Up and Waur Them A' Willie (1)

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UP AND WAUR THEM A’, WILLIE [1]. AKA “Up and Worst them all Willy.” AKA and see “There’s Nae Luck About the House (2),” “Washing Day (1) (The),” “Mind what You Do.” Scottish, Reel and Strathspey: English, Shetland; Reel. England, Northumberland. A Mixolydian (Young): A Major (Athole, Balmoral, Bremner, Gow): G Major (Anderson, Kerr). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Gow, Cole): AAB (Anderson): AABB (most versions): AABB’ (Kerr). Popular in both 6/8 and 4/4 time from the early 18th to the early 19th century (especially in Scotland), the tune was based on a chord progression originally created in the 18th century in Italy, called passamezzo moderno. This Whig tune was the choice of William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland and victor at Culloden (1745), when he partnered at a dance the Jacobite Lady Anne Mackintosh, who had been brought to London during the rebellion. It was meant as a pointed message. She went him one better by immediately inviting him to dance to her choice of tune, the Jacobite melody “Auld Stewart's Back Again” (Winstock, 1970). Surviving directions to the country dance to this tune were written down in 1752 by John McGill, a dancing master in Girvan, for his students. Words set to tune were printed by Johnson and Burns in the Scots Musical Museum [1] (vol. 2, 1788, No. 188):

'Up and warn a' Willie, Warn warn a';
To hear my canty highland sang
Relate the thing I saw, Willie.
When we gaed to the braes o' Mar,
And to the wapon-shaw, Willie,
Wi' true design to serve ye king
banish whigs awa', Willie.
Up and warn a' Willie, Warn warn a';
For Lords and lairds came there bedeen,
And wow they were braw Willie.'

Robert Burns maintained that the Highland expression "Up and warn a' Willie" referred to the Crantara, or a call to arms, but that Lowlanders, continually wary of the Highland clans took the phrase to be the more directly threatening "Up and waur them a'." Although there is no firm evidence, it is thought that the song is related to the Battle of Shrieffmuir (1715).

Early versions of the tune (which may date to the 1720's) appear in the Drummond Castle Manuscript (in the possession of the Earl of Ancaster at Drummond Castle), inscribed “A Collection of Country Dances written for the use of his Grace the Duke of Perth by Dav. Young, 1734, where it appears as “Up and Worst Them All Willy”, and in John Walsh's The Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing Master (London, 1735). It also can be found in Robert Bremner’s 1757 collection, and in the McLean Collection published by James Johnson in Edinburgh in 1772. The title appears (as “Up Willie, War Them A’”) in Henry Robson’s list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes (“The Northern Minstrel’s Budget”), which he published c. 1800.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Anderson (Anderson's Budget of Strathspeys, Reels & Country Dances), c. 1820; p. 14. Bremner (Scots Reels), c. 1757; p. 60. Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 416. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 125. Gow (Complete Collection), Part 3, 1806; p. 26. Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 2), 1788; pp. 195-196. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 3), c. 1880's; Nos. 53 & 54, p. 8 (strathspey and reel versions). J. Kenyon Lees (Balmoral Reel Book), c. 1910; p. 17. Donald MacDonald (A Collection of Piobaireachd), 1822; p. 7. Mooney (A Collection of the Choicest Scots Tunes for the Lowland or Border Bagpipes, vol. 2), 1983; p. 22. Northumbrian Piper’s Tune Book, 1970; p. 40. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 3), 1760; p. 3. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 164. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 20. Seattle/Vickers (Great Northern Tune Book, part 3), 1987; No. 445. David Young (Drummond Castle/Duke of Perth Manuscript), 1734; No. 33.

Recorded sources:

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]




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