Annotation:Woo'd and Married and a'

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X:1 T:Woo'd and Married and a' M:9/8 L:1/8 R:Slip Jig or Air B:Oswald – Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 10 (1760, p. ) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G d|B2B BAB GAB|d2d ded d2e|dBB BAB GAB|e2 e ef^d e3=d| B2g gag g2B|d2d ded d2e|d2B BAB GFG|E2e ef^d e2:| |:g|dBB cAA BGG|(B/c/d)d dBd efg|dcB ABG FGE|gfe ef^d e2g| def gba gba|gdd dBg d2e|(d2B) (c2A) BGF|E2e ef^d e2:|]

WOO'D AND MARRIED AND A'. AKA - "Brogues an' Brochan an' a'," "Bride cam' out o' the byre (The)." AKA and see "Irishman's Choice (The)," "Marry Them All," "Whistling Thief (2) (The)." Scottish, Shetland; Jig (9/8 time). F Major (Bremner, Glen, Gow): G Major (Aird, Harding, Howe): A Major (Kerr). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Howe): AAB (Aird, Glen, Gow): AABB (Bremner, Kerr): AABBCC (Harding). "Woo'd and married an' a'" is an very old and popular humorous song, the tune of which is also employed as a dance tune and march. Stenhouse says it was omitted by Alan Ramsay from his Tea Table Miscellany (1724), "although it was quite current in the Border long before his time." John Glen (1891) finds the earliest appearance of the tune in print in Robert Bremner's 1757 collection, and the words were printed by David Herd in his 1776 collection. It was printed in London by David Rutherford (Rutherford's Compleat Collection of 200 country Dances, vol. 2) as a country dance in 1760, the same year it was published by James Oswald in his Caledonian Pocket Companion. Country dance versions of the tune were also printed in London by John Johnson and the Thompson's in the mid-1750's under the title "Irishman's Choice (The)."

One of numerous sets of words to the tune, "in the spirit of the original", was written by Mrs. Scott of Dumbartonshire and printed by George Farquhar Graham in Woods Edition of the Songs of Scotland (1853, p. 219). They begin:

The bride she cam' out o; the byre,
An', O, as she dighted her cheeks, Sirs,
I'm to be married the night
And ha'e neither blankets nor sheets;
Ha'e neither blankets nor sheets,
Nor scarce a coverlet too,
The bride that has a' to borrow,
Has e'en right buckle ado.
Woo'd and married an a',
Marred and woo'd an a',
And was name she very well off
That was woo'd and married an a'.

An English parody of Mrs. Scotts words was written by Mrs. Grant of Laggan, and a more romantic rendition of the theme was penned by poet Joanna Baillie (1762–1851). The first stanza of her version goes:

The bride she is winsome and bonny,
Her hair it is snooded sae sleek,
And faithfu’ and kind is her Johnny,
Yet fast fa’ the tears on her cheek.
New pearlins are cause of her sorrow,
New pearlins and plenishing too,
The bride that has a’ to borrow,
Has e’en right mickle ado,
Woo’d and married and a’!
Woo’d and married and a’!
Is na’ she very weel aff
To be woo’d and married at a’?

The original words were scrubbed in these versions, particularly the fourth stanza, beginning "What's the matter, quo' Willie," which was omitted in some published versions "on account of its coarseness." It seems tame nowadays:

What's the matter, quo' Willie;
Though we be scant o' claes,
We'll creep the closer thegither,
⁠And we'll smoor a' the fleas:
Simmer is coming on,
And we'll get taits o' woo;
And we'll get a lass o' our ain,
⁠And she'll spin claiths anew.

As a march, this tune was played in Shetland on the islands of Whalsay and Walls for the wedding march home after the minister's ceremony; it was also noted to have sometimes been played by fiddlers during the signing of the register. When Peter Cooke was doing his field work in Shetland in the 1970's the tune and text, almost exactly as published in early Scottish collections, was popularly known to most older Whalsay people (Cooke, 1986). The melody was entered into the large late 18th century/early 19th century music manuscript collection of fifer John Buttery (37th Regiment, British army) as "A Scotch Retreat," meaning that the melody was played over a drum roll signifying the end of the day's duties at camp.

Irish versions/derivatives can be found in the collections of Francis O'Neill as the slip jig "My Mind Will Never be Easy/Aisy," and Frank Roche as "New Widow Well Married (1) (The)." However, Irish connections to the melody appeared early.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. II), 1785; Nos. 171, p. 63. Bremner (Scots Reels), c. 1757; p. 52 (appears as “Woo’d & Married & a’”). Caledonian Musical Repository, Edinburgh, 1806; p. 68. Glen (The Glen Collection of Scottish Dance Music, vol. 1), 1891; p. 20. Thomas Glen (New and Complete Tutor for the Great Highland Bagpipe), 1870; p. 10. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 1), 1799; p. 29. Elias Howe (Musician's Omnibus Nos. 6 & 7), 1880-1882; p. 595. Harding's All Round Collection, 1905; No. 24, p. 8. Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 1), 1787; No. 10, pp. 10-11. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 3), c. 1880’s; No. 215, p. 25.

See also listing at :
Hear Shetland fiddle versions by Andrew Poleson and John (Glibey) Irvine at Whalsay's Heritage of Song [1]

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