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Origins: The Bows of London

DigiTrad:
BINNORIE
BINNORIE (TWO SISTERS)
CRUELISH SISTER
OH, THE WIND AND RAIN (The Two Sisters)
THE CRUEL SISTER
THE SWAN SWIMS BONNIE (Two Sisters)
THE SWAN SWIMS BONNIE (Two Sisters)
THE TWA SISTERS
THE TWO SISTERS (7)
THE TWO SISTERS (8)
THE TWO SISTERS (9)
THE WIND AND RAIN (Two Sisters)
TWO SISTERS (12)
TWO SISTERS (13)
TWO SISTERS (Bonnie Broom)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Two Sisters - with a harp being made? (18)
Lyr Req: Dreadful Wind and Rain (22)
Lyr Req: Bow Down (from Dirk Powell) (22)
Lyr Req: Two Sisters Nonsense version (6)
Binnorie - Icelandic version (35)
Love and Death on the Shore (9)
Question on a TWO SISTERS song (18)
Shakespear song hi ho the wind and rain (20)
J. Moulden or Philippa: Two sisters (28)
Lyr Req: Minorie (20)
Lyr Req: I'll be true unto my love (11)
Minourie (Binorie, Minorie, The Two Sisters) (18)
Chord Req: Altan -- The Wind and Rain (20)
(origins) Origins: Two Sisters links at MBM (1)
Lyr Add: Sheila Kay Adams' 'Two Sisters' (1)
Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants (29)
Origins: background info for Two Sisters songs? (24)
Binnorie (18)
Lyr Req: Somebody's Waiting for Me (Sterling/Von T (8)
Lyr/Chords Req: Oh the Wind and Rain (30)
Two sisters, two songs? (15)
Lyr Add: The Two Sisters (of Sadie Damascus) (10)
Lyr Req: Two Sisters (Dylan) (8)
Lyr Req: Bows of London (from Waterson:Carthy) (4)
Lyr Req: Binnorie (from Elizabeth Stewart, #10) (17)
Lyr Req: charles ingenthron's twa sisters (4)
Lyr Req: Two little girls... (5)
the gay and the grinding (27)
Lyr Req: The Squire's Daughter (3)
Lyr Req: Loreena McKennitt's 'The Bonny Swans (13)
Stupid Question--'The Twa Sisters' (33)
Lyr Req: Twa Sisters / Lay Bent to the Bonny Broom (26)
Lyr Req: lee monroe presnell's two sisters (#10) (7)
(origins) Origins: Two Sisters (9)
Tune Req: 'Oh The Wind And Rain' (3)
Lyr Req: Two Sisters (Frankie Armstrong) (5)
Tune Req: Sven (SVEND I ROSENSGAARD) (23)
Cruel Sister (22)
Lyr Req: Stecher's 'Oh the Wind and Rain' (6)
(origins) Origins: The Cruel Sister - Old Blind Dogs (9)
Nothing to do this Friday? (Manchester, UK) (14)
Lyr Req: The Cruel Sister (esp. Old Blind Dogs) (8)
Lyr Req: american version of Two Sisters (12)
Lyr Req: Harp form a breastbone (10)
Yet another blurb about 'Cruel Sister' (3)
Lyr Req: Two Sisters (Niamh Parsons ver.) Tha (5)
Lyr Req: The Cruel Sister (from Pentangle) (12)
Percy's Song: History? (7)
Hilary Kelley (9)
Two Sisters, a' Bhean Eudach, Horpa (18)
Lyr/Chords Req: the two sisters (23)
Flanders ballad in Polish--fun project! (13)
I am humbled (124)
dulaman/two sisters (15)
History of 'The Wind and Rain'? (11)
And A Two And A Three (5)
Lyr Add: Rollin' a-Rollin' (Child #10) (5)
Twa sisters (17)
Percy's Song (4)


gwenpatricia@hotmail.com 22 Jan 99 - 04:25 PM
Wolfgang 27 Jan 99 - 03:14 PM
Wolfgang 28 Jan 99 - 06:29 AM
gary skinner 14 Sep 99 - 03:00 AM
lamarca 14 Sep 99 - 04:03 PM
mack/misophist 14 Dec 02 - 05:43 PM
RolyH 14 Dec 02 - 05:54 PM
Malcolm Douglas 14 Dec 02 - 06:06 PM
GUEST 14 Dec 02 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,Q 14 Dec 02 - 06:24 PM
Gareth 14 Dec 02 - 06:49 PM
masato sakurai 14 Dec 02 - 07:47 PM
mack/misophist 14 Dec 02 - 09:30 PM
John MacKenzie 15 Dec 02 - 05:35 AM
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Subject: Martin Carthy
From: gwenpatricia@hotmail.com
Date: 22 Jan 99 - 04:25 PM

