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Lyr Req: Matty Groves

DigiTrad:
FATTY GROVES
LORD BANNER
MATTIE GROVES


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Maelgwyn (inactive) 22 Feb 99 - 07:52 PM
Will 22 Feb 99 - 11:02 PM
ddw in windsor 22 Feb 99 - 11:28 PM
Sandy Paton 23 Feb 99 - 12:07 AM
Joe Offer 23 Feb 99 - 03:07 AM
Gordon Dougherty 23 Feb 99 - 01:19 PM
Willie-O 23 Feb 99 - 03:38 PM
Sandy Paton 23 Feb 99 - 06:11 PM
ddw in windsor 23 Feb 99 - 11:39 PM
Joe Offer 24 Feb 99 - 03:14 AM
Steve Parkes 24 Feb 99 - 03:50 AM
Joe Offer 24 Feb 99 - 02:17 PM
Jon W. 24 Feb 99 - 04:03 PM
Sandy Paton 25 Feb 99 - 09:44 PM
Steve Parkes 26 Feb 99 - 03:46 AM
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Subject: Matty Groves
From: Maelgwyn (inactive)
Date: 22 Feb 99 - 07:52 PM

I found a version of this song as I was going through my tape collection today. Unfortunately, I managed somehow to avoid recording the first verse. Anyone know what it is? Here's what seems to be the second verse, maybe it's the third or fourth, who knows.

The first to come down was dressed in red/ The second one dressed in green/ And the third to come down was Lord Daniel's wife/ Fair as any queen


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Will
Date: 22 Feb 99 - 11:02 PM

Joan Baez recorded it on Joan Baez in Concert. But they were dressed in Black. Very different words. I never noticed back then how Spanish her guitar playing was. In this song, the guitar builds up incredible tension and power.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: ddw in windsor
Date: 22 Feb 99 - 11:28 PM

check out the DT listings for another -- very long -- version of this song. Also, I think I remember Doc Watson doing a version of it, tho' I don't remember the album it was on. You might check the 4-CD set of everything he recorded for Vanguard.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 23 Feb 99 - 12:07 AM

Paul Clayton collected a version from Finley Adams in Wise County, Virginia, that began:

One day, one day, one holy day,
The very first day of the year,
The little Matthy Groves to the church did go,
Some holy words to hear.

Then it went on with what is essentially your verse, only it was Lord Darnel, not Daniel, in his version.

I suspect what you heard is the version popularized quite early on by John Jacob Niles. If so, I'm pretty sure it will be found in his Ballad Book, and quite probably in Joan Baez's, too. Paul recorded the Adams version on one of his Folkways albums.

I collected a nice version from Joseph Able Trivett in Butler, Tennessee, back in 1961. That's on a "custom cassette" from Folk-Legacy Records now. But why can't I find the ballad in the DT? Hey, JOE! Help! What am I doing wrong?

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Feb 99 - 03:07 AM

Hi, Sandy - you rang? What was it you needed help with? Searching for MATTIE GROVES in the Digital Tradition? You'll note there's a difference in spelling. Best to use "wildcards" (asterisks) and search for [mat* grov*]. You'll come up with just one version, but then you can search again using the Child Ballad number at the bottom of the lyrics, #81. Still, we come up with just two versions (click here for the second) and a parody. Seems we ought to have more. Got more to post? Of course, we have this thread and this.
-Joe Offer-
DDW, the Doc Watson Vanguard Years 4-CD set certainly does not contain everything Doc recorded for Vanguard, and it doesn't have "Matty Groves." It has a mere 64 songs, a total of about 175 minutes - that's under 44 minutes per CD, and it would easily fit on 3 CD's. Vanguard was quite generous on their Weavers and Baez box sets, but they sure were stingy with their Doc Watson music. I wonder why. Say, that's a good idea for a new thread (click here)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Gordon Dougherty
Date: 23 Feb 99 - 01:19 PM

...and even more versions; I sing a version that I heard on a recording done by Steeleye Span that begins,

"A holidy, a holiday, and the first one of the year. Lord Donald's wife came into the church, the gospel for to hear. And when the meeting, it was done, she cast her eyes about, and there she saw little Matty Groves, walking through the crowd."


