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Origins: Barbara Allen

DigiTrad:
BARBARA ALLEN
BARBARA ALLEN (2)
BARBARA ALLEN (5)
BARBARA ELLEN (3)
BAWBEE ALLAN


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Steve Gardham 25 Jun 15 - 05:15 PM
Gutcher 25 Jun 15 - 08:06 AM
Gutcher 23 Jun 15 - 11:08 AM
Gutcher 23 Jun 15 - 09:12 AM
GUEST 22 Jun 15 - 08:08 AM
meself 20 Jun 15 - 12:10 PM
Gutcher 20 Jun 15 - 04:09 AM
Gutcher 19 Jun 15 - 05:22 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Jun 15 - 02:08 PM
Richie 19 Jun 15 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,gutcher 19 Jun 15 - 12:09 PM
Brian Peters 19 Jun 15 - 06:54 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Jun 15 - 02:36 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jun 15 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,gutcher 18 Jun 15 - 01:18 AM
GUEST,gutcher 17 Jun 15 - 07:10 PM
Lighter 17 Jun 15 - 05:21 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jun 15 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,gutcher 16 Jun 15 - 06:28 PM
Lighter 16 Jun 15 - 04:07 PM
Richie 16 Jun 15 - 03:54 PM
Steve Gardham 18 May 15 - 03:27 PM
Steve Gardham 18 May 15 - 02:53 PM
Jim Carroll 18 May 15 - 02:38 PM
Jim Brown 18 May 15 - 12:45 PM
Jim Brown 18 May 15 - 12:29 PM
Richie 18 May 15 - 12:00 PM
Jim Carroll 18 May 15 - 10:42 AM
Richie 18 May 15 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 18 May 15 - 09:39 AM
Jim Carroll 18 May 15 - 06:15 AM
Jim Carroll 18 May 15 - 06:06 AM
Steve Gardham 18 May 15 - 04:55 AM
Steve Gardham 18 May 15 - 04:42 AM
Richie 17 May 15 - 08:29 PM
Steve Gardham 17 May 15 - 04:02 PM
Jim Carroll 17 May 15 - 08:08 AM
Steve Gardham 17 May 15 - 04:04 AM
Jim Carroll 17 May 15 - 03:32 AM
Steve Gardham 16 May 15 - 08:38 PM
Steve Gardham 16 May 15 - 08:27 PM
Richie 16 May 15 - 07:21 PM
Jim Brown 16 May 15 - 02:02 PM
Jim Brown 16 May 15 - 12:27 PM
Jim Carroll 16 May 15 - 11:27 AM
Jim Brown 16 May 15 - 11:18 AM
Steve Gardham 16 May 15 - 10:02 AM
Jim Carroll 16 May 15 - 04:16 AM
Steve Gardham 15 May 15 - 05:32 PM
Jim Carroll 15 May 15 - 04:36 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Jun 15 - 05:15 PM

Hi Joe,
Sorry not to chip in sooner. I was away in the smoke for a few days. I have your name again now from another thread so I've made a proper note.

I think it's a shame for future reference that all of your hard work is going to be lost in a thread on Barbara Allen. I don't know if a Mudelf can transfer all of the Edom o' Gordon info onto a separate thread where it would make more sense.

Re Sharpe's comments. All of the earlier collectors, particularly those from the late 18th/early 19th centuries had their own agendas so without corroboration I tend to take what they say with a pinch of salt.

>>>>>>>If, as the experts claim, ballads founded on fact are produced within 30 years of the actual event the finding of the ballad based on the burning of Auchruglen becomes important as this event predates the burning of the house of Rhodes in the North East of Scotland by two centuries.<<<<<<<<

I don't agree with this assertion though no doubt it is true in many cases. There is very little proof to verify this. In many cases it is more likely that the ballads were written centuries later based on legends and local tradition. Chevy Chase' and 'The Battle of Otterburn' were much more likely written long after the events. I personally think that many of the Sc ballads written on 16th/17th century events were written in the 18th century. I can't prove this but you try and disprove it.

Regarding academics. Most of us on here are not academics. We do it for the love of it just like you.

Regarding your info on Auchruglen, whilst it's possible the ballad was based on legends from the 14th century, my own instinct tells me that it's more likely to be based on a more recent event. There is also the possibility that the ballad is a conflation of more than one similar event. There are examples of this. 'Geordie' is based on several events. 'The Whittam Miller', likewise.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Gutcher
Date: 25 Jun 15 - 08:06 AM

Sorry OT again.

No progress as yet with the quest for the date of the burning of Auchruglen Castle in the 14th. C. by the Kennedys of Bargany.

In 1527 the Kennedy Earl of Cassilies was killed at Prestwick by the Campbells of Loudon. The extensive lands of the Campbells of Loudon were ravaged by the Cassilies branch of the Kennedys for many years after this event up to and including the first Castle of Loudon with the historian of the times pointing out that the said Castle was never burnt thus confirming that he must have had knowledge of the burning of a previous Castle occupied by the Loudon family or why the mention of burning.

