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Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!

DigiTrad:
MAID AND THE PALMER
THE WELL BELOW THE VALLEY


Gutcher 07 Oct 17 - 06:29 PM
Lighter 07 Oct 17 - 04:34 PM
Gutcher 07 Oct 17 - 02:30 PM
GUEST 02 Apr 15 - 10:56 PM
MartinRyan 02 Apr 12 - 09:13 AM
Lighter 12 Jan 12 - 07:41 PM
MAG 12 Jan 12 - 07:18 PM
Brian Peters 12 Jan 12 - 12:02 PM
Richie 12 Jan 12 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Laura 29 Jan 11 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 02 Jul 10 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 02 Jul 10 - 04:49 AM
Suegorgeous 02 Jul 10 - 03:33 AM
Bill D 01 Jul 10 - 07:57 PM
Suegorgeous 01 Jul 10 - 07:50 PM
Suegorgeous 01 Jul 10 - 05:15 PM
GUEST 01 Jul 10 - 03:34 PM
Fergie 14 Oct 09 - 07:56 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Oct 09 - 04:31 PM
Brian Peters 14 Oct 09 - 10:42 AM
Brian Peters 14 Oct 09 - 10:15 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Oct 09 - 05:17 PM
Matthew Edwards 13 Oct 09 - 04:55 PM
Diva 13 Oct 09 - 03:47 PM
Brian Peters 13 Oct 09 - 03:42 PM
Brian Peters 13 Oct 09 - 03:31 PM
Uncle_DaveO 13 Oct 09 - 02:10 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Oct 09 - 01:53 PM
Matthew Edwards 13 Oct 09 - 01:51 PM
Brian Peters 13 Oct 09 - 07:53 AM
Liberty Boy 13 Oct 09 - 07:51 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Oct 09 - 07:26 AM
Brian Peters 13 Oct 09 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,christy moore 12 Oct 09 - 10:39 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 09 - 11:16 AM
Ruth Archer 08 Jan 09 - 07:27 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 09 - 06:32 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 09 - 04:28 AM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Jan 09 - 03:32 AM
Matthew Edwards 08 Jan 09 - 03:25 AM
Steve Gardham 07 Jan 09 - 07:45 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 07 Jan 09 - 07:10 AM
mattkeen 07 Jan 09 - 06:39 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jan 09 - 12:37 AM
Nerd 06 Jan 09 - 11:29 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Jan 09 - 08:13 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Jan 09 - 07:04 PM
Suegorgeous 06 Jan 09 - 06:59 PM
Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 09 - 05:19 PM
Nerd 06 Jan 09 - 04:44 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Gutcher
Date: 07 Oct 17 - 06:29 PM

Thanks Lighter---never thought to look south of the border as the song is in broad Scots with words in it that have almost died out here.

The only other clue lies in the first line of the first verse---now if there be a Barony Road in or near the Northumberland Village we will have struck gold.


Incidently this is one of those floating country songs that do not appear in any of the collections, as far as I can see.


This thread is a constant spam magnet. Ask a moderator to reopen it if you wish to add to this discussion. --mudelf


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Oct 17 - 04:34 PM

Does this fit?:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingram,_Northumberland


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Gutcher
Date: 07 Oct 17 - 02:30 PM

Anent the meaning for a butting stone. It appears that it was Child who stated that this was a stepping stone. Stepping stones were usually in burns or rivers, not the place to bury a childs body.
I would suggest that the stone so called would be a knocking stone. most
rural habitations and farms having such a stone.

Mention is made of the plantations in regards to Moran. In Leitrim we find Hamilton Castle and its adjoining town Manorhamilton, The castle having been built in the early 1630s by a relative of Hamilton of Hamilton/Montgomery fame? noted for their plantation of Antrim et al in 1606.

