Verse 1 begins: 'My friend and I struck frae Milgye, / From Glasgow town we took our way'. The directions under the title reveal that the accompanying tune should be 'Craigmaddy Muir'. This sheet was published by James Lindsay of 11 King Street, Glasgow. Lindsay is known to have worked from Glasgow between 1847 and 1910.
Broadsides were the cheap and ready entertainment of their day and as such could be purchased on the streets. They were mainly hawked by chapmen or patterers who would sing ballads or recite some of the headlines to attract attention. The information at the bottom of this sheet reveals a little more of the broadside process. James Lindsay printed and sold this sheet, which is actually two separate trades. It is also advertised that he kept 5,000 sheets in stock and that these could be supplied to other agents. Hiring fairs (also called feeing markets) where agricultural labourers and domestic servants were held in towns throughout Scotland well into the twentienth century.
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
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