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Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla

DigiTrad:
CRUEL MOTHER
THE CRUEL MOTHER
THE CRUEL MOTHER (4)
THE CRUEL MOTHER 2
WELLA, WELLA


Related threads:
Lyr/Chords Add: Weela Wallia (12)
Lyr Req: Weela Wallia: 'stuck the penknife in his. (15)
Tune Req: Cruel Mother - John Renbourn Group (1)
(origins) Penguin: The Cruel Mother (Child #20) (18)
Lyr Req: The Sun Shines Fair on Carlisle Wall (12)
Icelandic 'Cruel Mother' story (10)
Lyr Req: The Cruel Mother (from Paul Clayton) (3)
William Williamson's "Cruel Mother" (5)
Lyr Req: Cruel Mother variant: Fine Flowers in... (27)
Chord Req: The rose and the lindsey (4)
Child #20 - what is Lindsay? (26)
(origins) Origins: Weila weila waila (7)
The Cruel Mother (6)
Lyr Req: Cruel Mother (#20, Hedy West) (17)
Lyr Req: Cruel Mother (from Dave & Toni Arthur) (5)
Cruel Mother (Redpath) (3)
Lyr Req: Fine Flowers in the Valley / Cruel Mother (7)
Lyr Req: The Rose and the Lindsey-O (27)
cruel mother - with 'penknife three foot long' (4) (closed)


Mrrzy 26 Jun 19 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,Sourdough 25 Jun 19 - 10:46 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Aug 17 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,JTT 15 Aug 17 - 08:19 AM
GUEST 11 Feb 13 - 06:30 PM
Fergie 18 Dec 12 - 07:36 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 12 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,Richard Harold's Cross 05 Jun 12 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Desi C 04 Mar 11 - 02:16 PM
Clontarf83 03 Mar 11 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Desi C 03 Mar 11 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Grishka 03 Mar 11 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Christine 02 Mar 11 - 08:45 PM
GUEST,digger 05 Feb 11 - 07:36 AM
GUEST,Sandy 07 Sep 10 - 10:55 PM
Steve Gardham 18 May 10 - 02:21 PM
Tannywheeler 18 May 10 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Mao_li_Osa 18 May 10 - 11:59 AM
GUEST 12 May 10 - 02:29 AM
Steve Gardham 21 Oct 09 - 07:06 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Oct 09 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,billy 14 Oct 09 - 11:22 PM
jeddy 07 Sep 09 - 11:32 PM
Azizi 07 Sep 09 - 10:27 PM
Azizi 07 Sep 09 - 10:17 PM
Azizi 07 Sep 09 - 10:07 PM
Azizi 07 Sep 09 - 09:38 PM
MGM·Lion 07 Sep 09 - 02:41 PM
Les in Chorlton 07 Sep 09 - 02:30 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Sep 09 - 01:02 PM
jeddy 07 Sep 09 - 01:04 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Sep 09 - 11:24 PM
MGM·Lion 06 Sep 09 - 10:22 PM
MGM·Lion 06 Sep 09 - 09:36 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Sep 09 - 05:47 PM
MGM·Lion 06 Sep 09 - 12:49 PM
MGM·Lion 06 Sep 09 - 11:21 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Sep 09 - 10:05 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Sep 09 - 12:48 AM
Mrrzy 24 Feb 09 - 11:23 AM
goatfell 24 Feb 09 - 11:14 AM
JP2 24 Feb 09 - 11:03 AM
MartinRyan 23 Feb 09 - 04:35 PM
Richard Mellish 23 Feb 09 - 04:14 PM
Richard Mellish 23 Feb 09 - 04:02 PM
MartinRyan 23 Feb 09 - 03:02 AM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Feb 09 - 10:21 PM
GUEST,O Faolain 22 Feb 09 - 09:25 PM
HuwG 04 Jun 08 - 11:17 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Jun 08 - 03:28 AM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Jun 19 - 10:15 AM

Not a witch, a mom, who stabs the baby. Love this song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST,Sourdough
Date: 25 Jun 19 - 10:46 PM

I wish I could remember who explained the cause of the "dirty river" to me but he said it was caused by the water upstream having run through peat marshes for centuries. The first settlement in the area was at the intersection of the two rivers. Because the Poddle was dark and the Liffey clear, it caused a black pool to be a feature of the spot. The name of the settlement, Dublin, came as a description of that black pool.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Aug 17 - 01:52 PM

Further to Michael's offer (Sept 7th, 09, 02.41 pm) to send me his article relating a version of this song to Babylon (Child 14), he did indeed send me the article and this is by way of a belated thankyou. However my previous comments still stand.