On another subject it is noted that Child 66 mentions a Lord Ingram.
For the past 65 years I have been looking for a place called Ingram the locale of a song I sing called the "Ingram Servant Lass". Anyone have any
notion of where to find this place?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Apr 15 - 10:56 PM

Hello!
I started looking for some information about this old song after watching the "Magdalene Sisters" film and I found your discussion, which is very interesting.
I am from Greece and I don't have some information about this old song, but I surprisingly realized that it reminds me much of a Greek folk song. This song is called Menousis and it is a story about a murder. Three friends were drinking and discussing about beautiful women and one of them insisted that he had met his friend's Menousis' young wife who was in the well to take some water. The man told his friends that he asked her to wash his towel with the well's water -asking a young woman for "a favor" was at least something like sexual harassment, especially a young married woman. He insisted that he knew her very well, that he knew what she was wearing under her clothes etc. In the end, the woman is being murdered by her drunk husband, because "she acted like a whore".
Also, I read about the symbolism, the well is a very common element in the folk songs of Europe, because it used to be the only place that the women were alone and so the men could come closer to them. Also,the lily is the flower of the virgins, so maybe it has a connection with the innocence of the young girl.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: MartinRyan
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 09:13 AM

John Reilly singing "The Well below.."

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 07:41 PM

Nicely done, Richie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: MAG
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 07:18 PM

along with Prince Heathen and Mill o' Tifty's Annie, this is a song I think needw to be preserved, but can't bear to listen to --


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 12:02 PM

Flattered to find my words quoted on your site, Richie. And your comment about the 'Stepping Stone' (Percy) vs the 'Butting Stone' (Moran) is apt. I hadn't noticed that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Richie
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 11:42 AM

Hi,

I'm including Moran's version in my Maid and the Palmer:http://bluegrassmessengers.com/english-and-other-versions-21-maid-and-the-palmer.aspx

At the bottom of the page I've organized an article from posts in this thread.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: GUEST,Laura
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 07:11 PM

The Christy version of this song seems to look upon the girl more sympathetically - perhaps the green lily referred to is the her. Green because she is young, naive, not fully matured, innocent etc. If she is compared to a lily, maybe it is to plant the idea that she is beautiful (also slightly sinister as the lily is synonymous with death, I think?)

I'm very curious to know what people think of the "my cup is full up to the brim, if I were to stoop I might fall in" line?

All the natural symbolism ties in well with the bodhrán - very pagan and earthy ('she swore by grass, she swore by corn"). I love this song - although I skip over it if I'm listening to it in bed as it frightens me a bit!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 04:51 AM

Best make that:

Gorey Child 20


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 04:49 AM

Excellent stuff all round.

Just found this which I did a few years ago after realising that if you took away the refrains, Child 20 reads like an Edward Gorey poem. No chance of a Gorey Book of Ballads now, alas, but we can dream...

Gorey Child 20

One can just imagine how his Child 21 would have turned out...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 03:33 AM

Ah, didn't know that! :)

hey, where did that post before mine go, asking about PMs??! (makes the 2 subsequent posts look a bit random!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 07:57 PM

You must be a member to use PMs...click on 'membership' at top of page.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 07:50 PM

You click on "PM" to the right of their name above their post.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 05:15 PM

Well, errr.... now it has....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 03:34 PM

I'm really suprised that this thread hasn't meantioned a thing about
Peter Mullin's "The Magdalene Sisters".
It's sung at a wedding by a priest. The song was chosen because it reflects the abuse and lack of support and information that the girls in the story will face. One girl is raped by her drunk cousin.
One is accused of flirting and kicked out of the orphanage she lives at. One is sent away for being a teen pregnancy. And, another that is already there at the laundry, was another teen pregnancy who is mentally challenged AND being abused by her confessor.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Fergie
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 07:56 PM

Hi Matthew Edwards

You could hear Mary Reynolds of Mohill, County Leitrim sing 'My Darling Sleeps in England' on Ewan MacColl's 10 disc collection from his BBC radio program THE SONG CARRIERS. It is available from Bob Blair Archives. If you are interested I'll point you in the right direction

