mudcat.org: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3]


Help: The Unfortunate Rake

DigiTrad:
LOCKE HOSPITAL
ST. JAMES HOSPITAL
ST. JAMES INFIRMARY
THE UNFORTUNATE RAKE


Related threads:
Lyr Req: St. James Infirmary (25)
(origins) Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues (285)
(origins) Tune Req: St. James Infirmary Blues (25)
(origins) Origins: Der Treue Husar and the Unfortunate Rake (25)
Lyr/Chords Req: St. James Infirmary (26)
Lyr Add: The Unfortunate Lad (#350 / Rake's Lamen (8)
Help: St. James Infirmary - by Rolling Stones? (41)
Tune Req: St. James Infirmary (12)
Lyr Req: Bright Shiny Morning (9)
St. James Infirmary (from Josh White) (2)
Chords Req: St. James Infirmary (6)
Lyr Add: St. Jude's Infirmary (Parody for Spaw) (15)
Lyr Req: St James Infirmary (request only) (4) (closed)
Chords/Tab Req: St. James Infirmary (5)
Tune Req: St. James Infirmary (7)


GUEST,Kevin W. 02 Jul 18 - 04:56 AM
Lighter 01 Jul 18 - 07:07 PM
GaryG 01 Jul 18 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,Karen 01 Jul 18 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 01 Jul 18 - 08:25 AM
Richard Mellish 01 Jul 18 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 01 Jul 18 - 05:49 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Jul 18 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 01 Jul 18 - 04:44 AM
GUEST,Karen 01 Jul 18 - 02:57 AM
GUEST,Gerry 01 Jul 18 - 12:10 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 30 Jun 18 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,Karen 30 Jun 18 - 12:40 PM
Lighter 30 Jun 18 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 30 Jun 18 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 30 Jun 18 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 30 Jun 18 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 07:31 PM
Lighter 29 Jun 18 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 29 Jun 18 - 04:59 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 29 Jun 18 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 29 Jun 18 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 08:57 AM
Lighter 29 Jun 18 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 29 Jun 18 - 03:43 AM
Lighter 28 Jun 18 - 06:22 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 18 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 28 Jun 18 - 08:57 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 18 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 28 Jun 18 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,Karen 28 Jun 18 - 07:26 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jun 18 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 27 Jun 18 - 02:35 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Jun 18 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Karen 27 Jun 18 - 07:50 AM
Reinhard 27 Jun 18 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 27 Jun 18 - 04:31 AM
GUEST 27 Jun 18 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,henryp 27 Jun 18 - 03:57 AM
GUEST,Karen 27 Jun 18 - 01:50 AM
GUEST,henryp 26 Jun 18 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Karen 26 Jun 18 - 02:48 PM
GUEST,henryp 26 Jun 18 - 08:11 AM
GUEST,Karen 26 Jun 18 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,Karen 23 Jun 18 - 07:05 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:








Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 02 Jul 18 - 04:56 AM

Old Blind Dogs learned the song a recording of The Gaugers (The Fighting Scot, I think), by the way.
Tom Spiers (I posted his solo version earlier in this thread) was a member of The Gaugers until the group disbanded following Peter Hall's death.

Many people love the Dogs version, but few seem to know where they got that song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 07:07 PM

"Glim" was originally a slang term for a light, candle, lantern, or match.

"Douse the glim" meant to extinguish the light. It seems to have been a pretty common expression throughout the 19th century.

With a little clinical ingenuity, "glim" later also came to mean gonorrhea.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GaryG
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 04:17 PM

Concerning Pills of White Mercury by the Old Blind Dogs: In the line "Bad luck to the girlie that gied him the glim" could glim mean glengore? That seems to be a Scots term for syphilis.

How about "Oh the mercury was beating, the limestone was reeking"? Could this refer to mercury poisoning causing a rapidly beating heart? I have no idea about the limestone reeking.

Help is appreciated!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 09:57 AM

Richard

Your point about the gender anomaly is similar to one made by A L Lloyd. Lloyd believes it arose because early songs had either one gender or the other. My explanation is based on the idea that the disease the girl died of is contagious. If she died of it, then so will he (Kevin also sees this). I also suspect that the recorded versions were cleaned up versions of live versions, which may have been more explicit. I also believe that the 'lock hospital' versions do have two deaths in, since these are late 19th century (or so the Bodleian seems to believe) and this was the era of Victorian Lock Hospital Building, institutions where women (not men) were detained compulsorily if believed to be prostitutes. When the character 'passes by' the lock hospital, it is 'code' for 'my partner has been detained under the Acts, she must have the disease, oh dear, I will have it too'. There is no hospital in the earliest known version, Buck's Lament. Hospitals appeared in the song, it seems to me, just when they were appearing in England and Ireland. Just my idea; I've no problems with people not accepting it.

I agree that where the floating searching the world over verse is concerned, there are versions incorporating it that 'make more sense' on paper. I agree about the interpretation in the Fess Williams. If you listen to Armstrong's 'asides' in his 2nd, slower version, he is aware of the issue here. He says 'bragging' at one point and giggles. If you look at the Cab Calloway version as well, then the idea that some performers of this eventually decided he was a 'pimp', and not a very nice character, to deal with what they themselves felt to be a potential issue, or maybe because that was how they had understood it all the time, makes sense. Calloway is not singing this as 'himself' but as a character.

Kevin: I don't think anybody is claiming that Porter Grainger invented this song from scratch (though he may well have composed the tune, and arrangement from scratch). I'm not. I'm just dead certain that Blind Willie McTell's version derives from one of the Porter Grainger ones and not the other way around. I am happy that he knew of the tradition and made use of it in a song contextualised for the prohibitionist roaring twenties, with its speakeasies and gangsters.


For me, musically and in terms of the specific lyrics, Grainger's work has all the hallmarks of a Tin Pan Alley piece. It has more than one 'strain', the melody line doesn't sound at all folky, you get diminished chords in it etc. And it has the bluesy inflection that was all the rage at the time. Whereas St James' Infirmary seems to have been more of a dance tune initially. Fox Trot.

