Miller's Wife o' Blaydon (The)

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MILLER'S WIFE O' BLAYDON, THE. English, Air and Pipe Tune (4/4 time). England, Northumberland. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. "'The Miller's Wife o' Blaydon' is a pipe tune of the later date, probably written about a century ago, when reels began to be fashionable and popular at all assemblies for dancing in the north" (Bruce & Stokoe). The source for the air is Northumbrian musician John Bell's (1783–1864) music manuscript collection [1], dated c. 1812. Matt Seattle compares the tune to "Jemmy's Lost His Wallet," "Mrs. Dundas McQueen" and "Niel Gow's Wife," and says "the tunes are more similar in broad outline than in their details, so the connection may only be coincidence" [2].

The mildy bawdy song [Roud 3167] begins:

The miller's wife o' Blaydon,
The miller's wife o' Blaydon,
Sair she bang'd her ain gudeman
For kissing o' the maiden.
Yet aye the miller sings and swears,
Though kissing he'd had plenty,
For one kiss o' that bonny mouth
He'd freely give up twenty.
The miller's wife, &c. ... ... (Stokoe)

Source for notated version: John Bell's music manuscript collection [Bruce & Stokoe].

Printed sources: Bruce & Stokoe (Northumbrian Minstrelsy), 1882; p. 169. Stokoe & Reay (Songs and Ballads of Northern England), 1892; p. 152.

Recorded sources: Topic 12TS219, Johnny Handle (1972).




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