Mudcat Café message #1976652 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99266   Message #1976652
Posted By: GUEST,Guest: Lisa Null
22-Feb-07 - 10:25 PM
Thread Name: Query: Peggy Seeger's London Bridge
Subject: RE: Query: Peggy Seeger's London Bridge
Thanks to all of you, I was able to take this preliminary material and go to the Library of Congress's Folklife Center's Online reference service. They have helped me turn up a stash of about five songs with the Seeger verse structure and melody--four from Mississippi and one from Arkansas. The one from Arkansas (AFS 865A1: Sung by Emma Dusenbury. Recorded in Mena, Arkansas, by John A. Lomax, Aug. 1936) is almost identical to that recorded by Charles Seeger:

London's Bridge is a fallin' down
All girls remember me
London's Bridge is falling down
For the prettiest girl I know.

which can be found on the Songs for Political Action 1926-1953 collection.

Dusenbury sings:

London's Bridge is a-burning down,
oh, girls, remember me
London's Bridge is a-burning down
for the prettiest girl I know.

Apparently this is all that was recorded from Emma Dusenbury, but she has other verses that were taken down by transcription. Let's see if they resemble Peggy's. I'm waiting for them to be faxed from the Library of Congress along with some of the Mississippi verses that are similar. I am pretty sure Emma Dusenbury is the source singer and this is exciting as she was one of the great traditional ballad singers and resources from Arkansas. I'll keep you posted on what I find. Incidentally, the notes I'm creating for Peggy Seeger's Love Call Me Home will be posted on the web for all to share and enjoy!