Success with the finding of a ballad which confirms an Ayrshire connection with the ballad "Captain Carr".

]V10] I would give the black she says
       And so would I the brown
       For a drink of yon water
       That runs by Galston Town

[V17] O pity on yon fair Castle
       That"s built of stane and lime
       But far mair pity on Lady Loudon
       And all her children nine.

[V10] Auchruglen lay about a third of a mile East of Galston, the    latter being on the banks of the river Irvine with Auchruglen being    slightly away from the edge of the river.

[v17] In their own lands no matter what titles they had the landowner was always referred to as the Laird and his wife as the Lady.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Gutcher
Date: 23 Jun 15 - 11:08 AM

Academics, with more recourses and training at their disposal, should, no doubt, be able to come up with answers to the questions raised in my previous posts, me being a mere [retired] hewer of wood and drawer of water.
A hint--find out when the Campbells built the first Castle of Loudon, a short distance East of the existing ruins. This should give an approximate date for the burning of Auchruglen.
Blaes map of the early 17th. C, shows the site of Auchruglen on the South side of the River Irvine. There was possibly some traces of that edifice still in existence at that period.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Gutcher
Date: 23 Jun 15 - 09:12 AM

Still OT
Steve.
Auchruglen Castle was the home of the Loudons of that Ilk.
The daughter and heiress of Lambkin De Loudon married a Reginald Crawford in the year 1200.
It was the home of the Crawfords of Loudon for five generations.
In c1320 the Crawford heiress married a Donald Campbell and they continued to reside in Auchruglen until it was burned in the late 14th C. by the Kennedys of Bargany, this event giving rise to a ballad, I have not found an exact date for this as yet.
For obvious reasons the Campbells abandoned the site of Auchruglen and built the first Loudon Castle on the opposite [North] side of the river Irvine. This Castle was also attacked by a band of Kennedys some 200 years after the burning of Auchruglen, they being of the Cassilies branch of that family this giving rise to the 19th. C. report mentioned in a previous post that the ballad was founded on a 16th. C. attack.

If, as the experts claim, ballads founded on fact are produced within 30 years of the actual event the finding of the ballad based on the burning of Auchruglen becomes important as this event predates the burning of the house of Rhodes in the North East of Scotland by two centuries.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jun 15 - 08:08 AM

It's a pity that by the time he was asked to contribute to the annotations on the Scots Musical Museum, Sharpe had lost the document mentioning a real Barbara Allan. (See Richie's posting at 11:40 on 26 April.)

With all due respect to Sharpe's scholarship, he also thought that the stanza mentioning ships supported his belief that the ballad originated near the Solway, as if there weren't ships to be seen all round the British coast (see the same posting by Richie), so perhaps his desire to find a local origin for the ballad overrode his better judgement.

On the subject of real Barbara Allan's, the 18th century Scottish artist David Allan, who produced a series of illustrations of Scottish songs in the 1790s (including one of "Barbara Allan" theatrically taking to her bed while her mother looks on), and who according to at least one anecdote was no mean singer of traditional songs himself, had a daughter called Barbara... but I imagine the name was most likely in the family and nothing to do with the ballad.
(See http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/rsascottishart/imagedetails/thechildrenofdavidallan.asp)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: meself
Date: 20 Jun 15 - 12:10 PM

Re: the delightful Sharpe-to-Scott letter, I take the 'this is serious' comment to imply that Sharpe feels he has MORE than just the identical names to feed his suspicion; in other words, 'I'm not just a nitwit who thinks that merely because this Barbara Allen has the same name as the one in the ballad, they must be related - I have other interesting evidence, so you should take this - and me - seriously.' However, it IS possible that he means, 'Wow! The same name! This is really important!' But he seems a bit too clever for that: note the irony in his self-deprecation re: his transcription of the letter 'which is rather amusing, and as I am not at all so, I will transcribe it here, that this epistle may not be totally unworthy of postage.'

(Suggestion to Gutcher: try TWO fingers - the index finger of each hand. You're welcome.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Gutcher
Date: 20 Jun 15 - 04:09 AM

Hello Steve.
Having found my password I am now no longer a guest and look forward to hearing from you.
Joe.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Gutcher
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 05:22 PM

With a little research I should be able to provide an approximate date for the burning of Auchruglen Castle.

The Crawfords of Loudon, Kerse etc. were the hereditary foes of the Kennedys and if the Lady Loudon was that heir to the Loudon Estate who married a Campbell I am sure a record of her fate must exist somewhere.

Kerr is usually taken as an East borders name so it may surprise some that where I sit typing with my one finger is within 5 miles of the lands of Kersland and the Kerr of Kersland was counted chief of all the Kerrs. Kersland being in Ayrshire about 15 miles North of Loudon.

The Gordons were also an East Borders clan who birsled yont as far North as Huntly and as far West as Galloway. Originally from that area of the borders called the Merse there is still a Clachan called Gordon in that area.

Andrew Lang [mid 19th.C], points out that there is a House of Rhodes in the Merse and that Edom o Gordon is claimed for that area.

