Mudcat Café message #3956748 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165063   Message #3956748
Posted By: Richie
15-Oct-18 - 10:39 AM
Thread Name: Origins: James Madison Carpenter- Child Ballads 5
Subject: Origins: James Madison Carpenter- Child Ballads 5
Hi,

Continuing our study of James Madison Carpenter collection and the Child Ballads we are now on Child 13 known as "My Son David/Son Davie" or "What's the Blood?" which Child has titled "Edward" after Percy's version, Child Ab. The legitimacy of Percy's version and hence Child's title has been questioned and I will be using the first two titles and other titles in reference to Child 13.

The Carpenter versions are from the United States which means the ballad was not found in tradition by Carpenter in Scotland and England in the early 1930s.

Along with Carpenter's versions from the US which are directly tied to North Carolina/Virginia and the Brown Collection will be a discussion of Child 13.

Child 13 is a fratricide, while Child Ab (Percy) is a patricide, while the motive (fighting over a little bush). The "little bush" has been called a kenning (Barry and others) for a relationship of the brothers with a younger sister.

The classic Scottish version was sung by Jeannie Robertson who learned the ballad from her mother when her brother and father were off fighting in World War I (1914-1918). I've put a date of c.1916 which is approximate. Robertson would have been 8 years old at that time. It was recorded from her many times in the 1950s and 60s.

MY SON DAVID Sung by Jeannie Robertson (Mrs. Jean Higgins), Aberdeenshire; Recorded by Hamish Henderson in 1952; Transcribed by Francis Collinson.

1. Oh what's the blood that's on your sword?
My son David, Ho son David,
What's the blood 'at's on your sword?
come promise tell me true.

2. Oh that's the blood of my grey meir;
Hey lady mother, Ho lady mother,
That's the blood of my grey meir
Because it wouldna rule by me.

3. O that blood it is ower clear;
My son David, etc.
That blood it is ower clear,
Come promise tell me true.

4. O that's the blood of my grey hound
Hey lady mother, etc.
That's the blood of my grey hound
Because it wouldna rule by me.

5. O that blood it is ower clear;
My son David, etc.
That blood it is ower clear,
Come promise tell me true.

6. O that's the blood of my brother John,
Hey lady mother, etc.
That's the blood of my brother John
Because he wouldna rule by me.

7. O when will you come back again,
My son David, etc.
When will you come back again
Come promise tell me true.

8. When the sun and moon meets in yon glen,
Hey lady mother, etc.
When the sun and moon meets in yon glen,
Will I return again.

The US versions, which by my guestimation date to at least the late 1700s, are represented by Sharp A, the Hicks version and Davis D- the Moncure version- both of which are very old.

As always, comments are welcome. I will post the Carpenter versions shortly,

Richie