Mudcat Café message #1232762 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #50640   Message #1232762
Posted By: GUEST
24-Jul-04 - 10:09 AM
Thread Name: Wild Boar: History, Lyrics & Discussion-Child #18
Subject: RE: Wild Boar: History, Lyrics & Discussion
Sorry for aborted message above. To continue:

This fascinating song seems to imply a missing link. Has anyone found it?

On the one hand are the older versions dating back to the original(?) Sir Egrabell, Sir Lionel, Bold Sir Rylas, etc. and, in the US, the Harmon and Hicks versions with their characteristic English hunting scenes. The English song by a century ago seems to have led itself to burlesque, e.g. Sir Eglamore. But all these are roughly formal ballads with serious intent, at most a bit of mock-heroics. They also tend to include the witch woman / giant verses conjuring up a background story that is longer and more complex.

On the other hand is what might be called the American consensus: the story is reduced to a sketch, and it is turned into a lullaby, titled usually something like Old Bangum (I don't believe I've ever seen that slightly silly title in an English version), etc, with a slow, moody little sing-'em-to-sleep nonsense refrain (dillum down, quilly quo quam, quilo quay, etc.) There is an alternate strain in which something like "come a call, cut him down, kill him" is used, but this seems to be an exception, and the tone remains lullabyish. The few uptempo US versions, including the Wild Hog in the Woods text and tunes, seem to be later developments.

Questions are:

1. Taking melody, text, and implied atmosphere into consideration, where is the breakpoint / missing link between these two?

2. When and how did the (very public-sounding, performance-oriented) ballad, seemingly simply by crossing the ocean, devolve into the moody, cute, warm & fuzzy (and very private-sounding) lullaby?

3. Did U.S. cabin life in pioneer days quickly whittle it down to pint-size, even though many other ballads survived more or less whole? Or is there another explanation?

And 4. Has anyone seen a version that could be the missing link?

Bob Coltman