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Country of origin of these songs please!

nan 08 May 99 - 10:17 PM
Rick Fielding 08 May 99 - 10:31 PM
Tucker 08 May 99 - 10:57 PM
Benjamin Bodhránaí 08 May 99 - 11:04 PM
katlaughing 08 May 99 - 11:10 PM
Tucker 08 May 99 - 11:18 PM
Alan of Australia 09 May 99 - 01:00 AM
Tucker 09 May 99 - 01:46 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 09 May 99 - 03:09 AM
Murray on Salt Spring 09 May 99 - 03:35 AM
John Wood 09 May 99 - 01:12 PM
Sandy Paton 09 May 99 - 01:16 PM
Sandy Paton 09 May 99 - 01:18 PM
mandolini (inactive) 09 May 99 - 02:43 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 09 May 99 - 08:30 PM
Reiver #2 (inactive) 09 May 99 - 11:18 PM
Arkie 10 May 99 - 12:36 AM
Arkie 10 May 99 - 12:39 AM
Alan of Australia 10 May 99 - 09:18 AM
George Henderson 10 May 99 - 03:16 PM
George Henderson 10 May 99 - 03:17 PM
Sandy Paton 10 May 99 - 04:41 PM
Graham Pirt 10 May 99 - 06:01 PM
Alex 10 May 99 - 07:29 PM
manylodges 10 May 99 - 10:58 PM
10 May 99 - 11:21 PM
Barry Finn 10 May 99 - 11:36 PM
11 May 99 - 04:40 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 16 May 99 - 04:32 AM
McMusic 16 May 99 - 05:49 AM
The Shambles 16 May 99 - 06:16 AM
Sandy Paton 16 May 99 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,gcarrier62@go.com 15 Jul 03 - 08:27 PM
Amos 15 Jul 03 - 08:40 PM
GUEST,HughM 17 Jul 03 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 17 Jul 03 - 01:37 PM
Frankham 17 Jul 03 - 10:34 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Jul 03 - 10:56 PM
Noreen 18 Jul 03 - 07:55 AM
Mr Happy 18 Jul 03 - 08:06 AM
GUEST 18 Jul 03 - 05:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jul 03 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,Guest 19 Jul 03 - 07:27 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Jul 03 - 01:42 PM
Terry K 20 Jul 03 - 02:15 AM
Sorcha 20 Jul 03 - 02:42 AM
Sabine 20 Jul 03 - 04:05 AM
GUEST 20 Jul 03 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Guest 20 Jul 03 - 10:43 AM
Uncle_DaveO 20 Jul 03 - 12:49 PM
ooh-aah 21 Jul 03 - 02:20 AM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Jul 03 - 06:46 AM
ooh-aah 21 Jul 03 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,Guest 21 Jul 03 - 08:20 AM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Jul 03 - 08:35 AM
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Subject: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: nan
Date: 08 May 99 - 10:17 PM

Are these American in orgin or from Europe? Down in the WIllow Garden Ommie Wise Midnight on the Water The House Carpenter Maidens Prayer Barbara Allen Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 08 May 99 - 10:31 PM

Well, I always thought Barbara Allen was Scottish. Maiden's Prayer is definitely American. Omie Wise and Down In The Willow Garden are certainly American versions of old ballads....oh hell, I'll just get outta here til the experts come along. Won't be long!


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Tucker
Date: 08 May 99 - 10:57 PM

Gee Rick, ya never gave me a chance, but I disagree with Barbara Ellen, it's english


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Benjamin Bodhránaí
Date: 08 May 99 - 11:04 PM

I've always presumed that Barbara Allen was Engklish as the first version that I heard was set in the west country of England. However since then I have also seen versions that seem to be set in Scotland.

Have to pass on the rest, as they are outside of my collection. Guess I'll have to start learning more songs!!!

BB


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 May 99 - 11:10 PM

Art Thieme sings an American cowboy version of Barbara Allen, which he learned in the 1960's from an old cowboy in Cheyenne. Quite nice.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Tucker
Date: 08 May 99 - 11:18 PM

I ran into Barbara Ellen in the 60's. Not trying to sound like an expert here but it was one of those jeopary tidbits you just kind of keep in your mind's litter box. Anyway, even then, in the 60's there was over 250 known and recognized versions of Barbara Ellen (No wonder I never learned all the words)but it is of English origin. To me it's like Greensleeves, to hear it is to know where it came from, obviously british. I could be wrong, I have stepped into weedeater doo doo before. See Pennywhistle/Titanic Thread