I am quite happy that jazzy versions were in circulation in the early 20s and possibly a bit before. This is clear from Harwood's book. I am not sure off the top of my head whether he copyrighted it as an arrangement of a traditional song (which was permissible, hence somebody copyrighted the version of 12 days of Xmas), or as entirely original. If Harwood is right, Joe Primrose copyrighted 'St James Infirmary' as an original title, which is a bit of a cheek. But nobody could find any documentary evidence that the precise words 'St James Infirmary' had been used before. So Primrose & co won the battle, which was, Harwood says, more like a trademark battle.


Another musician/arranger who doesn't get credit is Don Redman, about whom Harwood's blog will provide you with more information.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 08:25 AM

It really looks like St James Infirmary Blues is a (slightly incoherent) amalgam of elements from several songs.

My thoughts on it:
- The "Old Joe's Barrom" opening may have been inspired by "Tom Sherman's Barrom / The Cowboy's Lament".

- The "St. James' Infirmary" verses about seeing his girl dying in the hospital may have come from Scarborough's "John Seley's Hospital" song (where the story makes more sense), or even from "The Bad Girls Lament / St. James Hospital", if we want to go back that far.

- The "Let Her Go, God Bless Her" verse makes sense in the various jilted lover songs it shows up in, but not in "St James Infirmary Blues" where the girl is dead.
It would make more sense if it was changed to "I may search this wide world over, but I'll never find another like she." but I've not seen it like that in any version of the blues.

- The funeral requests are an exaggeration/extension of those found in "The Bad Girls Lament / Unfortunate Lad", they make sense, if the guy is going to kill himself because he lost his girl and boasting about his gangster status, or if he's dying from a disease he got from his girl.
It's the sudden switch from the hospital scene to making his own funeral requests that leaves a gap in the story.
Porter Grainger's "Dyin' Crapshooter's Blues" first appeared in 1927, if I'm correct, so that can't be the origin of the verses, probably it's the other way round.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 06:30 AM

One of the anomalies in some Gambler's Blues versions is the change from the singer (or the reported speaker in the bar) seeing the girl's body to making requests for his own funeral. That is much better handled in the Fess Williams version, first by the inclusion of a verse about the girl's funeral and then by starting the next verse "Now, when I die ...".

Another of the anomalies is the juxtaposition of the girl being dead with the verse about her searching the wide world over. Some of the versions cited above make much better sense with words about searching the wide world over and not finding another like her.

As with many folk songs, sometimes they make sense and sometimes they don't, but that seems not to have bothered the singers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 05:49 AM

Thanks for that one, Jim.

That's the first time I've seen a version where the Sailor/Soldier has become a Rebel.
However, the references to "flash girls" as the cause of death are still there.

Here's another Irish recording that I have heard, "The Sailor Cut Down in his Prime" on "Sarah Makem: As I Roved Out (Musical Taditions (MTCD353-5)" and also on "Ulster's Flowery Vale (1969 ) BBC Radio Enterprises ?– REC 28M".

It's a fairly standard version, much like the English "Sailor Cut Down" texts.

Here's the transcription, taken from the booklet notes:
https://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/makem.htm

1 - 7 The Sailor Cut Down in his Prime (Roud 2, Laws Q26)
Recorded by Michael O'Donnell, 1968

As I went a walking
Down by the Royal Avenue
Dark was the morning
And cold was the day
Who did I meet -
Only one of my shipmates
Wrapped in a blanket
More colder than clay.

He asked for a candle
To light him to bed
Also some flannel
To tie round his head
His poor head was aching
His poor heart was breaking
For he was a sailor
Cut down in his prime.

At the foot of the street
You will see two girls standing
Says the one to the other
"Here comes a young man
Here comes a young sailor
Whose money we squandered
Here comes a young sailor
Cut down in his prime. "

His poor aged father
His poor aged mother
Often they told him
Of his past life
Along with his flash girls
His money they squandered
Along with his flash girls
That was his delight.

So beat the drums o'er him
And play the fife lively
And sound the Dead March
As we carry him along
Lay him in the church yard
Fire three volleys o'er him
For he was a sailor
Cut down in his prime.

An extremely popular and widespread song throughout these islands and North America - in fact, almost two thirds of Roud's 355 entries are from the USA. There are only 8 Irish instances, accounting for just 4 singers - Mary Doran, Bill Cassidy, Tom Lenihan, and Sarah's is the only one available on CD. It's an old song, but doesn't appear in many broadsides (only 15), though it has been included in a few books - 154 to be exact!

There are 106 sound recordings, and those by: Harry Brazil (MTCD345-7); Harry Holman (MTCD309-10); Bob Hart (MTCD301-2); Bill Ellson (MTCD320); Hobert Stallard (MTCD344); Texas Gladden (Rounder CD1500); Fred Jordan (VTD148CD); Johnny Doughty (TSCD662); Harry Upton (TSCD652); Viv Legg (VT153CD); Moses 'Clear Rock' Platt and James 'Ironhead' Baker (Rounder CD1821) remain available on CD.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 05:21 AM

Just remembered ANOTHER SLANT TO THIS SONG
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 04:44 AM

Thank you very much for the clarification, Gerry.
I first assumed that it was a Klezmer song because Karen's video was of a Klezmer band and it was the tune only without words.

I couldn't find any recordings of the cigarette advertisement song, but searching for it led me to more recordings of the traditional words.

Here's a website that has several recordings of the song to the tune that interests us:
https://www.zemereshet.co.il/song.asp?id=3152&artist=1852

And here's a recording of the words to another (presumably the older) tune:
https://www.zemereshet.co.il/song.asp?id=10987

And a quick google translation to English:

According to Eliahu Hacohen, in a lecture entitled "The Book of My Childhood Poems," the source of the melody in an advertisement for "Salam Alikum" cigarettes in Germany by a Turkish band. A Russian presentation on the web gives the full story. Here is the translation of the subtitles by Uri Yaakobovitch: 1. "We brought Shalom Aleichem." Background of one song; 2. German orientalism; 3. Synagogues; 4. Industrial buildings; 5. "The Tobacco Mosque", Ynidze *; 6. Architecture and Nazism; 7. Turkish tobacco; 8. Photographs of three boxes of cigarettes "Salaam Aleikum"; 9. German advertisement for Salaam Aleikum; 10. German radio. All Germany hears the Fuhrer from the shelter; 11. We smoke "salam alikum" (3X). We smoke salaam, salaam, salam alikum; 12. Soviet dissidents, let's go south and north! Fear and terror for enemies! And that Golda Meir will lead us to the one-eyed war god Moshe Dayan; 13. Back to the commercial: Israir flight from Berlin to Israel.
[*] The "Tobacco Mosque" in Binzedze was an Oriental cigarette factory established in the Jewish Dresden by Hugo Zietz.

