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Lyr Req: Bonny Suzie Clelland

DigiTrad:
BONNIE SUSIE CLELAND
LADY MARGRIE
THE GAIRDNER CHILD


Related threads:
Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland (44)
Lyr Req: Proud Maisrie/Bonny Maisrie/Lady Margaret (31)
Tune Req: Bonnie Susie Clelland (18)
Lyr Req: Bonny Susie Clellan? (18) (closed)
Tune Req: Bonnie Susie Cleland -- Different Tune (8)
Lyr Req: The Gardener (from The House Band) (8)
Lyr Req: Bonny Susie Cleland (5)


pat. 29 Aug 99 - 12:47 PM
29 Aug 99 - 01:01 PM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Aug 99 - 01:26 PM
29 Aug 99 - 01:52 PM
John Nolan 29 Aug 99 - 03:24 PM
Susan of DT 29 Aug 99 - 03:46 PM
29 Aug 99 - 05:13 PM
Sandy Paton 29 Aug 99 - 06:45 PM
Alan of Australia 29 Aug 99 - 08:26 PM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Aug 99 - 10:21 PM
Susan of DT 30 Aug 99 - 06:34 PM
GeorgeH 31 Aug 99 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Santa 12 Sep 03 - 06:59 AM
black walnut 12 Sep 03 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 12 Sep 03 - 09:02 AM
Peg 12 Sep 03 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Diva 12 Sep 03 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Auldtimer 12 Sep 03 - 02:05 PM
Mary Humphreys 12 Sep 03 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,Just Me 12 Sep 03 - 02:14 PM
Barry Finn 12 Sep 03 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,Just me 12 Sep 03 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Diva 12 Sep 03 - 02:44 PM
Malcolm Douglas 12 Sep 03 - 02:44 PM
Willa 12 Sep 03 - 04:32 PM
LadyJean 12 Sep 03 - 09:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Sep 03 - 11:59 PM
GUEST,jhcole@mgl.ca 13 Sep 03 - 12:03 AM
black walnut 13 Sep 03 - 09:41 AM
GUEST 13 Sep 03 - 09:55 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Sep 03 - 02:04 PM
Santa 14 Sep 03 - 12:50 PM
Malcolm Douglas 14 Sep 03 - 01:14 PM
GUEST 14 Sep 03 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,Santa 15 Sep 03 - 08:50 AM
Susanne (skw) 16 Sep 03 - 05:46 PM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Sep 03 - 07:24 PM
GUEST, Ghost 16 Sep 03 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,Santa 17 Sep 03 - 04:25 AM
GUEST 17 Sep 03 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,sharyn, not Guest 18 Sep 03 - 01:50 AM
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Subject: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: pat.
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 12:47 PM

Does any one know the words to the ballad Bonny Suzie Clelland? I think the Oyster Band did a version ages ago.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From:
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 01:01 PM

In DT file SCLELAND, missing the 4th and 6th verses of the copy in Motherwell's Minstrelsy, 1827.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BONNIE SUSIE CLELAND (from Jean Redpath)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 01:26 PM

Bonnie Susie Cleland

There lived a lady in Scotland
Hey my love and ho my joy
There lived a lady in Scotland
Wha dearly lo'd me
There lived a lady in Scotland
She's fa'n in love wi' an Englishman
And bonnie Susie Cleland's tae be burnt in Dundee.

The faither tae the dochter cam'
Sayin, "Will ye forsake yer Englishman?"
And bonnie Susie Cleland's tae be burnt in Dundee.

"If ye'll no' that Englishman forsake
Then I maun burn ye at the stake"
And bonnie Susie Cleland's tae be burnt in Dundee.

"I'll no' that Englishman forsake
Though ye may burn me at the stake"
And bonnie Susie Cleland's tae be burnt in Dundee.

"Oh whaur will I get a little wee boy
Tae carry tidings tae my joy
That bonnie Susie Cleland's tae be burnt in Dundee?"

"Here am I a pretty wee boy
An' I'll carry tidings tae yer joy
That bonnie Susie Cleland's tae be burnt in Dundee."

"O gie tae him my right hand glove
Tell him tae get another love
For bonnie Susie Cleland's tae be burnt in Dundee."

