LINER NOTES FOR BAWDY NOISE
In their third album of songs by Robert Burns, Bob Hay & the Jolly Beggars explore some of the Bard's bawdy songs. As with much of Burns' material, the lyrical content is partly traditional and partly his composition. In some of the songs, e.g. "Act Sederunt" and "When princes and prelates," the bawdy is mixed with political themes in a way that is signature Burns. Other songs, like "The ploughman" and "There's news, lasses, news," seem more traditional; where Burns' role was transcribing songs sung by local peasant women.
The Jolly Beggars expand their musical palette a bit on this CD as well. In addition to their usual driving guitar, plunking banjo, soaring mandolin, booming bass, and slashing fiddle, they've adding some percussion and penny whistle. Sound effects are added to tie it all together in a journey from the countryside to the graveyard to the pub and beyond.
Song by song
1. The deil cam fiddlin
This is an instrumental version of Burns' self-satirising song "The deil's awa wi' th' exciseman."
2. Act Sederunt
Burns' satire of puritanical laws is set to the tune of the traditional song "O'er the muir amang the heather," which we include to compliment his 2 short verses.
3. My girl, she's airy
She buxom and gay,
Her breathe is as sweet as the blossoms in May
And a touch of her lips, it ravishes quite.
Quite a nice touch on "ravishes." Then the singer goes on to cataloging more lovely body parts and resorts to spelling out the last bit.
4. There's news, lasses, news
The lass is excited by the arrival of a "boat fu' o' lads" and means to get her one.
5. As I was a wand'ring
A spurned lover gets a glimpse of his beloved and vows "my heart shall never be broken again."
6. My spouse, Nancy
A marital spat.
7. Epitaph on Capt. Matt. Henderson
Exactly that, sung to a passer-by of the graveyard. It enumerates the late Captain's virtues in a way that only Burns can do.
8. Wandering Willie
The lass pines for her laddie across the sea.
9. Where Helen lies
Burns wrote about this one: "The old ballad, 'I wish I were where Helen lies,' is silly, to contemptibility. My alteration of it, in Johnson's, is not much better." The tale in brief: Helen is shot dead when one suitor shoots at his rival.
10. When princes and prelates
An' why shouldna poor folk mowe?
11. Charlie, he's my darling
Burns version of a traditional Jacobite song about "Bonnie Prince Charlie." The 19th century Scottish poet, Carolina Oliphant, also known as Lady Nairn, disapproved of this version, as well as much else about Burns.
12. The Ploughman
The lassie likes how the ploughman plows and wants him to plow day and night.
13. Nine inch
Nine inch will please a lady. Pure bawdy.
14. Content'd wi' little
When e'er I fore gather with sorrow an' care
I gie 'em a skelp as they're creepin' alang
Wi' a cog o' gude swats an' an auld scottish sang.
15. I sing of a Whistle
A ballad narrating the story of an epic drinking contest at Burns neighbor, Robert Riddell's house on 16 October 1789.
16. Ca' the yowes
Here is Burns description: "I am flattered at your adopting 'Ca' the yowes to the knowes', as it was owing to me that it ever saw the light. About seven years ago I was well acquainted with a worthy little fellow of a clergyman, a Mr. Clunie, who sung it charmingly: and, at my request, Mr. Clarke took it down from his singing. When I gave it to Johnson, I added some stanzas to the song, and mended others."
© 2014 - Bob Hay & the Jolly Beggars