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Scarborough Fair

DigiTrad:
AN ACRE OF LAND
ELFIN KNIGHT 3
ELFIN KNIGHT 4
ELFIN KNIGHT 5
REDIO, TEDIO
SCARBOROUGH FAIR
SCARBOROUGH FAIR (2)
THE ELFIN KNIGHT
THE ELFIN KNIGHT 2
THE LAIRD O' ELFIN


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Scarborough Fair / Canticle (11)
(origins) Origins: Scarborough Fair / Robert Westall (27)
(origins) Scarborough Fair: uncorrupting the corruptible (26)
(origins) Origins: Scarborough Fair (46)
(origins) Origin: Scarborough Fair: earliest version? (40)
Lyr Req: The Cambric Shirt (Ritchie & Brand) (13)
Lyr Req: Scarborough Fair / Canticle (Simon & Garf (23)
(origins) lost verse, Scarborough Fair (25)
North Country/Scarborough Fair (9)
Lyr Req: An Acre of Land (29)


The Sandman 18 May 08 - 05:54 AM
The Sandman 18 May 08 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 18 May 08 - 08:32 AM
Jim Carroll 18 May 08 - 08:52 AM
The Borchester Echo 18 May 08 - 09:23 AM
The Sandman 18 May 08 - 11:07 AM
The Sandman 18 May 08 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,Volgadon 18 May 08 - 01:13 PM
GUEST 18 May 08 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 May 08 - 12:56 AM
Anne Lister 19 May 08 - 02:57 AM
Jim Carroll 19 May 08 - 06:43 AM
The Sandman 19 May 08 - 04:14 PM
GUEST,Steve Gardham 19 May 08 - 06:18 PM
The Sandman 19 May 08 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Gerry 19 May 08 - 07:38 PM
Jim Carroll 20 May 08 - 02:24 AM
Darowyn 20 May 08 - 02:52 AM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 20 May 08 - 04:20 AM
Flashmeister 20 May 08 - 10:23 AM
The Borchester Echo 20 May 08 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,Steve Gardham 20 May 08 - 04:50 PM
The Sandman 20 May 08 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Volgadon 21 May 08 - 03:22 AM
The Sandman 21 May 08 - 03:51 AM
Jim Carroll 21 May 08 - 04:09 AM
The Sandman 21 May 08 - 06:06 AM
Jim Carroll 21 May 08 - 06:56 AM
Dave Hanson 21 May 08 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,Volgadon 21 May 08 - 12:02 PM
The Sandman 21 May 08 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Jono 21 May 08 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,Steve Gardham 21 May 08 - 07:02 PM
Mysha 22 May 08 - 07:09 PM
Jack Campin 22 May 08 - 07:57 PM
Jim Carroll 23 May 08 - 02:02 AM
The Sandman 23 May 08 - 04:23 AM
The Sandman 23 May 08 - 04:26 AM
The Sandman 23 May 08 - 04:32 AM
Flashmeister 23 May 08 - 04:45 AM
The Sandman 23 May 08 - 06:33 AM
Jack Campin 23 May 08 - 08:19 AM
Flashmeister 23 May 08 - 09:06 AM
The Sandman 23 May 08 - 09:48 AM
Flashmeister 23 May 08 - 10:38 AM
Tootler 23 May 08 - 10:44 AM
Jim Carroll 23 May 08 - 11:51 AM
GUEST 23 May 08 - 12:30 PM
irishenglish 23 May 08 - 12:31 PM
The Sandman 23 May 08 - 12:53 PM
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Subject: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 May 08 - 05:54 AM

here is a version on sound lantern,guitar standard tuning,key aminorhttp://www.soundlantern.com/UpdatedSoundPage.do?ToId=1254&Path=scarboroughfair.mp3
plus bushes and briars standard tuninghttp://www.soundlantern.com/UpdatedSoundPage.do?ToId=1581&Path=bushesandbriars.mp3hope you enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 May 08 - 08:21 AM

The history of Scarborough and its fair
This English folk song dates back to late medieval times, when the seaside resort of Scarborough was an important venue for tradesmen from all over England. Founded well over a thousand years ago as Skarthaborg by the norman Skartha, the Viking settlement in North Yorkshire in the north-west of England became a very important port as the dark ages drew to a close.

Scarborough's bay


Scarborough and its surroundings
Scarborough Fair was not a fair as we know it today (although it attracted jesters and jugglers) but a huge forty-five day trading event, starting August fifteen, which was exceptionally long for a fair in those days. People from all over England, and even some from the continent, came to Scarborough to do their business. As eventually the harbour started to decline, so did the fair, and Scarborough is a quiet, small town now.

ª Back to index


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The history of the song
In the middle ages, people didn't usually take credit for songs or other works of art they made, so the writer of Scarborough Fair is unknown. The song was sung by bards (or shapers, as they were known in medieval England) who went from town to town, and as they heard the song and took it with them to another town, the lyrics and arrangements changed. This is why today there are many versions of Scarborough Fair, and there are dozens of ways in which the words have been written down.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 18 May 08 - 08:32 AM

I always thought it meant 'fair Scarborough', the adjective being placed after the noun because it scans better.....