"Gie tae him this gay gowd ring
Tell him I'm gaun tae my burnin'
And bonnie Susie Cleland's tae be burnt in Dundee."

Her faither he ca'd up the stake
Her brither he the fire did make
And bonnie Susie Cleland was burnt in Dundee.

This from Jean Redpath's beautiful and chilling recording of the song, with a significantly different melody (much better, I think) than the one on the DT database, which, for mysterious reasons, I failed to find. Why SCLELAND?

Malcolm Douglas


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From:
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 01:52 PM

SCLELAND is the file name in DT, and one can find it from that without worrying about spelling, i.e., bonnie/bonny, Susie/Suzie, Cleland/Clelland,


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: John Nolan
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 03:24 PM

Is that you, Bruce Omniscient?


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 03:46 PM

Once you find one version of the song, notice the child number, in this case #65, and then search for #65 which yields another version.

Malcolm - why what? why have Lisa Null's words instead of Jean Redpath's? Why have one tune instead of two? Why did I use the filename SCLELAND? I think I heard Lisa's record before Jean's for this song. The words are virtually identical. I am not as good at entering tunes (and certainly not without printed music to work from), so Dick enters most of the tunes. I probably did not say, "Dick here is a record with a second tune. Please listen to it and enter the tune." The filename makes perfect sense to me and not too many others pay attention to the filenames. What's the question?


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: BONNIE SUSIE CLELAND
From:
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 05:13 PM

[William Motherwell's Minstrelsy: Ancient and Modern, pp. 221-4, 1827.]

BONNIE SUSIE CLELAND.

(Never Before Published.)

There lived a lady in Scotland,
    Hey my love and ho my joy;
There lived a lady in Scotland,
    Who dearly loved me;
There lived a lady in Scotland,
    An' she's fa'n in love wi' an Englishman,
And bonnie Susie Cleland is to be burnt in
    Dundee.

The father unto the daughter came,
    With hey my love, &c.
The father unto the daughter came,
    Who dearly, &c.
The father unto the daughter came,
    Saying, will you forsake that Englishman,
And bonnie Susie Cleland is to be burnt in
    Dundee!

If you will not that Englishman forsake,
    Hey my love, &c.;
If you will not that Englishman forsake,
    Who dearly loved &c.;
If you will not that Englishman forsake,
    O I will burn you at the stake,
And bonnie, &c.

I will not that Englishman forsake,
    Hey my love, &c.;
I will not that Englishman forsake,
    Who dearly, &c.
I will not that Englishman forsake,
    Though you should burn me at a stake,
And bonnie, &c.

O where will I get a pretty little boy,
    Hey my love, &c.;
O where will I get a pretty little boy,
    Who dearly loves me,
O where will I get a pretty little boy;
    Who will carry tidings to my joy,
And bonnie, &c.

Here am I a pretty little boy,
    Hey my love, &c.;
Here am I a pretty little boy,
    Who dearly loves thee;
Here am I a pretty little boy,
    Who will carry tidings to thy joy,
And bonnie, &c.

Give to him this right hand glove,
    Hey my love, &c.;
Give to him this right hand glove,
    Who dearly loved me;
Give to him this right hand glove,
    Tell him to get another love,
For bonnie, &c.

Give to him this little pen-knife,
    Hey my love, &c.;
Give to him this little pen-knife,
    Who dearly, &c.;
Give to him this little pen-knife,
    Tell him to get another wife,
For bonny, &c.

Give to him this gay gold ring,
    Hey my love, &c.;
Give to him this gay gold ring,
    Who dearly, &c.;
Give to him this gay gold ring,
    Tell him I'm going to my burning,
And bonnie, &c.

Her father he ca'd up the stake,
    Hey my love, &c.;
Her father he ca'd up the stake,
    Who dearly, &c.;
Her father he ca'd up the stake,
    Her brother he the fire did make,
And bonnie Susie Cleland was burnt in Dun-
    dee.

[My copy of Motherwell lacks the Appendix containing the tunes, so that below is from B. Bronson's The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads (Child #65), #14 in Mothewell's Appendix, but transposed from F to G. Bronson also gives the text.]

