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Peggy on the Banks o Spey

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Title - Peggy on the Banks o Spey
Contributors - Elsie Morrison
Reporters - Hamish Henderson

Summary - Seduction song in which the singer says he would like to wile Peggy away from her father. It finishes however from Peggy's perspective as she rues having been seduced.

Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:01:34
Date Recorded - 1956-57
Language - Scots
Genre - Song
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 16915
Original Tape ID - SA1956.039
Original Track ID - SA1956.39.2
Audio Quality - Good
Audio Format - R2R

Classification - GD1131; R3449; R5138; R6846;

Item Notes - Recorded during 1956.04 / 1957.06. 6 verses.
As with most versions of this song, this is a conflation of the man's love song usually called 'Peggy on the Banks o Spey' (Roud Folk Song Index no. 6846) with the seduction and abandonment song 'When I was Noo but Sweet Sixteen' (Roud 5138) aka 'Hishie Ba' (Roud 3449).
The conflation of these two distinct songs is likely a result of their sharing the same melody, though the stories the tell are very different. The resulting hybrid usually contains a sharp shift in perspective from the male singer in 'Peggy on the Banks' hoping to court Peggy, to Peggy in 'Sweet Sixteen' rueing having allowed herself to be seduced. All recorded versions from the North-East of Scotland are such conflations.
In Rob Watt's version (SA1960.249.A4 & SA1960.253.A12), this conflation has been partly 'corrected' by adjusting the narrative to continue from the male perspective; he now explains that he will abandon Peggy, using verses modelled on Peggy's own plaint in 'Sweet Sixteen'.
An example of the 'original' love song is the version called 'Peggy on the Banks o Nith' as recorded by Hamish Henderson from Alexander Stewart of Waterside Farm, Wigtownshire (SA1962.077).
See:
Greig-Duncan vol. 6, p. 132 (no. 1131)
'The Seeds of Love' (S. Sedley, 1967) pp. 106-107
'The Scottish Folksinger' (Buchan & Hall, 1973) p. 81
'Scottish Studies' vol. 1 (H. Henderson, 1957) pp. 246-248
'Jeannie Robertson' (J. Porter & H. Gower, 1995) pp. 233-234
'A Collection of Scots Songs' (A. Munro & H. Henderson, 1972) p. 18
'Jeannie Robertson: The Lyric Songs' (H. Gower & J. Porter) in 'Scottish Studies' vol. 21 (1977) pp. 74-76
'Lyrica Erotica' vol. 2 'A Wee Thread o Blue' LP (Arthur Argo), Prestige International PR-INT 13048, Side 1, track 4

Permanent Link - http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/fullrecord/16915/1




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