Now sadly Michael is no longer with us, if anyone requires a copy I'd be happy to supply it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 15 Aug 17 - 08:19 AM

Answering a long-ago question (13 years old), the Poddle, which flows through Kimmage and down to join the Liffey at the centre of Dublin (though the central part is long since culverted) was known as "abhann salach" or "dirty river" (probably because of mills and tanneries along it), and is thought to be the origin of the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 06:30 PM

Yes I was and and still am a member of Wrigley Head. WE learnt the same from John Price of Earlsdone Morris.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Fergie
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 07:36 PM

GUEST

I think you mother was trying to protect you from reality.

Fergus


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 07:22 PM

My Mam always sung it 'She stuck the knife in the loaf of bread'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST,Richard Harold's Cross
Date: 05 Jun 12 - 01:40 PM

Interesting comment on the abhaile (homewards) as an explanation for weela weela awaala. One other item that would suggest this version as distinctly Irish is my understanding of the river Saile as being the Irish for the Willow river, saile meaning willow tree, as in The Sally Gap in the mountains above Dublin (rather than the dirty river as suggested at the start with its shorter vowel and harsh ending, although it too is possible) . Always called, by true Dubliners, as Sally's Gap (maybe she owned the unfortunate horse) it is the Willow tree gap. Although for a long time as a kid I heard it and sang it as the river sai'ed in the Dublin accent for side, where single vowel words tend to have the vowel lenghtened and pronounced twice; words like wo'ords, or "come hee'ar", for come here or "whe'ar" for where but I think Saile is the correct word since as kids we would have heard it long before we read the words.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 02:16 PM

True we don't see kids skipping any more, guess they're all too stoned or obese!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Clontarf83
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 02:30 PM

First time I heard it was on a Radio Eireann show called "The School Around the Corner" hosted by Paddy Crosby. The show consisted of getting little kids (usually inner city)up for a brief interview and then they do a song or a "pome". A kid came up with this ballad and had the audience in stitches.

The format often asked the kid to tell of a "funny incidence" and one kid came up with this (I heard about this indirectly, so I hope its not a wind up)

Kid: "There wuz a horse and it fell down a hole, and they had to shoot it"
Paddy: "and where did they shoot it?"
Kid: "In the hole"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 01:59 PM

You can find full lyrics, chords and video on the Martin Dardis site www.unitedirelandtripod.ie or just put Martin Dardis site in search


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 06:19 AM

I am a bit disappointed to see no one complaining about Joe's ABC code of 12½ years ago, which obviously was produced from the MIDI by software, misplacing the bar lines. Are black dots a case for a strong detergent?

The same tune with corrected bar lines:

X:1
T:Weela Wallia
M:2/2
Q:1/4=120
K:D
A|"D" A AF2F FA2|A2F F F4|D2F2A2A2|"G" B4 "D" A3\
w:There was an old wo-man who lived in the wood, Wee-la wee-la wall-ia;
A|"A" A AE2E EA2|A2E EE4|"D/F#" A2A3/2 B/2A2F2|"A7" E4 "D" D3|]
w:There was an old wo-man who lived in the wood, Down by the ri-ver Sall-ia.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST,Christine
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 08:45 PM

I heard this song in Dun Laoghaire from some children themselves not jump img roped . It is a shame that kids don't chant when jumping rope. Bit I. Dud see some little girls doing so in Windhoek Namibia.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST,digger
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 07:36 AM

