The Banks of Sweet Dundee

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Title - The Banks of Sweet Dundee
Contributors - Ewan MacColl

Summary - In this song, Mary loves Willie, a ploughboy. Mary's uncle disapproves and would prefer she marry a squire, to which end he bribes a pressgang to abduct Willie. When the squire tries to take Mary by force, she shoots him dead; her uncle meets a similar end.

Ewan MacColl explains that street ballads such as this one were printed on broadsheets, and are sometimes known as come-all-ye's. They were popular for a period of around 450 years, and recorded many events across the nation. The collectors of the 19th century thought them crude, with Francis Child calling them "a veritable dungheap".

Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:05:13
Date Recorded - 1953
Language - English
Genre - Song, Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 34230
Original Tape ID - SA1953.240
Original Track ID - SA1953.240.A4
Audio Quality - Fair
Audio Format - R2R

Classification - GD224; LM25; R148;

Recording Location:
  County - Midlothian
  Parish - Edinburgh
  Village - Edinburgh

Item Location:
  County - Angus
  Parish - Dundee
  Village - Dundee

Item Notes - 6 verses of 4 lines. This version makes no mention of the happy ending in which Willie returns and the couple marry.
Recorded at the 3rd People's Festival Ceilidh in Edinburgh in 1953.
Greig-Duncan vol. 2, pp. 137-145, no. 224
'Irish Come-all-ye's' (M. O'Conor, 1901) p. 68
'Traditional Tunes' (F. Kidson, 1891) pp. 53-55
'Bothy Songs & Ballads' (J. Ord, 1930) pp. 406-407
'Singing Island' (E. MacColl & P. Seeger, 1960) p. 27
'Kerr's Cornkisters' (W. Kemp, J. S. Kerr, 1950) pp. 42-43
'Vagabond Songs & Ballads' vol. 1 (R. Ford, 1899) pp. 77-80
'Everyman's Book of British Ballads' (R. Palmer, 1980) pp. 177-179
'Folk-Song of the North-East' (G. Greig, K. Goldstein & A. Argo, 1963 reprint) art. LXVI
National Library of Scotland, Broadside Ballad collection, RB.m.143(034) (1880-1900) & L.C. Fol.70(110a) (1880-1900)

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