Fergus


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 04:31 PM

Brian,
Thanks for your little survey. As far as I'm concerned it shows the Irish versions are much closer to Scottish 20s and American 20s than anything in the early 21s. The likely evolution seems pretty obvious.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 10:42 AM

"Card and spin" = "Laundry" - what was I thinking of?? We've just got a new washing machine so perhaps the intricacies of spin cycles are still playing on my mind.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 10:15 AM

Interesting, Steve. Is there somewhere I could access a copy of that 'Duke's Daughter' broadside? Very sorry not to have been able to attend the seminar last Saturday!

Re the penances, I was interested enough to check the parallels.

Scots texts Child 20 have:
Seven years as Bird (or fowl) in a Tree (wood)
Seven years a fish in the sea (flood)
Seven years to ring a (church) bell
Seven years as a porter in hell

Maid & Palmer has 7 year penances:
Stepping stone/ clapper in bell / lead an ape in hell

Reilly WBTV has:
Ringing the bell / porting in hell

Moran has:
Wolf in the woods / fish in the flood
Ringing the bell / burning in hell

North American versions in Bronson commonly end with the threat or actuality of hellfire, but several have other penances as well.

Ben Henneberry, Nova Scotia (coll. Creighton) had:
Beast in the woods / fish in the sea / toll the bell

Ellen Bigney, Nova Scotia had:
Ring a bell / owl in the woods / whale in the sea

R. W. Duncan, Nova Scotia had:
Roll a stone / toll a bell

Theresa Corbett, Newfoundland had:
Roll a stone / stand alone / ring a bell / spend in hell

Peter Cole, Pennsylvania had:
Wash and wring / card and spin / ring them bells / serve in hell

I've no idea whether that proves anything at all - but I once studied paleontology, so trying to discern links between fossils comes as second nature. Finding characteristically Scottish ballad elements in Nova Scotia isn't the biggest surprise in the world, but there does seem to have been a degree of creativity within oral tradition (owls, whales, laundry?). I wonder whether the act of 'rolling a stone' is some kind of throwback to the 'stepping stone' of Child 21? Or maybe a New Testament reference?

Anyone know where to find parallels for those kind of penances from inside or outside the ballad world?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 05:17 PM

There are no versions of 20 older than the late 17th century English broadside 'The Duke's Daughter's Cruelty', which is very likely the origin. Child got it wrong. The only continental analogue, from Denmark, actually derives from English/Scottish versions translated by Svendt Grundtvig, ironically Child's mentor. Most of Child's notes to 20 actually apply to 21. All of these analogues are related to 21.

Some Scottish versions some time during the 18thc acquired the penances much as those described here. However, as far as I know none of these actually mention the burying of the 9 infants so this is indeed intriguing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 04:55 PM

Brian, I think you're right about Thomas Moran's song belonging to Child 21 rather than 20, but as you say the refrain hints at some sort of transitional version. I'd love to hear his complete song.

In the notes to the Folktrax record Seamus Ennis is quoted as saying:-
"Thomas Moran's songs came to Leitrim in Cromwellian times - the Plantation period" which perhaps suggests a Scottish ancestry for his songs.

'The Cruel Mother' only had one lover in all the versions I've seen, and generally the songs credit her with giving birth to two pretty babes at one birth, or occasionally only one or more rarely, three. Whereas the "maid" in Child 21 has clearly had multiple lovers and as many children - as much as fifty or seventy in some Central European variants. There is probably some significance in the different ways the children are buried which could be worth looking at again.