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Willie-O
Date: 23 Feb 99 - 03:38 PM

Seems like Fairport Convention recorded Matty Groves on about every second album they put out. Or maybe I'm being conservative.

A first for everything... Bill


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 23 Feb 99 - 06:11 PM

Yeah, and they did it to the tune of Matty's disreputable brother, "Shady Grove."

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: ddw in windsor
Date: 23 Feb 99 - 11:39 PM

Hey Joe

You're right, of course. Doc's 4-CD set didn't include Matty ful and was winging it on an obviously faulty memory. I don't really know what I was thinking of, but I can't shake the feeling that I've heard Doc do that song. Maybe it's just wishful thinking. Anyway, for Maelgwyn, there is a long version of the song and some interesting comment in Alan Lomax's Folk Songs of North America that is definitely an Americanized version. He says the song virtually disappeared from the British Isles after about 1850, but has shown up in various forms in almost every area of the U.S.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Feb 99 - 03:14 AM

Hi, DDW - I thought I'd heard Doc sing the song, too, so I looked it up at CDNOW - "Matty Groves" is on Doc's "Home Again" CD on Vanguard.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 24 Feb 99 - 03:50 AM

This song really seems to be prolific! There are several threads which mention Matt(h)y Groves or Little Musgrave, and there must be more than half-a-dozen "genuine" as-collected versions in use - probably many more, I would guess. Why don't we try and obtain as many as we can for the DT?

While I'm about it, I'll ask again if anyone knows the Dudley (England) version that was written by a very well-known Black Country singer (I have this terrible condition called nominal dysphasia, which means I forget people's names - that's my excuse) whose name escapes me; the protagonists are both teddy boys.

Steve


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Subject: Lyr Add: MATTY GROVES
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Feb 99 - 02:17 PM

Here's a version that's a bit different:

Matty Groves

Hi ho, hi ho, holiday, the best day of the year:
little Matty Groves to church did go, some holy words to hear.
He spied three ladies dressed in black as they came into view:
Lord Arlin's wife was gaily clad, a flower among the few.
She tripped up to Matty Groves, her eyes so low cast down,
saying "Pray, oh pray come with me stay as you pass through the town."
"I cannot go; I dare not go: I fear 'twould cost my life,
for I see by that little ring you wear, you are Lord Arlin's wife."
"This may be false, this may be true; I can't deny it all,
but Arlin's gone to consecrate King Henry at Whitehall.
Oh pray, oh pray come with me stay: I'll hide you out of sight;
I'll serve you there beyond compare, and sleep with you at night."

Her little page did listen well to all that she did say,
and ere the sun could rise again, he swiftly sped away,
and he did run the king's highway, he swam against the tide;
he ne'er did stop until he came to the great Lord Arlin's side.
"What news, what news, my bully boy: what news brings you to me?
My castle burnt, my tenants robbed, my lady with baby?"
"No harm has come your house and land," the little page did say,
"but Matty Groves is bedded up with your fair lady gay."

Lord Arlin called his merry men, he bade them with him go;
he bade them never a word to speak, nor ever a horn to blow.
But of Lord Arlin's merry men was one who wished no ill:
the bravest lad in all the crew blew his horn so loud and shrill.
"What's this, what's this?" cried Matty Groves, "What's this that I do hear?
It sounds like Arlin's merry men, the ones that I do fear!"
"Lie down, lie down now Matty Groves, and keep me from the cold:
it's only Arlin's merry men, a-calling the sheep to fold."

