The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #89022   Message #1678193
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
24-Feb-06 - 08:41 PM
Thread Name: Origins: The Golden Glove (Dog and Gun)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Glove (Dog and Gun)
Not necessarily; but we can only go on the evidence we actually have. In this case, we have no examples from print, so far as can be told, prior to the early years of the 19th century; and no traditional examples that can be shown to pre-date the late 18th (and that only by implication: see, for example, Christie, Traditional Ballad Airs, II, 1881, 114-5).

At this point there is always the risk of running into the truism "the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"; but all that means is that we can't say that the song isn't older than that; though there is no particular reason to think that it is. Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie suggest that it dates back "at least [to] the beginning of the 18th century", but offer no evidence (nor, so far as I can see, is any to be found elsewhere): their comment, therefore, has to be disregarded at least pro tem.

Dixon (I think it was him rather than Bell?) again presents no evidence or source for his suggestion (unlikely on the face of it) that the song is in some way based on an "Elizabethan" incident; though it's perfectly possible that there is more information to be found on that score and we just haven't got it yet.

Meanwhile, anything based on the possibility that the song is more than a couple of hundred years old can only be speculation. The same would apply to any "Lord of Misrule" connection, I think; not so much on the grounds of age, maybe (my earlier comment was perhaps misleading) as on the grounds of irrelevance. Disguise and cross-dressing are so common in broadside songs that I don't really think we need to look further for enlightenment. Certainly not so far as "pre-Christian mystical imagery"!

Your sleeve notes are good, incidentally: and especially "but that might just be wishful thinking on my part" (!) If only more people were that honest, we'd not have to spend so much time debunking so many modern myths. Traditional music has rather more than its fair share of those.

On the subject of the Carroll and Mackenzie / Wallis business, I must confess that, although I'd assumed that there must be a pre-existing dispute, I hadn't appreciated how Byzantine it actually was. I think I'd best avoid that particular subject in future...