Merry Lads of Ayr (The)
X:1 T:Merry Lads of Air M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel B:Robert Bremner - Collection of Scots Reels, Country Dances (1757, p. 15) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:C f|edcA cGGf|edcA f2 (e/f/g)|edcA cGGc|(A/B/c) GE D2C:| |:z|c2 g>a g>ede|c2 ga g2 Tf-e|c/c/c ga gede|f>g a/g/f/e/ d2d:|]
MERRY LADS OF AYR/AIR/AYER. AKA and see "Lads of Ayr/Lads of Air (The)." Scottish, English; Reel. England, Northumberland. D Major (Cole, Howe): C Major (most versions). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Cole, Seatle/Vickers, Surenne): AAB (Alburger, Athole, Gow, Milne): AABB (Bremner, Howe, Riddell). A still-popular reel composed by the amateur fiddle-composer John Riddell of the family of Glencarnock at Ayr (1718-95), who may or may not have been blind from birth. It was first published (without credit to Riddell) by Robert Bremner in 1757 (p. 15), and later appeared in Riddell's c. 1776 A Collection of Scots Reels, Minuets, etc. (p. 10). Emmerson (1971) states that the tune is "obviously a set of a tune, 'The Lads of Ayr,' which appears in the Bodleian MS," and, indeed, a manuscript version predates Bremner's published collection, the aforementioned Bodleian Manuscript by David Young (1740). A version appears in vol. 4 of the mid-19th century music manuscript of Church of Ireland cleric and uilleann piper James Goodman under the title "Ayrshire Lasses (3)."
The Merry Lads of Ayr is also the name of a Scottish country dance, taught by, for one, 'Professor' Blackley of Lanard (1859-1943) mainly in Dumfriesshire (Flett & Flett, 1964). See also note for "Lads of Ayr."