Now Matty Groves, he did lie down; he took a nap of sleep,
and when he woke, Lord Arlin was a-standing at his feet.
"How now, how now, my bully boy, and how do you like my sheets?
And how do you like my fair young bride, who lies in your arms asleep?"
"It's very well I like your bed, and well I like your sheets,
but it's best I like your fair young bride, who lies in my arms asleep."
"Rise up, rise up now Matty Groves, as fast as ever you can!
In England it shall never be said I slew a naked man."
"I won't get up; I can't get up: I won't get up for my life,
for you have got two Spanish swords, and I but a pocket knife!"
"It's true I have two Spanish swords; they cost me deep in my purse,
but you shall have the better of them and I shall have the worse,
and you shall strike the very first stroke: you'll strike it like a man,
and I shall strike the very next stroke, and I'll kill you if I can."

The first stroke little Matty struck, he hurt Lord Arlin sore,
but the next stroke Lord Arlin struck, little Matty struck no more.
"Rise up, rise up, my fair young bride, draw on your pretty clothes
and tell me, do you like me best, or like your Matty Groves?"
She picked up Matty's bleeding head; she kissed it cheek and chin,
said, "Matty Groves I'd rather have than Arlin and all his kin!
Oh, woe is me and woe is thee -- why stayed you not your hand?
For you have killed the fairest lad in all of England!"
Then Arlin took his Spanish sword, still red with Matty's gore,
and he's struck off his own wife's head and kicked it against the door.
"A grave, a grave," Lord Arlin said, "to put these lovers in;
but bury my lady on the top, for she was of noble kin."


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Subject: Lyr Add: LITTLE MUSGRAVE (Planxty's version)
From: Jon W.
Date: 24 Feb 99 - 04:03 PM

I was surprised not to find Planxty's excellent version of the song in the DT. Here it is:

LITTLE MUSGRAVE

It fell upon a holy day, as many's in the year,
Musgrave to the church did go, to see fine ladies there.

And some were dressed in velvet red, and some in velvet pale,
And then in came Lord Barnard's wife, the fairest among them all.

She cast an eye on the Little Musgrave, as bright as the summer sun,
Said Musgrave unto himself, "This lady's heart I've won."

"I have loved you, fair lady, full long and many's the day."
"And I have loved you, Little Musgrave, and never a word did say."

"I've a bower in Bucklesfordbury, it's my heart's delight.
I'll take you back there with me if you'll lie in me arms tonight."

But standing by was a little footpage, from the lady's coach he ran,
"Although I am a lady's page, I am Lord Barnard's man."

"And milord Barnard will hear of this, oh whether I sink or swim."
Everywhere the bridge was broke he'd enter the water and swim.

"Oh milord Barnard, milord Barnard, you are a man of life,
But Musgrave, he's at Bucklesfordbury, asleep with your wedded wife."

"If this be true, me little footpage, this thing that you tell me,
All the gold in Bucklesfordbury I gladly will give to thee."

"But if this be a lie, me little footpage, this thing that you tell me,
From the highest tree in Bucklesfordbury hanged you will be."

"Go saddle me the black," he said, "go saddle me the gray."
"And sound ye not your horns," he said, "lest our coming be betrayed."

But there was a man in Lord Barnard's thrain, who loved the Little Musgrave,
He blew his horn both loud and shrill, "Away, Musgrave, away."

"I think I hear the morning cock, I think I hear the jay,
I think I hear Lord Barnard's men, I wish I was away."

"Lie still, lie still, me Little Musgrave, hug me from the cold,
It's nothing but a shepherd lad, a-bringing his flock to fold."

"Is not your hawk upon it's perch, your steed eats oats and hay,
And you a lady in your arms, and yet you'd go away."

He's turned her around and he's kissed her twice, and then they fell asleep,
When they awoke Lord Barnard's men were standing at their feet.

"How do ye like me bed," he said, "and how do you like me sheets?"
"How do you like me fair lady, that lies in your arms asleep?"

"It's well I like your bed," he said, "and great it gives me pain,
I'd gladly give a hundred pound to be on yonder plain."