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 08 - 08:52 AM

Cap'n,
Scarborough Fair is a version of the ballad The Elfin Knight (Child 2) which was to be found all over the English-speaking world and beyond.
The earliest reference Child gave to it in its present form is a black-letter version from 1673.
As far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out on how these ballads originated and were circulated.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 May 08 - 09:23 AM

I like The Cambric Shirt variant myself.
And Whittingham Fair.
And who moved Scarborough to the North West of England?


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 May 08 - 11:07 AM

not me,I got that information from here.the middle ages, people didn't usually take credit for songs or other works of art they made, so the writer of Scarborough Fair is unknown. The song was sung by bards (or shapers, as they were known in medieval England) who went from town to town, and as they heard the song and took it with them to another town, the lyrics and arrangements changed. This is why today there are many versions of Scarborough Fair, and there are dozens of ways in which the words have been written down.


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The lyrics
The following lyrics comprise most of the more well-known verses as they are commonly sung. A small handful of them were sung by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel on their 1966 album 'Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,' which popularised the song. Paul Simon learned the song from Martin Carthy, a famous folk singer in the UK, while he was on tour there. Despite using his arrangement of the song, Simon didn´t even mention Carthy´s name in the credits of the album.


Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
For once she was a true love of mine


Have her make me a cambric shirt
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Without no seam nor fine needle work
And then she'll be a true love of mine


Tell her to weave it in a sycamore wood lane
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
And gather it all with a basket of flowers
And then she'll be a true love of mine


Have her wash it in yonder dry well
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
where water ne'er sprung nor drop of rain fell
And then she'll be a true love of mine


Have her find me an acre of land
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Between the sea foam and over the sand
And then she'll be a true love of mine


Plow the land with the horn of a lamb
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Then sow some seeds from north of the dam
And then she'll be a true love of mine


Tell her to reap it with a sickle of leather
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
And gather it all in a bunch of heather
And then she'll be a true love of mine


If she tells me she can't, I'll reply
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Let me know that at least she will try
And then she'll be a true love of mine


Love imposes impossible tasks
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Though not more than any heart asks
And I must know she's a true love of mine


Dear, when thou has finished thy task
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Come to me, my hand for to ask
For thou then art a true love of mine


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notes and guitar chords to the song


The chords and notes to "Scarborough Fair"



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Explanations of the lyrics
The narrator of the song is a man who was jilted by his lover. Although dealing with the paradoxes he sees himself posed to in a very subtle and poetic manner, this was a folk song and not written by nobles. The courtly ideal of romantic love in the middle ages, practised by knights and noblemen, was loving a lady and adoring her from a distance, in a very detached manner. There was hardly a dream and sometimes not even a wish that such love could ever be answered.

As a version of the song exists which is set in Whittington Fair and which is presumed to be equally old, it is puzzling why the lieu d'action of the song eventually became reverted to Scarborough. A possible explanation is that this is a hint from the singer to his lover, telling how she went away suddenly without warning or reason. Scarborough was known as a town where suspected thieves or other criminals were quickly dealt with and hung on a tree or à la lanterne after some form of street justice. This is why a 'Scarborough warning' still means 'without any warning' in today's English. This would also account for the absence of any suggestion of a reason for her departure, which could mean either that the singer doesn't have a clue why his lady left, or perhaps that these reasons are too difficult to explain and he gently leaves them out.

The writer goes on to assign his true love impossible tasks, to try and explain to her that love sometimes requires doing things which seem downright impossible on the face of it. The singer is asking his love to do the impossible, and then come back to him and ask for his hand. This is a highly unusual suggestion, because in those days it was a grave faux-pas to people from all walks of life for a lady to ask for a man's hand. Yet it fits in well with the rest of the lyrics, as nothing seems to be impossible in the song.


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The meaning of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
The herbs parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, recurring in the second line of each stanza, make up for a key motive in the song. Although meaningless to most people today, these herbs spoke to the imagination of medieval people as much as red roses do to us today. Without any connotation neccesary, they symbolize virtues the singer wishes his true love and himself to have, in order to make it possible for her to come back again.



Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Parsley is still prescribed by phytotherapists today to people who suffer from bad digestion. Eating a leaf of parsley with a meal makes the digestion of heavy vegetables such as spinach a lot easier. It was said to take away the bitterness, and medieval doctors took this in a spiritual sense as well.


Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sage has been known to symbolize strength for thousands of years.



Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary represents faithfulness, love and remembrance. Ancient Greek lovers used to give rosemary to their ladies, and the custom of a bride wearing twigs of rosemary in her hair is still practised in England and several other European countries today. The herb also stands for sensibility and prudence. Ancient Roman doctors recommended putting a small bag of rosemary leaves under the pillow of someone who had to perform a difficult mental task, such as an exam. Rosemary is associated with feminine love, because it's very strong and tough, although it grows slowly.


Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
According to legend, the king of fairies dances in the wild thyme with all of the fairies on midsummernight; that's the best known legendary appearance of the herb. But the reason Thyme is mentioned here is that it symbolizes courage. At the time this song was written, knights used to wear images of thyme in their shields when they went to combat, which their ladies embroidered in them as a symbol of their courage.