Matthew Edwards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Diva
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 03:47 PM

Ach but maybe she had a selective memory? Child 20 one of the oldest ballads if memory serves me correctly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 03:42 PM

> I am somewhat bemused by the characterization of the young(?) lady(?) as "a maid", after having given birth to six or seven or nine babies. <

Dave, in the Percy text she swears that she's never had a lover, but the palmer calls her a liar...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 03:31 PM

> Child thought that the seven-year penances verses in 'Cruel Mother' all belonged properly to the 'Maid and Palmer'. <

> most of the TM verses you quoted are 'floaters' and appear in numerous ballads <

Yes and yes. However what intrigued me weren't just the penances, but the number and fate of the children. 'Cruel Mother' never seems to describe more than three. However...

Child 21A (Percy MS) describes nine children, hidden thus:

Three were buried under thy bed's head
Other three under thy brewing leade (sic)
Other three on yon play greene...

WBTV has six children killed:

There's two buried 'neath the stable door
Another two near the kitchen door
Another two buried beneath the wall

The Moran 'Cruel Mother' has seven:

And you've buried him under your own bed stock
You've buried three more on your way going home
And you've buried three more on that butting stone

The theme of multiple burial places seems (on the admittedly thin evidence available) to be characteristic of 'Maid & Palmer', and note that the first specified is beneath her bed head in both Percy's and Thomas Moran's versions.

None of which amounts to very much for anyone outside the ranks of ballad obsessives, except that Child 21 is very rare in oral tradition - and yet it seems that there's been another version under everyone's noses the whole time. Nothing, apart from the refrain (and ballad refrains are even more fluid than verses about penances!), identifies the Moran ballad as Child 20.

It reminds me a bit of 'Lucy Wan' and Edward'. You can find versions classified as the second that might equally well be identified as the first. Are they separate ballads at all?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 02:10 PM

I am somewhat bemused by the characterization of the young(?) lady(?) as "a maid", after having given birth to six or seven or nine babies.


"Maid" is commonly taken to mean "virgin", or at least "young and inexperienced girl".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 01:53 PM

Hi Brian,
The only other recordings I know of are those issued by Kennedy.
Not convinced that Jacko Reilly and Tom Moran's ballads are from the same source - most of the TM verses you quoted are 'floaters' and appear in numerous ballads - but am happy to be persuadedd.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 01:51 PM

Thomas Moran probably deserves a new thread to himself; there was a Folktracks cassette/CD FTX-076 'The Bonny Bunch of Roses' with some 32 songs recorded by Seamus Ennis for the BBC in 1954, all of which appear in Jim's list above from the JEFDSS 1955, and in the Roud Index (though I think 'Jackie Eraser' should be 'Jack Mulroe'). Dick Greenhaus at Camsco should be able to supply a copy, but I'm waiting to see what turns up in the forthcoming Topic 'Voice of the People 2' based on the Peter Kennedy and BBC collections. The fragments of his songs which appear in the FSB series really don't do him any justice.

At the same time in 1954 Seamus Ennis also collected four songs from Mary Reynolds of Mohill, County Leitrim. I've been listening to her version of 'The Lakes of Shellin', but I'd love to hear her sing 'Sweet Mohill For Me', 'The Shores of Loch Bran', and 'My Darling Sleeps in England'.

Regarding the similarity of Thomas Moran's 'Cruel Mother' to 'The Maid and the Palmer', I think Malcolm Douglas mentioned above that Child thought that the seven-year penances verses in 'Cruel Mother' all belonged properly to the 'Maid and Palmer'.
There is a 1967 article in the 'Malahat Review' (which I haven't read) by the ballad scholar David Buchan on the relationships between these two ballads 'The Maid, The Palmer and the Cruel Mother' which, if you can track it down, could shed some light on the subject.

Matthew Edwards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 07:53 AM

Thanks, Jim, thought somehow you might oblige.

Any recordings apart from Folksongs in Britain?

