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Huntingtower / When Will Ye Gang Awa'?

[ Roud 345 ; Laws O23 ; G/D 5:1052 ; Ballad Index LO23 ; Bodleian Roud 345 ; GlosTrad Roud 345 ; Wiltshire Roud 345 ; trad.]

Belle Stewart sang Huntingtower in 1965 on the Topic album The Stewarts of Blair. Hamish Henderson noted:

Although popular all over Scotland for 150 years, Huntingtower is invariably associated with Perthshire. The first version on record, printed by Kinloch, is called The Duke of Athol. The poetess Lady Nairne produced an undistinguished rendering of her own, but the anonymous version sung by Belle is the one which is now universally popular. It was printed over and over again, in chapbooks and newspapers, and on broadsides, during the 19th century, and Scots singers have carried it round the world. Belle has of course seen it in print quite often, but she first heard it from her cousin Donald MacGregor, who died in 1926. The reference to Germany might suggest an approximate origin in the printed broadsides of the Seven Years War; however, it has been suggested (by Aytoun) that the song derives ultimately from the classic ballad Richie Storie (see Child's appendix to No. 232 in English and Scottish Popular Ballads and Gavin Greig, Folk-Song of the North-East, xcv). The present text will be found in Robert Ford's Harp of Perthshire 1893, page 121. It is often sung as a duet.

Rosemary Hardman sang Huntingtower on her 1969 Folk Heritage album Queen of Hearts, which was recorded live at the Bate Hall Hotel in Macclesfield on 29 December 1968. She noted:

There is little doubt that this song, also known as The Duke of Athol, is derived from a much older ballad, Richie Story (Child 232). One of the earliest printed versions of this ballad under the present title was in 1827 by Kinloch, the tune, however, is probably the one used for the original Riche Story, for it bears a close resemblance to one published by D'urfey in Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719). I was introduced to the song by Stan Fisher of Aberdeen.

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