Naked and Bare

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NAKED AND BARE. Scottish, Jig (6/8 time). Scotland, Unst, Shetland Islands. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The title refers to the state of a ship's spars, devoid of rigging. Indeed, the Boys of the Lough recorded it in a medley with "Full Rigged Ship (2) (Da)" (the opposite condition of a sailing ship). It comes from the playing of fiddler John Stickle, Unst, Shetland, great, great grandson of the legendary Friedamman Stickle. He was recorded in the field by collector, composer, dance instructor and musician Pat Shuldham-Shaw in February, 1947. Shaw remarks:

This [tune is] typical of a particular kind of tune in 6/8 found all over Shetland. Some of them were used as Brides' Marches; some may have been used as dance tunes, though in that capacity they have fallen into disuse to-day with the possible exception of the Foula Reel (and except for some keen members of the Shetland Folk Society who use them at ordinary dances for such things as the Boston Two-Step).

It's possible use as a Bride's March does not preclude the bare-spar meaning of the tune, only that it performed duty as a double-entendre. Shaw said that when his source, Stickle, heard the title it always brought a twinkle to his eye, "and he was fond of pointing out that if one was naked, then of course one was bare." Shaw thought "Naked and Bare" might be a distant cousin of "Bonny Dundee (3)."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 91. Pat Shuldham Shaw, "A Shetland Fiddler and His Repertoire: John Stickle 1875-1957", Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, vol. 9, no. 3, Dec. 1963; p. 135.

Recorded sources: Flying Fish 070, Boys of the Lough – "Wish You Were Here" (1978). Greentrax 277, Fiddler's Bid – "Naked and Bare" (2005).

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