Scots Songs and Ballads from Perthshire Tradition

sprcd 1041

Booklet (12 pages) included with the CD

Buy CD:
Your Cart:

Katherine Campbell sings ballads and songs from the unique family repertoire of sisters Amelia and Jane Harris who inherited a wealth of ballads and songs from a Perthshire family tradition dating back to the mid 1700s. The collection includes well known ballads such as Mary Hamilton (Child 173), Captain Wedderburn (Child 46) and The Cruel Brother (Child 11) but many of the Harris ballads are rare and, in the case of several, this may well be their first recording.

Click to view

Booklet PDF

Johnnie Armstrong

Broun Edom

Johnnie Armstrong
or Broun Edom
on springthyme/ soundcloud

Artistes: Katherine Campbell: vocals; Mairi Campbell: fiddle;
Tony McManus:
guitar; Peter Shepheard: melodeons; Gary West: small pipes.

Track List:
For full song texts, click on a song title
1: Fair Margaret 8.20 Kath with Gary West (small pipes)
2: Johnnie Armstrong 5.10 Kath with Tony McManus (guitar)
3: Young Logie 4.41 Kath with Mairi Campbell (fiddle)
4: Archerdale 4.47 Kath with Pete Shepheard (melodeon)
5: Tod Lowrie 1.06 Kath Campbell (vocal)
6: Sweet William 4.45 Kath with Tony McManus (guitar)
7: Mary Hamilton 4.21 Kath with Mairi Campbell (fiddle)
8: Broun Edom 3.03 Kath with Gary West (small pipes)
9: My Luve She Lives 3.41 Kath with Mairi Campbell (fiddle)
10: Johnnie Brod 4.24 Kath with Gary West (small pipes)
11: Rose o Malindie 4.19 Kath with Tony McManus (guitar)
12: East Muir King 1.16 Kath with Pete Shepheard (melodeon)
13: Cruel Brother 5.36 Kath Campbell (vocal)
14: Earl of Aboyne 2.41 Kath with Mairi Campbell (fiddle)
15: Captain Wedderburn 3.59 Kath with Tony McManus (guitar)
16: Burd Helen 5.37 Kath with Gary West (small pipes)
17: Molly Hustan 2.54 Kath with Tony McManus (guitar)

A CHANCE DISCOVERY in an Edinburgh bookshop warehouse in 1955 brought to light an important early collection of Scottish ballads. This was a lost manuscript of a unique traditional ballad repertoire of two sisters, Amelia and Jane Harris who, in the mid 1800s, had written down a family repertoire of songs and ballads they had learnt from their mother Grace Harris at their home in the village of Fearn in the hills of Angus.

Amelia (1815-1891), the elder daughter, was only 12 years old when she first wrote down some of her motherÕs ballads for the Aberdeen collector Peter Buchan who included them in his Ancient Ballads and Songs of Scotland (1828). The Edinburgh manuscript was compiled by Amelia a few years later in 1859 and sent by her from her then home in Newburgh, Fife to the ballad scholar Professor William Aytoun who had recently published his Ballads of Scotland in 1858. When the great American ballad scholar Francis James Child heard of the manuscript, enquiries were made on his behalf but the manuscript was never found. However, Amelia Harris had by 1872 compiled a second manuscript of the family ballads with words and tunes and this was passed to Child who included many of them in his famous work The English and Scottish Popular Ballads published between 1882 and 1898.

What makes the Harris ballad collection particularly important is that many of the ballads that Grace Harris taught to her daughters had been part of a family tradition dating back two further generations (to the mid 1700s) to the manse of GraceÕs maternal grandfather the Rev Patrick Duncan of Tibbermore in Perthshire. Grace had been orphaned at the age of seven and was put in the care of an old family nurse Jannie Scott who had been in family service since the birth of GraceÕs mother in 1745 at Tibbermore. It was from Jannie that Grace picked up many of her ballads and, in her older years, she often remarked of JannieÕs rich repertoire that Ōshe had only a tithe of old Jannie ScottÕs balladsÕ.
Peter Shepheard © 2004

A companion book The Song Repertoire of Amelia and Jane Harris edited by Emily Lyle, School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh University with Kaye McAlpine and Anne Dhu McLucas is published by the Scottish Text Society at 27 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LD.

goose logo

© Springthyme Records 2004

Automatic currency conversion