And any comments on his Child 20?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Liberty Boy
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 07:51 AM

At the 30th Anniversary celebrations of An Goilin in mid May, Christy Moore sang "The Well Below the Valley", sitting at a table and pointing with his right hand to a photo of John Reilly which was, along with lots of other photo's, pinned to the wall as decoration for the event. The hair was standing up on the back of my neck. A fabulous moment!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 07:26 AM

Tom Moran - one of the all-time great Irish tradition bearers.
Jim Carroll

MORAN, Thomas
Singer and storyteller. Mohill, Co. Leitrim. December 1954.
Aged 79. Lived in a Townland called Drumrahool, near Mohill, Co., Leitrim. Had been a farmer all his life. The collector suspected he might have travelled: "No", he said, "I learnt that song from a neighbour who hardly ever crossed a cow-track in his life". "Were you ever in Scotland or in England?" "I was once in England, on a couple of week's foolishness". The singer also made the remark: "The songs came in by these by-roads, and the condition of the roads would not let them out again".

In writing of this singer in JEFDSS 1955, where several of his songs are published, transcribed from the BBC recordings, Seamus Ennis said: "Certain repertoires of folk song in Ireland are greater than Thomas Moran's repertoires, which include both Gaelic and English, and both Anglo-Irish ballads and purely Irish songs, but Moran is the one in all my experience who has excelled in preserving the ballads of England, and particularly those of older vintage".

Section 1.
Airy little tailor: 22025; Barbara Allen (2): 22017; Blind Beggar's daughter (1): 22036; Boat that first brought me over 22015; Bonnie bunch of roses (8): 22024; Bonnie lass of Fyvie (3): 22014; Brian O'Lynn (3): 22025; Broken token (8): 22023; Captain Thunderbold: 22014; Captain Wedderburn's courtship (3): 22026; Cherry tree carol (2): 22024; Cruel mother (3): 22035; Drumhullogan Bottoms: 22023; Edward (3): 22015; Elfin Knight: 22026; Farewell my friends: 22027; Farewell Nancy (2): 22016; Farmer's curst wife (3): 22035;. Fox (5): 22013; Frog and the mouse (6): 21900.
Green bushes (5): 22038; Grey Cock (3): 22036; Green Wedding (2): 22016; Greenmont smiling Ann; Hag of Timahoe (2); Hammering cold iron: 22027; Herring song (6): 22025; I'm going to be married next Sunday morning (l): 22036; In the highlands of Scotland: 22037; Indian lass (3): 22018; Jackie Eraser (2): 22015; Kinlough Cow: 22036; Lord Bateman (2): 22033-4; Lord Gregory (2): 22016; Lord Leitrim {political ballad) (2): 21899; Lord Rendal (3): 22015; Lover's ghost: 22036; Maid of Magheracloone: 22013; Man in love he feels no cold (5): 22036; Marrowbones (4): 22013; Old man rocking the cradle; 22023; Our Goodman (2): 22029; Seventeen come Sunday : (11 ): 22035; Tinker (2): 22013; Up to the rigs of London Town (2): 22038; Van Dieman's Land (4): 22029; Village pride: 22037; Wonderful musician in Germany did dwell: 22027.
Section 9 (a)
Folk tales: Bill the robber: 22850; Bruno and the Devil: 22017-8; Monaghan Moe and Monaghan Beg; Paddy and Holly;
Three Redcaps: 22850.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 05:56 AM

No-one so far seems have mentioned the ballad representing 'The Cruel Mother' on 'The Folksongs of Britain, Vol. 4' (Child Ballads #1. This was recorded fromfrom Thomas Moran, Mohill, Co. Leitrim, by Seamus Ennis for the BBC (not sure of the date).
^^
O your first little child with the golden locks
All along and a-lonely-O
And you've buried him under your own bed stock
Down by the greenwood sidey-O

You've buried three more on your way going home
And you've buried three more on that butting stone

Well you'll be seven long years a wolf in the woods
And you'll be seven long years a fish in the floods

You'll be seven long years a-ringing the bell
And you'll be seven long years a-burning in hell

Well I'd like very well to be a wolf in the woods
And I'd like very well to be a fish in the floods

I'd like very well to be a-ringing the bell
But the Lord may save my soul from hell

