Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Robert Burns: "Such A Parcel O' Rogues In A Nation"

    This is a traditional Scottish folk tune, with words by Robert Burns, decrying the Act Of Union of 1707. This arrangement for mandolins is by Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni, from her forthcoming ebook "Evelyn's Big Book for Mandolins for the Year 2017" -- thanks, Evelyn!

    Played as a mandolin quartet of two mandolins, tenor guitar bass line and bouzouki/octave mandolins chords.

    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin
    1921 Gibson Ajr mandolin
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar
    Mid-Missouri M-111 bouzouki

    Fareweel to a' our Scottish fame,
    Fareweel our ancient glory;
    Fareweel ev'n to the Scottish name,
    Sae fam'd in martial story.
    Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
    An' Tweed rins to the ocean,
    To mark where England's province stands-
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

    What force or guile could not subdue,
    Thro' many warlike ages,
    Is wrought now by a coward few,
    For hireling traitor's wages.
    The English steel we could disdain,
    Secure in valour's station;
    But English gold has been our bane -
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

    O would, ere I had seen the day
    That Treason thus could sell us,
    My auld grey head had lien in clay,
    Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace!
    But pith and power, till my last hour,
    I'll mak this declaration;
    We're bought and sold for English gold-
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

  2. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    The Steeleye Span rendition of this song used to be one of my favourites. This quite baroque version has the spirit in it. I remember.
  3. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    A lovely arrangement of a great melody, Martin, and you play it well as always. For me, as a Scot, The lyrics are the real power of the piece, so strongly does Burns express his anger against those Scots in our parliament whom he saw as selling out their nation for the favours and bribes being offered. Interestingly Burns was a government employee in his letter years, working as an Excise Officer in Dumfries area. As such, he had to tread a very canny line when he expressed his anti-government sentiments, or support of things like the French Revolution (as did many other writers and intellectuals of the period, including figures like William Wordsworth).
  4. gortnamona
    lovely as usual Martin, one of my favourite songs ,Dick Gaughan's stands out for me
  5. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks for the kind comments. Yes, the Steeleye and Gaughan recordings of this tune are classics, although the first version I heard was probably the Dubliners and I'm also fond of Ewan MacColl's interpretation which predated and influenced all of them. Because of the slow stately tempo it's a challenge to play the tune on mandolin -- I've tried it a few times in the past, but wasn't happy with the result until I came across Evelyn's arrangement. The harmonies flesh out the sustained notes nicely to give a full ringing sound without having to resort to tremolo (which doesn't really suit this tune).

  6. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Another one of the tunes we regularly play from our repertoire folders -- still no weekly rehearsals, so I'm recording them at home.

    Same harmonies from Evelyn as in my 2017 recording, but played a bit differently this time, using tenor guitar arpeggios to accompany the mandolin melody. Mandocello and second mandolin come in on the repeat.

    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin (x2)
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello

  7. Frithjof
    Great recording, Martin. The tenor guitar arpeggios suits the tune very well.
  8. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Over three years since your last posting of this tune, Martin; how time seems to fly. The arpeggio backing really suits the performance here.
  9. Gelsenbury
    +1 on the arpeggios. Very good choice. The mandolin harmony is very well played, too. A very pleasant listen.
  10. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Best yet Martin! I love the rhythmic struggle between the main instrument and the more structured arpeggios, and the emotional dissonance that you’ve played there.
    Really well done.
  11. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks for those nice comments. It's a favourite tune of mine, and I'm happy with the way this has come out.

  12. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    I like this one very much martin and your arrangement and instruments suits the tune. Simon, wth is 'emotional dissonance'?
  13. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    It still has that inconsolable sadness which makes the tune what it is. I picture Robert Burns shedding a tear and heaving a sigh.
  14. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Great backup and melody picking!
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