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The Fiddler's Companion

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BONNIE BANKS O' LOCH LOMOND. Scottish, March or Air (4/4 time). G Major. Standard. AB (Neil): ABC (Kerr). The tune is one of the most famous of Scots airs and appears to be based melodically on "Kind Robin." It is thought to date from the year 1746, and the lyrics are supposed to refer to one of Bonnie Prince Charlie's ill-fated followers who was about to be executed for rebellion. His sweetheart had come to Carlisle, perhaps to seek his release, but he told her he would be taking the 'low road', or grave, back to Loch Lomond, where they had spent their happiest hours.
***
O, ye'll tak' the high road
And I'll tak' the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But I and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie, banks o' Loch Lomond.
***
Kerr (Merry Melodies), Vol. 3; No. 407, pg. 45. Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 113, pg. 151.
T:The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond
B:Allan's Violin Gems
Z:Nigel Gatherer
M:4/4
L:1/8
K:G
D2|G2 GA B2 AG|A2 AG E2 D2|G2 G2 G2 Bd|e4 d2 d2|e2 ed B2 Bd|
cBAG E2 DE|G2 Bd e2 dB|A4 g2 D2|G2 GA B2 AG|ABAG E2 DE|
G2 G2 G2 Bd|e4 d2 d2|e2 ge d2 Bd|cBAG E2 DE|GGBd e2 dB|A4 G2|]

KIND ROBIN (LO'ES ME). Scottish, Slow Air (cut time). G Major. Standard. AABB. "Very Old" states Gow (1817). Melodic material from this tune appears in the song "Bonny Banks o' Loch Lomond." Gow (Complete Repository), Part 4, 1817; pg. 5.
T:Kind Robin lo'es me
L:1/8
M:C|
S:Gow - 4th Repository
K:G
D|G2G2G3B|A>BAG {F}E2 DE|G2G2G3B|A>GAB (d2e2)|G2~G2 g3B|
(cB)(AG) {F}E2 DE|G2~G2{cd}e2 dB|d4 G3:|
|:d|~d2 ed B2gB|(cB)(AG) E3d|~d2 ed (cB)(AG)|A2Bd e3e|d2 ef g3B|
(cB)(AG) {F}E2 DE|G2 ~G2 {cd}e dB|d4 G3:|

LOCH LOMOND [1]. AKA - "The Bonny Bonny Banks o' the Lomond," "Yellow is the Rose." Scottish, Air. Apart from "Auld Lang Syne" it is the most famous and recognized Scottish melody ("Oh!, Ye'll tak' the high road and I'll tak' the low road..."). Although there allusions to older origins for the song, it apparently was first published in W. Christie's "Traditional Ballad Airs" (Edinburgh, 1881). Nevertheless, there are legends attached to the tune, one which has a Jacobite (sometimes un-named, sometimes identified as Donald McDonnell of Clan Keppoch) who, in 1746 and about to be executed for his role in the rising, said to his sweetheart (who had come from Scotland to say good-bye to him): "Ye'll take the high road, and I'll take the low road (i.e., the grave), and I'll be in Scotland afore ye." Some versions of the tale have McDonnell (or MacDonald) composing the song in Carlisle Castle, where he is imprisoned awaiting execution for his Moira who is safe in the highlands. After death, his spirit visits her a final time, and he makes love to her, though she can tell he is gone. A variant of the legend has two imprisoned Jacobites bidding farewell, one to be released to struggle home over the Highlands, one to be executed whose spirit will take the 'low road.' Lady John Scott and her husband are also supposed to have heard the piece sung by a boy in the street, and that it was she who popularized it about 1845. Fuld (1971) finds phrases in the tune similar to phrases in "The Bonniest Lass in A' the World" (Thompson, Orpheus Caledonius, 1733) and "Robin Cushie" (MacGibbon, A Collection of Scots Tunes, 1742), but believes "Loch Lomond" sufficiently different to be considered a distinct song. In America it was in the repertory of Buffalo Valley, Pa., region dance fiddler Archie Miller.
***
By yon bonnie banks
And by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright
On Loch Lomond
Oh we twa ha'e pass'd
Sae mony blithesome days,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks
O' Loch Lomond.
Chorus:
Oh ye'll tak' the high road
And I'll tak' the low road,
An' I'll be in Sctoland before ye',
But wae is my heart until we meet again
On the Bonnie, bonnie banks
O' Loch Lomond.
***
I mind where we parted
In yon shady glen
On the steep, steep side
O' Ben Lomon'
Where in purple hue
The highland hills we view
And the morn shines out
Frae the gloamin'
***
An' weel may I weep
For yestreen in my sleep
We stood bride and bridegroom together,
But his face and his breath
Were as cold as the death,
And his heart's blood ran red in the heather.
***
The wee bird may sing
An' the wild flowers spring;
An' in sunshine the waters are sleepin'
But the broken heart
It sees nae second spring,
And the world does na ken
How we're greetin'
***
Chrysalis Records, Run Rig (1988). The Corries - "Silver Collection."

LOCH LOMOND [2]. Different than version #1. Published c. 1806-1810 in A Favorite Collection of Popular Country Dances (No. 14), published by Skillern & Challoner (London).

LOCH LOMOND REEL, THE. Canadian, Reel. Canada, Cape Breton. B Flat Major. Standard. Composed by Halifax, Nova Scotia, fiddler Elmer Briand (originally from Isle Madame, Cape Breton, d. 1992). Cranford (Jerry Holland's), 1995; No. 53, pg. 16.


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