"Rise up, rise up, Little Musgrave, rise up and then put on.
It'll not be said in this country I slayed a naked man."

So slowly, so slowly he got up, so slowly he put on.
Slowly down the stairs, thinking to be slain.

"There are two swords down by my side, and dear they cost me purse.
You can have the best of them, and I will take the worst."

And the first stroke that Little Musgrave stroke, it hurt Lord Barnard sore,
But the next stroke Lord Barnard stroke, Little Musgrave ne'er stroke more.

And then up spoke the lady fair, from the bed whereon she lay,
"Although you're dead, me Little Musgrave, still for you I'll pray."

"How do you like his cheeks," he said, "How do you like his chin?"
"How do you like his dead body, now there's no life within?"

"It's more I like his cheeks," she cried, "and more I want his chin,
It's more I love that dead body, than all your kith and kin."

He's taken out his long long sword, to strike the mortal blow,
Through and through the lady's heart, the cold steel it did go.

"A grave, a grave," Lord Barnard cried, "to put these lovers in,
with me lady on the upper hand. She came from better kin."

"For I've just killed the finest knight that ever rode a steed."
"And I've just killed the finest lady that ever did a woman's deed."

It fell upon a holy day, as many's in the year,
Musgrave to the church did go, to see fine ladies there.

From "The Woman I Loved So Well" by Planxty.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MATHY GROVE (Tennessee version)
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 25 Feb 99 - 09:44 PM

Well, Steve, you asked for it. Here's a rustic Appalachian version that I recorded in Tennessee, 38 years ago.

Joseph Able Trivett was an 82-year-old mountain farmer and sometime logger living in Butler, Tennessee, when I "discovered" him. I simply asked at a rural crossroads general store for "anyone who knows and still sings the old song 'ballets'" and was told that I ought to look up Abe Trivett. He lived 'way up a dirt and gravel road (mostly dirt) in what he called "Pogey." Pogey, it seems, was considered to be the far end of nowhere in that part of the country, and he was right proud of living there with his wife, Addie.

When he sang this ballad for me, he explained that he had learned it from hearing it "just one time." I thought to myself, "Yeah, I'll bet! This thing has about twenty-two verses." He went on to say he had learned it from a nephew of his, Will Harmon, who lived over on the other side of nowhere. The next time I was down in that neighborhood, I picked up a disreputable old geezer who was wobbling along by the side of the road, not really hitchhiking, but looking a bit hopeful. "What are you doin' down in these here parts?" he asked. "I'm going to get some more of Abe Trivett's songs on my tape recorder," I told him. "Abe Trivett? Abe's my uncle! Hell, I know as many songs as he does. Why, I taught him that old song about Mathy Grove! D'you know, he learnt that 'un just hearin' it the one time!" I had just picked up Will Harmon himself.

Drunk as he was, he agreed to sing some of his songs for me if I would come to his place the next day. I showed up and found him suffering from intense DTs (nothing to do with the Digital Tradition!), pleading with me for some whiskey to ease his pain. I had a small amount of store-bought lubricant with me, just in case I found some singer who needed it as starter fluid, so I let him have a bit of it. Wasted effort. Wild Will (as he was known locally) was too drunk to remember the words to anything. I gave up after awhile and went on over to Abe's place, where I recorded another dozen songs or so from that wonderful old singer and mountain raconteur. Rough as a cob, he was, with a great sense of humor and a warehouse full of songs, several of which were satirical pieces of his own making. Here's his "Mathy Grove."

MATHY GROVE (Child #81)
Sung by Joseph Able Trivett of Butler, Tennessee. September, 1961.
Collected by Sandy Paton. Available on Folk-Legacy Records: Cassette C-2.


The first come down was dressed in red,
The next come down in green.
The next come down was a pretty fair maid,
Dressed finer than any a queen, queen,
Dressed finer than any a queen.

