Mudcat Café message #3853755 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161981   Message #3853755
Posted By: Richie
07-May-17 - 03:57 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Died for Love Sources: PART IV
Subject: RE: Origins: Died for Love Sources: PART IV

This excerpt also from "British & Other Versions" present the UK versions of Butcher Boy in a more complete way:

E, The Butcher Boy, has rarely been found in the UK and is an American variant with the "Alehouse" stanzas found in A and a unique opening stanza. The core stanzas printed in broadsides from Philadelphia (1858) and New York (c.1860s) begin: "In Jersey City." The name "Jersey" as found also in "New Jersey" is named after the Isle of Jersey off the coast of south England and France. The origin of the broadside text seems to be a single arrangement of a traditional version from New England which was reprinted. Belden says in "Songs and Ballads (1940)" that "the 'in Jessie's city' of the Essex text in JFSS II 159 looks as if this text had traveled back from America to England." Steve Gardham has also expressed similar sentiments. This is the evidence of Butcher Boy/Jersey City in the UK and British Colonies:

1) In Jessie's City- from maid (Essex) 1905 R.V. Williams
2) In Jersey City- sung by Miss F. Watts and Miss A. Teesdale 1943 [From Late Joys at the Players' theatre - page 69; Jean Anderson (acting director of the Players' theatre, London) - 1943.
3) Jersey City- sung by Mrs. Julia Barnes of Chideock, Dorset as collected by Peter Kennedy in 1952 (single stanza).
4) The Butcher Boy- sung by Sarah Makem of Keady, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. From one of Sarah Makem's two 1956 recordings made by Diane Hamilton.
5) The Butcher Boy- sung by "Queen" Caroline Hughes of Blandford, Dorset in in April 1968. Taken from Topic anthology "I'm a Romany Rai."

British Colonies:
1) The Butcher Boy- text (written down by Agnes Rogers) from Lily Green, a native of Tristan da Cunha c. 1938. The Song Tradition of Tristan da Cunha; 1970 by Peter Munch.
2) The Butcher Boy- sung by Maybelle Simmonds of Lowlands, Nevis, collected c. 1962.

Certainly the popularity of Butcher Boy in the US and the number of prints that could easily have made their way to the UK are points validating the "crossing over" theory of Belden and Gardham.

One thing is clear, the "Butcher Boy" ballad was brought to America long before 1860 when the "In Jersey City" versions associated with the US broadsides were printed. The two versions from British colonies, Tristan da Cunha and Nevis, show the possibility that the ballad at one time was current in Britain and was exported to the islands. This also validates the theory that Butcher Boy, with its unique opening stanza and form, was printed in the UK long ago. The missing broadside has not been discovered and the Butcher Boy dropped out of currency in the UK by the 1850s[] when it was replaced by current versions including Rambling Boy (early 1800s to 1850s) and Brisk Young Sailor (1850s). This explains how the ballad traveled to the British colonies and remote areas of North America while preserving the opening stanza and form. The original location was probably "London City" which after traveling to New England became localized and became "Jersey City." This missing broadside was probably printed by the last half of the 1700s since the ballad (through family lines) had, by my guestimation, arrived in North America in multiple areas by the late 1700s.