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British supernatural folk-songs...?

GUEST,BlackAcornUK 24 Oct 19 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,BlackAcornUK 24 Oct 19 - 01:28 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Oct 19 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 24 Oct 19 - 01:43 PM
Iains 24 Oct 19 - 02:19 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Oct 19 - 02:35 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 24 Oct 19 - 02:43 PM
Dave Sutherland 25 Oct 19 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 25 Oct 19 - 06:33 PM
gillymor 25 Oct 19 - 06:49 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Oct 19 - 06:50 PM
Jack Campin 25 Oct 19 - 06:58 PM
theleveller 26 Oct 19 - 03:21 AM
Iains 26 Oct 19 - 04:43 AM
Big Al Whittle 26 Oct 19 - 05:36 AM
Ged Fox 26 Oct 19 - 05:59 AM
Brian Peters 26 Oct 19 - 06:12 AM
punkfolkrocker 27 Oct 19 - 03:14 PM
Dave Hanson 27 Oct 19 - 03:35 PM
Mr Red 28 Oct 19 - 03:00 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Oct 19 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,Kenny B(Inactive) 28 Oct 19 - 05:01 AM
Susan of DT 28 Oct 19 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Geordie boy 28 Oct 19 - 03:09 PM
DMcG 28 Oct 19 - 03:18 PM
Mrrzy 29 Oct 19 - 12:39 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 19 - 02:15 PM
Brian Peters 29 Oct 19 - 05:08 PM
Stewie 29 Oct 19 - 08:52 PM
rich-joy 30 Oct 19 - 02:15 AM
GUEST,ottery 30 Oct 19 - 06:17 AM
GUEST,ottery 30 Oct 19 - 06:20 AM
Sarah the flute 31 Oct 19 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,BlackAcornUK 15 Oct 20 - 04:28 AM
GUEST 15 Oct 20 - 05:51 AM
Rumncoke 15 Oct 20 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,.gaegoyle 15 Oct 20 - 09:51 PM
Mrrzy 16 Oct 20 - 08:56 AM
Gordon Jackson 16 Oct 20 - 12:26 PM
The Sandman 16 Oct 20 - 04:30 PM
Felipa 16 Oct 20 - 07:32 PM
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Subject: British supernatural/macabre folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 01:25 PM

As we approach the Eve of All Hallows, I wanted to ask - what British traditional songs do people know of, that engage with the supernatural, or otherwise grisly or chilling material befitting of the season?


Songs that immediately spring to mind include Death and the Lady, Long Lankin, The Cruel Mother, Reynardine etc, but I'm really interested to gather other examples.


Not technically traditional numbers, but the recordings of Mr Fox are also an excellent source of ghastly/ghoulish material.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 01:28 PM

PS I did a search to check whether or not there was already a thread - and all I could find was focused on American ballads (see below). Apologies if there was already another thread that I've missed!

/mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=39820&messages=54


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 01:37 PM

Unquiet Grave
Wife of Usher's Well
The Grey Cock - several versions

All wonderfully serious
There' are wonderful children's version of Death and the Lady - one begins
"If ever you see a hearse go by"
Another finishes with the singer shouting "For you" and grabbing the nearest listener
Can be very funny but best keep the defibrillator handy
Jim Carroll

I often roll this out this time of year, given the opportunity

BURKE AND HARE
William Burke it is my name
I stand condemned alone.
I left my native Ireland
In the county of Tyrone.
And o'er to Scotland I did sail,
Employment for to find;
No thought of cruel murder
Was then into my mind.

At Edinburgh trade was slack,
No work there could I find;
And so I took the road again,
To Glasgow was inclined;
But stopping at the West-port
To find refreshment there,
0 cursed be the evil hour
I met with William Hare!

With flattering words he greeted me
And said good fortune smiled;
He treated me to food and drink
And I was soon beguiled;
He said:"There's riches to be had,
And fortune's to be made,
For atomists have need of us.
So join me in that trade.

Hare he kept a lodging-house
Therein a man had died,
His death went unreported
And of burial was denied
We put the dead man in a cart
And through the streets did ride.
And Robert Knox,the atomist,
The dead man he did buy.

To rob the new dug graves by night
It was not our intent;
To be taken by the nightwatch
Or by spies was not our bent.
The plan belonged to William Hare
And so the plot was laid,
He said that "murder's safer
Than the resurrection trade."

Two women they were in the plot
The wife of William Hare,
The other called McDougal,
And travellers they did sanre;
They lured them to the lodging house
And when they'd drunken deep,
Hare and me, we smothered them
As they lay fast asleep.