She stepped up to little Mathy Grove,
Said, "Come and go with me."
"I'll swear by the ring that's on your hand
That you're Lord Daniel's wife, wife,
That you're Lord Daniel's wife."

"Oh, it matters not to the ring on my hand,
Nor whose wife I am.
My husband he is not at home,
He's in some distant land, land,
He's in some distant land."

Little foot-tate (page) was a-standing by,
Heard every word that was said;
"If I should live (die) before daylight,
Lord Daniel shall know of this, this,
Lord Daniel shall know of this."

He had about fifteen mile to go;
Ten of them he run.
He run till he came to a broken down bridge;
He fell to his breast and swum, swum,
He fell to his breast and swum.

He swum till he come to the green grass growing;
He sprang to his feet and run.
He run till he came to Lord Daniel's gate;
He tingled at the bells, they rung, rung,
He tingled at the bells, they rung.

"Oh, is my castle a-burning down,
Or what's a-going to be done?"
"True love's in bed with another man,
And both their hearts are one, one,
And both their hearts are one."

He got him up about fifty good men;
He done it with a free good will.
He put his bugle to his mouth;
He blowed it loud and thrill, thrill, (shrill)
He blowed it loud and thrill.

"I'd better get up," said Mathy Grove,
"I'd better get up and go.
Lord Daniel he is coming home;
I heared his bugle blow, blow,
I heared his bugle blow."

"Lie down, lie down, my little man,
Lie down and go to sleep.
It's nothing but my father's shepherd
A-calling for a sheep, sheep,
A-calling for a sheep."

So they lay down, went to hugging and kissing,
And soon fell off to sleep.
But when they awoke it was broad daylight;
Lord Daniel was standing at their feet, feet,
Lord Daniel was standing at their feet.

"Oh, how do you like my pillow, sir?
How do you like my sheet?
How do you like my pretty fair maid
That lies in your arms and sleeps, sleeps,
That lies in your arms and sleeps?"

"Very well do I like your pillow, sir,
Very well do I like your sheet;
Much better do I like your pretty fair maid
That lies in my arms and sleeps, sleeps,
That lies in my arms and sleeps."

"Get up from there, get up from there,
And put you on some clothes.
I never liked it to be said
A naked man I slew, slew,
A naked man I slew."

"Oh, give me a chance, oh, give me a chance,
Give me a chance for my life.
You're standing there with two swords by your side,
And me not as much as a knife, knife,
And me not as much as a knife."

"I'm standing here, two swords by my side,
They cost me deep in purse;
I'll give to you the best of them,
And I will take the worse, worse,
And I will take the worse.

"I'll give to you the very first lick;
Use it like a man.
I will take the very next lick;
I'll kill you, if I can, can,
I'll kill you, if I can."

Little Mathy Grove took the very first lick;
It made him wonderfully sore.
Lord Daniel took the very next lick;
He killed little Mathy on the floor, floor,
He killed little Mathy on the floor.

He took his lady by the hand,
He set her on his right knee.
Said, "Which of us do you like best,
Little Mathy Grove or me, me,
Little Mathy Grove or me?"

"Very well do I like your red rosy cheek,
Very well do I like your chin,
But I would not give little Mathy Grove
For you and all your kin, kin,
For you and all your kin."

He took his lady by the hand
And led her through the hall.
He snapped a pistol in her breast;
She fell by a fatal ball, ball,
She fell by a fatal ball.

"Go dig my grave, go dig my grave,
Dig it wide and deep,
And bury little Mathy Grove in my arms,
Lord Daniel at my feet, feet,
Lord Daniel at my feet."

The second verse here is obviously a condensation of two verses, the last half of the first one and the first half of the next one being missing. But don't be critical! How would you do, hearing it only once? If you want to sing this one, you might choose to fill in the blanks from other vesions in the DT. I was just happy to collect the ballad at all!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 26 Feb 99 - 03:46 AM

Blimey, it's like Christmas Day! Thanks for the response - I'll be some while digesting everything.