X:1
T:Susie Cleland (transposed F to G)
S:Motherwell's tune #14 via Bronson's TTCB
Q:80
L:1/4
M:3/4
K:G
D/|G3/2 A/ B/c/|dc/B/z|A3/2G/ c/B/|\
A/G/Ez/D/4E/4|G3/2A/ B/c/|dc/B/z/B/4c/4|c3/2d/ e/e/|\
d2z/d/|g3/2f/ e/e/|dc/B/z/B/4B/4|AGc/B/4B/4|\
A/G/Ez/D/4E/4|G3/2A/ B/d/|ede/e/4e/4|d3/2B/A|G2z/|]


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 06:45 PM

SCLELAND dates back to when the Digital Tradition was done is DOS, in which file names were limited to eight letters, plus a three digit extension.

I feel pretty sure that's Bruce up there, watching over us like a guardian angel, and I'm darned glad he's there. He certainly knows the early folksong literature better than any of us.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 08:26 PM

G'day,
Nice coincidence - this song is on the CD I was listening to in the car this morning. The tune was still running through my head when I logged on to Mudcat for my early morning "fix".

To John Nolan, nice thought - "Bruce Omniscient". I'm sure you're right.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 10:21 PM

Susan of DT

I wrote "Why SCLELAND?" because I didn't understand why it made more sense to put a song in the database under an abbreviation than under its full title; I felt that it made it harder to find. Sandy Paton in particular has kindly explained this to me. I had no idea that anyone might think that I was referring to anything else, and apologise unreservedly if you felt that I was in any way criticising you. That was certainly not my intention. I said that I preferred the other tune because I do; that was a simple observation of personal opinion, and -please believe me- does not imply any criticism of you, or of Lisa's version.

With best wishes,

Malcolm Douglas


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 30 Aug 99 - 06:34 PM

Malcolm - one beauty of the Digital Tradition is a full text search - you can search for anything in the song - any word, any phrase, title, DT #, filename. You can look up this song many ways - [Susie Clelland] [to be burnt] [Englishman forsake] #65, etc. A problem with names and words with alternate spellings and so on is knowing whether, as pointed out above, it was entered as Susie or Suzie, Clellend or Cleland, bonny bonnie or bonie(old spelling) and so on. Always try at least two searches for a song since you may run into dialect or spelling vagaries.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 31 Aug 99 - 12:45 PM

And to return to the first post . . yes, Oyster Band did sing a slightly anglicised version of the song, for many years, and recorded it . . with a slightly changing chorus (or more markedly changing chorus if they were in a daft mood; their "Bonnie Suzie Clelland's / To be curried in Dundee" has firmly lodged in my brain - unfortunately).

G.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 06:59 AM

I met this song in the singing of Eileen McGann, but hadn't realised until Wednesday night's performance that she had altered the ending to a happier one. Crossed with Jock o' Hazeldean, perhaps?


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Subject: Lyr Add: BONNIE SUSIE CLELAND (from Eileen McGann)
From: black walnut
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 08:56 AM

Eileen McGann's version:

Notes --- "I first heard this Child Ballad (#65) way back when at Fiddler's Green Folk Club. There are many different versions and endings to this one, most of them rather unpleasant - either briefly or graphically so. In this telling, Susie shows the intrepidity common to young Scotswomen of legend and history, and gets the heck out of there."

There lived a lady in Scotland
Hey my love, ho my joy
There lived a lady in Scotland
So dearly she loved me
There lived a lady in Scotland
She fell in love with an Englishman
Bonnie Susie Cleland, she's to be burned at Dundee

The father to his daughter came
Hey my love...
The father to his daughter came
so dearly...
The father to his daughter came
Will you forsake this Englishman?
Bonnie Susie...

If you will not this man forsake...
Then I will burn you at the stake

Where may I find a bonny wee boy...
To carry tokens to my joy

Bring to him this right hand glove...
Tell him to find another love

Bring to him this wee pen knife....
Tell him to find another wife

Bring to him this gay gold ring...
Tell him I'm going to my burning

The father, he put up the stake....
Her brothers the fire did make

But when they went to bring her out...
Her brothers they let out a shout

The door was open, swinging wide...
And there was not a soul inside

The lady's flown, she'll not return...
She will not yield, she will not burn

(from Eileen McGann "Beyond the Storm"/ Dragonwing Music)

When Eileen performs this song at festivals, the whole crowd gets very involved with the story, sings along heartily, and feels quite relieved at the end to know that Susie has flown the coop, once again.