This may all be far removed from Barbara Allen but I am using it to point out the mistake of being too positive when attributing a ballad to a particular location.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 02:08 PM

Gutcher,
I thought the incident between Captain Ker and Adam Gordon was well documented in the 1570s even if the castle itself was disputed. How would this fit in with Achruglen and Lady Loudon?

Richie, the letter from Sharpe is certainly interesting, if rather cryptic. Any dates mentioned? I like the bit that says, 'this is serious'. I find it rather amusing that a ballad scholar should think that somebody was descended from someone else simply because they had the same name. Perhaps he had other reasons! We've already seen that the name Allen/Allan was very common in Scotland and England from a very early period.

Gutcher, I've lost your contact details. If you can send me your name I'd be obliged. Please pm me if you don't want it posting here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 01:32 PM

Hi,

Thanks for the kind words. Regarding the person, Barbara Allen, perhaps this letter should be investigated:

C. KIRKPATRICK SHARPE to WALTER SCOTT, Esq. 1812

Your Ecclefechan tragedy set me a rummaging among the trash here to find anything respecting the Dornock family, and I have been very successful. I fell upon a huge bundle indorsed Dornock Papers, wherein among many rentals and bonds were the printed advertisements respecting the roupe of the estates, one of which I shall present to you as an illustration of the verses. Among Dornock's creditors you will find Mrs Barbara Allan, whom I strongly suspect to have been descended from that Barbara concerning whom there is a song: this is serious. I also discovered a letter which is rather amusing, and as I am not at all so, I will transcribe it here, that this epistle may not be totally unworthy of postage. I find the tradition concerning the fellow's ear was erroneous: it was a much more serious matter.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 12:09 PM

A saving of one finger typing---SoS--South of Scotland.
In my local telephone directory for the area there are some 36 col. inches of Allan / Allen with Allan being 90% 0f the total.

From the Web:--
"What follows is taken from an old ballad of the times. The ruins of Achruglen are pointed to in confirmation, nor is the deed at all out of keeping with Ayrshire story of the sixteenth century" [19th.C.]

I have seen the ballad in print but as yet have not been able to locate it.

The Lady Loudon and her children were smoored to death in the firing of Achruglen by Lord Bargany he being a Kennedy and she by marriage a Campbell. If my memory serves she was a Crawford to her own name.
The incidents related in the ballad are similar to those in "Edom o Gordon".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 06:54 AM

"I hope there are more than just two or three of us in this forum who appreciate the ungodly amount of effort you are putting into this project, Richie."

I will be teaching a ballad class at the Swannanoa Gathering in three weeks time, and will (as I always do) be including Richie's site as one of the prime ballad resources in my handouts.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jun 15 - 02:36 PM

S o S? Songs of Silence? Songs of Scotland? The only version Peter Buchan had was the one he published in 'Gleanings' which was straight out of the Reliques. Which version is based on Auchruglen Castle?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jun 15 - 02:32 PM

Hi Gutcher,
Allens very common in England from the 13thc onwards. 'Barbara' became somewhat rare in England after the Reformation but I found plenty of examples in Durham and Northumberland from the 16th/17th centuries.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 18 Jun 15 - 01:18 AM

As you say Steve anything is possible.
The name Allan was quite common in the parish of Loudon and its neighbours at the time in question. Barbara was a common forename for women in Scotland, I am not convinced that this was the case at that time South of Haidrians Wall, indeed the name of one lady only yclept Barbara comes to mind at present and that was Barbara Villiers.
My Ulster friend assures me that Barbara is still a favourite name there with the descendants of the Scots who moved from this area in 1606 as part of the Montgomery Hamilton settlement, no doubt there would be Allans among those early settlers, many of whom later moved to the Americas.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 17 Jun 15 - 07:10 PM

Steve
Did Buchan have any input / connection with the S o S version of the ballad "Edom o Gordon" based on Auchruglen castle?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Jun 15 - 05:21 PM

Hi, Steve. I was certainly including you in the "two or three."

I hope I'm underestimating.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jun 15 - 03:35 PM

Localisation of place names in ballads, and indeed even personnel, is very common. Peter Buchan made a living out of it.

'Scarlet' is thought by some to be a skit on 'Reading', but there was also nothing to stop the author making up a name.

All of the current circumstantial evidence points to a London origin; on the other hand almost anything is possible.

Hi Jon,
I've told Richie several times how much we appreciate his valuable work, but I think more people on the Ballad List should be aware of it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 16 Jun 15 - 06:28 PM

The only mention of a Green in Ayr is a street of that name.

In Skerringtoun there I was born
And in Loudon I was dwelling.

We certainly have a Skerringtoun [the farm of Skerrington Mains still exists in the parish of Loudon. In my youth it was farmed by the late Willie Young] but tell me where do you find a Scarlet Town and indeed Loudon is only one letter different from London. Could someone have misheard or misread in this case?

To muddy the waters still further the site of Auchruglen Castle, supposed by some to be the scene of the tragedy expounded in the ballad "Edom O Gordon", is also in the parish of Loudon.