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 09 May 99 - 01:00 AM

G'day,
Barbara Allen (Child #84) is referred to by Child as a Scottish Ballad. The House Carpenter (Child #243) also appears to be Scottish. There are English and Scottish version of both of course.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Tucker
Date: 09 May 99 - 01:46 AM

Alan, thank you. I could be wrong of course, I do know it's an old, old song with many variations, you should hear some from our mountains here. Not bad, just different than what you've heard I'm sure


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 09 May 99 - 03:09 AM

"Maiden's Prayer" is by Bob Wills, the king of Texas swing. Definitely American. --seed


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Murray on Salt Spring
Date: 09 May 99 - 03:35 AM

I don't know [nobody can say] for sure where "Barbara Allan" comes from, but as long ago as 1666 Samuel Pepys mentions a lady singing a "little Scotch song of Barbary Allen". Child (no. 84) has a lot of stuff, and Bronson even more.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: John Wood
Date: 09 May 99 - 01:12 PM

According to song notes I have``Ommie Wise´´.
``This ballad recounts the true-life murder of Naomi(``Ommie´´)Wise by John Lewis in 1808.
Her grave may still be seen at Province Church,North Carolina.
Cecil Sharp collected seven variations of the ballad,and,according to Ralph Rinzler,the Library of Congress Archives has versions by fifteen different singers.´´

House Carpenter(Child#243)----Alternative titles ``James Harris,or the Daemon Lover´´

Greetings John.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 09 May 99 - 01:16 PM

Bringing in some of the big guns: Let me quote from MacEdward Leach's lovely The Ballad Book, page 277:

Traditionally most comments on this famous ballad begin with the quotation from Pepys: "In perfect pleasure I was to hear her [Mrs. Knipp, the actress] sing, and especially her little Scotch song of Barbara Allen," and from Goldsmith: "The music of the finest singer is dissonance to what I felt when our old dairy-maid sung me to tears with 'Johny Armstrong's Last Goodnight,' or 'The Cruelty of Barbara Allen.'"

Leach continues: The source of the ballad is unknown; the John Graeme in Ramsay's version cannot be identified. The ballad has no continental analogues. In America, however, it has had the widest geographical spread of any ballad and it has thrown off more texts and tunes than any other.

Pepys lived from 1633 to 1703, and his famous diaries were written in the 1660s, in a kind of shorthand which was not deciphered until 1825.

MacEdward Leach was head of the Folklore department at Penn, a wonderful scholar, mentor to such well-known younger scholars as Kenny Goldstein and Roger Abrahams, and, unusual for an academician, he also did a lot of field collecting in Canada.

Hope this helps. I'll cast my vote for Scotland as Barbara Allen's birthplace, but now we know how much we're going to miss Bruce Olson when the debate gets heavy. Sure wish he could put up with a little BS!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 09 May 99 - 01:18 PM

Darn! Forgot one of those brackety thingies to close off the italics!

Cyber-klutz


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: mandolini (inactive)
Date: 09 May 99 - 02:43 PM

Barbara Allen IS ENGLISH

Dave Hanson {mandolini}


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 09 May 99 - 08:30 PM

Are there not close to a thousand known versions of Barbara Allen, from all over the English-speaking world? (And of course, the one I mentioned on the earlier thread from Cape Breton, in Scots Gaelic, which uses the tune but not the story line.)


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Reiver #2 (inactive)
Date: 09 May 99 - 11:18 PM

I had always thought of Barbara Allan (Child's spelling) as English in origin. Then I noted the reference in Child's "English and Scottish Popular Ballads" which quotes Pepys' reference to it as the "little Scotch (sic) song of Barbary Allen." The words as put down by Child certainly take the form of a Scottish dialect. I'd be curious as to the source(s) for those who insist that it's of English origin. Until then, I'll have to believe it's roots are Scottish.

As for the reference to "The House Carpenter" equating it with Child #243, I'm not so sure. The Child Ballad #243 is titled "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)and refers to a Mrs. Jane Reynolds who, "having plighted to a Seaman, was afterwards married to a Carpenter...". The reference goes on to indicate that it was sung ("recited", actually) to a "West-country tune called 'The Fair Maid of Bristol,' 'Bateman,' or 'John True.'" What puzzles me is that there is no reference in any of the 32 verses to the man she marries being a "house carpenter." And in version D, called "The Carpenter's Wife" the man is specifically referred to as a "ship-carpenter" not a "house carpenter." So, I'm wondering if these are really the same song. Incidently, (and back to the original question)Child's version F, refers to "The Daemon Lover" as being taken from "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, 5th edition, 1812." (As to the country of origin, which side of the border did it come from?) Can somebody give me the connection between "The Daemon Lover" and "The House Carpenter"? I don't deny the connection -- I just would like more information on it.