~b.w.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 09:02 AM

Jack Campin just posted elsewhere another old tune from Andrew Blaikie's manuscript of the traditional tunes he collected, c 1827. That in Motherwell's 'Minstrelsy' is the other one collected by Blaikie.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Peg
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 01:49 PM

I heard the late Tony Cuffe do this one at a house concert not long before he died. I am not sure if he recorded it or not, but it would be nice to have if he did.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST,Diva
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 01:52 PM

Definative version..for me...that is, is Gordeanna's, closely followed by Ian Bruce who used to sing it many moons ago....


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 02:05 PM

Diva, I thought you sang this song yourself?
Cheers


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 02:12 PM

Vaughan Williams collected a wonderfully incongruous tune from a Buckinghamshire tailor , Mr Wetherill. It has only a vestigial text, but the lyric from Motherwell's Minstrelsy fits it beautifully.
It's great to sing because it is such a bouncy tune, and such a contrast to the tragic story.
You can find it in 'Folk Songs Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams' edited by Roy Palmer, printed by Dent 1983.
Mary Humphreys


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Subject: Tune Add: BORN IN ST JOHNSTONE AND BURN'D IN DUNDE
From: GUEST,Just Me
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 02:14 PM

Here's the otehr tune that Andrew Blaikie notd down and master tune sleuth Jack Campin found in Blaikie's MSS, c 1827?

X:1
T:Born in St Johnstone and burn'd in Dundee
S:Blaikie MS, NLS MS.1578/Mf.Sec.MSS.295
M:3/4
L:1/4
K:Dmin
DAG   |F>GA|FED   |C>DE|DAG|F>GA|A    f e   |d3||
Add/c/|A dc|FcA/G/|F>GA|AAG|F>GA|G/F/ D C/E/|D3|]


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 02:21 PM

Hi Bruce O. This has nothing to do with the thread. Just that it's a joy to see your name here again. Barry


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST,Just me
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 02:30 PM

Hi, Barry, going to make it to the Getaway? I've been ill and almost almost lost contact with folk songs, and the people I've known connected to the subject. That hurt as bad as being ill.


I've got to relearn a few thing because that last tune didn't appear like I thought it would, but nobody can approacch me when it comes to making typographical errors. I'm the all time expert!

additional line breaks in post above removed - joeclone


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST,Diva
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 02:44 PM

I always meant to learn it but haven't yet. BTW Auldtimer..I remember the Auld Hoose Kilmarnock as well...and seeing McCall and Seeger


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 02:44 PM

I'm astonished that someone -whether Eileen McGann or not- has thought fit to bowdlerise this song with a bogus happy ending. Whatever next? A happy ending for King Lear? Actually, that was tried long ago, and was, I think, popular for a while with undiscerning audiences who didn't have the stomach for the real thing. Rather sad, really.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Willa
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 04:32 PM

It may not be 'correct', but I heard Eileen sing it at Nellie's recently and didn't think the ending sounded bogus.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: LadyJean
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 09:39 PM

I think Suzie Clelland was somebody's composition, not a real folk song.

The original story of King Lear had a happy ending, sort of. Cordelia leads her army against Goneril and Reagan. Victorious she cuts their heads off, and rules alone.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 11:59 PM

Seems odd that no versions of Lady Maisry in Child and Bronson seem to be in the DT or Forum. Of course there is the Hawai'i site for Child.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST,jhcole@mgl.ca
Date: 13 Sep 03 - 12:03 AM

Hi. Thought this might be of some interest.

Eileen McGann brought out Bonnie Susie Cleland for her English ballad class at Celtic College in Goderich (Ontario) a few years ago, with the burned-at-the-stake ending, and taught it to us that way. It wasn't part of her repertoire then. I still sing it that way, and it's an amazingly powerful song, that some people have requested not to hear a second time (could be my singing of course!).

