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GUEST,Karen Help: The Unfortunate Rake (116* d) RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake 23 Jun 18


Hello everybody and thanks for responding to my thoughts. Just as I thought I was done with this for a while.


Can anybody point me to a digitised version of Belden's Ballads and Songs Collected by the Missouri Folk Song Society?

I am not saying that Lloyd personally invented the title 'The Unfortunate Rake'. What I am saying is that he used it for his version because people, and especially people in the USA, whose work he had come across, were calling TUL TUR. He did not use it because he had miraculously found an actual 19th century broadsheet/side of that title. He knew, for example, that Kidson and his co-author had conjectured in 1904 that TUL had originally been sung to a jig called "The Unfortunate Rake". He knew and says that TUL is sometimes referred to as TUR. The only broadside Lloyd refers to is the Such one.

Actually, if you trace back the references from Goldstein's liner notes, it becomes clear that it is in the USA that they are going with the TUR name; the English articles don't use it. An example is the piece by Lodewick referenced by Goldstein on his liner notes to The Unfortunate Rake LP. I found this on JSTOR. Lodewick writes about the 'stall ballad' but all he has seen is a couple of verses quoted by Belden (because they did not like to print the whole thing!!)

Lodewick's article is called 'The Unfortunate Rake and His Descendants' Sorry if I said this before, but he is the first person to state incorrectly that Forde's informant heard My Jewel in Dublin, a mistake repeated a) by Goldstein and b) by Lloyd in his Folk Song in England (where he produces yet another variation on the words as you probably know). Lodewick's 1955 article is, for me, long on imagination and short of references where you most want them. He starts by asserting with no evidence the following: '


"The changes that are made in a folk song by environment and other conditions are interesting to trace. The story which connects the old Irish ballad 'The Unfortunate Rake' with the 'Cowboy's Lament' of the American South West - with many offshoots along the way - provides a good example The history of this song starts, as far as can be ascertained, with the Irish homiletic ballad 'The Unfortunate Rake' which was current in Ireland about 1790. It travelled to England, where a version developed about a woman cut down in her prime.... The earliest version 'The Unfortunate Rake' was a soldier's song. The hero died of syphilis contracted from a camp follower. Almost all armies of that day had a an army of prostitutes and other hangers-on with it, a situation which had been common for many centuries. For identification I will call this by its most popular title, The Unfortunate Rake."

Up to this point, Lodewick does not favour his readers with a single reference. This is an introduction that outlines the argument to follow/sets context as he sees it. It is worth noting that he appears to be in complete ignorance of The Buck's Elegy, which if Bishop and Roud are right about the dating, rivals Jewel as being the earliest version. Lloyd never seems to have seen this either. At this date it was not on the folklorists' radar, and I don't know when it came under that radar, as the story was built up in ignorance of it, which to me, means the story got flawed. But note that date 'about 1790'. And note 'most popular title', not 'actual title as evidenced by x, y and z. No primary source to use the historian's language. Not even a secondary one. What he says about armies of prostitutes is no doubt correct, but where he falls short is in providing any textual evidence to support his argument that this was a camp follower.


Later in the piece, he goes back over the argument with references. He makes it clear that the 1790 date he is referring to is the one provided by Joyce when publishing the Jewel My Joy he found in Forde's papers. Lodewick has decided to call this 'The Unfortunate Rake' and he has decided it was about a camp follower. He has also decided that the pipes would have been 'Irish shoulder pipes'.

I cannot work out which Irish army he believes had camp followers in Dublin at the time (which is where he says the song was collected, when in fact it was Cork). Or maybe he is guessing that the Irishman got the disease abroad on active service? And now he has come home he is asking his 'jewel', whom he has betrayed with a camp follower, to bury him with military honours. Personally I hope she laughed in his face ( and did not catch it from him) for the cheek of it. This interpretation of the fragment makes no sense at all to me. I don't believe it is the same song to be honest. Not even ballad-hacks were that daft, surely?


I hate to muddle things, but I'm going to quote him in full, in case anybody has a copy of Belden, which he uses as a reference at one point. Citing Belden, (if anybody, it isn't entirely clear) whose book appears to be versions collected in Missouri, he says "Other versions are called 'The Unfortunate Rake' and 'The Irish Rake' from Ireland and 'The Rakish Young Fellow', 'St James Hospital' and the 'Rambling Boy' all from England.


