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Blue Britches

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SMM376 Sic’ a wife as Willie had
Blue Britches
Robert Bremner A Collection of Scots Reels 1757-61

In Early Scottish Melodies (1900), John Glen argued that the air given in SMM for Burns’s song ‘Sic a wife as Willie had’ was related to the dance tune ‘Blue Britches’, roughly following the outline of the cut-time reel version in Bremner’s Collection of Scots Reels. A version of ‘Blue Britches’ also appears in Niel Gow’s first collection of 1784 as a strathspey with the title ‘Link him Dodie’.

Robert Bremner’s A Collection of Scots Reels or Country Dances was first published as a series of fourteen eight-page prints between 1757 and 1761. Apart from James Oswald’s (untraced) 1736 A collection of minuets, this was the first collection of dance music published in Scotland, ushering in a new boom of Scottish dance music publications in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It is also the first printed collection from Scotland to adopt simple four-beat bass-lines, rather than the more genteel, melodic Italianate basses popular in ‘Scots tune’ collections such as those by Adam Craig and William McGibbon.

Aaron McGregor, October 2016



Blue Britches (329 downloads )
Aaron McGregor, violin
Alison McGillivray, cello

Recorded by Neil McDermott
Produced by David McGuinness

Recordings ©2016 Concerto Caledonia

Licensed to University of Glasgow for non-commercial use by the Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century project, and associated projects