Love songs, drinking songs, laments, a political rabble-rouser, and more. With their new CD "Tam Lin," Bob Hay & the Jolly Beggars further explore the rich lode of songs that Robert Burns left us. The title track is an ancient ballad which Burns collected, added a couple of verses to, and published in 1792. All the other songs on the CD have more of Burns in them. The melody of "Bonnie Ann" was written by Burns friend Allan Masterson, who also composed the melody to "Willie brew'd a peck o' maut," which is on the first CD. The song "I love my Jean" was specified by Burns to be set to the melody known as "Miss Admiral Gordon's Strathspey." This is Burns most common method - writing lyrics to match traditional Scottish melodies.
"Whistle o'er the lave o't" appears to have been an all-purpose chorus to any number of bawdy verses which Burns used for his musings on the progress of marriage. "Blythe hae I been" was specified by Burns to be set to a dance tune known as "Merrily danced the Quaker's Wife" to which he also set his bawdy song "Nine inch'll Please a Lady," which Hay and the Beggars have been known to play once the children are all asleep.
from Creative Loafing, Atlanta, GA:
Tam Lin and More Songs by Robert Burns
Bob Hay & the Jolly Beggars
By Lee Valentine Smith
The second album from Bob Hay's folksy combo proves that the former leader of Athens' Squalls was serious when he vowed to veer off the beaten path. An institution in the early '80s Athens scene, the Squalls produced a quirky mix of dance pop with considerable folk and jam tinges that influenced a number of younger acts, including Widespread Panic.
On the other hand, the second volume of songs by the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) firmly entrenches Hay and his Jolly Beggars as hipster pundits. The inner core of this project is delightfully obscure in these modern times. The traditional folk melodies that frame Burns' lyrics, however, are as insistently catchy as the Squalls' good-natured pop music that had Athenians dancing more than two decades ago.
Former Squalls Diana Torell (fiddle, vocals) and Ken Starratt (bass) are still on board, joined by Dave Dowless and Bill David, and the literate minstrels eagerly tear through 18 selections, including the nine-minute "Tam Lin" opus, with Burns' thick Scottish dialect -- and bawdy humor -- intact. 4 Stars