Sandy, I've heard of people who could learn a song at one hearing; Elvis was supposed to have the knack they say. I have a feeling that the Folk Process gets into the act pretty frequently. For example:

Little Mathy Grove took the very first lick;
It made him wonderfully sore.

... the second line is usually something like "and wounded him full sore" - all you have to do is swap a couple of syllables around. I don't know why this kind of thing fascinating; I suppose it appeals to my razor-sharp analytical brain!

Off at a tangent here - do you have anoraks in the States?
Steve


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 26 Feb 99 - 02:34 PM

Are you referring to what we call parkas: Hooded winter jackets or pullovers, often quilted or down filled? Yes, we have 'em.

Finlay Adams sang the line in question (as I recall): It hurt Lord Darnel sore. Lots of ways to skin a cat. People deeply immersed in an oral tradition seem to have a much greater retention of heard information. There was once an experiment done at the University of New Mexico, I've been told, in which a passage was read to students of Anglo-American background and students from Native-American (read: American Indian) cultures. Then they were asked to repeat what they could remember. The Indian kids retained much more information that the non-Indian. I wasn't surprised.

Sandy


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Subject: Memory and anoraks
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 01 Mar 99 - 03:42 AM

Travelling people over here ("gispsies") are largely illiterate, particularly the older ones, aged forty and up. But they have very keen memories indeed. The musical ones are perfectly capable of "writing" or memorising long ballads, and are remarkably good at calculating with money. Seems the part of our brains we frivolously employ on reading and writing could be much better employed!

Back to my tangent ... I suppose people in the States go train-spotting? It's a very popular pastime in the UK to collect locomotive numbers. It's traditionally been done mainly by kids (boys!), but there are a good many adults (boys again!) who still do it. The anorak is ideal wear for standing around on cold draughty and often wet stations waiting for trains, if you do it for fun. So, anyway, train-spotters have become known as "anoraks"; and, by extension, anyone with an interest tending to the obsessive in a minority pastime (i.e. not soccer, cricket, cars or sex) has also come to be known as an anorak. We folkies are prime candidates! (Incidentally, Trekkies are even more anorak-y in the popular eye; I was amused to see int a recent tv listing that one of the Star Trek spin-offs actually has a character called Annorax!)

Steve


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 01 Mar 99 - 06:27 AM

It is alleged that Robert Johnson could carry on a conversation while a song was playing on the juke box and later be able to play the song on guitar with just that one listening.

Given how Abe's version is similar but not matching, I can believe he heard the song just once. There are a enough verses to recall the tune fairly easily. His words hit the high points of the song with quite a bit of filler added.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Bruce O.
Date: 05 Dec 99 - 02:57 PM

For what is probably the original publication of the ballad see the Henry Gosson issue at ZN286 in the broadside ballad index at www.erols.com/olsonw.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: emily rain
Date: 05 Dec 99 - 03:03 PM

2 pfennigs:

sally rogers sings this song as "mathy groves" and starts it out with the second verse, the one quoted in the first post.

emily


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Chris Seymour
Date: 05 Dec 99 - 05:34 PM

This is one of my favorite ballads. I sing the version that Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl "collated" (to quote their liner notes) from mostly Nova Scotian sources and recorded on their Folkways album "Two Way Trip."

(If I wanted to post the lyrics to the DT for other folks to use, how would I do that?)

What I find fascinating is the character of Lady Barnard/Donald/Banner/whatever. She is clearly the mover of the story -- in most cases, she picks up Matty at church, persuades him to come home with him despite the danger, and in some versions as cited above, even dissuades him from listening to a warning of her husband's arrival. What was her life like that she wanted to take such a deadly risk and what was she like that she could convince Matty to take the same risk. And then to defy her husband after he'd killed her lover -- I'm awe-struck at the thought. Seems to me you could read the ballad as the story of a very powerful woman trapped in a situation, a time in history when she had little outlet for her power.

