Mudcat Café message #985646 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #10796   Message #985646
Posted By: Frankham
17-Jul-03 - 10:34 PM
Thread Name: Country of origin of these songs please!
Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
Well, Sandy, re Barbara Allen, there is an old saying. "Scratch a Scotsman and you'll find an Irishman." :) So who knows? But I'm sure it turned up in Scotland before it was incorporated into the English Music Hall. A similar pattern of folk songs being co-opted by the stage can be found all over as you know earlier than 1600.

It seems Scottish though. The interesting thing about English folk music is that much of their folk music has been derived from Celtic sources.

As a sidenote, in Chicago at the Field museum I ran across an exhibit from ancient China that depicted a young woman being interrogated by a young man as to whether she had been faithful to him without her knowing who the interrogator was. In other words, it was the "John Riley" legend.

I suspect that Barbara Allen like John Riley or Mary Hamilton may have it's origin in antiquity before being set down by folk song scholars in books.

But why not Scottish? Good a guess as any.

All the best.

Frank Hamilton