Sailor's Wife (1)

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X: 1 % T:New Shields. JJo4.189 T:Sailor's Wife [1],aka. JJo4.189 M:6/4 L:1/4 B:J.Johnson Choice Collection Vol 4, 1748 Z:vmp.Mike Hicken 2014 www.village-music-project.org.uk N:* two repeat signs are shown in the original Q:3/4=100 F:http://www.cpartington.plus.com/Links/Johnson/JohnsonVol4(Jan15).abc K:Dm DEF TE2D |d2ef2g|agfedc|AfdcAF| DEF TE2D |d2ef2g|agfed^c|d3D3 :| |:fgafga|fga Tg2f| ecgecg|ecg Tf2e| fgaagf|efggfe|fgaAd^c|d3D3 "*":|



SAILOR'S WIFE [1]. AKA - "New Shields." AKA and see “Leith County Dance.” Scottish, English; Jig (6/4 and 6/8 time). D Minor (Glen, Gow, Phillips, Songer): E Minor (Kerr, Silberberg). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Gow/Carlin, Silberberg): AABB (Gow/Repository, Kerr, Phillips). It was reportedly popular in Scotland in the early 18th century, however, John Glen (1891) does not find a printed copy (as "Sailor's Wife") until much later, in the latter part of the century in Scottish fiddler-composer Robert Ross's 1780 collection. The tune was in circulation in the first part of the 18th century, albeit under another title, in London publisher John Johnson’s Choice Collection of 200 Favorite Country Dances, vol. 4 (1748, p. 95) and David Rutherford's Rutherford's Compleat Collection of 200 of the Most Celebrated Country Dances (London, c. 1756, p. 82); in both collections it is called "New Shields". The 'Shields' title that is similar to the names of the Tyneside towns of North Shields and South Shields (shield' derives from Middle English schele meaning "temporary sheds or huts used by fishermen"), Northumberland, although the meaning of "New Shields" is unclear. Since Johnson's collection included Scottish as well as English tunes, the provenance of the jig is unknown, and there are no further English printings of the tune under either the "New Shields" or "Sailor's Wife" titles.

The melody has enjoyed a remarkable resilience and is still in circulation in modern times, particularly among Cape Breton musicians. Cape Breton fiddler Winston ‘Scotty’ Fitzgerald recorded "Sailor's Wife [1]" on a 78 RPM recording, paired with “[[Chorus Jig (3)].”

Additional notes

Sources for notated versions: - Kerry Elkin with Tradition Today (New England) [Phillips]; Laurie Andres [Silberberg].

Printed sources : - Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 512. Cranford (Jerry Holland’s Collection), 1995; No. 242, p. 70. Glen (The Glen Collection of Scottish Fiddle Music, vol. 1), 1891; p. 20. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 2), 1802; pp. 32-33. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1780; No. 29, p. 33. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 2), c. 1880’s; No. 296, p. 32. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 2), 1995; p. 378. Ross (Choice Collection of Scots Reels or Country Dances), 1780; p. 24. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 137. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 171.

Recorded sources: - Culburnie Records CUL 121D, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas – “Fire and Grace” (2004). The Pacific Yews - “Fog on the Sound” (1993). Kerry Elkin – “Tradition Today.”

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [2]



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