Reiver #2


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Arkie
Date: 10 May 99 - 12:36 AM

All the sources I have used on Child ballads equate the House Carpenter with the Daemon Lover. Its one of my favorite old ballads. Interesting that the song is named for someone who never appears or is scarcely mentioned in the lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Arkie
Date: 10 May 99 - 12:39 AM

Down in the Willow Garden or Rose Connely as it is called out here is probably of American origin, but uses the tune usually associated with Rosin the Beau, which I assume is English.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 10 May 99 - 09:18 AM

G'day,
Several of the versions of Child #243 in Bronson mention house carpenter (not counting titles), others ship carpenter. The man must have been versatile.

I'm not sure the Irish would agree to Rosin the Beau being English.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: George Henderson
Date: 10 May 99 - 03:16 PM

I got a beuatiful version of Barbara Allen from Tom Lenihan of Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, Ireland, some years ago.

Tom insisted it was Irish and started In Dublin I was brought up, but Limerick being my dwelling. I fell in love with a pretty lass, her name was Barbara Allen.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: George Henderson
Date: 10 May 99 - 03:17 PM

I got a beautiful version of Barbara Allen from Tom Lenihan of Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, Ireland, some years ago.

Tom insisted it was Irish and started In Dublin I was brought up, but Limerick being my dwelling. I fell in love with a pretty lass, her name was Barbara Allen.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 10 May 99 - 04:41 PM

You're not arguing with me, Dave, when you insist that Barbara's English. You're arguing with about four generations of the leading ballad scholars of the English-speaking world. To contradict them, you'd better have some heavy-duty documentary evidence! (Shucks, I'd like to see it, too.)

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Graham Pirt
Date: 10 May 99 - 06:01 PM

Many of the English and Scottish ballads have histories which stretch into northern Europe - so who knows. No-one has mentioned Midnight on the Water. All I know by that name is a tune which comes for USA - Texas I was told - lovely tune that deserves words.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Alex
Date: 10 May 99 - 07:29 PM

I looked through my copy of Scott's "Minstrelsy Of The Scottish Border" but could find no trace of "Daemon Lover" or "House Carpenter". Does it have a different name in the Minstrelsy? Back in those days, it was tough to tell where the actual border was. There were the Scots, the English, and in the middle "The Reivers" or "Borderers" who fought with both sides. The word "Carpenter" isn't in general use in Scotland. He/she would be called a Joiner.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: manylodges
Date: 10 May 99 - 10:58 PM

Arkie, Rosin the Beau is Irish. Remember God invented whisky to keep the Irish from ruling the world.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From:
Date: 10 May 99 - 11:21 PM

Hi nan!

I love your bread.

One truly remarkable thing about folk song is that, the further back one goes, the less certain one can be about origin. Surviving sources are not necessarily the original souce. I would think Barbara Allen to be Scots but it's been known in England for many centuries, likewise the USA, Canada and the rest of the English speaking world. As George tells you, the song is well known in Ireland. My recollection is that the story was so compelling that the ballad also entered into the Irish Gaelic tradition.

I have a version from my father that I like to sing with Liam's Sister-in-Law.

I think Rick gave you good answers right away. Rick's a sharp guy.

All the best, Dan


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Barry Finn
Date: 10 May 99 - 11:36 PM

Isn't James (alis: Gepetto) Harris the father of Pinocchio & didn't he pull some strings to get himself into all those (originally Italian?) songs. All sons & daughters of carpenters do go to Heaven. Barry


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From:
Date: 11 May 99 - 04:40 AM

G'day,
I believe there was a version of Barbara Allen collected in Australia which starts "In Dublin town where I was born". Is that any help???

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 16 May 99 - 04:32 AM

I'm not going to say specifically whether Barbara Allan is Scottish, Irish, or English. There is at least an old Scottish Gaelic song which uses the same tune. It's called O Teannaibh Dluth Is Togaibh Fonn. This is known as a "traditional" gathering song. the title is literally O Gather Near and Raise a Tune.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: McMusic
Date: 16 May 99 - 05:49 AM

Ah I wrote 'em all!


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 May 99 - 06:16 AM

I have read the above with some interest, it would appear that it is difficult to pin a country of origin to these songs with any certainty.

It has made me think that is probably more important where the songs go to, than where they come from. For like migrant birds ignore national boundaries, it would appear that music does so too.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 16 May 99 - 06:06 PM

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.