Not so much on the origins but connected. In December 2010 was hiking in Hapao, Hungduan province, deep into the Mountains in the northern Philippines. An amazing and beautiful region but very remote (and about 11,000 miles from "The Liberties") so you can imagine that I nearly fell out of me shoes when I heard some of the native children there singing this song - with a lot of the words having a decidedly inner-city Dublin accent. It turns out a Dublin chap has got himself married to one of the local girls and they visit here every couple of years. I remember the song from way back when but it came as a real shock to hear sang so faithfully in such exotic surroundings.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST,Sandy
Date: 07 Sep 10 - 10:55 PM

@O'Faolain I've heard the same story about the grandmother and the famine. I think it was Ronnie Drew I heard tell it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 10 - 02:21 PM

Mao,
I'm helping to run a seminar for music leaders and teachers in York in July. One of the songs we'll be recommending to teachers is this one, in all its forms.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 18 May 10 - 12:18 PM

Yeah, well, Guest Mao, what do teachers know, anyway? Stick to YOUR guns. Teach 'em trad songs. Keep 'em singing. Tw


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST,Mao_li_Osa
Date: 18 May 10 - 11:59 AM

Fascinating thread! Thanks to all for contributing.

By way of digression, I learned this song as a transplanted Irish child five or so decades ago. Years later, I taught it to my own children, who took to it with glee. When they sang it for their pals in the schoolyard, the teachers immediately banned the singing of it and sent a stiff message home about teaching "inappropriate" songs to my kids...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST
Date: 12 May 10 - 02:29 AM

I always wondered if the lyrics
"weila weila waila"
Originally derive from the Irish word
"abhaile"
Which means home/homeward
Often pronounced "a wella" or "ah wal yeh"

Just an Idea.

B Delaney
Dublin
Ireland


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 07:06 PM

Sorry I've just reread the whole thread and Tony's LIVERPOOL version is given in full. Does anyone know if it's on a Spinners LP?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 02:07 PM

billy,
Sorry but Liverpool 'babby'=baby came before the 'bobby' version. It might be a little boy in your version, but in hundreds of other versions it's a 'baby' or even several babies, and FWIW I love it too in all its manifestations.

In the 1960s Tony Davis (Spinners?) published a few verses of a version in Spin magazine vol 3 No 2. It is very close to the version Michael wrote about earlier in the thread. I gather from the article Tony's version came from Cheshire (Michael's from London) Both 'Old Mother Lee'. I have been PMing Michael and his very interesting version has a tune quite close to that of 'For he's a jolly good fellow'.

Query. Does anyone know if Tony published his tune? Does anyone know of other versions that follow this pattern...

There was an old woman called old Mother Lee
Old Mother Lee, Old Mother Lee
There was an old woman called old Mother Lee
Down by the walnut tree....
or use a variant of this tune? We're obviously not talking about the 'Weile Weile Wolye' variants/pattern here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST,billy
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 11:22 PM

my mom and grandparents grew up on this song. the its not baby at all. its dont stick knives in bobbys head. its not a baby its a little boy she had. iv been going around singing the song all day. i love it 2 :P


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: jeddy
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 11:32 PM

AZZI,
if you type the title into itunes it takes you to different versions. cracking song!!!! we has it on tape years ago and the tape snapped and i haven't been able to find it since.

it is such a shame that kids don't chant or sing mush trad. stuff these days, but then how many parents bring their kids up to respect the old ways? i don't come from a folkie background so i was never taught either, it seems such a shame to lose these things.

take care all

jade x x x


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 10:27 PM

Okay. Yes. I made another error. I meant "shield" but wrote something else.

I apologize.

I shall now return to being a lurker after saying one more thing: Even though I've never heard this song, I really like the "sound" of the line "Weela Weela Walia".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 10:17 PM

Two corrections-just to show you that I do recognize the errors of my ways:

The African American spiritual I was referring to is [Gonna lay down my sword and shiled] "Down By The Riverside".

