Low Down in the Broom

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LOW DOWN IN THE BROOM. AKA - "Low in the Broom," "My Love's in the Broom," "Down in the Broom." AKA and see "Red Red Rose (2)." Scottish, Air and Strathspey. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. English and Scottish versions of the song were extent and the same time, making provenance debatable. Early Scottish printings of the song and tune appear in James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion (vol. 7, p. 6, 1760), and in the 1768 (James) Gillespie Manuscript of Perth. Subsequently it appears in several song collections of the latter 18th and early 19th centuries, including the first volume of Johnson's Scots Musical Museum [1] (1787), Calliope (1788, pp. 345-346), Ritson's Scottish Songs (1794, p. 45), and the second volume of David Sime's Edinburgh Musical Miscellany (1793, pp. 228-229).

The Scottish lyric (from Ritson's [2] Scottish Song [3], p. 45) begins:

My daddy is a canker'd carle. .... [i.e. a bad tempered boorish man]
He'll nae twin wi' his gear.
My minny she's a scalding wife,
Hads a' the house a-steer.

But let them say, or let them do,
It's a' ane to me;
For he's low down, he's in the broom,
That's waiting on me:
Waiting on me, my love,
He's waiting on me,
For he's low down, he's in the broom,
That's waiting on me.

In the 19th century F.F. Graham replaced a strathspey called "Major Graham of Inchbrakie" with "Low Down in the Broom" as the vehicle for Robert Burns's lyric "My Love is Like the Red Red Rose (1);" it is the song tune familiar today under that title. Late 18th century uilleann piper O'Farrell also lists the tune's provenance as Scotch in his collection. Joseph Haydn composed a setting of the song as one of his "Scottish Songs".

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Kerr (Merry Melodies), vol. 2; No. 147, p. 17. O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. I), c. 1805; pp. 78-79. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 7), 1760; p. 5. Riley (Flute Melodies, vol. 2), 1817; p. 68.

Recorded sources:

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [4]

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