[Note] Mains usually denotes the Main or Home farm of an estate.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Jun 15 - 04:07 PM

I hope there are more than just two or three of us in this forum who appreciate the ungodly amount of effort you are putting into this project, Richie.

You are providing a valuable supplement to both Child and Bronson.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 16 Jun 15 - 03:54 PM

Hi,

Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. I've finished putting the first batch of versions from North America on my site. There are 439 so far:

http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-versions-84-bonny-barbara-allen.aspx

I have about 20 more I will put on the next go round, most are recordings which will need to be transcribed. Nearly 50 versions are not listed in the Roud Index.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 15 - 03:27 PM

No versions in Bronson have these 2 couplets together, in fact the first couplet is quite scarce but found in America and the second couplet probably in a couple of examples again in America. Of course both couplets occur separately in all of the earlier printed copies.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 15 - 02:53 PM

Apologies if I've pointed this out before, Richie, but the early 19thc broadsides don't appear to have had any influence on British versions. The common widespread broadside printed by Pitts has 2 of the earlier stanzas shunted into one stanza and this stanza is not found in this way in British oral tradition according to a study I did quite some years ago. The same stanza is in the Madden copy referred to above.

It runs
'Nothing but death is painted in your face
All joys are flown from thee
I cannot save thee from the grave
So farewell my dear Johnny.'

Just to be sure, I'll have a quick scan through Bronson.

At a guess I would say many of the British versions derive from well-known anthologies and the various sheet music versions that were circulated in the 19th century.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 15 - 02:38 PM

"Mondegreens"
I don't think it was a Mondergeen.
"Do you think that "Christmas" is perhaps derived from "Martinmas"?"
Seems a big poetical jump, but who knows.
Martinmas is certainly an important period in the Catholic calendar, and also folkloristicly here, so there's no reasons for it being rejected or mistaken because it was unfamiliar - one of the old customs in the West was to scatter the blood of a newly-killed animal around the four corners of the house on 10th November.
Irish Travellers, who played an essential part in the transmission of ballads, would certainly not mistake it, as "Blessed St Martin" is their patron saint (when we were recording them, a couple of them referred to him jokingly as "Cassius Clay" because he was black and his popular image shows him posing like a boxer, with his fists together in front of him)
Thanks for that Jim (Brown) - pretty convinced that the version was circulated in the area by Vail Ó Flatharta - an extremely impressive singer.
Barbara Allen is the only song in English on his album. 'Bláth na nAirní
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 18 May 15 - 12:45 PM

Sorry, that was meant to be an answer to Jim's question about whether anyone had the "L'Art de sean nos" CD notes -- not to Richie's about Christmas and Martinmas.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 18 May 15 - 12:29 PM

Yes, but I don't think they'll be a lot of help here:
"She then sings, in English, one of the songs which came from England and Scotland and were adapted by the Irish: "Barbara Allen". A man dies of love for a girl who shall follow him in death."
(The French version of the notes doesn't add anything.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 18 May 15 - 12:00 PM

Hi,

Jim- Mondegreens, a mis-hearing of words, are a part of folk songs as they are a part of music. "Corruption" is simply a word describing the folk variance or folk process which is ballad re-creation, obviously nothing is correct or incorrect, it simply shows the process- it sounds harsh but it's a commonly used word. I personally don't like "corruption" much and should use another word. Just because everyone uses it doesn't mean it should be used.

Do you think that "Christmas" is perhaps derived from "Martinmas"?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 15 - 10:42 AM

"would it solve your horticultural problem"
Not really a problem Anne - I enjoy the song wherever and whenever it took place
Just commenting on a n aspect of the text which has often occurred to me in response to the suggestion that Christmas was a corruption, implying that one was correct - in this case, neither makes sense, and we don't know which was original.
What interested me was that I had't come across the Christmas reference in Irish versions other than those from the Gealachts and I wondered if there was any significance.
Quite often, reference to times of day or year in ballads and songs carry with it folklorists, social, or local information, or sometimes they are scene setters to create a backdrop for the singer - I believe they are seldom merely rhyming conveniences.   
We got this from Sam Larner's nephew, who sang us, 'Just as the Tide Was Flowing' and explained what that time of day meant to a fisherman
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 18 May 15 - 10:19 AM

Jim,

Is seen in Barbry Allen, as sung by James B. Cornett, on Mountain Music of Kentucky, 1959:

It was [in] the Saint Martins time
And the green buds they were swelling,
And Young Johnny Green of the West country
Fell in love with Barbry Allen

The use of Martinmas (Christmas) has nothing to do with logic (singers may not be worried about if the leaves should have fallen- obviously green leaves do not usually fall- they turn colors first- see Child A also), and I didn't think it came from print, although at some point it might have.

I am interested in Charlie Somers' version because it has the "gifts stanzas". Listen here:

http://www.itma.ie/inishowen/song/barbro_allen_charlie_somers

I am interested in the Irish tradition, that includes the gifts stanzas.