Also, "through"="throw" in this sentence: "I just wanted to throw that into the mix".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 10:07 PM

I was interested in this comment that Fergie made in her post of 12 Mar 04 - 08:18 AM:


"My grand father had me sing the first line, then he would reply in answer with the second line. He said that was how he learned it when he was a child, he was born in the heart of Dublin city in about 1890. He died in 1974 (Ar dheis Dé go raibh a ainm)."

-snip-

My question is this: Is this the same as the "call & response" pattern? If not, what is that pattern called? And is this (or was this) a common singing pattern in UK folk songs?

-snip-

Also, Fergie wrote "You seldom see street skipping in Dublin anymore, and you hear precious little of "the haunting childrens rhymes, that once were part of Dublin in the rare ould times"."

-snip-

For what it's worth, I concur with the observation that girls don't do "street skipping" (in the USA it's called "jumping rope") much anymore at least in the African American neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and surrounding communities. And when they do group junp rope, the girls turning the ropes on either end and the other girls waiting for their turn to jump seldom chant any rhymes. [I mention "girls" because mostly this is a girl activity]. Girls may count the number of jumps the girl in the middle successfully does, and I've heard girls sing the "Leave the kettle boiling/leave no spaces" rhyme that a teacher taught them. But that's it when it comes to chanting jump rope rhymes.

I think part of the blame for this is having electric dryers means not having any clotheslines that could be "borrowed" for the purpose of jumping rope. Also, it's easier to do handclapping cheers because you don't need anything but your hands or footstomping cheers (dance style cheerleader cheers)because you don't need anything but your feet and your hands.

But even at schools (like the one where I substitute teach) which supply jump ropes for recess, the girls don't chant while they jump rope. As a matter of fact, they don't do handclaps or foot stomping cheers during recess either. I think that girls only chant rhymes and do handclap and foot stomping routines in the comfort of their own setting with a small select group of friends because they're concerned about other people "talking about them" (insulting them).

And that's such a shame.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 09:38 PM

Hello, Michael, I've sent you my email address as I am interested in reading more about this song.

As a bit of a digression, I'm curious if you and others think that the children's taunts about killing their teachers may have their bases in these "cruel mother" songs. For instance, these lines in
Fergie 12 Mar 04 - 08:18 AM's post:

The rope was pulled and she got hung
we la, we la, wall la,
and that old woman she wasn't very good
Round and round her body swung
down by the river Sáile

-snip-

remind me of this contemporary American rhyme:

Joy To The World
Joy to the world
our teacher's dead.
We barbecued her head.
What happened to her body?
We flushed it down the potty
And around and around it goes.
And around and around it goes.
And round and round and round it goes.
-Sara P.)Anglo-American),recited at Catholic middle school, Dayton, Ohio (mid to late 1990s); collected by Azizi Powell,September, 2005

**
And yes, I know that there are probably lots of songs that have lines about something going "round and round". I'm wondering about any possible connection between these "killing the teacher, principal" type rhymes and these United Kingdom "cruel mother" rhymes. For what it's worth, in my research to date, I haven't found any examples of these violent teacher taunts among African American children [from predominately or all Black schools]. And I'm curious if one reason for this could be the difference in cultural traditions that came from the UK and not only differences in cultural traditions between the two populations (European-American and African Americana) in the USA.

**

Also, a lot of versions of American handclap rhyme "Down By The Bank of the Hanky Panky" have as their first line "Down by the riverside hanky panky". I thought that the singers might have gotten the word "riverside" from the African American spiritual [Gonna lay down my sword and shield". Now I'm wondering if that word "riverside" in that widely known rhyme-which is played as a competitive handclap by childen, teens,and young adults-may have come from that "River Saile".

See this comment from MartinRyan 10 Mar 04 - 01:45 PM

"Dunno about erudition but I can give you a plausible derivation:

..down by the river-side, la (weak syllable to improve scansion)"...

-snip-

Of course,I realize that we'll never know, but I just wanted to through that into the mix. See this post I wrote for more on the origin of that rhyme: thread.cfm?threadid=94034#1815711
Origins: Down by the Banks of the Hanky Panky


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 02:41 PM

Thanks Steve, v interested in your possible Society Journal 1930s link, would like to know more about it. & there is of course Ruth Seeger's 1940 US children's variant,= All alone & I love you-all Down by the greenwood sidey-o = which I think made its way into Bronson; but that's a somewhat different strain from the WelaWalia/MotherLee series which we are concerned with here.