I've just heard Martin Carthy sing a song calle 'The Bows(?) of London'. Can anyone tell me where I can find a copy of the lyrics and also a recording of it? Please e-mail me at: gwenpatricia@hotmail.com If you can help. Thanks


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Subject: RE: Martin Carthy
From: Wolfgang
Date: 27 Jan 99 - 03:14 PM

a recording is on Carthy/Swarbrick "Life and Limb", Green Linnet #3052, SPD1030, 1993. I'll look for the lyrics tonight.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Martin Carthy
From: Wolfgang
Date: 28 Jan 99 - 06:29 AM

I don't have the lyrics Martin Carthy actually sings, but here's what he writes on the leaflet coming with the CD:

"Ever since I heard Jody Stecher sing a luminous song called "The Wind and Rain" -a version of "The Two Sisters"- I have wanted to sing it. Its overwhelming feature is its concentration on the aspect of the story dealing with the building from the murder victim's remains of a fiddle which then takes on a life of its own and ultimalely unmasks the murderer. Having found my own efforts at singing his to be as unconvincing as my efforts at American songs usually are, I cast around for a tune from this side of the water, came upon The Bows Of London and then tried to stay close to Jody's words. A "bow" is the bend in a river."

Patricia, when you enter [twa sisters] in the upper right search window, you get more than one version. Better still, there are two songs in the DT-database, "The wind and Rain" and "Oh, the wind and rain" which are close to what Martin Carthy sings. Of course he has adapted the lyrics a bit, but with these two songs in hand you can easily follow what he sings.

Wolfgang


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Subject: bows of london
From: gary skinner
Date: 14 Sep 99 - 03:00 AM

Anyone got the lyrics of the bows of london, I havethe song on a Martin Carthy album but I cannot always hear excatly what he is singing


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: bows of london
From: lamarca
Date: 14 Sep 99 - 04:03 PM

Dear Gary - The song is a version of "The Twa Sisters", Child ballad #10; here is a list of all the versions in the DT and Forum: Two Sisters.

If you look at some of the other versions, it might help you decipher Martin's decidedly quirky vocalisms. I have the album at home - if you let me know which lines you're missing, I can try to help you out,


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Subject: Origins: Whence 'The Bows of London'?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 05:43 PM

Would anyone be kind enough to tell me the origin of the murder ballad Bows of London? It's not in the Digitrad or the forum history. A Google search yields nada. Mostly, I'd like to know what the hell a 'bow' is. My best guess is that it had something to do with St Mary le Beau Church, as in "born within the sound of Bow bells" to describe a Cockney. That doesn't fit the sense of the song, though. Any one out there know?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whence 'The Bows of London'?
From: RolyH
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 05:54 PM

According to Martin Carthy they are the bends ("Bows") in the River Thames.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whence 'The Bows of London'?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 06:06 PM

It belongs to the Twa Sisters family (Child 10). There's a lot of related information in the Forum, but the search engine is broken at the moment. Fortunately, most of the DT files and Forum discussions have had lists of links to (most of) the others added. You may as well start with

Lyr Req: bows of london

It's a very short thread, but working through the links will give you more background information than you ever wanted, I should think. Don't believe everything that people say though; we've had some quite odd ideas come up from time to time. The refrain, by the way, is one of many different ones and is probably of very little significance.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whence 'The Bows of London'?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 06:24 PM

The "Bows" are really a tributary of the Thames in an area of London called "Bow", where the river snakes its way to the Thames.That's where the song is set.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whence 'The Bows of London'?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 06:24 PM

Not a murder ballad, but a nasty mistress mistreating an apprentice within sound of Bow Bells, and blackmail resulting. "The Crafty London 'Prentice, or Bow Bells." Johnson Ballad 780, ca 1819-1844, Bodelian Library. Also Douce Ballads 3(14b), "The Crafty London Apprentice, or Bow Bells," ca. 1736-1763. Also other copies. Search- Crafty London prentice. Bodleian Library


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whence 'The Bows of London'?
From: Gareth
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 06:49 PM

Geographiclly - look at the openening credits of that BBC Soap " East Enders" - No I don't watch it myself but my aged mother insists that I video it for her from time to time.