At first in fear and dread I was
But later grew more bold,
In nine short months we killed fifteen
And then their bodies sold.
The doctors did not question us,
But quickly paid our fee,
The price they paid,it prospered us,
Both William Hare and me.

But soon our crimes they were found out
In jail we were confined,
And cruel guilt it tore my heart
And much despairs my mind;
And Hare, who first ensnared me
And led me far astray
Has turned King’s evidence on me
And sworn my life away


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 01:43 PM

Hurrah! Die Toten reiten schnell!


Erm, yes, I know that's "deutsch" and not "english."
It's a quote from Gottfried August Buerger's "Lenore,"
which has been set to music by numerous composers.


The interesting thing is that "Lenore" seems to have branched off
from an English narrative about
The Suffolk ... what is it? miracle?
Both Child and Roud I believe.

Maybe there are songs about that in English.


(By the way, an English translation of the above:
Hurrah! The dead ride swiftly!)


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Iains
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 02:19 PM

Perhaps "The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry" a traditional folk song from Shetland and Orkney. A woman has her child taken away by its father, the great selkie of Sule Skerry which can transform from a seal into a human. The woman is fated to marry a gunner who will harpoon the selkie and their son. (Child ballad number 113)

and this thread
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=39820
Supernatural Ballads....??


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 02:35 PM

This
The Dundee Ghost
By Matt McGinn

Noo a deid man seldom walks, he very rarely talks,    (dead)
It’s no very often you’ll see him running aroond,
But I’m a refugee from a graveyard in Dundee
And I’ve come tae haunt some houses in Glasgow Toon
And I’ve come tae haunt some hooses in Glasgow Toon.

Noo the reason I arose was to get masel’ some clothes, (myself)
For I really get helluva cold below the ground,
And I whispered tae masel’, “ah, I think I might as well
Hang aroond a while and ha’e some fun,
I’ll hang around a while and ha’e some fun”.

Noo a chap put oot his light on a cold and frosty night,
I showed him one of ma eyes and I skelped his head, (smacked)
He said “Oh”, and I said “boo” he says, “who the hell are you” ?
I said, “don’t be feart, I’m on’y a man that’s deid,   (afraid)
Oh no, don’t be feart, I’m only a man that’s deid”.

Well the feller knelt and prayed and this is what he said;
“Oh why, in the name of God have you picked on me”   ?
So I battered him on the lug and I pulled awa’ his rug. (ear)
“The reason”, I said “is just tae let you see”.
“The reason” , I said, “is just tae let you see”.

Well he brought the polis in and I belted him on the chin,   (police(man)
The polis turned aroond and he blamed my friend.
And he marched him aff tae jile and he’ll be in there quite a while, (off to gaol)
But I’ll see naebody taks his single end,      (House of one apartment, flat)
Oh, no, I’ll see naebody taks his single end.

Noo the polis thought him daft and a lot of people laughed
When the feller said a ghost was in his hoose,
But what the feller said was true and I might be visiting you,
So just remember. I’m still on the loose,
Aye, just remember, I’m still on the loose.

TUNE HERE
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 02:43 PM

The Holland Handkerchief is a brilliant other-worldly ballad, which I remember Packie* singing. He wrote out the words for me in his beautiful handwriting, and I have them in a file box somewhere in this barn of a house. (This was in the pre-computer/wordprocessor days, so they never got Typed Up For Posterity.) I loved the air too, suitably minor-key and brooding.

Anyway, the words are on this excellent website, and his version is the one Norma Waterson sings (scroll down, bottom left). In fact, I think he was the one who gave it to them, many years ago. Link is:

https://mainlynorfolk.info/watersons/songs/thehollandhandkerchief.html

And - if Ireland can be included - there's always She Moved Through The Fair, though it probably doesn't actually qualify as traditional, because some of the words are said to have been written by Padraic Colum, a County Longford poet who is still in copyright. There's disagreement about the extent of his input, covered in more detail on Wiki. He apparently composed/collected it in Donegal, Packie's home county.

- - -
* Packie Manus Byrne, for anyone who doesn't already know.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 25 Oct 19 - 07:08 AM

The London broadside "The Midwife's Ghost" is in the DT.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 25 Oct 19 - 06:33 PM

Riddles (Child 1)
False Knight
Two Sisters
Sweet William's Ghost
Young Benjie (really spooky, this one).

Various witchcraft ballads, eg:
Willie's Lady
King Henry
Alison Gross
T
The supernatural element in Reyardine is a fake, though - see previous threads.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: gillymor
Date: 25 Oct 19 - 06:49 PM

The Two Magicians - Bert Lloyd w/ Dave Swarbrick

The Two Magicians

The lady stood at her own front door
As straight as a willow wand,
And along there come a husky smith
With a hammer in his hand.