Sandy


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Subject: Christian Message of House Carpenter
From: GUEST,gcarrier62@go.com
Date: 15 Jul 03 - 08:27 PM

There is a Christian message in this song. The House Carpenter is Jesus. The baby is the promise of the future. The woman is the apostate Christian's soul that leaves Christ and the promise of eternal life for worldly pleasures, drowning in the depths of the sea of perdition.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jul 03 - 08:40 PM

Oh, fer crying out loud. And it is always played in the key of D, the tonic chord representing the Holy Ghost, the subdominant (G) representing the Son, and the dominant chord representing the Father, obviously. The song includes a relative minor (in this key it is Bm) to represent the Flesh. The relative minor dominant (Em) is used to provide overtones of the Devil. The song thus represents how temptation undermines one in his quest for grace. Very simple once you figure it out....


A


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 08:36 AM

Barbara Allen: O Teannaibh Dluth is Togaibh Fonn certainly uses a similar tune, but the version I have on a CD (Ar Canan 's Ar Ceo\l) is about compulsory exile, so it could have been written in North America. It was probably written after Barbara Allen, because the Highland Clearances began after the Battle of Culloden in 1746, long after Samuel Pepys had remarked about Barbara Allen. Therefore it probably doesn't help trace the origin of Barbara Allen. Down in the Willow Garden: There is a well-known Irish song called "Down By the Sally Gardens", and I seem to remember being told that Sally in this context was a corruption of an Irish word for willow. If so perhaps there could be some relationship between the two songs. The Sally Gardens are in Dublin.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 01:37 PM

Sally Garden has a known author-- Wm. Butler Yeats! several people have tried their hands at setting his poetry to music; not sure whose setting I know. I therefore doubt any relationship between Willow Garden and Sally Gardens.

   On Barbara Allen-- I subscribe to John Greenway's belief that it started as an English music-hall song (yes, in the 1660s, once the Restoration had allowed the theaters to reopen) but attributed to the Scots.

Midnight on the Water is also a composed tune-- the great Benny Thomasson. (see the County album "Texas Fiddlers")

gcarrier62-- are your assertions testable? that is, can you point to other gongs in which the allegories are known to be there? if not, I can equally say that the song is a precursor to Gilligan's Island, with a happier ending.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Frankham
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 10:34 PM

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


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 10:56 PM

And as bad a guess, if it comes to that; although the earliest known reference to the song (Pepys) describes it as Scottish, the earliest known texts appear to be set in England, so it could go either way. Actually, I don't really disagree with you about your conclusion; but the reasoning is open to question. For what it's worth, more folk songs seem to have begun life as stage songs than were co-opted into the theatre from tradition.

Since you mention it, an interesting thing about "Celtic" folk music is how much of it has been derived from English sources. I have a foot in both camps, and like to see fair treatment for both sides of the family!


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Noreen
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 07:55 AM

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

You have to be very careful saying things like that, Frankham. Firstly be prepared to define what you mean by 'English folk music' and 'Celtic' sources.

As Malcolm suggests, there has been a lot of mixing of peoples and their music within these islands over the years, so to imply as you do that 'English' and whatever you mean by 'Celtic' are two separate bodies, one preceding the other, is misleading and dangerous.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 08:06 AM

'and I seem to remember being told that Sally in this context was a corruption of an Irish word for willow.'

Salix is Latin for willow


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 05:33 PM

Laurence Price, a ballad writer living in London, wrote "The Demon Lover", in the 2nd or 3rd week of February, 1657. It was probably based on exaggerated reports from Plymouth, England, of the desertion of her husband (the carpenter), and children, by Mrs Jane Reynalds, to run away with James Harris (the demon lover). The formal title of the ballad is "A Warnong to Married-Women", and the text from the earliest known copy is given in the Laurence Price file at www.erols.com/olsonw.



Any Christian symbolism is from later imagination, or halucination.


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Subject: RE: Country of origin of these songs please!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 06:49 PM

Sally isn't a corruption of an Irish word, it's the word itself, meaning willow (and probably in lots of other Indo-European languages).

Comparing the words for the House Carpenter/Daemon Lover that have come down to us to those in the Laurence Price file, and it is striking how the folk process has sharpened it up and deepened it as well.

