Annotation:Weel may the Keel Row

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X:1 T:Weel may the Keel row. a Reel. R:reel M:C| L:1/8 B:Complete Tutor Violin (c. 1815) Z:Dr. Evan Jones, 2005 K:D a | fddf g2 (ea) | f2 (ef) e2 (ce) | fd d/d/d g2 (eg) | fdec d2 d :|| g | faad' b2 (gb) | {g}f2 (df) e2 (ce) |faad' b2 (gb) | fdec d2 (dg) | fa-ad' b2 (gb) | f2 (df) e2 (ce) | faad' bd'ab | fdec d2 d |]

WEEL MAY THE KEEL ROW (THAT MY LAD'S IN). AKA and see “Johnny When You Die (2),” "Keel Row (The)," "Twin Sisters (4)." Scottish, English; Reel and Air. England, Northumberland/Durham. D Major (Cole, Jones): A Major (Howe) . Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Cole, Howe, Ryan): AAB (Jones). According to William Bradbury Ryan (Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883), this is the “original version” of the “Keel Row (The),” a tune also included in the collection (p. 47). The melody appears in James Johnson's McLean Collection, printed in Edinburgh in 1772, which may be the earliest extent version, although there is a report that the tune was contained in the Northumbrian music manuscript collection of John Smith, dated 1752, unfortunately now lost. The title appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), which he published c. 1800.

Words to the song were first printed by Joseph Ritson (1752–1803) in his Northumberland Garland (1810); a two-stanza version. Three stanzas (the first two the same as those given by Ritson) were printed by Robert Topliff in his Selection of the most popular melodies of the Tyne and the Wear consisting of 24 original airs peculiar to the counties of Durham and Northumberland (c. 1815) and go:

As I cam thro' Sandgate, thro' Sandgate, thro' Sandgate,
As I cam thro' Sandgate, I heard a lassie sing,
Weel may the keel row, the keel row, the keel row,
Weel may the keel row that my laddie's in.

He wears a blue bonnet, blue bonnet, blue bonnet,
He wears a blue bonnet, a dimple in his chin:
And weel may the keel row, the keel row, the keel row,
And weel may the keel row that my laddie's in.

My lad's ower bonnie ower canny ower bonnie,
My lads ower canny for the coal trade;
He's fitter for a merchant, a merchant, a merchant,
He's fitter for a merchant than a man of war's blade.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Anderson (Anderson's Budget of Strathspeys, Reels & Country Dances), c. 1820; p. 4. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 46. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 126. Jones [Ed.] (Complete Tutor Violin), c. 1815; p. 11. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 90.

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