This makes it clear what the disappointed lover means to say by mentioning these herbs. He wishes his true love mildness to soothe the bitterness which is between them, strength to stand firm in the time of their being apart from each other, faithfulness to stay with him during this period of loneliness and paradoxically courage to fulfill her impossible tasks and to come back to him by the time she can.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Any comments? E-mail me!
Translated into Japanese November 1999 by Kazu, and apparently with a few extras,
from the English words that I understand.. :-)
Translated into German by Markus in August/September 2002, with a new layout (thanks for the pretty new layout Markus)
Translated into Italian by Silvio, with some connotations.
Translated into French by Madeleine

Created July 10, 1999 by Bert

This page is dedicated to Sandra

these chords are not the chords I use neither are they Martin Carthys who plays a different set of chords again.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 May 08 - 11:09 AM

from here:
About the song Scarborough Fair.This page gives information about the song Scarborough Fair and its origins, the town of Scarborough and the herbs parsley, sage, rosemay and thyme, ...
www.geocities.com/paris/villa/3895/ - 26k - Cached - Similar pages


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 18 May 08 - 01:13 PM

If the earliest version is from the 1670s, I find knights carrying images of thyme on their shields a bit of a stretch.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST
Date: 18 May 08 - 01:16 PM

That's the internet for you....


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 May 08 - 12:56 AM

'Founded well over a thousand years ago as Skarthaborg by the norman Skartha, the Viking settlement in North Yorkshire in the north-west of England became a very important port as the dark ages drew to a close.'

If you look up 'Viking' in the dictionary, you will see that a Viking is a kind of pirate. The Vikings didn't found cities, run farms and conduct trade, It was the Norse people who did those things. The Vikings ran amuck, killing and stealing, often in hideously cruel ways.

Then, like so many cruel men before them, their kind died out.

Referring to the Norse people as 'Vikings' is as inaccurate as referring to all Americans as 'the Mafia.'


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Anne Lister
Date: 19 May 08 - 02:57 AM

History has looked again at the Vikings, Leeneia. Your dictionary is very out of date and perpetuating stereotypes which have very little basis in fact. There's a lot more to Vikings than the old image of "rape and pillage", and none of them seem to have worn those horned helmets, either. Check out the Viking history of York (established clearly enough for there to be a Yorvik Experience exhibition permanently in York) if you still want to hang on to your preconceptions about them.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 May 08 - 06:43 AM

Not forgetting the excellent history by Magnus Magnussen
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 May 08 - 04:14 PM

Child has 12 versions (A-L) of The Elfin Knight

[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L ]

Version A

Name: 'A proper new ballad entituled The Wind hath
blown my Plaid Away, or A Discourse betwixt a
young [Wo]man and the Elphin Knight;' a broad-
side in the black letter in the Pepysian library, bound up
at the end of a copy of Blind Harry's 'Wallace,' Edin. 1673.

Note: A broadside in black letter, "printed, I suppose,"
says Pinkerton, "about 1610," bound up with five other pieces at
the end of a copy of Blind Harry's' Wallace,' Edin. 1673, in
the Pepysian Library.

MY plaid awa, my plaid awa,
And ore the hill and far awa,
And far awa to Norrowa,
My plaid shall not be blown awa.

1 The elphin knight sits on yon hill,
Ba, ba, ba, lilli ba
He blaws his horn both lewd and shril.
The wind hath blown my plaid awa

2 He blowes it east, he blowes it west,
He blowes it where he lyketh best.

3 'I wish that horn were in my kist,
Yea, and the knight in my armes two.'

4 She had no sooner these words said,
When that the knight came to her bed.

5 'Thou art over young a maid,' quoth he,
'Married with me thou il wouldst be.'

6 'I have a sister younger than I,
And she was married yesterday.

7 'Married with me if thou wouldst be,
A courtesie thou must do to me.

8 'For thou must shape a sark to me,
Without any cut or heme,' quoth he.

9 'Thou must shape it knife-and-sheerlesse,
And also sue it needle-threedlesse.'

10 'If that piece of courtesie I do to thee,
Another thou must do to me.

11 'I have an aiker of good ley-land,
Which lyeth low by yon sea-strand.

12 'For thou must eare it with thy horn,
So thou must sow it with thy corn.

13 'And bigg a cart of stone and lyme,
Robin Redbreast he must trail it hame.

14 'Thou must barn it in a mouse-hell,
And thrash it into thy shoes sell.

15 'And thou must winnow it in thy looff,
And also seek it in thy glove.

16 'For thou must bring it over the sea,
And thou must bring it dry home to me.

17 'When thou hast gotten thy turns well done,
Then come to me and get thy sark then.'

18 'I'l not quite my plaid for my life;
It haps my seven bairns and my wife.'
The wind shall not blow my plaid awa

19 'My maidenhead I'1 then keep still,
Let the elphin knight do what he will.'
The wind's not blown my plaid awa


Version B

Name: 'A proper new ballad entitlted The Wind hath
blawn my Plaid awa,' etc. Webster, A Collection
of Curious Old Ballads, p.3.

Note: A Collection of Curious Old Ballads, etc., p.3. Partly
from an old copy in black letter, and partly from the recita-
tion of an old lady.

MY plaid awe, my plaid awa,
And owre the hills and far awa,
And far awa to Norrowa,
My plaid shall not be blawn awa.

1 The Elphin knight sits on yon hill,
Ba, ba, ba, lillie ba
He blaws his horn baith loud and shrill.
The wind hath blawn my plaid awe

2 He blaws it east, he blaws it west,
He blaws it where he liketh best.

3 'I wish that horn were in my kist,
Yea, and the knight in my arms niest'

4 She had no sooner these words said,
Than the knight came to her bed.

5 'Thou art oer young a maid,' quoth he,
'Married with me that thou wouldst be.'