As I understand it....a year or so later she was playing it, but had switched to the tune that she recorded on Beyond The Storm. The tune didn't suit the ending, and Eileen didn't like Bonnie's helpless- seeming fate, so she evolved her ending.

She told me on the day that Beyond the Storm came out, that she expected traditional singers to be mad at her for doing it, and she was sorry about that, but it just happened. I think it works, and I love her version - but I'll keep singing it the way she taught us.

Jack
(and we're hosting Eileen in Kitchener, Ontario on October 18!!)


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: black walnut
Date: 13 Sep 03 - 09:41 AM

Interesting, Jack. I never heard her do it the other way, and I never knew about the tune switch.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 03 - 09:55 AM

LadyJean, there's no evidence that folksongs and ballads compose themselves. "Bonnie Susie Cleland" as a variant of "Lady Maisry", is in both Child's ESPB, and with one of the two tunes collected for it by Andrew Blaikie, it's also in Bertrand Bronson's 'The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads'


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Sep 03 - 02:04 PM

The ballad's story is also known in Spain and Germany, as pointed out by Child (some with happy endings). The version 'Susie Cleland' posted 29 Aug 99 is one of the Motherwell versions in Child (Lady Maisry version I).

Child gives music for this version.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Santa
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 12:50 PM

It was the McGann version that has brought this song to me - I have yet to hear any other version. Despite my personal limitations, the original version exists untouched, unchanged, still available to all, as others have made clear. Why is one particular re-writing different to all the other changes that have occurred to other folk songs? It is not as though the escape of the daughter with her true love from her unsupportive family is rare in the tradition, is it? Nor are we truly short of folk songs with sad/unhappy/miserable endings.

Now had the true love gone, learned the love spells, and brought her back from the dead is less than a year and a day - that might have gone against the tradition...though I dare say someone will prove me wrong again here.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 01:14 PM

My point is that this radical alteration is not a normal part of any traditional process, but a deliberate bowdlerisation, apparently made to suit modern sensibilities, by a professional entertainer; and which fudamentally changes its import and meaning. The fact that you didn't know that it finished any other way shows how much the song has been misrepresented. Although I don't doubt that Eileen carries it well and that her audiences like it, the whole point of Susie Cleland is its bleakness and tragic inevitability. There are plenty of songs in which comparable dramatic tension is resolved in a happy ending, and I can't help but feel that perhaps people who don't like stronger meat should stick to those.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Sep 03 - 02:27 PM

Here, repeats of #1 and #2 (so you have them all in one place), but
with another tune, untitled, that Jack Campin recently turned up in the manuscript, that looks like a variant of #2.



X:1
T:Susie Cleland (transposed F to G) [Susie 1]
S:Motherwell's tune #14 via Bronson's TTCB
Q:80
L:1/4
M:3/4
K:G
D/|G3/2 A/ B/c/|dc/B/z|A3/2G/ c/B/|\
A/G/Ez/D/4E/4|G3/2A/ B/c/|dc/B/z/B/4c/4|c3/2d/ e/e/|\
d2z/d/|g3/2f/ e/e/|dc/B/z/B/4B/4|AGc/B/4B/4|\
A/G/Ez/D/4E/4|G3/2A/ B/d/|ede/e/4e/4|d3/2B/A|G2z/|]


X:2
T:Born in St Johnstone and burn'd in Dundee [Susie 2]
S:Blaikie MS, NLS MS.1578/Mf.Sec.MSS.295
M:3/4
L:1/4
K:Dmin
DAG   |F>GA|FED   |C>DE|DAG|F>GA|A    f e   |d3||
Add/c/|A dc|FcA/G/|F>GA|AAG|F>GA|G/F/ D C/E/|D3|]


X:3
T:untitled no.81 [Susie 3?]
S:NLS MS.1578
Z:Jack Campin 2003
M:3/4
L:1/4
K:E Minor
B,|E G F/E/|F d ^c| B    G F/E/|FD \
B,|E G F/E/|F d ^c| B/A/ G F   |E2||
B |d ^c B   |e B d|^c    B G   |FD \
B,|d ^c B   |e B A| B    e ^d   |e2
B |d ^c d   |e B d|^c    B G   |FD \
B,|E G F/E/|F d ^c| B/A/ G F   |E2|]


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 08:50 AM

Malcolm, I see your point, but the fact that I didn't know the original beforehand is simply evidence of the limitations of my knowledge. I doubt whether the change of emphasis of one song is evidence of anything beyond that itself: there is after all much bleak, tragic inevitability in other folk songs that are sung and accepted quite happily.    Or should I change that last word to "readily"?