It's a good thing to chase down origins in regard to folksongs - but it's a fallacy to think that "the original version" is the one that is most significant. And in it's way it's the same kind of mistake to think that the country where the earliest version of a song seems to have come from is all that important, interesting though it may be to find out. There's no such thing as property rights for countries of origin, or at any later stage of development.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 07:27 AM

I don't buy your 'fallacy' bit, but my interest is in the evolution of folk songs, not in finding the most entertaining version of a folk song.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 01:42 PM

Shakespeare's King Lear was based on a previous play by someone else, which was based on earlier stories. I suppose "the real King Lear" wold be the eraliest traceable version of the stories. But Shakespeare's version is the most significant. That's what I meant.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Terry K
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 02:15 AM

What I dislike about the "modern" versions of Barbara Allen is this character called "Sweet William" which I thought was a flower. Whatever happened to Jemmy Grove?

Terry


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Sorcha
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 02:42 AM

Question here........is it not Salley Gardens for willow groves and Sally Gardens for the female name? Those are what I am familiar with. (Oh, and there is also 'sally forth'--as in leaving the castle. Totally different.)

There is a reel called Sally Gardens which is NOT at all like the air/song Salley/Sally Gardens..........no clue what the connection is.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Sabine
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 04:05 AM

Hi Sorcha,

a friend told me that the Salley Gardens are the small gardens in front of a house. Hm, I'm not very familiar with old english or irish houses that much :o)
The song Salley Gardens itself was written by W.B. Yeats, melody and lyrics.

No idea about the tune. But I know in Irish Folk there are several tune names which are also song names and don't have anything to do with each other. Can't remember one at the moment.

Kind regards

Sabine


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 09:13 AM

Are there other songs to the tune of Salley gardens anyone is aware of? I love the tune and song.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 10:43 AM

A song in 'The Scots Musical Museum', #89, sometimes called 'The Border Widow's Lament" contains verses very similar to those in Laurence Price's "The Famous Flower of Serving Men", 1656 (Child ballad #106). Prof. Child even gave 3 versions in his appendix to #106, in ESPB.

Commentators have suggested that Price's ballad was based on the Scots one. These commentators either overlooked or ignored that Robert Burns was told by Dr. Blacklock, in the 18th century, that the song was connected with the Glencoe massacre (1692). With that alone one might be skeptical, however, I found copy much earlier than any previously known in a Scots manuscript of c 1715 entitled "On the murder of Glencoe Febr 1692", so the latter borrowed from Price's ballad, not the other way around.

I think Price's ballad was probably based on an older song, or tale, but we know of none such. There is no evidence that traditional versions of "The Famous Flower of Serving Men" contain elements from any song earlier than Price's ballad. Consequently Price's ballad is the 'original' of the traditional versions.

["On the murder of Glencoe" is in the Scarce Songs 1 file and "The Famous Flower of Serving Men" is in the Laurence Price file at www.erols.com/olsonw.]

If you don't search out the 'originals' you're going to get a fouled up history. Is that the kind of history we want? Unfortunately many are satisfied with any 'history' that sounds reasonable, and there are too many commentators ready to supply such fictions.

The origins of "Barbara Allen" are discussed in the Scarce Songs 2 file at www.erols.com/olson, where the earliest known text is given, as well as the texts of two earlier ballads which are quite similar in content.


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 12:49 PM

Sandy Paton said: "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?"

Somewhere in my collection I have a version sung by I think A.L. Lloyd which certainly (to my mind) implies that the young man has stabbed himself over her. There's a difference between "dying for love" and "dying of love". In this song he seems to be dying for love.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: ooh-aah
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 02:20 AM

As an Englishman I'd say that Barbara Allen is very Scottish - beautiful tune and that strong Scots/Celtic love of wallowing in misery, defeat and woe for their own sake. (What Billy Conelly referred to as the 'and the wheelchair went over the cliff' syndrome in the Scottish character).I wouldn't like to think of a stout, down-to-earth English lad carrying on in such a wet fashion!


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 06:46 AM

"stout, down-to-earth English lad"

You mean short and fat? Just the sort to react like that...


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: ooh-aah
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 07:11 AM

Not very PC Mr McGrath! Remember there may be Americans reading - you mean 'vertically challenged' and 'big boned'. Who says that they're 'just the sort' - rank stereotyping of the kind I'm attempting to commit! Anyway, I'm talking of a certain mental toughness and sense of perspective which seems to desert the Celts at regular intervals, eg, for about 200 years after we give them a good slapping (or 350 odd in the case of Cromwell!).


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 08:20 AM

Country of origin isn't necessarily where a song was most popular.
Look at "Danny Boy".


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Subject: RE: Country of orgin of these songs please!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 08:35 AM

Or another English song, The Wild Rover.


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