Not quite sure how to categorize this one…
I don’t think this tune is a strathspey, but I’m not sure how to categorize it given the choices here. Heard this tune many times played by Abby Newton’s cello class during the past week at the Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School - a great tune on six cellos. You can find it on her Castles, Kirks and Caves CD. You can also find it on Legacy of the Scottish Fiddle, Vol. 1: Alasdair Fraser and Paul Machlis.
Willie’s Auld Trews (Devil Stick the Minister)
A rattling good tune, known as Devil Stick the Minister in The Great Northern Tune Book, where it appears in this variation:
E|A/A/A Ac B2GB | c2 BA BGGB | A/A/A Ac B2EB | c2 BA GEE :|
|: B | egec dfdB | egec dBGG | 1 egec dfdB |c2 BA BGG :|
2 afge fdec | c2BA GEE ||
I’d call it a reel.
Recorded by the Battlefield Band
Also the Battlefield Band have recorded this tune, under the name of Seann Bhriogais Uilleam (Willie’s Old Trousers), in his CD New Spring (1991).
Battlefield Band’s Version
Here’s the version I learned off the New Spring album, played in A minor. The A Part is played an octave lower the first time or two, before jumping up. One of my favourite tunes!
D|A,DDF E2 A,E|F2 ED ECCE|A,DDF E3A|GFED CA,A,:|
|:c|AcAF GcGE|F2GF ECCc|AcAF GcGE|F2 ED CA,A,|
AcAF GcGE|F2GF ECCc|AcBc GcEc|DFED CA,A,||
|:c|Addf e2 Ae|f2ed ecce|Addf e3a|(gf)ed cAA:|
|:c|AFcF GEcE|FDGF ECCc|AFcF GEcE|DFED CA,A,c|
AFcF GEcE|FDGF ECCc|AcBc GcEc|DFED CA,A,:|
Maggie Sansone …
… has a very nice version of this tune on her Wind Drift recording under the title "Willie’s Old Trousers", and refers to it as a Scotish reel. In the notes to the recording Maggie makes reference that the tune was first called the "Song of the Breeches", a song written to protest the Brit’s ban on the Scot’s wearing of kilts and other Highland garb. So Maggie appropriately couples the tune with another reel called "The Tartan".
Origin of the tune
According to this description :
It could be an old Scottish tune "The first tune, it is said, was composed as a lament to the Act of Proscription in 1746 that banned the wearing of the kilt and other forms of Highland dress."
Sounds a little bit too romantic to be true, but "according to the legend …"
An friend of I, a French flute player is used to play this tune followed by Lady Margaret Steward. His version is very close to #4.