Eliahu Hacohen (born 1935) told the same lecture that learned the Hebrew song already in kindergarten. The words (in the first person only) with the appropriate rehearsals were found in Aya Ruppin's private notebook, where the songs around him were put in place around 1939. The melody was found in print in an American poem for Jewish soldiers in World War. The "Davar" newspaper documented the song "We brought Shalom Aleichem" in various contexts, the earliest ones: a demonstration against the Mandate authorities (24.12.1945), the absorption of illegal immigrants (June 10, 1946), a toddler's song to Tom (June 20, 1947) A new moshav in the Negev (24.3.1952), and for the first time in artistic performance - the Polytek Choir from Finland (31.3.1952).

Additional Performance:

    Ahuva Zadok
    The Ran Singing Group
    Eartha Kitt
    Sabra Disco (Gali Atari, Tzruya Lahav, Riki Manor and Nava Baruchin) (1976)
    Sexta (also a disco style)
    The "Am Yisrael" group (first song in Rosary)
    Dancers and musicians from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance greet the Taglit Birthright Israel delegation at Ben Gurion Airport (June 2018, video)

See "We brought Shalom Aleichem" in another melody.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 02:57 AM

Many thanks Gerry.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 12:10 AM

Kevin, there's nothing Yiddish about Hevenu Shalom Aleichem – it's Hebrew, and Israeli. Although it appears that it actually traces back to a German cigarette advertisement where "Wir rauchen Salem Aleikum" ["We smoke (a brand of cigarette called) Salem Aleikum"] was sung to the tune now associated with Hevenu Shalom Aleichem. Type "Wir rauchen Salem Aleikum" into the internet (if you're interested) to trace this back.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 30 Jun 18 - 01:04 PM

That reminds me that I really need to buy a copy of Harwood's book.
I found the following early text on his website which makes the cannonball confusion clear, it is indeed gambling house brawl in this version.
"Old Time Gambler's Song" - St. James Infirmary in 1926.
Lyrics to "Old Time Gambler's Song"

This text was sent by Terence McKay to Robert Winslow Gordon in a letter dated April 5, 1926

Old Time Gambler's Song

I dreamed I went down to St. James Infirmary
Thought I saw my baby lying there;
Laid out on a clean white table,
So pale and yet so fair.

If she's gone, let her go, God bless her,
For she's mine wherever she may be;
You may search this wide world over
You'll never find another pal such as she

I may die out on the ocean
Be shot down in a gambling house brawl;
But if you follow me to the end of my story
You'll find a blonde was the cause of it all

When I die just bury me in a box back suit,
Blue shirt, roller hat, pair of shoes with toes so tall;
Put whiskey in my coffin, deck of cards in my hand;
Don't let them weep and wail, don't let them moan at all.

Put marihuana in my coffin,
Smoke it as you carry me along;
Take even rolling crap shooters for pall bearers,
Coke sniffers to sing my funeral song.

Put a twenty dollar gold piece on my watch charm
So the boys'll all know I'm standing pat;
Put ice on my feet, for in that place where I'm going
I won't even be cool with that.

Just carve it on my tombstone
In letters bold and black,
"Here lies an old time gambler,
Pray God won't you please bring him back!"

From "Songs of the Cowboys" (1966) by Austin E. and Alta S. Fife.

The references to marihuana and coke sniffers are interesting, looks like this bit was tamed down for the later commercially recorded versions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 30 Jun 18 - 12:40 PM

I managed to surprise Kevin! I was expecting people would have heard of tis. I *think* it comes up in Robert Harwood's blog somewhere. I accept that we'll never know for sure if Kaufman lifted a trad song for his Charleston Cabin. But I'm fairly convinced he did, consciously or not, and that his Charleston Cabin, which was widely recorded, was in turn nicked for SJI.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 30 Jun 18 - 11:36 AM

> I may die out on the deep blue ocean,
I may be shot by a big cannonball

Ref (in pop terms) to WW1?   (Cannonballs were obsolete by then, but there were plenty of submarines.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 30 Jun 18 - 09:38 AM

Sorry for posting three times, but here's a video that allows for easy comparison of the tune:
Hewenu Shalom Alechem - Youtube
Hevenu Shalom Alejchem - Tune
Hevenu Shalom Alejchem - Info

I wish I could find anything on the origin of this tune, or early recordigs of it, but no luck so far.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 30 Jun 18 - 09:24 AM

I'm stupid, the tune is called "Shalom Aleichem".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 30 Jun 18 - 09:22 AM

So the St James Infirmary tune may have originated with Klezmer music?
That's amzing, it's the first time I've heard of that connection.

I wish I'd knew the name of the Yiddish tune, to take this research one step further.
It sure is fascinating how far both tune and words of St James Infirmary have travelled.
Despite quickly becoming a very commercial song it has all the makings of a folk song.

It reminds me a bit of Willie the Weeper in that regard.

Regarding the "cannonball" verse, it usually runs something like this:

I may die out on the deep blue ocean,
I may be shot by a big cannonball,
Now if you follow me to the end of my story,
You'll find a woman was the cause of it all.

Cannonball always seemed a bit out of place to me (even with the mention of the ocean), maybe it really is a corruption of bar room brawl.
I often wondered whether the expression "a woman was the cause of it all" was a hint that both he and his woman also died of veneral disease, like in the Unfortunate Lad.

Just some food for thought.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 07:31 PM

Thanks for posts. I also like the Fess Williams, as I say elsewhere, maybe on the Belden/Unfortunate Rake thread.

