Mudcat Café message #78962 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #10796   Message #78962
Posted By: Sandy Paton
16-May-99 - 06:06 PM
Thread Name: Country of origin of these songs please!
Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
Back in the early days of ballad scholarship, all the academics tried to tie ballad stories to specific events in history. In this way, they hoped to pin-point the origin of the ballad. They often turned up events that approximated the story, but they actually could offer little or no proof of their theories.

I guess young men must have been dying all over the place because of some unrequited love. Something had to contribute to Barbara Allen's incredible popularity. I've always thought it was a singularly silly story made into a splendid song. I mean, who the heck ever really died for love? Yet our traditional songs are of full of such wimpy unfortunates, male and female, keeling over right and left. Maybe times have changed.

I still vote for Barbara coming from Scotland, but I hate to admit it, being a third generation American-Scotsman. I much prefer the "lusty rogue" image of the Border Ballad heroes/villains.