Peggy on the Banks of Spey

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Title - Peggy on the Banks of 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.

Heard in the kitchens of the farmhouses where Elsie Morrison was fee'd [hired] as a cook.

Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:02:03
Date Recorded - 1956.04.30
Language - Scots
Genre - Song, Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 27945
Original Tape ID - SA1956.052
Original Track ID - SA1956.52.A6
Audio Quality - Good
Audio Format - R2R

Classification - GD1131; R3449; R5138; R6846;

Recording Location:
  County - Moray
  Parish - Bellie
  Village - Spey Bay

Item Notes - 5 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), also known as 'Hishie Ba' (Roud 3449). The conflation is probably a result of their sharing the same melody, though the resulting song usually features a sharp shift in perspective from the male singer, who hopes to court Peggy, to Peggy herself rueing having allowed herself to be seduced. All recorded versions from the North-East of Scotland are conflations.
In Rob Watt's version (on tape SA1960.249), this conflation has been partly 'corrected' by adjusting the perspective back to the man again, who now explains 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 recorded by Hamish Henderson in Galloway 'Peggy on the Banks o Nith' on tape SA1962.77.
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

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