PS 308 – The Middling Spree

      An Daorach Mheadhonach

      Tha’n daorach ort – dh’òl thu a’ mhàileid

Primary Sources

K3 An Daorach Mheanach / Tha’n daorach ort dh’òl thu Mhàileid / You are drunk you’v drank the wallet K3.15: 91
JK An Daorach ort dhol thu Mhaileid / you are drunk you’ve drank the Wallet JK.48: 129
SC Hanurich ort C. SC.39
Angus MacKay, ‘Specimens of Canntareachd’ (c. 1854), no. 39

Notes on Gaelic Titles

An Daorach Mheadhonach an Daorach Mheanach D2 notes; An Daorach Mheanach K3. The Middling Spree. There are three Daorach tunes: The Little Spree (PS 230)The Middling Spree (PS 308), and The Big Spree (PS 178), but note that Donald MacDonald junior switches ‘little’ and ‘big’ about. The ‘middling’ spree is much less well known nowadays than the others. According to Donald MacDonald, they all refer to a MacGregor warrior who ‘would get quite deranged, occasioned by his partaking too freely of ardent spirits’ (D2 notes, p. 4). Three subtitles provided by Angus MacKay beginning ‘Tha’n daorach ort’ (you are drunk), support this story, with the sequence ‘you’ve drunk a quart’, ‘you’ve drunk the wallet’ and ‘you’d better sleep’ applied to ‘little’, ‘middling’ and ‘big’. However, a leading piper from Barra in the twentieth century, Neil Angus MacDonald, believed that they had served as a code calling Catholics to Mass in areas where they were persecuted, respectively signalling the arrival of a deacon, priest or bishop. In the first edition of these notes (2009), Roderick Cannon suggested that ‘little’, ‘middling’ and ‘big’ may have referred to the tunes themselves, e.g. the perceived complexity of the ùrlar.

Tha’n daorach ort, dh’òl thu a’ mhàileid An Daorach ort dhol thu Mhaileid / you are drunk you’ve drank the Wallet JK; Than Daorach ort ghol thu Mhaileid JKA; Tha’n daorach ort dh’òl thu Mhàileid / You are drunk you’v drank the wallet K3; Hanurich ort C. SC. You are drunk – you’ve drunk the wallet (i.e. spent all the drinking money).

Roderick Cannon (2009), rev. Barnaby Brown 2016

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