We had a Bass Culture research trip to the Wighton Collection in Dundee Central Library today. Looking at Andrew Wighton's collected Scottish music books, we got to the very bottom of our list - a book of fiddle tunes believed to have been published by Daniel Wright.
I say, believed to have been, because the book has no cover, and appears to be the sole surviving copy of - well, whatever it is!
Things got worse when I realised that although the pages were numbered in one sequence, the TUNES were numbered in two sequences, with slightly different font used for the tune titles in "Collection A" compared to "Collection B". Each sheet of paper had an A, and a B side, not necessarily in the same order throughout the book.
I thought I detected a slight difference in repertoire between the two sequences, too. Oh, Mr Wighton, if only you'd felt able to be a bit more specific about what the book is. There's a note inside the volume from an expert in Ireland. And that points to an old encyclopedia, which in turn quotes an old Irish book ... BUT, the book they're talking about is a different size and shape to the one we saw today. If Wighton's is a pirated copy, then it's pirated from TWO books, not one.
So is Mr Wright my "Mr Right"? Watch this space. The book referred to by the Irish expert is very old indeed. And the one we saw? Drat, I forgot to look to see if there was a watermark! I still need convincing as to whether Wighton's un-named book is as old as that. Hopefully, I'll blog about it on our Bass Culture blog as soon as I am sure I've got my facts Wright - sorry, right!
MEANWHILE, back at the ranch, I see there is another researcher interested in my ghostly friend, Mr John Callander. This is exceptionally interesting news, and I really look forward to hearing more from him. (The researcher, I mean. I know that the ghostly Mr Callander will be there at my shoulder next time I go to Edinburgh, and quite possibly if I ever go near Stirling ...)