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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Abby Sale Origins: Blood Red Roses (what's it mean?) (143* d) RE: Origins: Blood Red Roses (what's it mean?) 30 Jan 11

Good. I couldn't agree more that, as with many songs, the academic and the entertainment value are very different. I had the pleasure to hear "John Barleycorn" last night (pleasure for the fine singing but also because it's so rare to hear any traditional song at all around here).

The singer asked me if I knew the origin. I answered that it was a pretty old traditional song that many of want to believe is of an extremely old pre-Christian root - but I doubt actually is. But I said it likely didn't matter to the audience even if the singer "should" have some thought about it. It helps (me, anyway) to have a setting for the song - to interpret it. But especially since it's 300+ years old, anyway...

BRR is like that - a great song, at worst related to a chantey and certainly sounds like one.

As to Ives, Lloyd, etc. Them guys didn't have the advantages of the Web, the Bodley online, the DT or even all the books printed or reprinted in the 60's. They had to work pretty hard for material. Many, Ives notably, were considerable collectors. And if they came on the same sources or stole from each other - well no big surprise. I'd never thought of that much until I read the brief note in Dyer-Bennett's break-through "1601" LP of the bawdy version of:

"The Eer-i-e Canal - A canal boatmen's song .
I heard it first in Portland, Maine, and later
an almost identical version from Burl Ives."

As I write, "Pablo Meshuggie" is web-streaming a song from the MacColl/Lloyd "Blow, Boys, Blow." That's where I learned BRR in 1960. Huh! That's wrong. It's on their later "Whaling Ballads" LP. I learned if from taping MacColl at his and Peggy Seeger's concert at Penn in 1959.

I still sing it.

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