Cauld Kail in Aberdeen (I)
DESCRIPTION: "Ilka lad has got his lass" but the singer would not trade his cask for all the girls in Bogie. Johnnie Smith's wife is stingy with his drink; the singer would duck her in a bog. He'll drink with anyone but would duck every snarling wife.
EARLIEST DATE: 1829 (Chambers)
KEYWORDS: shrewishness drink nonballad wife
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
GreigDuncan8 1872, "The Cogie" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Robert Chambers, The Scottish Songs (Edinburgh, 1829), Vol I, p. 276, "Cauld Kail in Aberdeen"
Archibald Bell, Melodies of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1849 ("Digitized by Google")), pp. 104-105, "Cauld Kail in Aberdeen"
cf. "The Bride of Bogie"
NOTES [530 words]: There are at least five versions of "Cauld Kale in Aberdeen"; I have made each a separate Traditional Ballad Index entry:
(I) Chambers labels this the "earliest" and, with the GreigDuncan8 fragment, it may be the only one of the five that entered the oral tradition. At some point it must have been widely available in print since Duncan says, "Mrs Gillespie remembers the next verse, just as in the books: 'Sanny Smith', etc." and doesn't bother to continue the quote or even name the song.
(II) The Herd version, printed by Maidment from Herd, and by Farmer from Sharpe's Ane Pleasant Garden. I don't know if this was collected from an oral source.
(III) The Gordon version which was printed in Johnson's Musical Museum and many times after that.
(IV) The Reid version.
(V) The Nairne version.
These versions share the same tune and the first two lines ("Cauld kail [cabbage, broccoli?] [cabbage soup, possibly with other greens or oatmeal -RBW] in Aberdeen, And castocks [kail stalks] in Strabogie"); the Gordon version took the second two lines of version (I) as well ("Ilka lad has got his lass, Then see gie me my cogie [[drinking] bowl]!"). Otherwise, they share nothing except the word "cogie," which appears in all, usually in connection with drink. I have excluded songs that share only the tune and the title line.
Dick writes, "The peculiarity of this song, of which there are so many versions, is that it was known for at least sixty years before the tune was printed. It is cited in Ramsay's Miscellany, 1725, but the music originally was printed in the Museum, 1788, with the Duke of Gordon's verses which Burns communicated. That the Museum tune is the old air I do not doubt; for (1) George Thomson and Burns had a long correspondence about a new song for the tune, and both refer to it as a well-known air; and (2) there are verses in the precise rhythm and measure as old as the beginning of the eighteenth century" (source: James C. Dick, Notes on Scottish Song by Robert Burns (London, 1908 ("Digitized by Google")), pp. 31-32 [quotes the first two verses and chorus], 94-95).
The background of each entry is discussed in its entry.
GreigDuncan8: "Not traditional. Mrs. Gillespie remembers the next verse, just as in the books: 'Sanny Smith', etc."
The GreigDuncan8 fragment of four lines is the chorus of Chambers's first verse: "Then see gie me my cogie, sirs, I canna want my cogie; I wad na gie the three-gird stoup [cask] For a' the queans [lasses; he previously said that each lad may have his lass but he will have his cogie] in Bogie." Chambers's second verse [notice "Johnnie Smith"] is: "Johnnie Smith has got a wife, Wha scrimps him o' his cogie; Gin she were mine, upon my life, I'd douk [duck] her in a bogie [bog]."
Rogers quotes Chambers's first verse and says it was first published anonymously in Dale's Scottish Songs (source: Charles Rogers, The Scottish Minstrel; The Songs of Scotland Subsequent to Burns (Edinburgh, 1885 ("Digitized by Google")), p. 14) [Joseph Dale? (c.1750-1821)]
Bell starts with the first two of Chambers's three verses and adds four of his own. The Chambers version is the basis of the description. - BS
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