Harwood suggests that the cannonball line may be a 'corruption' (my word not his) of 'bar-room brawl'. Fairly good idea, I think.

I am noting how 'floating verses' or 'floating lines' crop up both in US blues and English folk music. It seems to have been a standard thing, rather like they say some musical improvisers draw on a repertoire of micro bits for their solos.

I've heard the Whitey Kaufman; Harwood mentions it. Whitey Kaufman most probably was Jewish: he certainly copyrighted a piece called Yiddish Lullabye with Roy Reber (listed as composer of Charleston Cabin) and George Peace (I have a book called 'Funny, It Doesn't Sound Jewish by Jack Gottlieb). Now this is where it gets really multi-cultural. Listen to the tune of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSU0UG4VSEI


There is more discussion of this here:

https://nonotes.wordpress.com/2006/03/24/charleston-cabin-a-fresh-mystery/

You may know all this, I'm sure somebody will have been through it all on these threads before. Enjoy!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 06:41 PM

"Harvard University Songs," Compiled by E. F. DuBois (Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1902), p. 72:

SHE'S GONE LET HER GO

They say true love is a blessing,
But the blessing I never could see,
For the only girl that I ever loved
Has done gone back on me.

[Chorus:]               
She has gone let her go, God bless her,
For she's mine where-ever she may be,
You may roam this wide world all over,
But you'll never find a friend like me.

There may be a change in the weather,
There may be a change in the sea,
There may be a change all over,
But there'll never be a change in me.


The tune doesn't sound to me at all like any of those we've been discussing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 04:59 PM

Here's one additional recording.

Philip Kazee, the son of Buell H. Kazee also recorded the song in 1995:
Gamblin' Blues (1995) - Philip Kazee
From "Rocky Island" Berea College Appalachian Center ?– AC006.

The booklet notes contains this interesting tidbit regarding Buell Kazee's version:

In any case, the family ballad book reveals that Buell depended upon a second book by Wyman and Brockway (Twenty Kentucky Songs) as well as Carl Sandburg’s American Songbag even during his first recording session (specifically, “Sporting Bachelors” and “Gambler’s Blues”). In many instances, he probably used these sources as a means of filling out songs with which he was already familiar.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 03:32 PM

Your additions are interesting as always, Karen.
For completeness sake, here is the text that mentions "John Seley's Hospital", it was originally posted to mudcat by Frank Staplin in 2007:

HOW SAD WAS THE DEATH OF MY SWEETHEART
(Negro folk song; Scarborough, 1925)

I went to John Seley's hospital;
The nurse there she turned me around.
She turned me around, yes, so slowly,
An' said, "The poor girl is sleepin' in the ground."

I was walkin' down Walnut Street so lonely,
My head it was hanging so low.
It made me think of my sweetheart,
Who was gone to a world far unknown.

Refrain:
Let her go, let her go.
May God bless her, wherever she may be.
She is mine.
She may roam this wide world over
But she will never fin' a man like me.

While walkin' I met her dear mother,
With her head hangin' low as was mine.
"Here's the ring of your daughter, dear mother,
And the last words as she closed her eyes:

"Take this ring, take this ring,
Place it on your lovin' right hand.
And when I am dead and forgotten
Keep the grass from growing on my grave."

Obtained from a 'young Galveston Negro, a student at Straight College, New Orleans'. Worth Tuttle Hedden, the collector, said it was rather widely sung among the Negroes in Galveston. John Seley Hospital is (or was) in Galveston.
p. 94, Dorothy Scarborough, 1925, "On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs," Harvard University Press. Facsimile 1963, Folklore Associates, Inc.

What's noteworthy about this version is that it makes no mention of gambling or pimps at all, it has a rather different feel.
It's almost as if the over-the-top, vulgar Gambler's Blues is a parody of this song.


I have uploaded some of my favourite recordings of "St. James' Infirmary Blues" to soundcloud.
I'm not sure if I could run into copyright issues with these old recordings, but I'll just add them and then we'll see whether they stay or disappear.

The earliest known appearance of the common St. James' Infirmary tune, as part of a dance tune called "Charleston Cabin", recorded in 1924:
Charleston Cabin (1924) - Whitey Kaufman & His Original Pennsylvania Serenaders
Second recording:
Charleston Cabin (1924) - Carolina Club Orchestra

The Fess Williams version, recorded in 1927:
Gambler's Blues (1927) - Fess Williams
I really like this one, it adds a comical touch to the song.

Here's Buell Kazee's version, recorded in 1929:
Gambling Blues (1929) - Buell H. Kazee
His version has a different tune and does not mention the name of the infirmary.

Here's Roy Harvey's version, recorded in 1931:
Gambling Blues (1931) - Roy Harvey
Seems to be a cover of Kazee's version.

Now here's a treat, the Hokum Boys version, recorded in two variants in 1929:
Gambler's Blues (1929) - The Hokum Boys
Gambler's Blues No. 2 (1929) - The Hokum Boys
This is my favourite version, I love it! I only wish the recording was a little less noisy, but what can you do.

Here's Mattie Hite's version, recorded in 1930:
St. Joe's Infirmary (1930) - Mattie Hite
Another fantastic early version. I slowed it down slightly, I always thought that the original recording was a little too fast.

Now here's a field recording of "St. James' Infirmary Blues" made by John A. Lomax in Atlanta, Georgia in 1934:
St. James Infirmary (1934) - Jesse Wadley
Pretty interesting version, it has the rare "shot down by a big cannonball" verse which is also found in the Hokum Boys version.

Here's Sam Hinton's version, recorded in 1947:
St. James Infirmary (1947) - Sam Hinton
I like this recording for some reason. Not as over-the-top as many other versions. It also has the "cannonball" verse, but I don't know the origin of Hinton's text.

And finally, here's Dock Boggs' version, recorded in 1965:
Old Joe's Barroom (1965) - Dock Boggs
Can't say that I'm a big fan of this one, but I never expected to hear Dock Boggs sing this song, so out of curiousity I decided to include it.

That's all, I tried to include some of the lesser known recordings, so no Louis Armstrong for now. Maybe some of you will discover a nice version they haven't heard before.