It also has the rose-briar ending. Steve, you did post Madden Collection 5095 above, with the Rose-Briar ending, which may be the earliest print version with that ending.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 18 May 15 - 09:39 AM

Jim, would it solve your horticultural problem to rephrase the line in question as

          It fell about the Martinmas time
          When green leaves all had fallen. ?

(Not being too precious about all these great posts as I'm coming to the song from the point of view of finding a version that works for a singer -- from a psychological point of view, I suppose.
I feel very privileged to have a good library of ballad collections and am not averse to the Pick'n'Mix approach to constructing a text, but I always admit to my concoctions.
So, apologies to Richie et al for playing fast and loose with original sources and adding to later confusions.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 15 - 06:15 AM

Meant to say - 'Christmas' instead of 'Martinmas' may be a corruption of a printed text (unlikely to be a strong feature in a Gaeltacht), but neither makes logical sense anyway as both refer to times of the year when the leaves would be long gone rather than "falling"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 15 - 06:06 AM

""Christmas" is likely a corruption of Martinmas."
Thanks Richie - I worked out that it probably came from the singing of source singer Vail Ó'Fletharta, also from the Connemara Gealtacht, so it's possible common to there.
Just that I hadn't come across the Christmas reference over here before.
Don'r
t suppose you or anybody have the notes to 'Musique Du Monde (Irlande - L'Art Du Sean Nos'?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 15 - 04:55 AM

Richie,
Not much help I'm afraid.
I only have one copy from the Madden Collection and it is without imprint. However the ballads do come in batches of similar aged material in this collection and 2 ballads close to it are dated 1835 and 1836. However, the bottom end of this is, going by the type and the layout it could be anything from 1820 to 1870. It has 14 stanzas, is simply titled 'Barbara Allen' and first line 'In Reading town, where I was born', already in use on slightly earlier sheets but without the rose/briar ending. Would you like me to send you a copy?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 15 - 04:42 AM

Hi Gutcher, Jim B and GUEST

Did we make any progress in dating the people mentioned in PB's version of Bonny Barbara Allen?

Richie, rose - briar ending.
I'll check my printed copies but I thought we'd nailed this one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 17 May 15 - 08:29 PM

Hi Jim,

I remember seeing Christmas in one version but I've seen so many that I'm not sure. "Christmas" is likely a corruption of Martinmas. Her version, other than the opening, is fairly standard (rose-briar ending, no gifts) and I've transcribed the first three stanzas below:

Barbrellen

Oh Christmas comes but once a year
When the leaves they were all falling
It being the time when a young man
Fell in love with Barbrellen

He sent his servant to the town,
To the house where she was dwelling,
Saying, "You must come to my master's house
If your name be Barbrellen."

Slowly, slowly she got up,
And slowly she grew nigh him,
But the only words to him did speak,
Was, "Young man I think you're dying."

Some archaic versions in the US were sung in a minor key (Sam Harmon, Lena Harmon, ref. Jimmy Driftwood, who knew an archaic minor version) and perhaps this is a way of identifying older versions. In his study of 33 US versions Charles Seeger came up with no melodic consensus.

I am interested in finding out when the "rose-briar" ending was added, or, at least when the first printed version was made.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 May 15 - 04:02 PM

Could be part of a medley.
Peter would have at least put for the second line:
When the leaves they had all fallen. He wasn't that bad.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 May 15 - 08:08 AM

Just indexing some soundfiles and have come across an Irish version of Barbara Allen entitled 'Barbrellen' from Connemara singer, Treasa Ni Cheannabainn, from Connemara.
It begins:

Oh Christman comes but once a year
When the leaves they were all falling
It being the time when a young man
Fell in love with Barbry Ellen

The singer's repertoire would be basically Irish-language Seán Nós, but this may well have been acquired from the revival - or who knows, Peter Buchan may have taken a day-trip to Ireland sometime!!
It's from an album entitled Musique Du Monde (Irlande - L'Art Du Sean Nos) (no notes)
Any idea where it might have come from
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 May 15 - 04:04 AM

Slowly and unhurried
Morning, Jim!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 May 15 - 03:32 AM

Quickly - busy
"Keith, by the way, was in Walker's pocket"
Another prominent figure in folksong history we have to disregard as eing unreliable and dishonest then!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 15 - 08:38 PM

Richie,
When someone comes up with a version of one ballad that is drastically differently worded to the usual versions, people like me think 'hmmm! I wonder where these bits came from' but then give them the benefit of the doubt.

When they come up with half a dozen similar you start to get really suspicious.

When they come up with a couple of hundred you think, 'This bloke is really taking the piss!'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 15 - 08:27 PM

Jim,
You seem to be losing the plot here.
Look more closely at what I wrote. I neither said there or even implied that a broadside was the original. I merely said that the pre-1800 versions don't have the plant refrains. If you have proof contrary to that let's see it!

(why on earth should Motherwell, Jamieson and Scott "regret" what they did and why should Buchan have to "show regret"?)
All 3 of them were increasingly aware of the folkloristic approach being preferable to the creative approach. Motherwell even went to great lengths to postulate the scientific approach in 'Minstrelsy' despite the fact that he included work of his own, and Child points this out. The fact is they DID regret what they did. It was indeed a great issue in the first half of the 19th century, otherwise why would Motherwell have gone to such great lengths to put forward his proposals?