Leaving aside the standard Child 20 chorus, this looks much more like 'The Well Below the Valley' to me. The sleeve notes don't give any info about the singer - anyone care to tell us more?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: GUEST,christy moore
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:39 PM

a servin girl took up her pail
to draw springwater from the well
down below the valley O
Green Grows The Lily O
Right among the rushes O....(new verse by m douglas cop con)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 11:16 AM

Ruth,
Sorry - no it isn't.
As much as we would have liked to, we promised we wouldn't use it.
It is pretty much the same as John Reilly's version with the real names of the couple concerned - who might still be around!!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 07:27 AM

Jim, that is a wonderful story. Thank you. Is the song commercially available now?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 06:32 AM

Incidentally, I meant to comment on one of John's songs,(given alternatively as 'My Name it is Sean McNamara' or Old Caravee')We recorded this several times under yet another title, but on each occasion we were asked not to play it to anybody else. The song tells of a Travelling couple who were married by a 'made match' - a formally agreed arrangement through a matchmaker (a fairly common practice in Ireland among both Travellers and settled people up to the middle of the 20th century - please note - these were not enforced marriages). The couple were still living when we recorded it and the singers did not wish to give offence. One singer said, "He's me cousin he'd murther me if he knew I'd sung it to you".
Mikeen McCarthy, from Kerry was at the wedding and described how the song was made by a group of Travellers sitting on a bank outside the church before the service - interestingly, he couldn't recall the names of any of the composers - it didn't seem important.
The song tells of the match being made because of the bride's ability to buy and sell mattresses - dealing in feathers was a traditional Traveller trade. It goes on to describe how eventually the woman became the dominant partner in the marriage - remember, this was actually made at the wedding - and eventually "wore the trousers down the main street of old Cahermee". John's 'Sean McNamara' was not the name of the groom!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 04:28 AM

"but they're all relatively well-known and printed on broadsides"
Not from field singers in Ireland they're not - and, as I said, in our experience, (and Tom M confirmed that as being his opinion) generally Travellers did not learn songs from print. The only example we have of one learning from a record was one who sang The McNulty Family's Old Ballymow'. The same singer learned to read in prison and put a tune to R L Stevenson's 'Heather Ale'.
The version of Edward common among Travellers was similar to that recorded by Kennedy in the 50s from Mary Connors . The 4 sets we recorded in the early 70s (What Put The Blood being the most popular title) were all learned from parents or other family members.
Yes, the 1967 recordings listed were those made by Tom Munnelly alone; Tom gave us copies which are more or less in the same recorded order (the 5" reel order differs).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 03:32 AM

Presumably the 1967 recordings listed are copies of those made by Tom Munnelly alone. Can anyone confirm that?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 03:25 AM

I've now checked my old notes of the catalogue entries of recordings from John Reilly in the D K Wilgus Collection at UCLA. The material is presumably still there at the UCLA Ethnomusicolgy Archive but the way the catalogue is organised has changed so my initial attempts to find the songs again have proved fruitless.

Archive Call Number 2002.3 - 69/007
Collected from John Reilly, July 26-27, 1967, Dublin, Ireland
The Green Bushes
The Well Below the Valley-O
The Raggle-Taggle Gypsie[s]
Lord Baker
The Jolly Tinker
There Was a Woman In Our Town
The Braes of Strablane
Barbara Allen
What But the Blood On Your Right Shoulder
For Here's Adieu and To All True Lovers
Once There Lived a Captain
Peter Haney
My Name it is Sean McNamara
Interview


Archive Call Number 2002.3 - 69/008
Collected from John Reilly, February 22, 1969, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, Ireland
The Woman in Our Town
The Well Down in the Valley
The Laurel Tree
Lakes of Cool Finn
The Jolly Tinker