Have fun!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 01:21 PM

Kevin

Wow! I had believed that this verse came from another song, I think Robert Harwood (in his I Went Down To St James Infirmary) says this, but I did not realise that it appeared so many times, and all over the place. I think I can add a few more to the list.

For example, Harwood cites a 1908 'Songs of the Cowboys' edited by Jack Thorp, which includes Loredo/Cowboy's Lament type songs including one with this verse:


My curse let it rest, let it rest on the fair one
Who drove me from friends that I loved and from home
Who told me she loved me just to receive me
My curse rest on her wherever she roam.

I guess Harwood is pointing out the 'wherever she roam' bit.

Then he cites a later, longer version of the same volume, dated 1966 Eds A & A Fife. In that there appears a song called 'St James Infirmary', allegedly sent in a letter dated 1926 from Terence Mackay to Thomas Winslow Gordon (who is famous...). This should have been in my chronology..

The song starts with St James Infirmary, and the 2nd verse is

If she's gone, let her go God bless her
For she's mine wherever she may be
You may search this wide world over
You'll never find such a one as she.

The phrasing of that sounds a bit 'literary' to me in terms of its diction/grammar. Where I wonder did MacKay get it?

The song ends with a reference to hell and the need for ice to cool him when he gets there, linking across to Crapshooters'

In 1925 Texas, according to an informant of collector Dorothy Scarborough, a song about 'John Seley's Hospital' had a verse along similar lines, and was widely sung by African Americans. NB I once looked into this and discovered that while the cowboys in the films we used to see where almost always white, there were in fact a great many African-American cowboys, often descendents of slaves used in the business who therefore had skills and could get work.

Harwood says a song called She's Gone, Let Her Go appeared in a 1902 Harvard University Glee Club book. Harvard, the home of Child etc etc. He says this is a 'parlour song'.

Harwood says a lot more. It's an interesting read.

Did I say that 'sweet man' as in St James is sometimes said to be a term for a 'pimp'. Probably. Sorry for repetition if so. I wonder what Armstrong sang when he was not on his best behaviour for the recording companies.

Excuse typos, typing quickly with book on knee.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 10:53 AM

Now this has nothing to do with the Unfortunate Lad whatsoever, but one thing I noticed is that the chorus of "St James' Infirmary Blues" also exists as a separate song.

Here's an example of this chorus, from Carl Sandburg's American Songbag "Those Gambler Blues":

Let her go, let her go, God bless her,
Wherever she may be;
There'll never be another like her,
There'll never be another for me.

Here's an example of a song with that floating verse:
If He's Gone Let Him Go, God Bless Him - Ollie Gilbert, Mountain View, Arkansas on May 26, 1969

Verse:
If he's gone let 'im go, God bless 'im
Wherever he may be
He may roam this wide world over
He'll find no other like me

No Girl Like Me - Holly Hodges, Prairie Grove, Ark. Dec. 17, 1960

Verse:
Since he's gone, let him go, God bless him
He is mine wherever he may be
He may ramble Arkansas over
And he'll find no girl like me.

Here's another, from Doug Wallin's "Let her Go, Let her Go" on the album "Far in the Mountains - Volume 5 (MTCD513)":
Let her go, let her go, God bless her
She’s nothing no more to me
For God in Heaven knows, love
It’ll be alright some day

The verse may have originated with the song "Fare You Well Cold Winter", also known as "Farewell He", here are some examples:
Adieu to Cold Winter - Mr. Frank Pool, Fayetteville, Arkansas on January 6, 1958

Verses:
If he's gone, let him go
Let him sink or let him swim
If he don't care for me
I'm sure I don't for him
And I wish himself a fortune
And myself, a better grace
And I'll catch another
In a fair and closer place

Reba Jenkins, Wheatland, Missouri on January 27, 1973

Verse:

My love is on the ocean
He can sink or he can swim
He don't care for me
An' I'm sure I don't for him
There's plenty more without him
As nice young me as he
An' I can find another
Since he's gone back on me

Let Him Go, Let Him Tarry - Tom Lenihan, Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay, Ireland, March 1988

Verse:
Let him go, let him tarry, let him sink or let him swim.
He doesn't care for me, nor I don't care for him.
He can go and get another, I hope he will enjoy,
For I'm going to marry a far nicer boy.

There's yet another song from the British Isles, "Go and Leave Me / Fond Affection / Dear Companion" which has a similar verse:

From the Carter Family's version of "Dear Companion":
Just go and leave me if you wish to
It will never trouble me
For in your heart you love another
And in my grave I'd rather be

From Percy Webb's "Go and Leae Me" on the album "King's Head Folk Club (MTCD356-7)":
So go and leave me if you wish, love
Never let me cross your mind
For if you think I'm so unworthy
Go and leave me I don't mind

I know this is probably meaningless, it's just a floating verse, after all, but I wanted to point it out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 09:36 AM

Kevin: I take your point about limited resemblance of Crapshooters to St James as opposed to TUL. But in terms of music and tone, I see some links between the original Crapshooters to the earliest version of St James. Just my personal response, of course. As I've said, though I make no claims to be any good, I am not a singer, more of a musician and music communicates.

It's partly about humour.

If you listen to Fess William's Gambler's Blues (which is an earlier version of St James' Infirmary, very similar chord sequence, copyrighted by people who kept out of the copyright legal battle) it is spoken/sung by a man who, I believe, did comedy, the spoken parts by the band are comical, and there is musical humour in the arrangement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnrT2U_pA0k

Listen to the bit after 'jazz band on my hearse'. The same joke is in Martha Henderson's Crapshooters, albeit it expressed in different music.

Gambler's Blues as done by Fess Wiliams also has the dead march at the end, the same dead march mentioned in TUL. Ditto the Copeland Crapshooters. I imagine both versions may spring from stuff being played on the circuit and people taking up an idea and running with it. Just a guess.

Just listened again to the Armstrong Savoy Ballroom Five version; you forget how well he could sing. It is very good. In the 2nd early version by Armstrong, the slower one, he giggles in a couple of places, I think he is playing a character, probably a pimp, as Harwood and others have suggested.   

