The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #790 Message #2653375
Posted By: Matthew Edwards
10-Jun-09 - 03:27 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Pretty Peg (from The Bothy Band)
Subject: RE: Song name and lyrics wanted-Pretty Peg
Nice one Declan, but I should also draw your attention to the Health and Safety Executive guidelines on Using Ladders Safely.
I'm surprised Bill D found as many as three versions in his collection of 24 recordings of 'The Keach in the Creel' featuring Pretty Peg/Peggy; the Roud Index has 69 records of the song, none of which mention Pretty Peg or Peggy. The girl in the song is variously named as Bonnie May. Bonnie Meg, Mysie, Pretty Polly, Young Molly, Maisie, Susie, a little Scotch girl and a most improbable Maid Marion. It is quite a tribute to Triona Ni Domhnaill that the "Pretty Peg" version is the most sought after one on the Mudcat. It may well come from her own very rich family tradition, or as Greg suggests, the Peg may just have strayed over from Derby-o or Fyvie-O.
I was very intrigued by Leenia's reaction to the song, since it seems to reflect that of the great ballad scholar F J Child himself. He found a passage in the song to be "brutal and shameless almost beyond example", but as he declined to identify the part which so scandalised him nobody knows quite which bit made him so grumpy. Is it the position adopted by the daughter to say her prayers when her father checks on her? Or is it the rough handling of the mother? I don't think though that there really is any suggestion that the mother is sexually assaulted, but even so your comments are genuinely illuminating.