynn." Neil (1991) notes there are several versions of the tune extent. The reel (under the title "Kitty in the Lane (5)") is attributed to the mysterious "W.J." in publisher James Alexander's Alexander's 50 New Scotch & Irish Reels & Hornpipes (c. 1826). "W.J." is credited with a half-dozen tunes in the volume which was edited by a "professional musician," who is presumably "W.J." himself. Perlman (1996) remarks that the first and second strains of "High Road to Linton" appear in older Scottish publications, but that the third and fourth are from modern Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, playing. The 'C' and 'D' parts are frequently attributed to the late Scottish dance bandleader and piano accordion player Bobby MacLeod of Tobermory, who, in fact, added four parts to follow the original two, although only his 'C' and 'F' parts were absorbed into tradition. Nigel Gatherer points out that MacLeod himself (in his book Selections of Country Dance Tunes, 1957) did not definitively claim them as his own, remarking only "Traditional, with some variations...collected from Calum Iain Campbell, Benbecula."

There are several sets of Gaelic words to the tune, one from Scotland which begins "Bodachan a mhill Anna" (which can be found in Margaret Fay Shaw's South Uist collection) and another found in both Scotland and Cape Breton which commences "Bodachan a'Mhirein." A third set is from the Isle of Lewis and goes:

Domhnull beag an t-siúcair, an t-siúcair, an t-siúcair
Domhnull beag an t-siúcair, is dúil aige pósadh
Cha ghabh a' chlann-nighean e, chlann-nighean e, chlann-nighean e
Cha ghabh a' chlann-nighean e, bho nach 'eil e boidheach

An Irish adaptation of the tune goes under the title "Kitty Got a Clinking Coming from the Races." A version of "High Road to Linton" (with the first two parts reversed) is in the book Hidden Fermanagh, from the playing of John McManus, under the title "Uncle Hugh's." See also Montreal fiddler J.O. LaMadeleine's variant "Quadrille des bûcherons: 1e figure," recorded in 1928.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - fiddler Paddy Glackin (Ireland) [Breathnach]; Paul MacDonald (b. 1974, Charlottetown, Queens County, Prince Edward Island) [Perlman]; David Reich (Madras, Oregon) [Songer]; Robert Mackintosh's 1796 collection [Johnson].

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 8, p. 3. Breathnach (CRÉ III), 1985; No. 166, p. 76. Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 482. Cranitch (Irish Fiddle Book), 1996; No. 62, p. 149. Archibald Duff (Collection of Strathspey Reels &c.), 1794; p. 28. Gow (Complete Repository), Part 2, 1802; p. 24. Honeyman (Strathspey, Reel and Hornpipe Tutor), 1898; p. 19. Hunter (The Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 234. S. Johnson (A Twenty Year Anniversary Collection), 2003; p. 18. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1); Set 8, No. 4, p. 7. Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 3), 1844–1845; p. 2. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 22. Mallinson (100 Enduring), 1995; No. 10, p. 4. Martin (Ceol na Fidhle, vol. 1), 1991; p. 45. Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 17, p. 23. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 97. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 96. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 33. Surenne (Dance Music of Scotland), 1852; p. 10. Williamson (English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish Fiddle Tunes), 1976; p. 51.

Recorded sources : - CCF2, Cape Cod Fiddlers – "Concert Collection II" (1999). Culburnie COL 113D, Aladair Fraser & Tony McManus – "Return to Kintail" (1999). Gael-Linn Records CEF 018, Paddy Glackin – "Ceol ar an bhFidil" (1977). Gael-Linn CEF060, "Paddy Glackin." Greentrax CDTRAX 9009, Andrew Poleson (Whalsey, Shetland) – "Scottish Tradition 9: The Fiddler and his Art" (1993). Temple Records 2044, "Fiddlers 5: Fiddle Music from Scotland" (1991). Fife Strathspey and Reel Society – "The Fiddle Sounds of Fife" (1980). Ron Gonnella – "Scottish Violin Music" (1966). "The Caledonian Companion" (1975).

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [3]



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