My Wife She's Ta'en the Gee (1)
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MY WIFE SHE'S TA'EN THE GEE . AKA - "My Wife has Taken the Gee." Scottish, Air (4/4 time). C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. "Old", notes Nathaniel Gow. The title roughly translates as "My wife is displaying pettishness or temper." It forms the burden of a song called "The Rinaway Bride" (Chambers, The Scottish Songs, 1829):
A laddie and a lassie fair,
Lived in the south countrie;
They hae coost their claes thegither,
And wedded wad they be.
On Tuesday to the bridal feast,
Came fiddlers flocking free-
But hey play up the rinaway bride,
For she has ta'en the gee.
Ritson, in Scottish Songs, vol. 1, p. 90, also printed a song called "My Wife hae ta'en the Gee."
The tune was "Communicated by A.G. Hunter, Esq., of Blackness" (Gow). Alexander Gibson Hunter of Blackness, heir of large estates in Forfarshire, was an intimate of writer Sir Walter Scott. He himself was a writer and became a partner in the Edinburgh publishing house of Archibald Constanble & Co. in 1801. They published the Edinburgh Review, a periodical which published some of the early poems of Scott's. Hunter succeeded to the family estates in 1809, moved into Blackness House, near Dundee, and gave up the publishing business, but not before encouraging Scott to write novels in addition to poetry. John Gibson Lockhart (Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart., 1837) maintains that the publishing partnership dissolved because of "intemperate language" on the part of Hunter, but this has been disputed. Hunter did not survive long as Laird of Blackness, for he died in 1812 at about the age of forty. Hunter was known as "an elegant scholar and an enthusiastic lover of the fine arts. As a musician he excelled." [Notes and Queries, 4th S. IV. OCT. 30/69]. His wife was a cousin named Anne Gibson-Wright, whom he married in 1800. See also "Miss H. Hunter of Blackness," a tune for another member of the family.
There is a musically unrelated song in Johnson's Scots Musical Museum (1797) called "My Wife She's Ta'en the Gee (2)" which employs a similar melody to "Merry May the Maid Be". The Irish melody "Job of Journeywork (1)" is said to be based upon "My Wife She's Ta'en the Gee (2)".
Source for notated version:
Carlin (Gow Collection), 1986; No. 550.
Gow (Fifth Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1809; p. 32.