And he said,

[Refrain]
“Bide lady, bide,
There's nowhere you can hide.
The husky smith will be your love
And that'll pull down your pride.

“Well may you dress, you lady fair,
All in your robes of red.
Before tomorrow at this same time
I'll have your maidenhead.”

Saying,
[Refrain]

“Away, away, you coal blacksmith,
Would you do me this wrong?
To think to have me maidenhead
That I have kept so long.

“I'd rather I was dead and cold
And my body laid in the grave
Than a husky, dusty, coal blacksmith
My maidenhead should have.”

Then the lady she held up her hand
And swore upon her soul,
She never would be the blacksmith's love
For all of a box of gold.

And the blacksmith he held up his hand
And he swore upon the mass,
“I'll have you for me love, me girl,
For the half of that or less.”

Saying,
[Refrain]

Then she became a turtle dove
And flew up in the air,
And he became an old cock pigeon
And they flew pair and pair.

And he cooed,
[Refrain]

And she became a little duck,
A-floating in the pond,
And he became a pink-necked drake
And chased her round and round.

Quacking,
[Refrain]

She turned herself into a hare
And ran upon the plain,
And he became a greyhound dog
And fetched her back again.

Barking,
[Refrain]

And she became a little ewe sheep
And lay all on the common,
And he became a shaggy old ram
And swiftly fell upon her.

Saying,
[Refrain]

She changed herself to a swift young mare
As dark as the night was black,
And he became a golden saddle
And clung unto her back.

Saying,
[Refrain]

And she became a little green fly,
A-flew up in the air,
And he became a hairy spider
And fetched her in his lair.

Saying,
[Refrain]

Then she became a hot griddle
And he became a cake,
And every change that poor girl made
The blacksmith was her mate.

Saying,
[Refrain]

She turned herself to a full-dressed ship
A-sailing on the sea,
And he became a captain bold
And aboard of her went he.

Saying,
[Refrain]

So the lady ran in her own bedroom
And changed into a bed,
And he became a green coverlet
And gained her maidenhead.

And was she woe, he held her so,
And still he bad her bide,
And the husky smith became her love
And that pulled down her pride.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Oct 19 - 06:50 PM

"The supernatural element in Reyardine is a fake, though -"
Debatable Brian
We heard part of an Irish version of it from two elderly farming brothers in North Clare and they first told it as a ghost story
They said they got it from local Travellers
Stranger things....!
Jim


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Oct 19 - 06:58 PM

Two Magicians
The Wife of Usher's Well

While it never got into folk tradition, the song about the murderer Mary McKinnon I included in my "Embro, Embro" pages, where her dissected corpse rises from the grave to deliver an awful warning, reaches a level of Grand Guignol horror that I doubt has ever been matched in popular literature.

I've also included the actual chant used by the witches of North Berwick to raise a storm intended to kill James VI in 1592, with a purported tune. You sing it with jew's harp accompaniment. Easily singable but I've never heard it done. Fearties.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: theleveller
Date: 26 Oct 19 - 03:21 AM

Tam Lin.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Iains
Date: 26 Oct 19 - 04:43 AM

"Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight" (Child #4; Roud #21)
The Two Magicians
[ Roud 1350 ; Child 44 ; G/D 2:334 ; Ballad Index C044 ; trad.]


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Oct 19 - 05:36 AM

With her 'ead tucked underneath her arm


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Ged Fox
Date: 26 Oct 19 - 05:59 AM

My Lady's Coach

My Lady's Coach alternative tune


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 Oct 19 - 06:12 AM

Debatable Brian
We heard part of an Irish version of it from two elderly farming brothers in North Clare and they first told it as a ghost story.


Interesting, Jim. I was referring to Bert Lloyd's 'brightly shining teeth', but I'd accept that the Rinordine character does seem quite sinister in some other versions.

With her 'ead tucked underneath her arm"

Often in my repertoire around this time of year.

'The Frozen Girl' isn't supernatural, but the idea of driving around in a carriage with a corpse as passenger is a bit creepy.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 27 Oct 19 - 03:14 PM

Personl tastes and all that...

But this version My Lady's Coach

is the one more to my liking...

Now if only there was a version with droning Northumbrian smallpipes...???


