About the Dreg Song Project

In the nineteenth century, Scotsmen fished for oysters in the Firth of Forth by dragging dredges over the oyster 'scalps'. To maintain a steady speed they sang as they rowed. Overfishing brought the industry to a close near the turn of the twentieth century and with it, the use of the dreg songs. In the 1930s James Madison Carpenter gathered some of these songs on wax cylinders and typewritten pages. For years the songs were hidden away - lost. Now, with the work of the James Madison Carpenter Project these songs have come back to life first at Mystic Seaport Museum and, this summer, in their home waters of the Firth! Three Scottish Coast Rowing Clubs: RowportyNewhaven Coastal Rowing and Boatie Blest  brought the songs home to the Firth at 7:30 pm on 20 June, 2012 near the Dalriada Bar. It was a memorable and historic evening!

Greentrax Comes Aboard

Who’d have guessed that one of the villages with a dreg song tradition would be, today, the home of a folk music record label! Greentrax is a premier producer of folk music recordings in Scotland and is based right in Cockenzie where several versions of the dreg song were collected by Carpenter. While interest in our project does not imply any particular result, I’m delighted to include them as a supporter and to encourage anyone reading this blog to drop by their website: I can vouch personally that they produce exceptionally fine music!

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