Another ludicrously hot day! Staying indoors with curtains shut.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 08:57 AM

Yes, Lighter. It does. It's like a 'floating line'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 08:53 AM

> Nine men going to the graveyard
   And only eight men coming back.

This couplet also appears in at least one 1920s version of "Frankie and Johnny."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 08:02 AM

When I say 'I know I done wrong' ending in the Crapshooters, I don't mean literally, I mean the sentiment/theme, in the Crapshooter this is developed in terms of going to hell and being controlled by the devil. I read a novel by Scottish folklorist/tradition bearer Margaret Hogg's son, James, which develops this belief via a character. James Hogg also collected folk songs, working with Scott. He played fiddle.
Sorry, going off at a tangent. Too much sun. Bring back winter!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 07:37 AM

Absolutely agree with Lighter about the essay he found. Some of it is plain wrong. The record store owner McTell sang it to was white, not African American. Admixture of knowledge and guesswork. The author gives 1940 as his birthdate on that same site, and the essay is dated at 1989. So presumably this is undergraduate work by mature student.


Also agree with Kevin's 'head aching' point.

Whatever Samuel Charters said about it, Blind Willie McTell didn't write that song. It was written by Porter Grainger, who registered the copyright in July 1927. I'm sure Grainger knew of the tradition and drew on it for the words. Not the tune though.

It seems that Samuel Charters did not do his research on that one, even if he did correctly perceive a link to Streets of Loredo!

McTell modifies the words and simplifies the harmonic structure, so that his version sounds a lot less like a professionally composed vaudeville/tin-pan alley song. Don't get me wrong: I like McTell's version, and most of his stuff, but I don't believe he wrote it. He 'made it his own', adding local colour and doing away with bits you could see as 'moralistic'. Rather like Lloyd did with his version in a way! McTell adds local colour too relating to Atlanta Georgia.


Porter Grainger also wrote the score for a Harlem African American performance of Macbeth that Orson Wells put on. Interesting character.

For more on Crapshooter, Harwood's book on St James' Infirmary seems to me to be a good source. And there is a book on McTell by Michael Gray.

The song was released in 4 different versions and, if I remember aright, a piano roll in the same year. Given that these 'Blues queens' who recorded it made their money largely by touring, not from recording, the song would likely have been taken round the country. Also sheet music would have been sold, this was a big part of the business. Grainger also wrote songs recorded by Clara Smith and Victoria Spivey.

The funeral request does seem to be the main link. I think, on the basis of reading Harwood, including his account of the St James Infirmary copyright case, and taking into account the appearance of songs in Sandburg's songbook, that various versions were being played by touring bands definitely in the early 20s and possibly before that.


This is speculative, but in Crapshooter the character begins with J (Jim Johnson) and so do other variants (Old Joe, St James). I have just this minute realised that Jim (as in Jim Johnson) is diminutive of James, so that is another link.

Another link is the embedding of a first person narrative within another narrative, though the first narrative is 3rd person not the first person of the early TUL.


Also, the early versions tend to have 'I know I done wrong' endings which this song also has. They mention the dead march in some early versions. On the Martha Copeland version the band actually plays a snatch of it. Quite a few links.

Even on the recorded versions the words differ slightly. Overall, the original words seems to me to reflect a Calvinistic predestination view of the human condition, but that is just me, on the basis of 'The devil told me what to do'.


I believe that gangster funerals in 1920s New York could be very well-attended affairs; maybe the song reflects that.

These are the words on the Martha Copeland version. You can hear it free on Spotify. Interesting to see which bits McTell added over the years and which bits he left out. (NB Mc Tell sang it slightly differently each time).

Jim Johnson gambled night and day
With crooked cards and dice.   
A simple man, without a soul,
His heart was cold as ice.

He said: ‘I feel so doggone blue
I want to die today
The devil told me what to do
But I ain’t had my say

I want you all to know
The way I want to go.

I want eight crapshooters for my pall bearers
And let them all be dressed in black
Nine men going to the graveyard
And only eight men coming back.

I want a jazz band on my coffin
A chorus girl on my hearse
And don’t say one good word about me
For my life’s been a doggone curse

Send poker players to the graveyard
To dig my grave with the ace of spades.
Have police in my funeral march
While the warden leads the parade.

I want the judge who jailed me 14 times
To put a pair o’ dice in my shoes.                           
Then let a deck of cards be my tombstone,
I’ve got the dying crapshooter’s blues

(Spoken) Oh, I ain’t never been on the level
Now I’m dying, I’m going to the devil

My head’s aching, my heart’s thumping.
I’m going down below, bouncing and a jumping

Don’t be standing round me crying;
I want everybody to Charleston (Charleston music here) while I’m dying –
One foot up and a toenail dragging.

Throw me in that hoodoo wagon
Mr Devil, stand outside -
I’ve got the dying crapshooter’s blues' (snatch of Dead March)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 06:23 AM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 03:43 AM

The Crapshooter's Blues has a funeral request that is very close to "The Unfortunate Lad" and Blind Willie McTell's version also has the "head is aching, heart is breaking" line found in many versions of "Bad Girls Lament".

I think it's relationship to "Unfortunate Lad" is more obvious than that of "St. James' Infirmary".

Here are the interesting parts from Crapshooter's Blues:

Sixteen real good crapshooters
Sixteen bootleggers to sing a song
Sixteen racket men gamblin'
Couple tend bar while i'm rollin' along

He wanted 22 womens outta the Hampton Hotel
26 off-a South Bell
29 women outta North Atlanta
Know little Jesse didn't pass out so swell

His head was achin', heart was thumpin'
Little Jesse went to hell bouncin' and jumpin'
Folks, don't be standin' around ole Jesse cryin'
He wants everybody to do the charleston whilst he dyin'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 06:22 PM

More speculative discussion here, most of it familiar, much of it dubious:

https://www.earlyblues.com/Essay%20-%20Tracing%20The%20Origins%20of%20Dying%20Crapshooters%20Blues%20-%20Chapter%20II.htm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 09:38 AM

"I have heard Mary's version of "The Kilkenny Louse House", I think it's a great example of her sense of humor."
It took us four goes to record that - seh broke down laughing each time she sang it
The same with 'Donnelly' (a version of 'Jolly Tinker)
One of the things about her songs was, by the time we started recording her, they had fallen out of fashion so she jumped at the chance of a captive audience
We were introduced to her while she was stopping on a field in West Drayton, west of London.
When we asked her for songs she was sitting at the bottom of the field on a chair - she immediately began to sing '
a version of 'Famous Flower of Serving Men' and by the time we reached her trailer she had sung parts of three
I recorded them as we walked on a Uher slung across my shoulder
The recordings are punctuated by trains going past - the field was on the main line to the West Country
Good memories
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 08:57 AM

Thank you for this background on Mary Delaney, Jim.
It's wonderful to hear memories of a singer like these from the man who met and recorded that singer.