Gareth


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Subject: Lyr Add: BOWS OF LONDON (from Martin Carthy)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 07:47 PM

The Martin Carthy version is HERE.

According to
A Concordance to the Child Ballads,

10F.1r 2 /About a' the bonny bows o London.
10F.3r 2 /And we'll view the bonny bows o London.
10F.21r 2 /At the bonny bows o London.
10O.1r 2 /At the bonny bonny bows o London
10H.1r 2 /At the bonnie bows of London town.

~Masato
    Lyrics copy-pasted from link above. -Joe Offer-


Martin Carthy sings The Bows of London

There were two little sisters awalking alone
Hey the gay and the grinding
Two little sisters awalking alone
By the bonny bonny bows of London

And the eldest pushed her sister in
Hey the gay and the grinding
Pushed her sister into the stream
By the bonny bonny bows of London

Oh she pushed her in and she watched her drown
Hey the gay and the grinding
Watched her body floating down
By the bonny bonny bows of London

Oh she floated up and she floated down
Hey the gay and the grinding
Floats till she come to the miller's dam
By the bonny bonny bows of London

And out and come the miller's son
Hey the gay and the grinding
Father dear here swims a swan
By the bonny bonny bows of London

Oh they laid her out on the bank to die
Hey the gay and the grinding
Fool with a fiddle come ariding by
By the bonny bonny bows of London

And he took some strands of her long yellow hair
Hey the gay and the grinding
Took some strands of her long yellow hair
By the bonny bonny bows of London

And he made some strings from this yellow hair
Hey the gay and the grinding
Made some strings from this yellow hair
By the bonny bonny bows of London

And he made fiddle pegs from her long fingerbone
Hey the gay and the grinding
Made fiddle pegs from her long fingerbone
By the bonny bonny bows of London

And he made a fiddle out of her breastbone
Hey the gay and the grinding
Sound would pierce the heart of a stone
By the bonny bonny bows of London

But the only tune that the fiddle would play
Was Oh the bows of London
The only tune the fiddle would play
Was the bonny bonny bows of London

So the fool's gone away to the king's high hall
Hey the gay and the grinding
There was music dancing and all
By the bonny bonny bows of London

And he laid this fiddle all down on a stone
Hey the gay and the grinding
Played so loud it played all alone
By the bonny bonny bows of London

It sang yonder sits my father the king
Hey the gay and the grinding
Yonder sits my father the king
By the bonny bonny bows of London

And yonder sits my mother the queen
Hey the gay and the grinding
How she'll grieve at my burying
By the bonny bonny bows of London

And yonder she sits my sister Anne
Hey the gay and the grinding
She who drownded me in the stream
By the bonny bonny bows of London

Roger Wilson sings The Two Sisters

There lived an old lord by the Northern Sea
Bow wee down
There lived an old lord by the Northern Sea

Bow and balance to me
There lived an old lord by the Northern Sea
And he had daughters one, two, three
I'll be true to my love, if my love'll be true to me

A young man came a courting there
And he made a choice of the youngest fair
He brought the youngest a beaver hat
The oldest sister didn't like that

As they walked down to the waters brim
The oldest pushed the youngest in
Oh sister, oh sister, lend me your hand
And you may have my house and land

She floated down to the miller's dam
The miller drew her safe to land
And off of her fingers took five gold rings
And into the water he plunged her again

Acknowledgements

The Bows of London transcribed by Garry Gillard. Roger Wilson's Two Sisters lyrics from the record's sleeve notes. Garry Gillard thanks Wolfgang Hell.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whence 'The Bows of London'?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 09:30 PM

I thank you all; each and every one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whence 'The Bows of London'?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 05:35 AM

There is an area of East London which is called Bow. Although it is not the most salubrious areas, it has given rise to what I think is one of the nicest sounding station names. i.e. Bromley by Bow. Does that name not call out for a poem, a song, or what?
Giok


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