CONTROVERSY (which is still the case). Jim, all you have presented us with so far is people who tried to defend him from wayback. I ask you again, who do you know who has studied PB's works currently who still thinks there is a controversy?

Keith, by the way, was in Walker's pocket. All Keith did was edit what Walker told him to do.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 16 May 15 - 07:21 PM

Hi all,

TY Jim Brown for some excellent posts and also Steve and Jim Carroll.

Jim Carroll and Steve- The Buchan versions at times remind me of John Jacob Niles versions which Niles admitted (see Wilgus) that he "changed" some traditional material. I remember it was Malcolm Douglass who commented here (someone may need to find the actual quote) that he felt some of Niles versions would be vindicated after a period of time (I assume after looking at Niles' notebooks). Personally I think Niles was a ballad re-creator and it's clear on some of his versions and in others we just don't know. Because we just don't know I feel compelled to include all his work with the following provision, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).

It's clear that Child did not think Buchan's version, posted above, was traditional or else he would have included it. But Child did include a number of Buchan's versions as his A version and some ballads of his 305 are represented solely by versions from Buchan.

It seems highly unlikely that Buchan's 41 stanzas are all from tradition, and, not knowing, I would include his version and I think Child should have, perhaps pointing out that parts of it may be recreated or that many stanzas are not found in tradition or other sources.

I realize that the folk process itself is a form of ballad recreation and feel that Barbara Allen has evolved from perhaps a simple tragic ballad (which is what I believe the ur-ballad was) to a more complex ballad which has: 1) a motive (the accusation stanza) for Barbara's refusal to help Jimmy/William/Sir John was provided (first in Child A) which is also called the tavern/alehouse stanza. Then another stanza was added where Jimmy/William/Sir John defends the accusation saying, "But gave my love to Barbara Allen." 2) two endings; both have been added, the "rose-briar" probably from child 74 and the "warning" ending from Percy (Child Bd) 3) the "Mother make my bed" and the "Father dig my grave" stanzas; both provide a role for her parents; 4) Barbara laughing at his corpse (probably added in print- rarely found in tradition); 5) The Scotch version Child A (Ramsay) with the Martinmas opening (rarely found in tradition) and 6) the blood letting, tears and the gifts stanzas; whcih may have been added but are traditional in nature and are found consistently in certain areas (possibly originating in Ireland, certainly found there).

As pointed out by others, it's perhaps pointless to try and provide the unknown ur-ballad since it would be conjecture on my part. I believe the early traditional versions were similar to,

1. Away low down in London town,
In which three maids were dwelling.
There was but one I call my own,
And that was Barbery Allen.

2. I courted her for seven long years
She said she would not have me,
Poor Willie went home and took sick
And there he lay a-dying."

and this represents one of the earlier traditional versions. Because there are several opening stanzas I also believe that other opening stanzas, those that use "the month of May" also those which begin "early, early in the Spring," are more closely associated with tradition instead of print.

I have put most of the traditional and early print version on my site and have reviewed them. Other added traditional stanzas include "the birds" stanza which balances the "bells" stanza and the "I could have saved him" stanza (If I'd only done my duty) which also begins Cursed, cursed be my name/cursed be my nature and rhymes with "endeavor." (Does any have a version of this stanza that isn't corrupt?)

I want to thank everyone for contributing and would appreciate any conclusions that may be brought forward. The study of this ballad certainly could become a lengthy book.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 16 May 15 - 02:02 PM

> which has entered tradition- either through print (Percy) or because Percy took it from tradition

Just a quick thought on this one. Percy says that his version is "Given, with some corrections, from an old black-letter copy…" But he also says, in his preface, that sometimes he has only mentioned one or two sources for a ballad, when he has actually used other as well. In this case, my guess for what it's worth would be that "corrections" means that he revised the text to bring it more into line either with what he heard someone singing, or, I think more likely, with more recent broadsides that he preferred not to mention – he was offering his readers ancient "reliques", and it would have spoiled the effect if he had let on that they could pick up some of the stuff at any street corner. Of course that presupposes that things like the name Jemmye Groves and the "Farewell, she sayd, ye virgins all" stanza were already in circulation, either in oral tradition or on broadsides that are now lost, but given how much of the evidence is now lost without trace, I don't see that this is too improbable.

The other mystery I see here is the relationship between the various J… Gr… names. Assuming that the similarity isn't coincidental, did Barbara's lover start out as Sir John Graeme and then go down the social scale to become plain Jemmye Groves etc., as the order in which the names turn up in the surviving written record might suggest? Or could it have been the other way round – part of an attempt to rebrand the ballad as something grander and more Scottish? I guess there can never be an answer to that either, unless an even earlier written text turns up somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 16 May 15 - 12:27 PM

PS to my last posting: … and also the family dialogue stanzas, I should have added.

