There's nae luck aboot the hoose (2)

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X:1 T:There’s nae luck about the House [2] M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Country Dance B:Aird – Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4 (1796, No. 51, p. 19) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D B|dBAF|G<GGB|dBAF |E2 zB|dBAF|GGGB| A>GFE|D3B|dBAF|G>GGB|dBAF|E3B| dBAF|G>ABd|A>GFE|D2 DE|F2 FD|G>FGE| F2 FD|E2 zA|F>FFD|G>GGB|AGFE|D3||



THERE'S NAE LUCK ABOOT THE HOOSE [2]. AKA and see "Up and Waur Them A' Willie (1)," "Washing Day (1) (The).” Scottish, English; Air, Reel or Fling. England, Northumberland. D Major (Aird, Gow, O’Farrell): G Major (Barnes, Dixon): A Major (Harding). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Gow): AABB (Barnes, Harding): ABCD (O’Farrell): AABBCCDDEEFFGG’HHIIJJKKLLMMNN (Dixon). Dixon (1995) prints numerous variation sets by Northumbrian musician, teacher, composer, dancing master and fiddler Robert Whinham (1814-1893), originally from Morpeth. The author notes that the tune is a well-known one in the North of England, and that many musicians have composed variation sets to it. The melody, set as a song with words, appears in the music copybook of Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery’s invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Québec from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly’s dancing season of 1774-1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York.

The widow of William Julius Mickle (1735-1788) claimed that he was the author of the words, but a stronger claim is made for Scottish poet Jean Adam, who ran a school at her home in Greenock until 1751. One of her pupils, Mrs. Fullerton, recalled that she often heard Adam recite the words and asserted that she had written them. They were first published in 1776 under the title “The Mariner’s Wife.” It was easily adapted by those with lingering Jacobite sympathies with the line “Since Charlie’s gone awa” being substituted for the last line in the verse below. Mickle's or Adam's song begins:

And are ye sure the news is true?
And are ye sure he’s weel?
Is this a time to think o’ wark?
Mak haste, lay by your wheel;
Is this the time to spin a thread
When Colin’s at the door?
Reach me my cloak, I’ll to the quay
And see him come ashore.
For there’s nae luck about the house,
There’s nae luck at a’,
There’s little pleasure in the house
When our gudeman’s awa.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - S.P. Liddell’s manuscript, dated 1879 (the tune bears the date Feb. 16th, 1880, in the MS.) [Dixon].

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs vol. 4), 1796; No. 51, p. 19. Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 129. Dixon (Remember Me), 1995; pp. 56-57. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 4), 1817; p. 29. Hardings All Round Collection, 1905; No. 117, p. 37. O’Farrell (National Irish Music for the Union Pipes), 1804; p. 44 (includes variation sets). Wilson (Companion to the Ball Room), 1816; p. 49.






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