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 27 Oct 19 - 03:35 PM

You have to admit, whoever wrote it, it's quite chilling,

Both day and night she's followed him,
His teeth did brightly shine,
As he led her over the mountains,
Did this sly bold Reynardine.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Mr Red
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:00 AM

Supernatural cf ghosts and witches is a fine distinction - have a look at - Halloween playlists


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 04:03 AM

Then there's that classic about the brides in the bath murderer


https://soundcloud.com/denise_whittle/george-joseph-smith


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,Kenny B(Inactive)
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 05:01 AM

How about the Highwayman by Alfred Noyes set to music at

The Highwayman - Loreena McKennitt

Or Dundee Cat Sung by Hamish Imlach


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 05:15 AM

Check out several keywords in the Digital Tradition: @myth @devil @witch @fairy


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,Geordie boy
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:09 PM

In the 3rd post, the 3rd verse should read "anatomists"


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: DMcG
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:18 PM

I hadn't heard "The Ballad of Cursed Anna" for a few decades before I sang it at a local club three years ago. I have heard it about a dozen times since....
... but that may be lack of attention on my part! I doubt if I am any kind of trend setter in such things.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 12:39 PM

Twa magicians is awfully rapey.

The Dublin Murder (he stabbed her and ripped her and cut her in 3)

I think most of my ghost ballads have already been mentioned.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 02:15 PM

"he stabbed her and ripped her and cut her in 3"
PRETTY POLLY (never heard it located in Dublin)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 05:08 PM

"he stabbed her and ripped her and cut her in 3"

Er, wasn't it her that did that to him?

Unless we're talking about that rather nasty version of Lizzie Wan?


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 08:52 PM

This was referred to above by Bonnie. Lovely rendition.

The Holland Handkerchief

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: rich-joy
Date: 30 Oct 19 - 02:15 AM

That was indeed lovely, Stewie!!

Re the OP's request, I'm surprised no one has mentioned "Lyke Wake Dirge" , which, a la Young Tradition, I recall being a popular one at this turn of the year - perhaps not "supernatural" but fitting the "chilling material befitting of the season" in the original request!!

Cheers, R-J


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,ottery
Date: 30 Oct 19 - 06:17 AM

Interested to here that there's a German cousin of The Suffolk Miracle (which I also know under the name The Holland Handkerchief). When I was a child, I had a collection of folk stories from the Fen Country called The Dead Moon. The Suffolk Miracle was one of them, and it terrified me so much it gave me nightmares. Still scares me, though I enjoy the song. In terms of spooky/supernatural ballads, I did.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,ottery
Date: 30 Oct 19 - 06:20 AM

Hmm, the rest of my post has been eaten. Serves me right for trying to write on my phone on a train. I was trying to mention The Huntsman, which I know from a Fay Hield album. Last verse very creepy. https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/thehuntsman.html


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Sarah the flute
Date: 31 Oct 19 - 04:10 PM

White dog of Yockenthwaite? sung by Artisan


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 15 Oct 20 - 04:28 AM

Giving this a Halloween *bump*


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 20 - 05:51 AM

Cruel Ship's Carpenter
Molly Vaughan
Two Sisters

And my favourite:

A lady stood at the churchyard door (ooh aah).

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 15 Oct 20 - 08:11 PM

There's 'The ghost with the squeaky wheel'
I've only heard the Scottish version sung, where the wheelbarrow is desqueaked with whisky, but the same tale is told in Yorkshire where the hot fat and vinegar from some fish and chips does the trick.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,.gaegoyle
Date: 15 Oct 20 - 09:51 PM

There are four "Halloween Songs" in grade three California 1956 and two in the same issue for grade four.

Sincerly,
Gargoyle

Little Orphant Annie comes to our house to stay, to wash the....


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 16 Oct 20 - 08:56 AM

In Dublin's fair city, in Dublin's fair town
There lived a young girl by the name of miss Brown
She courted a sailor for 7 long year
And from the beginning he called her his dear

One morning so early by the break of the day
He called to her window and to her did say
Rise up, bonny Mary, and come you with me
Such things they will happen, such things you will see

He took her o'er mountain, he took her o'er dell
She heard through the morning the sound of a bell
All over the ocean, all over the sea
Ye maidens of Dublin, take warning by me

O sailor o sailor, come spare me my life
But out of his pocket he took a penknife
He stabbed her and ripped her and cut her in 3
Then he buried poor Mary beneath the green tree

Now green grown the laurel and red grows the rose
And a black bird will follow wherever he goes
Crying Sailor O sailor where'er ye be
The blood flows forever beneath the green tree


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 16 Oct 20 - 12:26 PM

I’m quite surprised no one’s mentioned the book, Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads, by Lowry Charles Wimberly. Originally published in, I think, 1928, it’s still in print today. Excellent book.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Oct 20 - 04:30 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-ogTQqP6NQ Halloween


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Felipa
Date: 16 Oct 20 - 07:32 PM

see also Ballads and songs w/ haunting theme ( a recent Mudcat thread)


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