He cites Lomax's cowboy songs, and as we know Lomax admitted that he tinkered with these songs.


It's a badly organised article, with unclear and missing citations, conjecture masquerading as fact, and one hopes that if submitted to a proper peer reviewed journal they would have thrown it back at him and told him to sort out conjecture from fact and get his references clearer. He does cite some of the early English Folk Song Society articles we have all read, and on St James Hospital, which he claims is English he cites a Canadian book about songs in Novia Scotia! Later he also cites Sharp in the Appalachians.

Now I am ranting and I apologise.

Another American, Waylon Hand, also referenced on the Goldstein LP says all Belden has is a 'tantalising sketch'. Writing in 1968 Hand says that the full 19th century broadside can now be heard on an LP called The Unfortunate Rake as sung by A L Lloyd. In his dreams. Because I am sure that if Lloyd had found such a thing people would now know where it was, how Lloyd had found it, where it is now. But they don't! Not even Roud has located it. It doesn't in my view exist.


I referred previously to two Lloyd articles on the song. The dates are 47 and 56. By the time he writes the 2nd, he has plainly seen at least the last verse of the Such version, which he mentions by name, as if he has seen the whole thing. Can you explain how to upload images as I might scan them and try so people can read them for themselves. Might, this is time consuming if not very IT literate as myself. Only if you are interested. Better than complicated enquiries via library services!!

To answer your question about the date Lloyd produced his version and called it The Unfortunate Rake. I cannot say if he was singing this prior to recording it, but it first came out in the late 50s on an LP called English Street Songs, once again edited by Goldstein. Sorry don't have exact date. It's mentioned on the Mainly Norfolk Web site. It looks as if it is American issue only, and it must be the version that Waylon Hand had heard when he wrote his article in 1958. Reference available on request.


I cannot help wondering why if everybody believed Lloyd had found a 19th century ballad of that name they did not ask him where it was, how he found it, where they could see it, for a reference. I suppose the answer is that he was trusted and that they did not have the exacting standards of a Steve Roud!



***********************

Sorry if I gave the wrong impression about the military bits. I am happy that the characters, including the one in "Buck's Elegy", are soldiers, and that the instruments have military connotations. I 'researched' them and found that the drum and the pipe/fife (basically a sort of whistle) were used in battle to signal. The high and low pitches respectively used to carry over the noise of battle, which is why they were chosen. For me, the word 'comrade' also implies something military.

The distinction I was making was between a funeral at which your mates bring along their instruments, and a formal event sanctioned/organised/paid for by the military authorities. It seems to me that strictly speaking only the latter would be an actual 'military funeral'. Just because you died while in the service it did not mean the army would expend resources burying you.

Moreover, the military were a bit notorious where the women were concerned. This even crops up, in a genteel way, in novels (eg a Jane Austen character elopes with a 'wicked' soldier who demands money to pay for her).

And when it comes to the 19th century it was explicitly concern about the illness syphillis caused in the armed forces that brought about the building of lock hospitals and the compulsory detention of women thought (not much evidence required) to be prostitutes within these. For me, these laws probably resulted in the rash of later 19th century 'lock hospital' songs, which have been described as 'homiletic' and which fit with the concerns and laws of the time. That is my 'context' for the Such.


It may be pedantic, but I found Lloyd saying something like 'more than military honours', and I don't think this reflects the text at all. It is Lloyd making out that the character is cheerily defiant again.

Yes, I found the one with a blank, instead of lock.

I agree that the OED information is useful in suggesting an earliest possible date for Buck's Elegy. Thanks for this reminder!

Lighter is right that Philips Barry was thinking of My Jewel My Joy. I did track down two articles he wrote using the online JSTOR facility, which is a wonderful source, and also has some early blues pieces that are often mentioned in the 'literature'.

Not sure about the highwayman idea. Interesting, but songs about highwaymen I have read (not many I admit) are usually upfront about this occupation.

Nobody reads long posts, I know this. Sorry. Have a nice day!


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