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Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?

21 Jan 19 - 01:47 AM (#3972532)
Subject: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: lefthanded guitar

I recently heard a very appealing version of the song Blackjack Davy
by Carlene Carter ( of the Carter family) along with Kris Kristopherson - two great voices
and nice guitar work too. When she talks about the song, she says
she learned it from her grandmother, and it was sung as an Appalachian ballad.The
folk process is really at work here, as I first heard it years ago as an English
folk ballad. The melody and general story of the song are the same, but
I recall the English folk song as having a lot more verses. And in the old time
ballad this lady forsakes her baby, not so in this newer country version. I remember a
version of it, dating back probably to the seventies , maybe eighties, that I really
liked, but can't remember who did it. ( It was not the Steeleye Span version)
Maybe one of you catters can help me find it again :

I believe the final verse went:
Last night I slept on a fine feather bed
Besides my husband and baby
Tonight I'll sleep on the cold cold ground
In the arms of blackjack Davy.
Also, that version may have been called The Gypsy Davy. I believe it was
on an album that has been lost in transit years ago.


I 'm also interested in what your favorite version of the song might be, and
any other information you have about it. Seems that it goes back a long way,
but has been embraced - and modified and/or evolved- by many popular singers and groups.


Thanks in advance for anything you can tell me.


21 Jan 19 - 02:43 AM (#3972538)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: DaveRo

Mainly Norfolk has a page about this song:
https://mainlynorfolk.info/sandy.denny/songs/gypsydavey.html

I have two favourite versions, both quite different . One by Bob Fox and Stu Luckly on the LP 'Now't so Good'll Pass' and a a lively version by the Incredible String Band on, I think, 'I Looked Up' . The girl is only 15 in the ISB version.


21 Jan 19 - 02:51 AM (#3972539)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: GUEST,Erich

Hard to tell, there are so many great recordings of this song. I have more than 50 in my collection. At the moment I prefer Gavin Davenports version.


21 Jan 19 - 03:49 AM (#3972545)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: Uncle Phil

Lefty, the last verse you quoted was performed by outlaw country singer Waylon Jennings for one. His old roommate was Johnny Cash who married into the Carter Family, so perhaps there is some connection there.


21 Jan 19 - 04:22 AM (#3972553)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: MoorleyMan

The ISB version's always been a favourite - prefer their first studio recording (on I Looked Up) for its great arrangement and joie de vivre. (The remake on Earthspan doesn't come close.)


21 Jan 19 - 02:53 PM (#3972685)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: Dave the Gnome

Steeleye Span. B side of "All around my hat" if I remember rightly as well as on the album of the same name.


21 Jan 19 - 02:58 PM (#3972686)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: peteglasgow

incredibles for me - i have it (somewhere?) as a 45


23 Jan 19 - 12:54 PM (#3973109)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: Georgiansilver

Black Jack Davey by Steeleye Span.


23 Jan 19 - 01:14 PM (#3973117)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith

Well, it's hard to beat any version that Nic Jones comes up with.

Nic's away with the gypsies


23 Jan 19 - 01:58 PM (#3973127)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: GUEST

For the edification of a certain cretinous "mod" THE BLACK COUNTRY is the official designation of an industrial part of middle England.


23 Jan 19 - 02:51 PM (#3973143)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: Dave the Gnome

I went to a Black Country evening in Dudley (pronounced Duddel eye) once and could not understand most of what was sung!


24 Jan 19 - 02:05 AM (#3973190)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: GUEST,Bob Schwarer

I vote for Incredible String Band as the version I like best.


24 Jan 19 - 10:14 AM (#3973268)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: GUEST,henryp

Honours shared between Nic Jones and Incredible String Band.


24 Jan 19 - 10:31 AM (#3973274)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: DaveRo

Here's Bob Fox & Stu Luckley live, which sounds pretty much the same as on the record I have:

Bob Fox & Stu Luckley - The Gypsy Davey

It's odd that some versions hve 'Gypsum Davey'. Makes me think of an itinerant plasterer.


24 Jan 19 - 02:08 PM (#3973334)
Subject: RE: Origins: What is your favorite Blackjack Davy?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith

Hedy West did a ridiculously good version on her Fontana album "Serves 'Em Fine"(1970)
Amazingly, I think I'm correct in saying that this wonderful album has never had a cd release!