Still await your address to send you my NQ note which you have undertaken to read b4 denouncing me again [as I expect you will; but still think you shd read me 1st!].

Traditional greetings Michael


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 02:30 PM

Don't lots of pairs of songs fit this genre?

Green & Yellow / Henry my son

L in C


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 01:02 PM

Michael,
Off the top of my head I think one of the linking versions appeared in the Society Journals in the 30s but I will check this out thoroughly as soon as I get time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: jeddy
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 01:04 AM

thanks for this thread M, i have been wanting to download it for ages but never knew how it was spelt.
i have it now, god i love itunes, even if they have nicked the folk section.

take care all

jade x x x


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 11:24 PM

... in fact it even predated Bronson!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 10:22 PM

In fact, Steve — I would point out also that my article dates from as long ago as 1966 & relates to a song I learned in 1958; so well predates your 'proven evolution' in the form of the Opies' mention in Lore&Language [which I acknowledge in it as having appeared between my collection & publication], the Clancys WelaWallia, The Spinners OldMotherLee, &c —

Indeed, I think I might reasonably claim mine as the pioneering piece on the link [your 'proven evolution'] between this particular children's song & Child 20. Can you point to an earlier publication suggesting this link?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 09:36 PM

Thanks, Steve; so as suggested above, please email or PM me your postal address & I shall send you copy of the article. Michael


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 05:47 PM

Okay, M, I seem to have come across this somewhere before. You're right, I should not condemn a theory without having read it thoroughly, therefore I take up your challenge, but if the gist of the article is based on one word 'Fordie' and the inclusion of the commonplace pen-knife when there are multiple links with 20 and a proven evolution from one to the other, then I will be very skeptical.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 12:49 PM

If, indeed, anyone has difficulty getting hold of my N&Q article but would like to read it [which I reiterate it would be more seemly and scholarly to do before denouncing its speculations as Steve Gardham does above], then let me have a postal address by PM or email - mgm@keme[dot]co[dot]uk - and I will gladly send you a photocopy. If, having read it, you think it all bollocks, that will be your privilege. But to denounce it as such WITHOUT having read it, as Steve did, I repeat I must regard as both unmannerly and unscholarly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 11:21 AM

I made the point about other ballads with penknives in a few versions, giving examples (Twa Brothers, Young Hunting); but counted the number of versions in Child of Cruel Mother [12 of 15] and of Babylon [all 6 of 6; with the penknife mentioned not once but repeatedly in all 6] in which a penknife is the murder weapon - no other ballad in the canon could compare with this frequency.

I also got my informant boy to confirm that he had sung "Fordie" & not some other word. His own suggestion was that it meant police in Ford cars: but when I pointed out that the police came running, not driving, up; & that the Met drove Wolsesleys not Fords in those days, he agreed it was so & could offer no further explanation for the name; which, however, he insisted was the right word that he and his mates always sang.

All this is anticipated and dealt with in my article; which I think you would do well, Steve, to read [I repeat, Notes & Queries {OUP}, March 1966, pp 103-104; an easily accessible, by no means obscure, journal] before attacking my conclusions - or, rather, suggestions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 10:05 AM

M
Sorry but there are enough versions of WEla Wela and in-between versions to directly relate this to Child 20 and NO OTHER ballad. And there are many Child ballads and others in which a pen knife is specified.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 12:48 AM

I learned an "Old Mother Lee" version very similar to the Spinners one above, dated 1970s and apparently learned at school by Tony Davis's sister, in September 1958 from an 11 year old boy called Derek Hastings at Peckham Manor School in S London where I taught.