By the way, Richie, I don't know if you have noticed that there is another possible "Sir John Graeme" (but alas without his full name) in the summary of a 19th century version presumably learned in England. given in a letter by Mrs Bodell to Alfred Kalisch, quoted by Lucy Broadwood in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society in 1905 (Mrs Bodell lived in the East-End of London at the time, but apparently she had lived in Shropshire as a child):
"Honoured and Dear Sir ....... I venture to write this that I knew a long time ago that Barbara's conduct was due to His, for He was a Sir of the West Countree And he courted Barbara Allen and he became very ill And He sent for her and when she came into his House or Chamber she said By the pallor of your face I see young Man your dying. And he asked her to get down a cup from a shelf which held the tiars he had shed for her. And she then said Do you remember the other night when at the Ale House drinking That you drank the health of all girls there But not poor Barbara Allen He replied I do remember the other night while at the Ale House drinking I drank the health of what was there but my love was Barbara Allen. And when she walked near four cross roads she met his corse a coming, put down put down that lovely corse, And let me gaze upon him. Oh Mother Mother make my be and make it long and narrer for my true love has died to day Ill follow him tomorrer......"
So we've got a Sir something of the West Country, legacy stanza (cup of tears on a shelf), and tavern episode and response (unusually placed after the legacy). It reminds me a little of the Last Leaves version, but it's clearly not the same – there's no family dialogue for a start.
(The letter is also quoted by Riley on p. 126, but with some errors – I hope I've done better with my transcription here, based on copy-pasting from an electronic copy of the article.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 May 15 - 11:27 AM

"I don't really want once again to take over Richie's thread "
One of the problems with this Steve, is you still discuss these ballads as if you know the printed versions are the originals when you in fact have no evidence that this is the fact - you've just done so on the Scarborough Fair thread regarding Lucy Broadwood's note on herb lore.
I have no interest in defending Buchan's behaviour, but I do know that the jury is still very much out on whether he was any worse than any of his contemporaries.
I don't believe 'authenticity' was too great an issue in the first half of the 19th century, and as you say, they were all at it - I can't see there is that much evidence that Buchan was worse that anybody else (why on earth should Mtherwell, Jameison and Scott "regret" what they did and why should Buchan have to "show regret"?).
Of all the pros and antis on the Buchan CONTROVERSY (which is still the case) -I tend to go along with Keith's argument on authenticity - but I certainly haven't read enough on the subject to be definitive about it.
Huntdsvet makes a number of important points as well, but it's a long time since I've dipped into what he had to say (he may have changed his mind since!!!)
What I do know is that I'm the proud possessor of a very nice early set of Buchan's Scottish Ballads - many of which are highly singable without too much adaptation, which is a damn sight more than I can say about the shelves of Roxborough, Ebsworth and Bagford that are also part of our collection.   
As I can't stress enough - the Buchan enigma remains just that until somebody comes up with something different (like an efficient Ouija board maybe)   
As far as folk song origins are concerned, I wait in anticipation for proof that the chicken came before the egg, or vise versa - but while they are treated by people in these discussions as done-and-dusted, they remain an issue with me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 16 May 15 - 11:18 AM

> It's curious that the Scottish versions…

Hi, Richie. I don't see that much can be read into Sir John becoming Sir James. It obviously means that someone changed the name at some point, perhaps influenced by the sound of "Graeme", but whether this happened in oral transmission among singers or was some printer's choice or accidental slip, I suspect we'll never know. The definite article in "Sir James the Graham" in the "Forget-me-Not Songster" sounds Scottish, but it might just mean that whoever prepared the text for printing was influenced by the language of other ballads, like "The Battle of Harlaw" (Child 163), which has "Oh there I met Sir James the Rose, / Wi him Sir John the Gryme." The first line of the FMNS stanza, "It fell about the Martinmas day" also deviates slightly from Ramsay, but no more than you would expect from someone working from memory who was familiar with other ballads that open in a similar way.

At the risk of hair-splitting, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe doesn't actually specify "seven" ships. What he says in his contribution to the notes in the "Scotish Musical Museum", 1839 (reissued without the songs themselves as "Illustrations of The Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland. By the Late William Stenhouse" in 1853, which seems to be the edition Child used) is: "I remember that the peasantry of Annandale sang many more verses of this ballad than have appeared in print, but they were of no merit—containing numerous magnificent offers from the lover to his mistress and, among others, some ships, in sight, which may strengthen the belief that this song was composed near the shores of the Solway." This comes as part of Sharpe's response to William Stenhouse's earlier note, obviously referring to Sharpe: "A learned correspondent informs me, that he remembers having heard the ballad frequently sung in Dumfriesshire, where it was said the catastrophe took place …"

