Mudcat Café message #2348432 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #111333   Message #2348432
Posted By: curmudgeon
24-May-08 - 06:27 PM
Thread Name: Scarborough Fair
Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
I first encountered SF in my late teens on the Riverside LP, Matching Songs of the British Isles and America, MacColl- Seeger.

The version Ewan sang was strong, free sung and unaccompanied. Text and tune were probably Carthy's source. I took to Ewan's version instantly, and have been singing it for the past forty five or so years.

But I was also taken by the version of The Cambric Shirt that Peggy did on the album. She said it came from the Southern Appallachians; it has some of the elements of Child's J text. But what struck me was that the man asks:

"Where are you going, I'm going to Lynn.."

and the woman replies:

"Where are you going, I'm going to Cape Ann..."

These two places are close by on the North Shore of Massachusetts, but Southern Appalachians? I did later find it in the Flanders collection.

My understanding, over the years, and a lot of reading from forgatten sources was that this is a ballad ofmagical activities; none of the tasks can be completed otherwise, and that the herbal incantation was a protection for both singer and listener.

Perhaps someone with better memory or handier access to Child can add more to my thoughts - Tom Hall