Eileen McGann herself sings The Rolling of the Stones, another Scots ballad lacking a "happy" ending. Sometimes in the same evening. I prefer this to Bonnie Suzie, but I don't think that changing either ending would alter this.

Talking of which, I have a question about the tune "Rolling" is sung to, which I will post separately.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 05:46 PM

OK, I suppose Eileen McGann is entitled to changing the ending to one she prefers, in the way someone must have changed 'The Shearin's No For You' (which I have in two versions that are mutually exclusive while keeping the basic fact of unwanted pregnancy), or Martin Carthy felt entitled to drop the last verse of Prince Heathen, the "stupidest last verse in songdom", as he calls it. However, somehow I feel Bonnie Susie Clelland isn't Bonnie Susie Clelland any more without that terrible ending. The song is so graphic that I have always suspected there must have been an event that set it off, and I very much doubt that a woman in Susie's desperate situation would find a chance of escape. Her death on the family's hands was probably no less bound up with family honour and pride than is the death on her husband's hands of a Turkish or Indian woman willing to divorce him today (happened in my home town not long ago and very much reminded me of Susie and other women sacrificed to somebody's honour in the old ballads). The escape ending just doesn't seem true to life. And yes, I'd agree with anybody who thinks Jean Redpath's version is top, though Gordeanna McCulloch and Cilla Fisher aren't far behind.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 07:24 PM

Martin didn't so much drop the final verse of Prince Heathen as rewrite it so that it strengthened the ending; although the emphasis was shifted, I've never felt that the essential meaning was changed; just made more clear. More significant, perhaps, is his giving the heroine the final word; though again, this adds to the song's force and momentum rather than, as I feel is the case with the Ivers take on Susie, turning it into something for which there is no internal or traditional justification, and which, by comparison with genuine traditional examples, seems really rather weak. I suspect that Martin let the text tell him what to do with it, whereas Eileen seems to have allowed the new tune she put to it to dictate to her. I know which I think is the better way.

My comments on the Redpath take, incidentally, were made long ago (in internet time) when I was very much a new boy around here. Though I still rate it highly (and have still not heard Lisa Null's recording, though I do at least now know who she is), I hadn't heard Gordeanna singing it at that time, and I might think a bit differently now; though these days, where modern interpretations are concerned, I'm usually more interested in the song than the singer.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST, Ghost
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 08:14 PM

Um, that should be McGann, not Ivers.

Ghost


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 04:25 AM

I shall reserve final judgement until I hear a good rendition, but from reading alone it is the ending of the traditional verses that seems to fall dramatically flat. However, a song is not a poem, to be read "cold".

I still think that as long as the original is still in existence and sung then no harm is done.

This leads perhaps to questions about songs changing to meet the times: nowadays we expect women to be strong, and more in charge of their own destiny. Which is not entirely absent from traditional song, surely, but perhaps such songs are more to peoples' tastes nowadays?

However, the new ending has not sprung whole-heartedly out of the 21st century, but in concept is a straight lift from (for example) Jock o'Hazeldean. I feel it makes more sense of some of the elements: the sending of the tokens are not merely for remembrance, but a sharp message "Here's part of me, if you want the rest get a move on!" That's my interpretation, I hasten to add, I'm not suggesting it was Eileen McGann's.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 02:46 PM

For Guest Santa,

Part of the power of "Bonnie Susie," I believe, is that it sets us up for the possibility of a rescue because she is sending messages to her lover and then -- just like in real life sometimes -- she isn't rescued, but dies at the hand of her father and brother.

For the record, I sing (and have recorded) this song. I learned it from a Jean Redpath recording, which was enough to inspire me to learn it.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Suzie Clelland?
From: GUEST,sharyn, not Guest
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 01:50 AM

That last post was from me -- I seem to have lost my cookie


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