Archive Call Number 2002.3 - 69/009
Collected from John Reilly, February 22, 1969, Blyle[sic], Col. Roscommon, Ireland
What's That Blood on Your Right Shoulder
The Constant Farmer's Son
Ship Crew of Sailors (Jacket so Blue)
Clauda Banks
Pride of Clonkeen
Raggle-Taggle Gypsies


Archive Call Number 2002.3 - 69/010
Collected from John Reilly, February 22,23,1969, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, Ireland
Irish Sea Captain
John Reilly
Lord Baker
The Bonny Green Tree
I Will Bid Adieu to All True Lovers
Bonnie Lass of Aughrim


Archive Call Number 2002.3 - 69/011
Collected from John Reilly, February 23, 1969, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, Ireland
Seven Drunken Nights
Bold English Naavy[sic]
Peter Heaney
Willie Heaney
One Morning I Rambled from Glasgow
Longford Murder
Newry Mountains ("Streams of Lovely Nancy")


Archive Call Number 2002.3 - 69/012
Collected from John Reilly, February 23, 1969, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, Ireland
Dublin's Big City
Mountain Stream Where the Moor Cock's Crow
The Home I Left Behind
Two Little Orphans
Braes of Strablane
To Mysel' and My Own Country (Emigration Song)
As I was Going Over Kilgary Mountain
There was a Lady in Her Father's Garden
Dark-Eyed Gypsy


Archive Call Number 2002.3 - 69/013
Collected from John Reilly, February 23, 1969, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, Ireland
Background recording session

Archive Call Number 2002.3 - 69/014
Collected from John Reilly, February 23, 1969, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, Ireland
Background to recording session

Archive Call Number 2002.3 - 69/015
Collected from John Reilly; Josie MacDermott; Liam Purcell, February 23, 1969; April 26, 1969, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, Ireland
Side I
Background Tape, John Reilly
Side II
The Dark Slender Boy
Long A-Growing (Ballad Air)
[10 Untitled tracks]
Winking at Me


Additional catalogue entries for items 2002.3-0061,0062,0063 and 0064 appear to be duplicate copies of the same material but with the note that the recordings on February 22, 1969 took place in the kitchen of Grehan's Public House.

Matthew Edwards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 07:45 PM

Jim,
Excellent info there.
All I have to go on is a hunch and probabilities and possibilities.
You mention other Child ballads in JR's repertoire but they're all relatively well-known and printed on broadsides. Nothing pekuliar there.

Interesting that Edward is described as common in Irish traveller repertoires. I'd certainly be interested in seeing these texts as it is pretty scarce in England and even more scarce in Scotland.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 07:10 AM

Maybe it's good to note here, for reference, Tom Munnelly's article on John Reilly in Ceol IV (1), jan 1972. - p. 2-8

in which a notion of a number of song is given: What put the blood, The Bonny Green Tree, The Raggle Taggle Gypsy and the music and first two verses of the Well below the Valley.

The article references an older article in Ceol III, p. 61 (which is not in my possession) where another version, almost identical words but slightly different music, of the last song is given


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: mattkeen
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 06:39 AM