6 'I have a sister, younger than I,
And she was married yesterday.'

7 'Married with me if thou wouldst be,
A curtisie thou must do to me.

8 'It's ye maun mak a sark to me,
Without any cut or seam,' quoth he.

9 'And ye maun shape it, knife-, sheerless,
And also sew it needle-, threadless.'

10 'If that piece of courtisie I do to thee,
Another thou must do to me.

11 'I have an aiker of good ley land,
Which lyeth low by yon sea strand.

12 'It's ye maun till 't wi your touting horn,
And ye maun saw't wi the pepper corn.

13 'And ye maun harrow 't wi a thorn,
And hae your wark done ere the morn.

14 'And ye maun shear it wi your knife,
And no lose a stack o't for your life.

15 'And ye maun stack it in a mouse hole,
And ye maun thrash it in your shoe sole.

16 'And ye maun dight it in your loof,
And also sack it in your glove.

17 'And thou must bring it over the sea,
Fair and clean and dry to me.

18 'And when that ye have done your wark,
Come back to me, and ye'll get your sark.'

19 'I'll not quite my plaid for my life;
It haps my seven bairns and my wife.'

20 'My maidenhead I'll then keep still,
Let the elphin knight do what he will.

Version C

Name: 'The Elfin Knicht'

Note: Kinloch's A. S. Ballads, p. 145. From the recitation of
M. Kinnear, a native of Mearnsshire, 23 Aug., 1826

1 THERE. stands a knicht at the tap o you hill,
Ours the hills and far awa
He has blawn his horn loud and shill.
The cauld wind's blawn my plaid awa

2 'If I had the horn that I hear blawn,
And the knicht that blaws that horn!'

3 She had na sooner thae words said,
Than the elfin knicht cam to her side.

4 'Are na ye oure young a may
Wi onie young man doun to lie?'

5 'I have a sister younger than I,
And she was married yesterday.

6 'Married wi me ye sail neer be nane
Till ye mak to me a sark but a seam.

7 'And ye maun shape it knife-, sheer-less,
And ye maun sew it needl , threed-less.

8 'And ye maun wash it in yon cistran,
Where water never stood nor ran.

9 'And ye maun dry it on yon hawthorn,
Whare the sun neer shon sin man was born.'

10 'Gin that courtesie I do for thee,
Ye maun do this for me.

11 'Ye'll get an acre o gude red-land
Atween the saut sea and the sand.

12 'I want that land for to be corn,
And ye maun aer it wi your horn.

13 'And ye maun saw it without a seed,
And ye maun harrow it wi a threed.

14 'And ye maun sheer it wi your knife,
And na tyne a pickle o't for your life.

15 'And ye maun moue it in yon mouse-hole
And ye maun thrash it in your shoe-sole.

16 'And ye maun fan it wi your luves,
And ye maun sack it in your gloves.

17 'And ye maun bring it oure the sea,
Fair and clean and dry to me.

18 'And whom that your wark is weill dean,
Yese get your sark without a seam.'


Version D

Name: 'The Fairy Knight'

Note: Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, II, 296.

1 THE Elfin knight stands on yon hill,
Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw
Blawing his horn loud and shrill.
And the wind has blawin my plaid awa

2 'If I had yon horn in my kist,
And the bonny laddie here that I luve best!

3 'I hae a sister eleven years auld,
And she to the young men's bed has made bauld.

4 'And I mysell am only nine,
And oh! sae fain, luve, as I woud be thine.'

5 'Ye maun make me a fine Holland sark,
Without ony stitching or needle wark.

6 'And ye maun wash it in yonder well,
Where the dew never wat, nor the rain ever fell.

7 'And ye maun dry it upon a thorn
That never budded sin Adam was born.'

8 'Now sin ye've askd some things o me,
It 's right I ask as mony o thee.

9 'My father he askd me an acre o land,
Between the saut sea and the strand.

10 'And ye maun plow't wi your blawing horn,
And ye maun saw't wi pepper corn.

11 'And ye maun harrow 't wi a single tyne,
And ye maun shear't wi a sheep's shank bane.

12 'And ye maun big it in the sea,
And bring the stathle dry to me.

13 'And ye maun barn't in yon mouse hole,
And ye maun thrash't in your shee sole.

14 'And ye maun sack it in your gluve,
And ye maun winno't in your leuve.

15 'And ye maun dry't without candle or coal,
And grind it without quirn or mill.

16 'Ye'll big a cart o stane and lime,
Gar Robin Redbreast trail it syne.

17 'When ye've dune, and finishd your wark,
Ye'll come to me, luve, and get your sark.'


Version E

Name: None

Note: Motherwell's MS., p.492.

1 THE Elfin Knight sits on yon hill,
Ba ba lilly ba
Blowing his horn loud and shill.
And the wind has blawn my plaid awa

2 'I love to hear that horn blaw;
I wish him [here] owns it and a'.'

3 That word it was no sooner spoken,
Than Elfin Knight in her arms was gotten.

4 'You must mak to me a sark,
Without threed sheers or needle wark.'


Version F

Name: 'Lord John'

Note: Kinloch MSS, I, 75. From Mary Barr.


1 'DID ye ever travel twixt Berwick and Lyne?
Sober and grave grows merry in time
There ye'll meet wi a handsome young dame,
Ance she was a true love o mine.

2 'Tell her to sew me a holland sark,
And sew it all without needle-war:
And syne we'll be true lovers again.

3 'Tell her to wash it at yon spring-well,
Where neer wind blew, nor yet rain fell.

4 'Tell her to dry in on yon hawthorn,
That neer sprang up sin Adam was born.

5 'Tell her to iron it wi a hot iron,
And plait it a' in ae plait round.'

6 'Did ye ever travel twixt Berwick and Lyne?
There ye'll meet wi a handsome young man,
Ance he was a true lover o mine.

7 'Tell him to plough me an acre o land
Betwixt the sea-side bot and the sea-sand,
And syne we'll be true lovers again.

8 'Tell him to saw it wi ae peck o corn,
And harrow it a' wi ae harrow tine.

9 'Tell him to shear it wi ae hook-tooth,
And carry it hame just in to his loof.

10 'Tell him to stack it in yon mouse-hole,
And thrash it a' just wi his shoe-sole.

11 'Tell him to dry it on yon ribless kiln,
And grind it a' in yon waterless miln.

12 Tell this young man, whan he's finished his wark,
He may come to me, and hese get his sark.'


Version G

Name: 'The Cambrick Shirt'

Note: Gammer Gurton's Garland, p.3, ed. 1810

1 'CAN you make me a cambrick shirt,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Without any seam or needle work?
And you shall be a true lover of mine

2 'Can you wash it in yonder dry well,
Where never sprung water nor rain ever fell?

3 'Can you dry it on yonder thorn,
Which never bore blossom since Adam was born?

4 'Now you have asked me questions three,
I hope you'll answer as many for me.

5 'Can you find me an acre of land
Between the salt water ad the sea sand?

6 'Can you plow it with ram's horn,
And sow it all over with one pepper corn?

7 'Can you reap it with a sickle of leather,
And bind it up with a peacock's feather?

8 'When you have done, and finished your work,
Then come to me for your cambrick shirt.'


Version H

Name: 'The Deil's Courtship'

Note: Motherwell's MS., p. 92.

1 'COME pretty Nelly, and sit thee down by me,
Every rose grows merry wi' thyme
And I will ask thee questions three,
And then thou wilt be a true lover of mine.

2 'Thou must buy me a cambrick smock
Without any stitch of needlework.

3 'Thou must wash it in yonder strand,
Where wood never grew and water ner ran.

4 'Thou must dry it on yonder thron,
Where the sun never shined on since Adam was formed.'

5 'Though hast asked me quetions three;
Sit down till I ask as many of thee.

6 'Thou must buy me an acre of land
Betwixt the salt water, lover, and the sea-sand.

7 'thou must plow it wi a ram's horn,
And sow it all over wi one pile o corn.

8 'Thou must shear it wi a strap o leather,
And tie it all up in a peacock feather.

9 'Thou must stack it in the sea,
And bring the stale o 't hame dry to me.

10 'When my love's done and finished his work,
Let him come to me for his cambric smock.


Version I

Name: 'The Deil's Courting'

Note: Motherwell's MS., p. 103. From the recitation of John
McWhinnie, collier, Newtown Green, Ayr.

1 A LADY wonned on yonder hill,
Hee ba and balou ba
And she had musick at her will
And the wind has blow my plaid awa

2 Up and cam an auld, auldman,
Wi his blue bonnet in his han.

3 'I will ask ye questions three;
Resolve them, or ye'll gang wi me.

4 'Ye maun mak to me a sark,
It maun be free o woman's wark.

5 'Ye maun shape it knife-sheerless,
And ye maun sew it needle-threedless.

6 'Ye maun wash it in yonder well,
Where rain nor dew has ever fell.

7 'Ye maun dry it on yonder thorn,
Where leaf neer grew since man was born.'

8 'I will ask ye questions three;
Resolve them, or ye'll neer get me.

9 'I hae a rig o bonnie land
Atween the saut sea and the sand.

10 'Ye maun plow it wi a horse bane,
And harrow it wi ae harrow pin.

11 'Ye maun shear't wi a whang o leather,
And ye maun bind't bot strap or tether.

12 'Ye maun stack it in the sea,
And bring the stale hame dry to me.

13 'Ye maun mak a cart o stane,
And yoke the wren and bring it hame.

14 'Ye maun thresh't atween your lufes,
And ye maun sack't atween your thies.'

15 'My curse on those wha learned thee;
This night I weend ye'd gane wi me.'


Version J

Name: None

Note: Communicated by Rev. F. D. Huntington, Bishop of
Western New York, as sung to him by his father in 1828, at
Hadley, Mass.; derived from a rough, roystering "character"
in the town.

1 NOW you are a-going to Cape Ann,
Follomingkathellomeday
Remember me to the self-same man.
Ummatiddle, ummatiddle, ummatallyho, tal-
lyho, follomingkathellomeday

2 Tell him to buy me an acre of land
Between the salt-water and the sea-sand.

3 Tell him to plough it with a ram's horn,
Tell him to sow it with one peppercorn.

4 Tell him to reap it with a penknife,
And tell him to cart it with two mice.

5 Tell him to cart it to yonder new barn
That never was built since Adam was born.

6 Tell him to thrash it with a goose quill,
Tell him to fan it with an egg-shell.

7 Tell the fool, when he's done with his work,
To come to me, and he shall have his shirt.


Version K

Name: None

Note: Halliwell's Nursery Rhymes of England, 6th ed., p. 109,
No. 171.

1 MY father left me three acres of land,
Sing ivy, sing ivy
My father left me three acres of land.
Sing holly, go whistle and ivy.

2 I ploughed it with a ram's horn,
And sowed it all over with one pepper corn.

3 I harrowed it with a bramble bush,
And reaped it with my little penknife.

4 I got the mice to carry it to the barn,
And thrashed it with a goose's quill.

5 I got the cat to carry it to the mill;
The miller he swore he would have her paw,
And the cat she swore she would scratch his face.


Version L

Name: None

Note: Notes and Queries, 2st S., VII, 8. Signed D.

1 MY father gave me an acre of land,
Sing ivy, sing ivy
My father gave me an acre of land.
Sing green bush, holly and ivy

2 I ploughd it with a ram's horn.

3 I harrowd it with a bramble

4 I sowd it with a pepper corn.

5 I reapd it with my penknife.

6 I carried it to the mill upon the cat's back.

**** (Note: "Then follows some more which I
forget but I think it ends thus,")

7 I made a cake for all the king's men.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST,Steve Gardham
Date: 19 May 08 - 06:18 PM

I'm with Jim.
What a load of bollocks about Scarborough! Like most broadside ballads the place name gets shifted about willy nilly and can be almost anywhere at whim. As for medieval very few of the Child ballads were around in that era. Despite what Child's preferences were many of these originated on broadsides and few can be traced back any further than the 16th century. Some of them may have been around as folk tales and later fashioned into ballads.

I wouldn't put much faith in some of the above Scottish versions either. Most of those were rehashed by literary men and antiquarians.

(That should put the cat among the pigeons, Jim)


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 May 08 - 06:38 PM

Steve.I have put information from websites up here,that doesnt mean I agree with what is being said.
it is not a question of being with anyone,it is a question of discussing [hopefully amicably and in an adult manner].
[I wouldn't put much faith in some of the above Scottish versions either. Most of those were rehashed by literary men and antiquarians.]
Steve, If I like a particular version, I will sing it,furthermore Ihave no hesitation in taking a verse from one and putting it with another or even writing a new verse[in the way BertLLoyd did with songs]whether a song was rehashed by an antiquarian a literary man,Bert LLoyd ,Bob Roberts,a bargeman, a shepherd,or Stan Hugill is irrelevant.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 19 May 08 - 07:38 PM

What? You mean it wasn't written by Simon and Garfunkel?


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 May 08 - 02:24 AM

If we're to take literally some of the information we get from the ballads and the by some scholars, I reckon Barbara Allen must have had a Harley Davidson.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Darowyn
Date: 20 May 08 - 02:52 AM

Scarborough is, and has been for thousands of years, a good natural harbour on a very dangerous coast.
It also has a relatively easy access from inland compared with other towns on the north east coast, so it is a natural place to become a centre of commerce.
It's easy to see how Scarborough Fair would become very important to people living in North and East Yorkshire. The area was much more commercially important in the past, at various periods of history, for Herrings, Chemicals and Timber. It's a natural attractor for a good song.

I lived in Scarborough for seven years and still know the place well. It is fascinating to realise that there were people there then who remembered, at first hand, that there used to be hiring fairs on St Nicholas Cliff.
In modern times, Scarborough Fair- which is now a funfair of course- marks the end of the tourist season.   

Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 20 May 08 - 04:20 AM

I still reckon it means the fair town of Scarborough. The second line of the first verse says 'remember me to one who lives there' which I assume is Scarborough itself, not the fair or market. It's rather like lines mentioning a 'lady fair' or 'maiden fair', e.g. as in When first I came to Caledonia.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Flashmeister
Date: 20 May 08 - 10:23 AM

Regarding the origins of the song and the various lyrics posted up here i think it is fair to say that the song itself is evolving as different singers adapt or substitute different words/verses etc. Surely this is what folk music should do - evolve to become relevant to the singer and the time in which they are singing the song? That, in my opinion, is what keeps folk music alive, instead of it remaining archaic and irrelevant to more modern times (probably upsetting all the trad purists here!!). Songs like Scarborough Fair which have a thread such as love running through will alway be sung as long as people find resonance in the song itself, hence why it's adapted over time or when different people sing it. I myself do a version that is sung from the womans point of view however still keeps the main words intact but also brings in male voice harmony in a nod to the original theme. It's a lovely song to sing or hear and i worry that it's in danger of becoming over done in the Simon & Garfunkel style because too few people want to take it in a fresh direction.
That's my two pennies worth of rant!!!


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 20 May 08 - 01:11 PM

The ballad as performed today is actually a conflation of Child #1 & #2.
Paul Simon took Martin Carthy's arrangement and set it in counterpoint to the tune of his own composition The Side Of A Hill. And very clever it was too.
As for the origins of a fair at Scarborough, Henry III granted the town a charter in 1253.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST,Steve Gardham
Date: 20 May 08 - 04:50 PM

Dick,
Apologies to all those who don't give a monkeys where the song came from or how it evolved. I certainly am the last person to object to helping along the evolution of songs. BUT it would appear that some of the people on this thread are interested and to some of us it means something to know where a song came from, if it came from the pen of a literary forger or from the hearts of the 'folk'.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 May 08 - 05:31 PM

Isaid;
Steve, If I like a particular version, I will sing it,furthermore Ihave no hesitation in taking a verse from one and putting it with another or even writing a new verse[in the way BertLLoyd did with songs]whether a song was rehashed by an antiquarian a literary man,Bert LLoyd ,Bob Roberts,a bargeman, a shepherd,or Stan Hugill is irrelevant.
that does not mean I am not interested,it means that the occupation of the adaptor ,does not put me off singing it.
what does the hearts of the folk mean,does it not include everyone,whether they are a literary forger.,a bargeman,an antiquarian,Martin Carthy, a broadsheet writer of the sevententh century,or the person that added the parrot to the Outlandish Knight,they are all folk.
leastways I aint seen any chimpanzees rewriting Tam Lin.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 21 May 08 - 03:22 AM

I don't think anyone was saying that it put them off singing the song, but why post information which you don't really believe in or think is true?


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 08 - 03:51 AM

I have an open mind,and like to learn more.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 May 08 - 04:09 AM

Cap'n
From some singers points of view, it may well be that the background to a song is unimportant, but as has been pointed out, this is not the case with all singers.
For many, myself included when I was still singing, it was an essential part of learning the song and a great part of the enjoyment.
It was quite often a part of our interpretation of the song.
Quite often, if you did not understand references in the songs, it meant that you were singing gibberish and led to some of the things you would find in the mondergreens list.
One of the pleasures for Pat and I was to find out the secret of the broken token songs - do know how to break a gold ring in half - try it sometime?
My favourite quote on the subject comes from page 1 of Wimberly's 'Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads:
"An American Indian sun-dance or an Australian corroboree is an exciting spectacle for the uninitiated, but for one who understands something of the culture whence it springs it is a hundred fold more heart-moving."
All this beside, you presented a piece of information that failed to take in the whole picture, which could, if it was accepted, mislead people. As Volgadon has said "why post information which you don't really believe in or think is true?"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 08 - 06:06 AM

As Volgadon has said "why post information which you don't really believe in or think is true.
Jim,so it can be discussed,I didnt know whether it was true or not,
of course I knew Scarborough,was not in the north west of England,having played there nmany times.
Jim/Volgadon,Ihave learned a lot since I joined Mudcat,and got alot of information from the net,one way to discern what is true/untrue information,is to get peoples opinions on it.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 May 08 - 06:56 AM

Cap'n
If this is the case, you should put it up as a question, not as a statement, as you did.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 21 May 08 - 10:25 AM

Best version of Scarborough Fair is from the Book Of Curtailed Folksongs

Are you going to Scarborough Fair ?
No.


eric


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 21 May 08 - 12:02 PM

Brilliant!


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 08 - 12:57 PM

fingers suitably rapped ,Jim.
I will write it out a hundred times.
how about: are you going to Widdiecombe Fair,with Captain Birdseye ,Volgadon,Eric The Red,Jim Carroll,Steve Gardham,,Flashmeister,DianeEasby,Terry Macdonald,Darowyn,Tabster,Leenia,guest Gerry and uncle Joe Offer and all.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST,Jono
Date: 21 May 08 - 01:41 PM

Very Nice.

I like this version best though:


http://www.mediaevalbaebes.com/audio.html


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST,Steve Gardham
Date: 21 May 08 - 07:02 PM

As I was going to Scarborough Fayre,
out popped an elf an' he gave me a scare.
he asked me to make him a cambric shirt,
just like the one worn by Uncle Bert.
I said 'Go plough an acre a mile off the shore!'
He took the hint and I ne'er saw him more
          Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
          And the rest of the herbs why they don't come in rhyme!


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Mysha
Date: 22 May 08 - 07:09 PM

Hi,

I do not care much for the version at the top; there may be a fitting explanation, but I don't like the mind set. The version I sing is more like The Cammerik Shirt, above, though with the go-between of the Scarborough Fair versions. I like that version because most of it makes some sense. OK, the "Setherwood, sage rosemary and thyme" doesn't, but I use that as a marker for lyrics different from the lyrics "everybody" knows. Any way, to me singing is not making sound with your mouth, but adding more meaning to music. So I thank the captain for posting about the extraordinary length of the fair; I had always assumed it to be the common three day horse fair. It does now make me wonder why it was chartered for a whole six weeks more. Still, I'm not sure the other pieces posted are as valuable.

BFN
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 May 08 - 07:57 PM

I can't get that site to do any more than download a whole bunch of widget clutter. The link isn't a direct one to an mp3 as it looks like.

So I just have this comment to go on:

" The singer is asking his love to do the impossible, and then come back to him and ask for his hand."

Which suggests that it's derivative from the sentimentalized Carthy/S&G version. Look at most of the versions given here - the Cambric Shirt one in particular - and it comes across as a ferocious rejection: she can have me back when hell freezes over. (In its original form the tune Sharp found for it, which is probably where the Carthy/S&G one started out, reinforces that tone of cold fury - dogged equal notes most of the way through). It's as dark as anything in blues or rap.

I'm not really interested in hearing yet another rendition that turns it into sugary slop.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 May 08 - 02:02 AM

For me, the most beautiful of the genre of 'impossible task' songs by far is 'The Gairdner Child' - Ewan and Peggy did a fine version centuries ago.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 May 08 - 04:23 AM

http://www.soundlantern.com/UpdatedSoundPage.do?ToId=1254&Path=scarboroughfair.mp3 .no problems with this link.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 May 08 - 04:26 AM

http://www.soundlantern.com/UpdatedSoundPage.do?ToId=1254&Path=scarboroughfair.mp3


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 May 08 - 04:32 AM

http://www.soundlantern.com/UpdatedSoundPage.do?ToId=1254&Path=scarboroughfair.mp3


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Flashmeister
Date: 23 May 08 - 04:45 AM

I have to agree with the comment about not wanting to hear another version turned into sugary slop. I think it's very sad that the feeling behind the song has been so diluted over time and it's almost taken for granted that it's a soppy sentimental song when in reality it's a pretty brutal rejection being portrayed...I much prefer a darker rendition of it...that might just be me and my maudlin self though!!!
......been playing too many murder ballads i think!


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 May 08 - 06:33 AM

who has turned it into sugary slop?


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 May 08 - 08:19 AM

"who has turned it into sugary slop?"

Carthy, most likely - I haven't heard his version but I believe the S&G one is just a cover of it.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Flashmeister
Date: 23 May 08 - 09:06 AM

The Carthy version on Shearwater is similar to the S&G, much more pared down obviously, but the S&G is the definative 'sugary slop' version in my the view of my jaundiced eye. I think i said before that it's a shame the song is mainly known for being twee instead of what it could potentially be. tis a fine song when all's said and done.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 May 08 - 09:48 AM

listen again to Shearwater,In my opinion this is some of Carthys finest singing,Including Scarborough Fair,SUGARY SLOP ,not from Martin Carthy,neither is my version sugary slop. I agree that the balance one track home recording is not very good,and that asIsing it in more it will improve but sugary slop it aint.
I would be interested to hear EWAN AND PEGGYS VERSION,Icant imagine that being sugary slop either.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Flashmeister
Date: 23 May 08 - 10:38 AM

For clarity on my view point the Carthy version isn't in itself sugary but derivatives of it have been; I don't think Carthy is a champion of twee sentimental stuff by any stretch of the imagination and hold my hands up, i am a prat, Scarborough Fair is on the first album not Shearwater!!! confusing my threads now! Shearwater is a fine album, apologies there!!
again it's how the individual interprets it...and again i agree Captain B that your take isn't sugary either...i do a version too that is quite pared down (but it's the woman's voice narrating with guitar and dulcimer)...and that certainly isn't sugary!

digging a hole, digging a hole......!!!


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Tootler
Date: 23 May 08 - 10:44 AM

If you listen carefully to everything that is sung on the S&G version, I think you will find it is not "sugar slop".

True Scarborough Fair itself appears to have been "prettied up" by leaving out several verses so that the sense of two former lovers having a go at each other has got lost, but as Diane Easby pointed out much further up the thread,

<<Paul Simon took Martin Carthy's arrangement and set it in counterpoint to the tune of his own composition "The Side Of A Hill". And very clever it was too.>>

In fact Paul Simon partly rewrote "The Side of a Hill" for SF, but the song was in essence, the same. Here are the original words of "Side of a Hill";

On the side of a hill, in a land called somewhere
A little boy sleeps alone in the earth.
While down in the valley a cruel war rages
And people forget what a child's life is worth

On the side of a hill, a little cloud weeps
And waters the grave with its silent tears
While a soldier cleans a polishes a gun
Which ended a life at the age of seven years

And the war rages on in a land called somewhere
And generals order their men to kill
And to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten
While a little cloud weeps on the side of a hill.

The first verse is where the main changes are in SF.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 May 08 - 11:51 AM

IMO The Carthy version - not helped at all by his (as usual) over-elabourate accompaniment, is bland and totally lacks the edge needed for a song that is basically about rejection.
S & G version just adds a little more syrup.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: GUEST
Date: 23 May 08 - 12:30 PM

Jim, I don't quite follow that last one, opinions notwithstanding. Simon's basic arrangement came from Carthy, Simon added to it, a little more syrup as you say. But how can it be over-elaborate and bland at the same time? Just him and guitar, and this being on his first album, it actually lacked a lot of what Carthy was known for later. It's actually light years away from something like Prince Heathen. In a sense it is bland, but it's not over elaborate. As an aside, I was glad a few years ago to learn that Carthy and Simon patched things up in regards to what happened between them because of this song.


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: irishenglish
Date: 23 May 08 - 12:31 PM

Above was me, forgot to log in!


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Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 May 08 - 12:53 PM

well this is all a matter of opinion.I dont think Carthys arrangement of Scarborough Fair was over elaborate,neither do I think it bland.I would like to also hear ewan and peggys version.
personally I think Carthys rendition of scarborough fair ,is excellent it lacks any of ther mannerisms that occur occassionally in his later singing,In my opinion his singing on his first lp is excellent,the guitar playing is also excellent,on scarborough fair he accompanies the song,rather than the singing following the guitar.
I dont know how its possible to be over elaborate and bland simultaneously.Dick Miles


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