Steve has already explained that Sharpe could certainly have seen Buchan's version. But if that is what he was actually talking about, then what reason could he have to lie and pretend that it was something he had heard sung in Allandale? (That was where he grew up – but in Hoddam Castle as the son of the laird, not as one of the "peasantry".) Child states very confidently that Buchan's text is "the ballad referred to" by Sharpe, but the most that can really be said is that both include offers of great wealth (and maybe that's all that Child actually meant). It seems more likely to me that Buchan (or his source) has built onto a version similar to what Sharpe heard. If Sharpe's memory was from his early years in Hoddom Castle (in a letter to Walter Scott in 1802, he talks about how he first got attracted to ballads as a young child, and learned some from his nursemaid – he also mentions some of his early local sources in his "A Ballad Book", 1824), then that would suggest that a version with the offers of rich gifts might have been in circulation in Dumfriesshire in the late 1780s or '90s. It's a pity he doesn't mention whether it also had the gold watch, basin of blood, etc. And of course whether it originated in oral tradition or came from a now lost printed text is impossible to tell – although if you're looking for evidence of an oral tradition independent of print, I would reckon the stanzas about wealth and the legacies are the ones where there is the most chance of finding it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 15 - 10:02 AM

No problem, Jim
Hope you enjoyed your breakfast.

I don't really want once again to take over Richie's thread with our differences so if you want to discuss the origins further we must start another thread.

However, the veracity of PB's ballads is very relevant to this thread. Of course they were all at it. The only difference is to what extent each of then went with this literary interference and what claims they made for the material. Motherwell, Jamieson and Scott admitted their interference and regretted it, although they would have done well to have been more specific as to what they contributed. However there is plenty of evidence in the ballads themselves to demonstrate that PB went way over the top and claimed unequivocally that every word came from oral tradition. What is more he never showed any regret for his actions. Once again I repeat, if you want some evidence I suggest you look closely at the ballad above and what Jim B has to say about it. There plenty of other even worse examples if you are interested.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 May 15 - 04:16 AM

Steve - I have never at any time suggested that Buchan didn't doctor songs - as did virtually all of his contemporaries.
I see no evidence that he was doing anything that his contemporaries weren't - the 'ethics' of what they were doing was not an issue - yet you single him out as 'dishonest' - that to me appears unfair.
You say you have information that solves the Buchan 'enigma' - if you produce it, it will no longer be the enigma that it is at present.
We really did get off on the wrong foot in all this.
Questioning your "ninety percent plus" claim on the print/oral origins of our folksongs, instead of producing proof of your definitive statements, you accused me of being a naive romantic
When I pressed my case, instead of producing proof, you gave me character references - how many people agreed with you and respected your theory (which is what it is).
When I pinned you down by asking you to show how you could prove oral texts hadn't existed before printed ones, you were unable to and you patted me the head with "I will have to watch what I say in future" or some such dismissiveness.
One of my main interests in folksongs is in the important role that had within the communities that gave us them to us.
To that end, we've spent over 40 years talking to singers from communities where the singing traditions were still alive or, at least, within the living memories of the people we talked to, and getting their slant on the subject - a much neglected part of collecting.
The conclusion we reached over that time was that rural working man and woman was an instinctive song-maker, well capable of having made our folksongs without the aid of a bunch of hacks whose overall output was, on the whole unsingable
We found that Irish communities made hundreds of local songs, some of which we recorded, but many, many more we missed because they had been forgotten and were only told about.
You shrugged this off as 'old people scribbling poetry in their retirement', or ' the English agricultural worker was far too busy feeding his family to make songs', or 'there is no comparison between what happened in rural England and Ireland'   
We actually spent time with a singer who had his father's traditional songs printed and sold them around the fairs and markets of rural Ireland in the '40s and described the process of his having done so - he told us it was common practice among Travellers - I see no reason not to belive that this has always happened and that this is how our folk songs and ballads songs got into the hands of the hacks.
I see no reason why most of our folk repertoire didn't originate in the communities and were plundered and adapted to be sold.
The fact is, I don't know, nor does anybody, and to suggest that anyone has definitive answers is to prevent the subject being discussed.      
We really have done the work Steve, we are not the naive romantics you once suggested.
We may well have things arse-about-face with our concl;usions, but they are conclusions arrived at by a lot of hard work and I won't be fobbed off by non-existent definitives that nobody has the right to claim - none of us have definitive answers to these questings - Buchan, song origins..... and if anybody claims they have they will cease being discussed
Sorry about the rant - breakfast awaits
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 May 15 - 05:32 PM

Here we go, Jim
Couple of relevant questions for you.

What is your opinion on the Buchan version of Barbara Allen above?

Who is currently stating that Peter Buchan didn't heavily doctor the ballads he published in ABNS and indeed those in both of his manuscripts?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 15 - 04:36 PM

No Steve - one of the questions is what he did that no other anthologist/collector did in the 19th century, when authenticity was not an issue and we really have no great idea what traditional singers were and were not giving
I've said this often enough, but any slight knowledge we have dtes back only a far as the end of the 19th century, and that is little enough in the general scope of things "a hill of beans", in fact
I've become a little tired of definitive statements on unknowables.
If Buchan is no longer a "controversy" why aren't we all aware of that fact, or do we have to become members of something?
As I said before (and will say again) the same applies to definitive statements on print/oral origins.
Jim Carroll


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