I published my version in Notes & Queries [Oxford University Press] for March 1966, under title "Murder With A Penknife, a children's song", in which I related it to Child #14, "Babylon; or The Banks Of Fordie", as, my informant, instead of singing 'forty police' as in the Spinners' version, distinctly sang 'the Fordie police'; and because 'The Cruel Mother' and 'Babylon' are the two Child ballads in which a penknife, as distinct from any other sort of implement, is persistently specified as the murder weapon. Any good library will have a set of N&Q in which my arguments, which on rereading I still stand by, can be found fully expounded.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 11:23 AM

That walnut tree one sounds like the Raffi kids' song about Down By THe Bay. Same song? Thread creep, OK, but still, same song?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: goatfell
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 11:14 AM

there's a song from Scotland called the cruel mother and from England called old mother lee and then this one from Ireland, all three are basically the same song


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: JP2
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 11:03 AM

Has anyone come across the version as sung by Wrigley Head Morris Men having stolen and probably mis-learnt, the song from Chris ? at Newtown,Powys, Folk Festival about 20 years ago.
The verses are sung normally but instead of the weelia/wallia chorus it uses the following chorus to a different tune:-


Down by the Walnut tree.
Down by the Sea,where the Walnuts grow,I left my love and dare not go.
Down by the Sea,where the Walnuts,grow,I left my love and dare not
go.

And I wish I could do the dots for you but I can't so there, it doesn't mean I not a good person!
JP2


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 04:35 PM

Richard

I was just fishing! I know of the two songs and was curious to see if it was the Camden Town version - which I've never known "in the wild", so to speak.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 04:14 PM

PS -- only after posting that and shutting down the 'pooter did I realise that I was perpetuating the thread drift, and it would have been better as a PM.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 04:02 PM

Martin asked "Where was the Portugee (along with the woman) slain?"

This sounds like The Maid of Camden Town / The Maid of Cabra West.

A FAIRLY recent song, but old enough to have one version set in London, one in Dublin, and nothing obvious to say which came first.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 03:02 AM

Just noticed HuwG's post:

Nothing to do with origins, but at a session I recently attended, there was a long catalogue of songs involving the killing of faithless girlfriends (Delia's Gone, For the Love of a Portugee, etc)


Where was the Portugee (along with the woman) slain? I'll drop HuwG a PM.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 10:21 PM

You can be pretty sure that's 'folklore about folklore'; an 'old wives tale' -or father's- if you prefer. People like to be able to explain things so that they make more sense to them or to others, and it's very common to find songs developing 'back-stories', often linking them to particular times, places or individuals. It can give a personal resonance -an enhanced sense of cultural ownership if you like- but that can also lead to a degree of protectiveness when two mutually contradictory stories clash. 'Are you calling my old Grandmother a liar?' You know the sort of thing.

Although this playground version of the centuries-old 'Cruel Mother' story may have Irish roots, it's found all over Britain as well, and it's pretty unlikely that we will ever know where or when it was made into the 'Woman in the Wood' / 'Old Mother Lee' form. You'll find other localized 'explanations' in some of the other discussions here of this song and its many relatives; see the list of links at the top of the page.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: GUEST,O Faolain
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 09:25 PM

My father told me years ago that the song was based on a grandmother whose family had died during the Famine and when it was just her and the baby left rather than watch it die of starvation she killed the baby.I cant find a true timeline on the song and was wondering if anyone heard anything similar or it was an old wives(Fathers) tale.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: HuwG
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 11:17 AM

Nothing to do with origins, but at a session I recently attended, there was a long catalogue of songs involving the killing of faithless girlfriends (Delia's Gone, For the Love of a Portugee, etc). Someone asked, "Can we have a song where the bird doesn't die?" From somewhere on the floor came, "There was an old woman and she lived in the woods, weile, weile, waile..."

Not quite what was requested, but it brought the house down.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Weela Weela Walia /Wela Wolla
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 03:28 AM

This was a favourite among Irish Traveller children
We recorded a wonderful version from one child who sang the verse about the arrest of the mother as
"Two dead-knockers came knocking at the door", and one London version has;
"The took her in the Black Maria (old term for police waggon)
And tied her up with old barbed-wire".

Don't you just love 'em!
Jim Carroll


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