Songs of Seduction

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This is a very common theme in traditional song, and along with love and marriage songs feature in more than half of the songs in the Greig Duncan Collection from the Aberdeenshire area. Although a lot of these songs might be considered vulgar or obscene by some, the subject often brings out the highest standards of wit and artistic expression.

All anthologies will have a lot of these songs. Four specialising in British songs of love and seduction are:

  • Buchan, Peter. The High-Kilted Muse. Ed. Murray Shoolbraid. (Jackson: University Press of Missippi, 2010). Buchan was a prolific broadside publisher in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, in the early nineteenth century, and this is the first publication of his manuscript of bawdy songs, meticulously edited by Shoolbraid. No melodies. An essential primary source.
  • Burns, Robert. The Merry Muses of Caledonia. Ed. James Barke and Sydney Goodsir Smith.(Edinburgh: M. MacDonald for the Auk Society, 1959). Burns was of course famous for his poetry and his passion for the "fair sex"; some of these graphic songs are Burns originals, while others he collected from Scottish tradition. No melodies. (Reprinted in paperback by Panther Books, London, in 1966).
  • McCarthy, Tony, ed. Bawdy British Folk Songs. (London: Wolfe, 1972). Sixty songs (with melodies), all but one or two traditional, in versions assembled and trivially modified by the editor.
  • Sedley, Stephen, ed. The Seeds of Love. (London: Essex Music, 1967). Lots of fine songs (with melodies) here, generally collated from several sources, or "based on" a source.

Two anthologies with sections on the theme are: The Singing Island and Folk Songs of Britain and Ireland.

Two collections of sound recordings with songs of seduction are: The Voice of the People and The Folk Songs of Britain.

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