Lea Rig (The)

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LEA RIG(GES), THE. AKA - "Lee Rig (The)," "Old Lee Rigg." AKA and see "My Ain Kind Dearie (1)," "Own Kind Deary O," "Ain Kind Dearie," "Maggie Pickens/Maggie Pickie/Maggie Piggy," "Oidhche a bha bhainis ann (An)" (Night the Wedding Was (The)), "Wedding Night (1) (The)." Scottish, English, Canadian; Reel, Air or March. England, Northumberland. Canada, Cape Breton. A Major (Athole, Dunlay & Greenberg, Hall & Stafford, Johnson, Skye): G Major (S. Johnson). Standard or AEae tuning (fiddle). AAB (Dunlay & Greenberg, Skye): AABB (S. Johnson): AABB' (Athole, Kerr): AABBCCDD (Johnson): AABBCCDDEEFFGGHHIIJJ (Johnson). A 'lea rig' has been variously defined as is a 'grassy ridge', an 'unploughed field', and the 'ridge in a field left unploughed between ridges bearing grain'. The tune appears in seven early manuscripts: the McFarlane Ms. (1740), Bremner's Scots Reels of c. 1765, the McLean Collection of 1772 (appears as "My Own Kind Dearie O"), the Gillespie Manuscript of 1768, the Sharpe Manuscript of c. 1790, as well as Riddel's 1794 volume (in the latter it appears set as a sonata). James Oswald published it with variations in his Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book VIII, London, c. 1750's.

An ancestral melody is thought to be "Prettie Weill Begann Man" from the Skene Manuscript (c. 1615) for the mandura. There were lyrics to the tune published in 1698 in Thomas D'Urfey's Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy, that entered common currency in the 18th century. They were considered rude or risqué, and began:

I'll lay thee o'er the lea rig,
My ain kind dearie O.
I'll lay thee o'er the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O;
Although the night were ne'er sae wat,
And I were ne'er sae wearie, O,
I'll lay thee o'er the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.

The word "rowe" or 'roll' is sometimes substituted for 'lay'. Robert Burns reworked and revised the lyrics in October, 1792, for his song "My Ain Kind Dearie, O":

Although the night were ne'er sae wild,
And I were ne'er sae wearie, O,
I'd meet thee on the lea rig,
My ain kind dearie, O. ... (See The Songs of Scotland, 1977).

Johnson (1983) states that the tune was probably played on the fiddle in two versions; one a song-tune with decorative variations, and a reel version. He has plausibly and extensively traced the routes the early versions took with regard to each other. In a fine example of the reel version, Hall & Stafford (Charlton Memorial Tune Book) print the tune with six variations by Northumbrian piper Tom Clough (1881-1964). Clough was a member of a very influential Northumbrian piping family, whose tradition went back some 250 years. He was recorded in the 1930's on some of the first commercially available examples of Northumbrian piping, and he was active in the Northumbrian Pipers Society. His playing is often described as crisp and staccato, while at the same time highly rhythmic.

Sources for notated versions: Gillespie MS and Riddel's Scotch, Galwegian and Border Tunes, p. 28 (a variation sonata form) [Johnson]; Donald MacLellan (Cape Breton) [Dunlay & Greenberg].

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782; No. 44, p. 16. Dunlay & Greenberg (Traditional Celtic Violin Music of Cape Breton), 1996; p. 134. Hall & Stafford (Charlton Memorial Tune Book), 1974; pp. 62-63. Johnson (Scottish Fiddle Music in the 18th Century), 1984; Nos. 37 & 67, pp. 96-97 & 183-185. Johnson, S. (The Kitchen Musician's Occasional: Waltz, Air and Misc.), No. 1, 1991; p. 10. Northumbrian Pipers' Tune Book, Book 1, p. 1. Kerr (Merry Melodies), vol. 3; No. 96, p. 12. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 28. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 2), 1760; p. 54. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 8), 1760; p. 20. Riddell (Collection of Scotch Galwegian Border Tunes), 1794; p. 28-29. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 10 (appears as "An Oidhche A Bha Bhainis Ann").

Recorded sources: Beltona BL2096, Edinburgh Highland Reel and Strathspey Society (1936). Celtic CX 35, Donald MacLellan (c. 1950's). Appears as "The Leigh Reel"). Culburnie Records 102, Alasdair Fraser & Jody Stecher - "The Driven Bow" (1988). Rounder 7059, Alex Francis MacKay with Gordon MacLean - "Gaelic in the Bow" (2005).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [2] [3]




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