Thanks all for a great thread


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 12:37 AM

It is not the slightest 'wee bit pekuliar' that John Reilly had the ballad 'Well Below The Valley'; he also had Lord Gregory and Lord Bateman. Tom Munnelly's vast collecting work in Ireland was turning up dozens of ballads which had disappeared elsewhere.
Directly from Travellers he also got Thomas of Winesbury, Lambkin and Young Hunting, and indirectly, Lord Thomas and The Brown Girl, The Cruel Mother and Fair Margaret and Sweet William (Ch 74), all originally learned from Traveller sources. Pat Mackenzie and I recorded The Grey Cock, and Lord Randall in full, and part versions of Famous Flower of Serving Men and Lord Gregory. Up to the mid-seventies in our experience the most popular ballad in the Travelling community was The Outlandish Knight, closely followed by Edward.
The Irish Travellers' singing tradition was totally uninfluenced by literacy; very few Travellers could read at all and those tiny few who could had such a rudimentary grasp of reading for it to have no effect whatsoever on their song repertoires. Ironically, their influence on the settled repertoires was through print; the trade of 'Ballad Selling', selling song-sheets at the fairs and markets in rural Ireland, carried on to the mid-fifties. We have long, detailed descriptions of Travellers reciting their songs across the counter to printers, who then produced them to be sold locally - the trade was carried out almost exclusively by Travellers and the material included everything from popular songs of the day to those taken from their own oral repertoires (Little Grey Home In The West, Smiling Through, Betsy Of Ballentown Brae, Willie Leonard, Early in The Month of Spring, The Blind Beggar... etc.)   
Even among the settled, literate population the influence of literacy was a complicated one; very few singers we recorded in rural Ireland learned songs directly from print; rather they used printed texts as very rough guides to what they already knew, or altered the songs from the page so totally as for them to bear little resemblance to the 'original'.
Our main problem in discussing traditional singing is that we have virtually no information on the subject from the horse's mouth - from the singers themselves. Collectors appear not to have thought it worthwhile asking their sources about their songs and singing, rather preferring to speculate and theorise themselves on such 'weighty matters'. One of these once commented on Walter Pardon's ability to separate his traditional songs (Walter always used the word 'folk') from his music hall and early pop songs; "How would he know the difference - he's just a simple countryman?"
It has always seemed to me more than a little 'pekuliar' to treat with scepticism, or even to reject outright, what little evidence we have from our source singers - I wonder are there any solid grounds for thinking John Reilly's having The Well Below The Valley "a wee bit pekuliar", or for 'Sceptical Steve's' scepticism? I believe that the way to an understanding of our song traditions is to pool what little information we have rather than treating it with the suspicion it so often gets.
Tom Munnelly's recordings of John Reilly, along with the other 22,000-odd songs he collected, are housed at University College Dublin and also at The Irish Traditional Music Archive in Merrion Square, Dublin.
Apart from the Topic album 'Bonny Green Tree', Peter Kennedy issued (without permission) 'pirated' recordings on Folktrax; I know Dick Greenhause was attempting to sort out the problems connected with these; don't know if he ever did.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Nerd
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 11:29 PM

Sue,

I am indeed thinking of the Gaughan tune. I'm just commenting that "The Primrose of the wood wants a name" fits very awkwardly to the music that goes with "Oh, but her love, it was easy won."

Otherwise, that tune works fine...but fully a quarter of the song is repetitions of that line, so it had better fit.

"The rose in the greenwood, it wants a name" fits better, but it's less beautiful.

So that's the kind of alteration we're all talking about...just that line. Otherwise, minimal tweaking required.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:13 PM

The Maid of Coldingham (Glenbuchat) first appeared in print in 1994 in Emily Lyle's Scottish Ballads.

Yes, Fair Flower of Northumberland jumps out immediately as being the tune. In some ways better suited than to its own text. It only needs minimal tweaking.

Another possible alternative, John Jacob Niles published a hashed up version with a tune in his Ballad Book. I've not looked at his tune but he was quite good at this sort of thing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 07:04 PM

Matthew, try Spencer


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:59 PM

Hmmm, confused now.....because using the Fair Flower of Northumberland tune that I know, it seems to fit the song pretty well without any need to alter lines. I'm thinking of the one Dick Gaughan uses for his rendition. Is there another one?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 05:19 PM

Thank you Malcolm, Matthew and Nerd for your helpful responses.

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Origins: Well below the valley - discuss!
From: Nerd
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:44 PM

I would give a fair hearing to anyone's rendition using the "Fair Flower of Northumberland" tune. However, I agree with Malcolm not to be hasty. Another tune might work better.

The problem is that "The primrose of the wood wants a name" is in a different meter than the other refrain line, "you are the fair maiden of Coldingham," so I doubt a tune will easily be found to accommodate the song as is. Another option would be to compose a tune, but the result would still sound asymmetrical.


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