'She had a large repertoire which she usually remembered on request, but each time the songs came out slightly differently'

That's something I noticed with many recordings of Travellers, many singers never sang a song the same way twice.
It's as if they don't have a fixed version of a song in mind, they put it together from stock phrases fitting the story on the spot each time they sing it.

I have heard Mary's version of "The Kilkenny Louse House", I think it's a great example of her sense of humor.
I'm sure it was quite the experience recording her.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 08:35 AM

"Jim, do you remember hearing any cowboy songs from Travellers?"
Not cowboy songs as such - plenty of modern Country and Western from the youngsters
Mary's version is interesting as it is very much her own somewhat confuse rendition
Knocklong is a reference to a rebel song entitled 'The Station of Knocklong' (in Limerick, not too far from the Limerick/Tipperary Border - the scene of a song about an ambush durig the War of independence - The Station of Knocklong')
Mary's life would furnish the a plot for a Dostoyevsky novel; she was blind from birth and brought up her sixteen children on the road, for part of her life, without a husband.
She loved singing and sucked up songs like a vacuum cleaner - entirely orally
She had a large repertoire which she usually remembered on request, but each time the songs came out slightly differently
When she chose to leave the road and into a squalid council flat in Hackney, our visits to her were like sitting next to an emotional volcano - she poured all her misery, anger and (for that period) loneliness into each song - on numerous times she broke down emotionally when she sang (she also fell about laughing at her comic songs)
A truly creative singer.
Listen to her 'Buried in Kilkenny' if it's on the web - I'm pretty sure that was recorded when she was in Hackney.

The was one of those who discriminated between her different types of song
The called those we would refer to as 'folk' as, "me daddy's songs" (when we recorded him he only knew six, mainly fragments) - she was talking about a type of song rather than actual songs.
She could have doubled her repertoire with her C and W songs, but she refued
She told us, "They're not the ones we're talking about - I only remember them 'cause that's what tha lads ask for in the pub"
Shwe was from Cashel, in Tipperary, by the way.

Now look what you've done - you've got me started
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 08:04 AM

I'm just guessing here, but "Will you bring me to Tipperary and lay me down easy" and similar phrases in Irish Traveller versions seem to be based on "Will you carry me to the prairie" as it often appears in the "Streets of Laredo" versions.

Jim, do you remember hearing any cowboy songs from Travellers?
I remember reading somewhere that cowboy songs where quite popular with Travellers.

It looks like the cowboy song "Streets of Laredo" has influenced the earlier "Soldier Cut Down" versions in Traveller repertoires.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 07:26 AM

Thanks for sharing these songs, Jim.

The Cowboy Shot in Long North is fascinating. Where is Long North, and do they have 'cowboys' there? Is it in or near Tipperary? Also, the mention of writing to his mother and his sister, in the context of widespread traveller non-literacy, jumped out at me.

The first one reminds me a bit of the Sarah Wilson songs, about jilted/disappointed women.

Just informal thoughts, not advancing any theory here.

Thanks again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 03:00 PM

Kevin
I'm pretty sure that Annie (or Hannah Franklin appears in one of the 19th century Scots collections - 'Pedlar's Pack' maybe
I'll check later (while I'm catching up on Holby City)
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 02:35 PM

Thank you very much for posting these, Jim!
The first version from Peggy Delaney is very interesting, it's like a missing link between the Newfoundland version "Annie Franklin" (even the name is very similar) and Tom Lenihan's Irish version.
Annie Franklin (Collected by Kenneth Peacock)

I think that the existance of Peggy Delaney's Irish version with that ending verse makes an Irish origin for Lenihan's version more believable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 01:47 PM

Two versions I forgot - both recorded by us from Irish Travellers
Jim

Peggy Delaney (nee McCarthy) Caheciveen Kerry

On a fine summer's morning as I went out walking,
On a fine summer's morning I happened to stray,
It was up to Kilver Hospital to see my fine daughter
Wrapped up in red flannen (flannel) as cold as the clay.

Send for my mother and tell her I'm dying,
Send for the doctor and make no delay,
Six little maidens for to lead me on their shoulders
And they played the dead march as they take me away."

There were six little maidens for to lead her on their shoulders
And they played the dead march as they took her away.
He was my defaulter, he was my deceiver,
He brought me to destructions and now on my clay,

Here lies the body of one who was handsome,
Here lies the body of one who was gay,
Here lies the body of poor Hannah Franklin
That died for the young man that led her astray.

B   Cowboy Shot In North Long    (Laws B1) (Roud 2)
Mary Delaney Cashel Tipperary (tape) 79)   

I roamed to Tipperary one evening on sunset,
The nightingale whistled the merrily birds sing,
Bring me over Tipperary and leave me down easy,
I am yet the young cowboy was shot in North Long

Did anybody write to my dearest poor old mother?
Did anybody write to my sister so gay?
Come and bring me a cup of that pure Christian water,
I’m a dashing young cowboy and I’m dying today.

There goes a cowboy in his whole suit of linen,
In his whole suit of linen as cold as the clay,
If you give him a drop of the pure Christian water
He's a brave dashing cowboy and he's dying today.

Let six jolly cowboys come carry my coffin,
Six jolly more come and march by my side,
Let each of them carry a bunch of wild roses,
Let them know I’m gay cowboy was shot in the wrong.

