John Patterson's Mare
Back to John Patterson's Mare
JOHN PATERSON'S MARE (GOES FOREMOST/FOREWORT). AKA and see "Black and the Brown (2) (The)," "Black and the Grey (The)," "Horseman's Port (The)," "Black and the Brown (2) (The)" (Northumberland), "New Market Jig," "Newmarket Horse-Race." Scottish, Jig and Air. F Major (most versions): G Major (Gunn). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. There are several assertions about the provenance of this melody. It is often claimed as Irish, however, it has also been suggested that "John Patterson's Mare" has Ayrshire origins. Paul Roberts [Tradtunes 01/29/2008] believes it may have been a descendant of "Jack Warrel's Hornpipe" from Marsden's volume Lancashire Hornpipes (1705). Marsden's printing is a fiddle version of the tune (with 14 variations!), he points out, but has every appearance of having originally been a bagpipe piece (e.g. the majority of the melody spans the range of the 9 note chanter). Cowdery (1990) finds "John Paterson's Mare" in Highland Piper Donald MacLeod's bagpipe collection (in a 6½ variation set) and is of the opinion that it is a conscious adaptation in jig time of the melody "Cameronian Rant (The)." Other writers have noted that the tune straddles meters, and has been recorded as being known in the form of a reel on the island of Whalsay, in the Shetlands, for example (see "Black and the Brown (The)"). [The 1999 note to the song lyrics at Digital Tradition supplied the following information] Chambers (1862) as described the song as "a rough ballad descriptive of the confused horse-race which used to take place at all country bridals long ago, between the home of the bride's father and that of her husband." The lyrics begin:
The black and the brown
Cam nearest the town,
But Paterson's mare she came foremost;
The dun and the gray
Kept farthest away,
But Paterson's mare she came foremost.
Fy, whip her in, whip her out,
Six shillings in a clout,
O'er the kirk-style and away wi' her!
A previous title for the tune was, according to Hogg, "She's yours, she's yours, she's nae mair ours," who says it was always played at the taking away of the bride. Similarly, Henderson Berwick (1856), 106, indicates it was a bridal tune and gives the lines:
She's yours! She's yours!
She's nae mair ours-
Owre the Kirk-style
And away wi' her!
Highland bagpipers have taken to the tune, found fairly frequently in bagpiper repertoire. Editor James Davie included the melody as the central piece in his "A Highland Battle", a medley of tunes he composed or adapted and arranged in programmatic form, honoring the Scottish hero William Wallace. A similarly-titled melody, "John Peterson's Mare," was in the repertoire of John Stickle (1875–1957) of Lerwick, an influential Shetland fiddler originally from Unst, who was recorded in the field in 1947 by Patrick Shuldham-Shaw. However, Stickle's tune is unrelated to "John Patterson's Mare/Black and the Grey."
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: G.H. Davidson (Davidson's Gems of Scottish Melody), n.d. (c. 1830's); p. 35. Gatherer (Gatherer's Musical Museum), 1987; p. 16. Davie (Davie’s Caledonian Repository)m Aberdeen, 1829-30; p. 2 (appears as part of programmatic medley "A Highland Battle"). William Gunn (The Caledonian Repository of Music Adapted for the Bagpipes), Glasgow, 1848; p. 49. Manson (Hamilton's Universal Tune-Book, vol. 1), 1844; pp. 94–95 (includes a set of variations, at "gallop-time"). Laybourn (Köhler's Violin Repository, vol. 1),1881; p. 82.
See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources