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Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?

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Doctor John 01 Jun 99 - 03:38 PM
GN 01 Jun 99 - 04:38 PM
Bill D 02 Jun 99 - 12:23 AM
DMcG 02 Feb 02 - 07:38 AM
masato sakurai 02 Feb 02 - 07:54 AM
John Routledge 02 Feb 02 - 08:35 AM
Desdemona 02 Feb 02 - 11:49 AM
Stilly River Sage 02 Feb 02 - 01:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Feb 02 - 02:17 PM
Amos 02 Feb 02 - 02:42 PM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Feb 02 - 02:52 PM
GUEST, Cookieless Member 02 Feb 02 - 02:59 PM
Stilly River Sage 02 Feb 02 - 03:42 PM
Abby Sale 02 Feb 02 - 04:04 PM
pavane 02 Feb 02 - 05:30 PM
Nerd 02 Feb 02 - 06:54 PM
Nerd 02 Feb 02 - 08:53 PM
Desdemona 02 Feb 02 - 10:17 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Feb 02 - 10:26 PM
GUEST 02 Feb 02 - 11:19 PM
Nerd 03 Feb 02 - 12:54 AM
E.T. 03 Feb 02 - 12:55 AM
DMcG 03 Feb 02 - 08:44 AM
Abby Sale 03 Feb 02 - 10:56 AM
John Routledge 03 Feb 02 - 11:28 AM
Uncle_DaveO 03 Feb 02 - 01:06 PM
Nerd 03 Feb 02 - 02:22 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 03 Feb 02 - 03:38 PM
Nerd 03 Feb 02 - 06:09 PM
Abby Sale 03 Feb 02 - 07:10 PM
Susanne (skw) 03 Feb 02 - 07:46 PM
E.T. 03 Feb 02 - 08:35 PM
Wolfgang 04 Feb 02 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,DMG at work 04 Feb 02 - 08:32 AM
Mary in Kentucky 04 Feb 02 - 04:30 PM
Susanne (skw) 04 Feb 02 - 04:57 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 04 Feb 02 - 05:11 PM
MMario 04 Feb 02 - 05:15 PM
GUEST 04 Feb 02 - 05:21 PM
Abby Sale 04 Feb 02 - 05:21 PM
Desdemona 04 Feb 02 - 05:30 PM
GUEST 04 Feb 02 - 05:34 PM
GUEST 04 Feb 02 - 05:46 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Feb 02 - 09:36 PM
Desdemona 04 Feb 02 - 10:44 PM
Jon Bartlett 05 Feb 02 - 12:00 AM
Charlie Baum 05 Feb 02 - 12:57 AM
Susanne (skw) 05 Feb 02 - 06:48 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 05 Feb 02 - 07:19 PM
johnross 10 Feb 02 - 03:27 PM
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Subject: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Doctor John
Date: 01 Jun 99 - 03:38 PM

Prof Child's book was published over a century ago; some of the songs have become pretty hackneyed now (Gypsey Laddie, Gallis Pole etc) while others are very obscure. Has anyone ever recorded the lot: all 305 of them? There was the Long Harvest of hard listening on Argo I remember.It would take around a dozen CD's. Who would the mudcatters vote for to do it? If Cisco or Nic Jones were recording I'd vote for him but now Martyn Wyndham Read (guitar only) or Isla StClair (guitar only) or Archie Fischer ; Martin Carthy ... mmm, but perhaps he might slip a Beatles number in. Dr John. PS I've been away: delighted Catspaw is better.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: GN
Date: 01 Jun 99 - 04:38 PM

There are many for which tunes are unknown. Some are from 16th or 17th century manuscripts, and it is not clear whether they were ever meant to be sung, or, practically the same thing, it is not known whether they were ever sung. On the other hand there are over 100 traditional tunes for some of the Child ballads, so which ones should be recorded? There is a set of 8 records of Child Ballads sung by Ewan MacColl and A. L. (Bert) Lloyd, with a supplementary record of 'Childlike' ballads not included by Child.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Jun 99 - 12:23 AM

I suspect that of the 300+, recorded versions exist of maybe 200-225, at most...and about 75 get 98% of the 'action'..(some of them are, frankly, not very singble)..many were poems and recitations only


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: DMcG
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 07:38 AM

Sorry to post to such an old thread, but no-one seems to have mentioned the Topic series "The Folk Songs of Britain" - ten volumnes of field recordings. Volumes 4 and 5 are Child ballads (some 40-50 of them are covered)

Now, of course, we must also add in that one of the Carthy Chronicles" CDs is largely devoted to Child Ballads.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 07:54 AM

Till The Grass O'ergrew The Corn: A collection of traditional ballads by Frankie Armstrong.
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: John Routledge
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 08:35 AM

Thank you Masato - Great site you have posted. Must aquire the CD Cheers John.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Desdemona
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 11:49 AM

It's a fascinating idea; of course, there are so many variants in existence of most of them that it would be an even more massive undertaking than it initially seems to produce any sort of "definitive" product, and, as noted above by GN, it's not even clear which were ever meant to be sung at all, and the extant tunes are often later additions to the text. But I love the idea---if, in theory, it were to be done, I'd vote for one of those huge, fabulous collaborative efforts---a real Who's Who in English folk/traditional music; it would be a REALLY exciting project!


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 01:41 PM

It sounds like there is some interdisciplinary work ahead, if the entire set were to be researched and recorded. Ballads that aren't meant to be sung? If they are to be performed in some way, perhaps someone needs to delve into some of those dusty British libraries for information regarding their original performances? Literacy rates in populations today are quite high, so we don't think twice about reading them, but the very nature of the ballads collected suggests that they evolved as performances in some venue or other for people who didn't all read. So how would they have been presented?

Maggie


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 02:17 PM

As GN said when this thread was young, a good few ballads in the Child canon have no known tunes, and of those some were probably literary compositions which had never been sung.  Traditional tunes exist for other variants of some (see Bronson's Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads in particular) and they are still occasionally coming to light, but in many cases it is quite impossible to tell whether or not similar tunes were used for the texts which were originally noted without tunes... bit of a minefield, really.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Amos
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 02:42 PM

Malcolm, Masato, et al:

I'd like to interject a note of thanks for your constantly informative andhelpful dissertations. They are really appreciated. They are the real soul of the Mudcat.

A.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 02:52 PM

I think it was GN who mentioned the wonderful set of LPs by A.L. Lloyd and Ewan McColl. Seven hours of wonderful renditions. I had a set of them in my possession back in the middle 50s for a short time, borrowed from an acquaintance who wanted them back so strongly that I had to give my ENTIRE record collection as hostage!

I'd give a pretty penny--I'm sure I'd HAVE TO give a pretty penny for set of them today, but they're not in print. I think the label was Riverside, now out of business, and the masters and rights belong to Topics, in England, but last I heard they have no intention of publishing them as a set. DURN!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: GUEST, Cookieless Member
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 02:59 PM

Catspaw better Dr. John?

Better than what?

*G*


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 03:42 PM

I managed to keep 3/4 of my Dad's albums (long story--don't ask!) and in with them are a large number of Ewan McColl's. Including at least one boxed set. I've had no time to work with the collection yet, but it is very good to see that holding onto those was a good move. The LP's I had to let go (at settlement time) were those I thought could be most easily duplicated, would be reissued in CD form, etc. Ed McCurdy, Burl Ives, Clancy Brothers.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 04:04 PM

Uncle_DaveO: I'll sell you my set of MacColl/Lloyd for, ohhhh, $7,000. Sorry, I wouldn't take less. Actually, I think it's very likely they will soon be reissued - there's such a demand for CD's that they well could be reissued soon - maybe Rounder or Bear.

As to recordings, I don't have anything like an exhaustive or really impressive record collection but I have versions of about 155 separate Child ballads. Not always "A" certainly and sometimes versions Child never saw but it's a reasonable percentage. Likely BillD's estimate of 200-225 recorded is reasonable. Maybe only 175-200.

MacColl also recorded quite a few for Folkways (still in print) of which I only have one or two and then some more on the impressive Blood and Roses set with Peggy of which I have most.

I like ballads.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: pavane
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 05:30 PM

I remember that in the 1960's, our library had a Ewan McColl series called 'The Long Harvest' comparing UK & US versions of traditional songs - is this the set you refer to? And is it available?


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Nerd
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 06:54 PM

The Long Harvest is a different set from the Riverside 9-volume Child series. Actually, Riverside (or some new company who bought the Riverside rights) has been issuing some CDs lately, so it is possible the 9 volume child ballads could be reissued.

I don't think Topic owns the rights. Those records were produced and edited by my late lamented friend and teacher, Kenny Goldstein. According to him they were originally recorded and produced for Riverside. While he was alive, I did a selected discography of his producing work for a book of essays in his honor, and he was pretty clear on this point. So Topic may have 1st UK rights or something, but the original rights (and the right to license or reissue) would belong to whoever owns the Riverside catalog. Now, it's possible Topic bought those rights, but I don't think they did.

By the way, as has been said, there are some "ballads" in Child's collection that we have no real reason to believe were ever sung, recited or performed in any way (except for the general fact that much poetry was performed in olden times). In fact, Child was interested in texts that might be at the root of balladry, and he wasn't interested in the majority of folksongs, so he combed old manuscripts more carefully than he examined the repertoires of singers. Because of this methodology, he included several texts that may never have been sung. "Judas" is a fine example. Never recorded from oral tradition (Richard Dyer-Bennett notwithstanding!), existing in only one 13th century manuscript, bearing no more striking resemblance to a ballad than many rhyming legends or romance texts--indeed, than other texts in the same manuscript which Child did not include in the collection--, it's not clear to me why he even thought it WAS a ballad. Certainly no scholar before him did, as he himself says in the notes.

Many scholars of the Robin Hood ballads regard it as pure conjecture that some of them were ever sung, though others of them survived in the oral tradition to be collected in the twentieth century.

Some of the 305 it would be very difficult to sing because of their length. A Geste of Robin Hood, for example, is 456 stanzas long, and even Child did not believe this text to have been a ballad, strictly speaking--he calls it "a popular epic, composed from several ballads." As this shows, he put texts in the collection that he knew were not Ballads in the strict sense of the term, and certainly many that he had no evidence were ballads apart from the fact that they sound like ballads. But many rhyming poems of those days sound like ballads, and he didn't include all the ones that do!

All this boils down to the fact that it probably wouldn't be practical to make a set of recordings covering all 305 of the ballads--no one would be able to sing the Geste, for one thing. But it would be real fun to do a set of maybe 250 of them! I envision it being sort of like the current Linn project on Robert Burns songs, or the great French "anthologie de la chanson Francaise: La Tradition," but with people from all over the English-speaking world. Jody Stecher meets Martin Carthy meets Alison McMorland meets Christy Moore meets Anita Best meets Barry McDonald....It would be a must-have for many folkies, I bet! Certainly for me.

I only wish Kenny could have lived to see it!


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Nerd
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 08:53 PM

Oops! I had meant to type "John Jacob Niles" not "Richard Dyer-Bennett." Niles claimed to have found several versions of "Judas" in oral tradition in America. I've never seen another oral version, and most scholars I've spoken to consider that Niles was being, shall we say, very imaginative! Anyone with the Roud database handy?


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Desdemona
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 10:17 PM

Interestingly enough, I'm currently engaged in writing about Robin Hood, and I have a friend who is a published Robin Hood scholar. As noted above by Nerd, it is almost certain that the "Geste" was never actually intended to be sung, but was a sort of organically grown epic; that said, it is the oldest extant INTACT piece on Robin Hood to survive (earlier examples are fragments), and is thought to date from the late 15th/early 16th century.

An attempt to record even(!) 250 of the collected Child ballads would be an astonishing undertaking, and would inevitably involve a certain amount of eduacted conjecture as to the "correct" matching of tunes w/lyrics; but OH, what a wonderful thing it would be to have!


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 10:26 PM

Nerd: Yes. No references to any sets of Judas with tunes there, and hardly surprising, given that it was a 13th. century piece. As you say, Niles was (to put it kindly) imaginatively inclined. Tori Mitsui considered the point in How Was "Judas" Sung? (Ballads and Boundaries: Narrative Singing in an Intercultural Context. Ed. James Porter. Los Angeles: Department of Ethnomusicology & Systematic Musicology, UCLA, 1995); I haven't seen the article, so I don't know how useful it might be.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 11:19 PM

How does one record those for which no tune is known?


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Nerd
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 12:54 AM

Malcolm: thanks. The last time I discussed "Judas" with a folksong scholar was before Steve Roud had done the database! I had heard of the Mitsui article, and I was going to the U of Pennsylvania library tomorrow anyway, so I'll see if I can take a look at it.

Guest: well, the general idea would be to compose a tune, or set the ballad to an appropriate folk tune. Obviously, a record such as the one we've been imagining would be a folk revival product, so scholarly standards of absolute authenticity would not apply. Martin Carthy has already "revived" many tuneless ballads by composing new tunes or setting them to old ones, as have many other folksingers...Ray Fisher, Nic Jones, Jamie McMenamy, Frankie Armstrong and Andy Irvine spring to mind for me, but many other people do this and do it well.

The kind of record I imagine would thus use authentic tunes where possible, and new or refitted tunes where traditional tunes were not available. It would feature top performers as both singers and accompanists and draw from the folksong communities of the whole English-speaking world. In many cases, if an orally-collected version were not available, the ballads would have to be edited from Child's versions, and sensitive arrangers like the folks I mentioned above would be ideal for taking a crack at rewriting some. If I had a million bucks, I might sink it into this project! Anyone with a million bucks to spend on this, PM me :-)


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: E.T.
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 12:55 AM

As in the best tradition - borrow!

"My Country Tis of Thee" is tune of "God Save the Queen."

With careful research, don't think it would be too hard to find probable/likely tunes in an area/time frame. How, establishing which is the MOST probable that may be harder. Hey, we're working with an oral history and tracing it back to a "snapshot" time frame.

On the other hand - it would be absolutely fascinating research.

There are amazing coincidences. I worked on the Recreation Board a few years ago with Irv Finston - who in college, carried the tape recorder (then in the "army portable"version - i.e. it had a handle and it weighed less than a truck) in the 30's(? college) for ballad collector. Reason I know this was because I was singing one of the Shaker while songs setting up for a meeting and he recognized it. (from Chicago Il). Elaine.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: DMcG
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 08:44 AM

Wow - this just shows how useful it can be posting to an old thread (See the third entry!)

The sleeve notes on the 'Topic' records I referred to say that they were "formerly issued by Caedmon in the USA"

I agree with everyone else: a project to record as many of the ballads as possible would be a 'must have' for any serious folkie now - and it could be a major bequest to the future in the way 'Child' itself is to us (Social studies question - would this be 'A Good Thing' or too confining? Discuss)


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 10:56 AM

Nerd: The entire Riverside CB set was reissued on Washington (all single records- no double albums but all the same cuts, text, inserts) when Riverside cut out its folkmusic section. Washington was also Bill Grauer Productions.

It was Child's clear intent, in E&SPB (according to Kittredge) specifically to only print popular ballads- That is, those that had been sung popularly (by any level of society) and not those that existed only in commercial productions or in broadsides. He clearly knew the difference - his earlier works included "ancient poetry" and broadsides but these were cut out for E&SPB.

Thing is, as you said, he was a library researcher and never a field man. He was completely unaware that any of the ballads were still being sung - maybe only "Bonnie Barbry Allen" and one or two others. It's a shame that he never read Greig. Greig read Child and was aware of the irony that Child was saying songs had been dead hundreds of years that Greig was currently collecting in the field.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: John Routledge
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 11:28 AM

This thread gets more fascinating by the post!! It is shaming me into action. Thanks all.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 01:06 PM

Abby Sale, $7,000 for this set is NOT "a pretty penny"; it's a GORGEOUS penny!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Nerd
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 02:22 PM

Abby:

are you saying the Riverside Child Ballads were reissued as LPs or as CDs? I knew they had come out in various forms as LPs--in fact I have a couple of the volumes--but I'd certainly spend a couple hundred bucks to get the CDs if they existed!

As for Child, it's true that he was only interested in printing popular ballads, but he was not always as good as all that in making the distinction. Remember Kittredge was his student and put him on something of a pedestal (rather like me and Kenny Goldstein I guess--sheepish grin!) But "Judas" and a number of other texts (the Arthurian ballads of Gawain and Ragnell and The Boy and the Mantle, plus most of the Robin Hood canon, etc) have not generally been recognized as sung ballads by most scholars before or since Child. Some of his texts, like the Geste, he printed becaue they had a bearing on ballad history even though he knew they were strictly speaking neither popular nor ballads.

Child had a set of textual standards he worked by to determine if he thought a text was a ballad and if he thought it was popular, but he died without ever telling anyone exactly what these standards were. I think if he had, his collection would have been somewhat debunked by now, as the distinctions between what he includes and what he leaves out of ESPB [in the way of late medieval metrical legends, romances, etc] are difficult to see by any textual means.

But I'm not one of these bandwagon canon-haters either; I think Child did a remarkable job by anyone's standards, and when he erred he did so on the side of inclusion (except for material like The Sea Crab, a bawdy ballad, or The Bitter Withy, a heretical ballad) which makes his collection far more interesting.

DMcG: that set recorded for Caedmon and later released by Topic has commenced being reissued by Rounder in the Alan Lomax Collection. The three volumes that have so far appeared are the two Child Ballad collections plus "Songs of Seduction."

Interesting side note: I interviewed Tony Engle some years ago for a review article in the Journal of American Folklore. He told me Topic's plan had originally been to reissue that Caedmon series, but he was unable to get the rights. Instead he decided to put together a series out of Topic's own field recordings, plus whatever he could beg, borrow or license. The result, he told me, would be called The Voice of the People. The rest is history...


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 03:38 PM

Kenny Goldstein goaded me into recording 21 of the Child Ballads from our family and community, and they were issued on Folkways in 1961, are still around. The two-album set(available on cd by special order from Smithsonian/Folkways)contains:

 Vol. I
Gypsy Laddie Child # 200
False Sir John 4
The Hangman Song 95
Lord Bateman 53
The House Carpenter 243
Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender 73
The Merry Golden Tree 286
Lord Lovel 75
Old Bangum 18
Barbry Ellen 84
Fair Annie of the Lochroyan 76

Vol.II
The Unquiet Grave 78
The Little Devils 278
Sweet William and Lady Margaret 74
There Lived An Old Lord by the Northern Sea 10
The Wife of Ushers Well 79
The Cherry Tree Carol 54
Edward 13
Gentle Fair Jenny 277
Lord Randal 12
The Lyttle Musgrave 81

I know not everyone likes my singing voice, but it's what God gave me and I have worked hard at preserving the songs we had. We knew others too, not recorded here, The Devil's Nine Questions, Lovin Henry (Young Hunting) and a few others. It strikes me that if you folks would pitch in and record the ones YOU know (Rick, Sandy, Art, Alice and many more), we could accomplish the whole project with Mudcatters! If Kenny were here, he'd approve... incidentally, his notes that go with my records are worth the price, WITHOUT having to listen to the singing! Jean


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Nerd
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 06:09 PM

Yeah, I'll plug Jean's recordings too! I special ordered them from Folkways a year or so ago, and they came quickly and sound fine. Kenny's notes are terrific, but then I must recuse myself from saying so after my comments about Kittredge :-)

Don't worry about your voice, Jean, it's perfect for these old songs! I didn't mean to slight anyone in listing some great performers above--Jean is right that Mudcatters alone could probably pull this off!


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 07:10 PM

kytrad: Well nobody in punching distance of me better say they don't like your singing!

Nerd: Sorry, I meant that Washington LPs nearly immediately followed Riverside. But I think someone will redo them as CDs soon.

re Remember Kittredge was his student and put him on something of a pedestal (rather like me and Kenny Goldstein I guess--sheepish grin!) (My own grin is that I got to study with (undergrad, not grad) with the great Mac Leach, the feller what taught Goldstein. Most of my thinking today is still colorred by his approach.)

What you say is true, I think, but Kittredge was no slouch of a scholar, himself. And he agreed that Child misplaced "Gaberlunzie Man" at 279 appen. instead of 280. He also (as I recall) admitted it was odd that "Lang A-growing" to mention another, was omitted.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 07:46 PM

My database says I've got recordings of 108 different Child ballads. I don't have the time just now, but towards the summer when - hopefully - I'll have more time again I might be tempted to put together a table of recordings of each ballad. kytrad's recordings would make a great start. Who else would be interested in the result?


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: E.T.
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 08:35 PM

But I LIKE your voice, Jean. It's yours and it's memorable and it feels right in the ballads particularly.

Incidentally, I met up with one of the people who carried the field recorder for Lomax - Irv Finston, back in his college days. He's now in Evanston Il (just north of Chicago). I found out because I was setting up for a board meeting and singing one of the Shaker hymns and he recognized it. We got to conversing.. It's a small world. Elaine.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 07:06 AM

Susanne,

I'd be interested a lot, I might have a couple of additions.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: GUEST,DMG at work
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 08:32 AM

Susanne,

Like Wolfgang I'd be interested a lot


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 04:30 PM

Susanne, I'd be interested too! Don't forget this thread where Garry Gillard links to his page which lists Carthy/Waterson recordings of Child Ballads.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 04:57 PM

Ok, send the details of your recordings (singer, album title & year, label details if possible) to skw at worldmusic.de some time during the next few months, and I'll work at it. (Heading the mail 'Child Ballads' would make it easier to filter.) Then we'll enlist help for making it available on the Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 05:11 PM

What about all the different variants for each song? Will the aim be to have just one example for each? I'm thinking such an undertaking mayn't be very scholarly, but it'll be fun!

I'll be away from computers from Feb. 7-17. Jean


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: MMario
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 05:15 PM

useful information that would probably deserve to be linked with the comtemplator site as well as here, perhaps.

I can see it being done with multiple variations


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 05:21 PM

Looking at the table of contents of the 4 volumes of Child ballads with tunes of Bertrand Bronson's 'The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads', we can see that there are no tunes for any version of Child #:

15, 21, 23, 28, 29, 30, 35, 36, 50, 59, 60, 80, 82, 107, 108, 109, 113, 115, 121, 137, 149, 150, 151, 152, 154, 158, 159, 160, 165, 166, 168, 171, 172, 174, 175, 176, 177, 179, 180, 184, 189, 190, 194, 197, 198, 205, 207, 220, 224, 230, 234, 242, 244, 245, 249, 259, 261, 262, 263, 291, 294, 296, 297, 300-305.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 05:21 PM

Ok, here's an approximation. Taking all songs represented in Bronson (I still had the file handy from doing up Bronson for the Ballad Index so this wasn't that hard.) Keeping in mind that many of these tunes may never have been recorded on sound media and some may be so defective as to not be singable ("Willie's Lady," for one) AND also that others may well have turned up since Bronson finished in 1972... Still & all, I count 96 ballads with no trad. tunes. That leaves (uh......) 209 possibilities.

Since you were going to ask, these are the un-tuned ballads:
8, 15, 21, 23, 28, 29, 30, 35, 36, 48, 50, 59, 60, 70, 71, 80, 82, 87, 91, 104, 107, 108, 109, 111, 115, 118, 119, 122, 127, 128, 130, 133, 135, 136, 137, 138, 142, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 158, 159, 160, 165, 166, 168, 171, 172, 174, 175, 176, 177, 179, 180, 184, 189, 190, 194, 197, 198, 205, 207, 220, 224, 230, 234, 242, 244, 249, 259, 261, 262, 263, 264, 268, 271, 290, 291, 292, 294, 296, 297, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Desdemona
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 05:30 PM

This is why I love this place; can't WAIT to see this happen!!


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 05:34 PM

Whoops, I misssed #8 and 71 above. Also table of content entries doesn't work, because there are entries for ballads with no tunes. Also, there are possibilities like for #70, where Bronson didn't give the tune because Bronson judged the evidence too weak. I defer to Abby's list.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 05:46 PM

Desdemona,

Sorry to disappoint you, but you may be in for a long wait.

This place is great at talking about things, not so great at actually doing them. There have been more great 'mudcat ideas' than...

...don't hold your breath, anyway


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 09:36 PM

Re Abby's list: traditional tunes for both #35 (Allison Gross) and #264 (The White Fisher) have turned up since Bronson published.  I expect there are a few more, though probably most of the others will never be found.

The White Fisher  Text, and tune in abc format, as noted by James M. Carpenter from Bell Duncan of Lambhill in the parish of Insch, Aberdeenshire, in the 1920s.  (Bronson knew about Carpenter's material, but didn't have access to it).

ADD: Allison Cross  Text of Lizzie Higgins' traditional set, as recorded by Revival performers.  Later in the thread, I've added the verse they missed out; unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten to post the tune.  A midi of that tune, as noted from Lizzie by Colin Ross and published in English Dance and Song (vol.55, no.2, 1993) can be heard, for now, via the  South Riding Folk Network  site:

Allison Cross (midi)

I still don't agree with Abby about Anna Brown's tune for Willie's Lady, but that's just a personal thing.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Desdemona
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 10:44 PM

Fear not---I never expect any great ideas to come to fruition until I've completely forgotten ever expecting them....this, I find, is the secret to a happy life!

Child, you say....? What child?!


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 05 Feb 02 - 12:00 AM

Susanne, count us in! We here at Vancouver Ballad Group have got 140 different Child ballads in (at present) 685 different variants. I've just made a listing of what we haven't got - and I suspect that many other folk haven't got them either. They are a) Child ballads with b) a listing in Bronson as having been collected in the field (some with very vague provenance like #239 Lord Saltoun and Auchanachie [from Christie]: Bronson notes "sung by relatives of Christie; from family tradition back to c. 1756", others with good records over two hundred years). (n=54). I want to go through them and check whether there are a great number of representatives of e.g. Christie or Buchan to see whether there is much chance of them being in the oral tradition. Is there a listing of what has been collected since Bronson?


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 05 Feb 02 - 12:57 AM

Patrick Gainer, in his "Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills," (1975) has collected a West Virginia version of Prince Robert, Child #87, with a tune.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 05 Feb 02 - 06:48 PM

I'm overwhelmed already! It may take more time and space than I'd expected. I started on my own versions last night and found the table format gets unwieldy very quickly. Any better ideas? A permathread with one post allocated to each ballad, for instance?

Two more points: I was thinking of recordings, including different versions, not of versions on paper. However, it may be worth adding the info whether or not a particular version can be found in Child.

I must admit to a limited music-literacy, so I'm not that much concerned with different tunes. However, from the last few posts above it looks like adding whether or not a particular tune is traditional (i.e. found in Bronson) or a later addition may also be worthwhile. (I'm thinking of e.g. the modern tune for 'Twa Corbies', or Pentangle's use of the trad. tune of Child #1 for 'Cruel Sister'.)

Did I mention I'm already more than fully employed? :-)


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 05 Feb 02 - 07:19 PM

Just thinking ahead...for a title, what about, Mudcat Child? Mudcat's Child? (no-NOT, What Child is This?)! Jean


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: Anyone recorded the lot?
From: johnross
Date: 10 Feb 02 - 03:27 PM

Let me throw some additional information into this thread, in my capacity as compiler and keeper of the more-or-less-definitive Ewan MacColl Discography.

Over the years, Ewan made four completely different multi-LP sets of Child Ballads. He included additional ballads on many of his other records.

The four series were:

English and Scots Popular Ballads (4 two-LP sets, plus and LP of "Ballads Not Included in the Child Colection" Riverside RLP 12-621/22 - 12-629; later reissued as 9 individual Washington LPs, WLP 715 - 723) with A.L. Lloyd

The English and Scots Popular Ballads, Volumes 1 through 3 (3 LPs, Folkways FG 3509 - 3511)

The Long Harvest (10 LPs, Argo DA 66-75) with Peggy Seeger

Blood and Roses (5 LPs, Blackthorne ESB 79 - 83) with Peggy Seeger

So that's 26 LPs, not including the "Ballads Not Included" one. I haven't compiled individual lists of tracks on each record, so I don't know exactly how much overlap occurs from one series to the next. At a guess, there are maybe a hundred different ballads included (not counting variants).

The Folkways titles are still in print, available on CD or cassette from Smithsonian Folkways.

Riverside now belongs to Fantasy Records, who were not at all interested when I asked them about licensing the ballad series for re-issue. They have their own very successful re-issue program for many of the great old jazz and blues LPs in their catalog (they also own Prestige and several other labels), so they have a blanket policy of not licensing things to other labels.

I'm not sure about Mudcat's policy on outside links, so I won't include the URL, but the discography is online and easy to find through your favorite search engine.


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