Come play the drums merrily and play the drums slowly,
Play then the dead march as we go along,
When he came to it the spirit departed,
And it flew from the heart of the cowboy so gay.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 07:50 AM

In case you haven't seen it I put a chronological list of articles on the thread about Belden and the Rake.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Reinhard
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 04:31 AM

Brian, I just bought the album "Deep River of Song - Black Texicans" on iTunes. Ironhead Baker's St James Hospital begins mid in the second line exactly as the Youtube copy from the album and both have the same duration of 2:11. So there's no extra Youtube editing/deleting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 04:31 AM

Well, one thing I didn't expect to see in this thread was a reference to Edgar Broughton.

That apart, good work Karen in carrying on digging. The exposé of Lloyd's claims was very thorough.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 04:26 AM

As I was a walking down by the Special Clinic
As I was a walking there I realised
That the notice outside that said 'Virgin'
Meant not pure, but that's it privatised.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 03:57 AM

Some folk songs have themes that remain stubbornly relevant in today's society.

"Sexual health clinics 'at tipping point' after Government cuts and huge rise in demand, councils warn. Charities say under-funding is likely to lead to more people contracting sexually transmitted infections."

Unfortunate indeed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 01:50 AM

Henry, I did have political demons in mind. For some reason, when I read your post an old Edgar Broughton band song sprang into my head. I put it down to this darned hot weather.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 05:27 PM

That is a possibility, especially if you have political demons in mind.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 02:48 PM

Not even 'Out, Demons Out!'?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 08:11 AM

Paupers' funerals continue today;

"Families who must reportedly rely on publicly-funded funerals are told they cannot be at the service. An official at Bracknell Forest Council, in Berkshire, was recorded telling undercover reporters that relatives would not even be told when the burial or cremation was taking place, according to The Sunday Times. “There’s no attendees, no keeping of the ashes,” the official is reported to have said. “Nobody’s invited, you don’t have any say at all.”

So there won't be any singing either.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 07:10 AM

I have Vic Gammon’s book Desire, Drink and Death in English Folk and Vernacular Song, 1600-1900    (Ashgate, 2008) for a short while on inter-library loan, and very interesting it is.
I wondered whether the sections on death and desire might have anything of relevance to the story of The Unfortunate Lad. I was thinking about actual funeral practices and about ends including funeral requests and how these might be linked.
On venereal disease Mr Gammon quotes the Tarpaulin Jacket, and another song which does not seem linked to the TUL/R.
In a section on songs about abandoned girls, he has a verse (p35/6; source VWML, Broadwood Broadside Collection. Roud 1493) with some resemblance to verses in some TUL-linked songs, from the song Sarah Wilson (AKA Betsy Watson?), which I have seen mentioned before in the context of ‘The Rake Cycle’. A 1959 Goldstein article includes the whole song, citing a USA work by Carrington Cox as saying it is from a broadsheet published in London by P Saul. Cox listed it as a song related to The Cowboy’s Lament/TUR. This song may be interesting to somebody who hasn’t seen it before, so here is an extract from Gammon. The similarity is the request for female pall bearers:

Six pretty maids pray let me have
To bear me to the silent grave;
All cloth’d in white a comely show,
To bear me to the shades below.

Gammon discusses funeral practices and music as part of the context for the funeral hymns that he explores later in the book. Some bits of the C of E funeral service could be sung, but this was mostly psalms. So anything other than that could be regarded as a deviation by a C of E clergyman.

In some places there was a custom of singing over the coffin before its journey to the church began.

Fascinatingly, Gammon (p198) finds evidence that in 1851 observers saw a funeral precession in which maidens wearing white and singing as they went did carry the bier of a deceased girl to her grave, and that it was said the same practice ‘obtains in very many parts of England’. On this basis, the maidens in the lock hospital songs and in Sarah Wilson might possibly reflect actual practice?

Psalms, if anything, were sung during funeral processions. Some specific funeral hymns were written. One such hymn, written in the 1st person, tells people not to mourn as they will be going to heaven eventually. (Reminding me of the Dying Crapshooter’s Blues).


In church, Mozart’s dead march was sometimes played. (Snatches of this appear in some early recorded variants/possible variants of Gambler’s Blues/TUR.) A piece called ‘The Vital Spark’ was popular with some congregations, though clergymen, aware that the words were derived from something pagan, tended to strongly disapprove of this. This song, words originally by Alexander Pope, is mentioned in Bishop and Roud’s book of English folk song.

Gammon finds evidence that some families wanted people to sing over the coffins/graves of their loved ones.

But funerals were expensive and not everybody could afford one.

Poor Law Unions, an early form of local government carried the costs in such cases and provided minimum arrangements. Starting in 1831/2(?), if the family were paupers and could not afford a funeral, the body could legally be seized and used for dissection, with the institution where the person had died collecting a small fee.

Gammon’s main focus is on what he calls the Anglo-Catholicism.
For those of the population who were Dissenters, as were some of my own ancestors, burial and the C of E monopoly of graveyards brought its own problems.

I don’t get the impression that these clergymen would have been very pleased if people turned up with guns and drums and started their own ceremony using these.

Gammon’s book leaves us in no doubt, if we ever were in such doubt, that broadsheets were often used deliberately for propaganda purposes.


On this basis, I believe that the rash (pardon the expression!) of TUL broadsheets in the 2nd half of the 19th century, with their references to ‘lock hospitals’ reflects public policy at the time, which led to the building of many lock hospitals, hospitals which were, it should be remembered, explicitly aimed at women believed to be prostitutes.

I believe that the Victorian audience for TUL would understand that TUL knows he has the disease because his partner is locked up in the lock hospital, not because he has been in there himself. And that partner would have been judged (even if wrongly) by some local official to be a prostitute.

It doesn’t surprise me that the song survived in the armed forces, because that is the group whose infection caused the concern resulting in the Contagious Diseases Acts being passed, and at whom the public policy was aimed. It wouldn't surprise me if it had been handed out with breakfast in an attempt to educate the soldiers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 23 Jun 18 - 07:05 AM

It occurs to me that if the chap in My Jewel did get the pox abroad on active service it might have just have been the American War of Independence as Cork was an important port in this battle.
Napoleonic wars seem too late.
I'm joking: I'm not convinced that My Jewel is even in the same family.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 24 May 5:29 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.