Mudcat Café message #768724 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #50640   Message #768724
Posted By: John Minear
20-Aug-02 - 04:17 PM
Thread Name: Wild Boar: History, Lyrics & Discussion-Child #18
Subject: RE: Wild Boar: History, Lyrics & Discussion
This is a tremendous start! Wolfgang, thanks for updating the "Rackabello" link. The title variants are fascinating in and of themselves. Thanks, Masato. What would we do without Bronson? Any chance this collection is ever going to be republished? Thanks, Guest. And MMario, thanks for the Child collection! According to my edition - Dover, 1965 - you've included all of them. This gives us an excellent reference point.

I would be interested in paying particular attention to where the various versions come from geographically, and to the possibility of tracing some lineages for particular versions.

Since I grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, I'm partial to Sam Harmon's "Wild Boar", listed above in the DT links. It was recorded from the singing of Sam Harmon near Maryville, in 1939, by Herbert Halpert for the Library of Congress. You can listen to it on a cassette available from the Library of Congress (L57) CHILD BALLADS TRADITIONAL IN THE UNITED STATES, Vol. I, edited by Betrand H. Bronson, A4.

!!!CAUTION!!! I ordered this from the Library of Congress by First Class Mail on December 20, 2001. I live about three and a half hours from Washington, D.C. I had a note this week from the LOC saying that they received my order on August 14, 2002. They say, "The long delay in responding to your order was due to the anthrax scare which attacked Capitol Hill in October, 2001. All first class mail delivery was stopped for several months." Fortunately, I called in February or so and found out what the problem was. They can't take phone or internet orders, so I had to FEDEX them my order and my check. They FEDEXed me right back with the tape. Don't try it by the normal mails, unless you can wait nine months or a year.

You'll find a copy of the words and music for Sam Harmon's "Wild Boar" in Bronson's THE SINGING TRADITION OF CHILD'S POPULAR BALLADS, 1976 (Princeton), on page 71. Bronson says that Harmon learned this from his father (Council Harmon). In the liner notes for the cassette mentioned above, Bronson says,

"This is the most interesting version of the ballad of "Sir Lionel" that has been discovered in this country. Mr. Harmon learned it from hearing his father sing it but its track has not been followed further. In its outlines it is quite like Child's C text, "The Jovial Hunter of Bromsgrove,"[cf. MMario's post above] collected in Worcestershire about 1845." (p.7)

Sam Harmon and his family lived in Cades Cove, not far from Maryville, Tennessee, right up to the time that the Cove was taken over by the Parks Service as a part of the Smoky Mountain National Park in the 1930s. You can learn a lot about the Harmon family from Mellinger Henry's book FOLK-SONGS FROM THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS, J.J.Augustin Publisher, New York City. Henry collected a bunch of songs from the Harmons, although "The Wild Boar" is not in this collection. There is also some information in Henry's book SONGS SUNG IN THE SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS, MANY OF THEM ILLUSTRATING BALLADS IN THE MAKING, London, the Mitre Press, 1934. Sam Harmon and his wife moved to Cades Cove from the Beech Mountain area of Western North Carolina, and both of them were related to the ballad singers in that area.

Peggy Seeger sings a version of Sam Harmon's "Wild Boar" on Record Four of her series with Ewan MacColl called THE LONG HARVEST, put out by ARGO,in 1967, in London, and unfortunately now out of print. Her tune is slightly different from Harmon's tune, but a good one. Jody Stecher's version, linked above, is also partially based on Sam Harmon's version, especially his tune. However, Stecher collates additional verses from other sources to fill out his version. It is interesting to compare the Harmon and Stecher versions, as well as the Harmon and the Child C version.