On a lighter note, here's the two-verse version of the song, penned, as I was told, by Englishman Stanley Accrington (sung, as is the Fairport version, to the tune of "Shady Grove."

Matty Grove got seduced by a high-class bird She took him home to bed They were at it hammer-and-tongs When the husband come home unexpected

"What the bloody hell's going on here?" he said And he stabbed Matty in the guts "What d'ye think of your loverboy now? he said But she was cheeky so he chopped her head off

I sometimes sing that after doing the Seeger/MacColl version, just for laughs.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 05 Dec 99 - 07:21 PM

G'day,
I'm sure this is a case of what might happen when an old lord takes a child bride.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: Lyr Add: LITTLE MUSGRAVE AND LADY BARNARD
From: Stewie
Date: 05 Dec 99 - 09:15 PM

Here's another one.

LITTLE MUSGRAVE AND LADY BARNARD
(Little Matthy Groves)

Oh a high holiday, on a high holiday,
The very first day of the year,
Little Matthy Groves to church did go
God's holy word to hear, hear,
God's holy word to hear.

The first that come in was a gay lady,
And the next that came in was a girl,
And the next that came in was Lord Arnold's wife,
The fairest of them all, all,
The fairest of them all.

She stepped right up unto this one
And she made him this reply,
Saying, 'You must go home with me tonight,
All night with me for to lie'.

'I cannot go with you tonight,
I cannot for my life;
For I know by the rings that are on your fingers
You are Lord Arnold's wife'.

'And if I am Lord Arnold's wife,
I know that Lord Arnold's gone away.
He's gone away to Old England
To see King Hen-e-ry'.

A little footpage was standing by,
And he took to his feet and run.
He run till he came to the waterside,
And he bent on his breast and swum.

'What news, what news, my little footpage,
What news have you for me?
Are my castle walls all tor-en down,
Or are my castles three?'

'Your castle walls are not tor-en down
Nor are your castles three,
But little Matthy Groves is in your house
In bed with your gay lady!'

He took his merry men by the hand
And placed them all in a row,
And he bade them not one word for to speak
And not one horn for to blow.

There was one man among them all
Who owed little Matthy some good will,
And he put his bugle horn to his mouth
And he blew both loud and shrill.

'Hark, hark! hark! hark!' said little Matthy Groves,
'I hear the bugle blow,
And every note it seems to say
Arise, arise and go!'

'Lie down, lie down, little Matthy Groves,
And keep my back from the cold,
It is my father's shepherd boys
A-blowing up the sheep from the fold'.

From that they fell to hugging and kissing,
And from that they fell to sleep,
And next morning when they woke at the break of day,
Lord Arnold stood at their feet.

'And it's how do you like my fine featherbed,
And it's how do you like my sheets?
And it's how do you like my gay lady
That lies in your arms and sleeps?

'Very well do I like your fine featherbed,
Very well do I like your sheets,
But much better do I like your gay lady
That lies in my arms and sleeps'.

'Now get you up, little Matthy Groves,
And all your clothes put on,
For it never shall be said in Old England
That I slew a naked man'.

'I will get up', said little Matthy Groves,
'And fight you for my life,
Though you've two bright swords hanging by your side
And me not a pocket knife'.

'If I've two bright swords by my side,
They cost me deep in purse,
And you shall have the better of the two
And I will keep the worse'.

The very first lick that little Matthy struck
He wounded Lord Arnold sore,
But the very first lick that Lord Arnold struck,
Little Matthy struck no more.

He took his lady by the hand,
And he downed her on his knee,
Saying, 'Which do you like the best, my dear,
Little Matthy Groves or me?'

'Very well do I like your rosy cheeks,
Very well do I like your dimpled chin,
But better do I like little Matthy Groves
Than you and all your kin'.

He took his lady by the hand
And led her o'er the plain,
He took the broadsword from his side
And he split her head in twain.

"Hark, hark, hark', doth the nightingale sing,
And the sparrows they do cry;
'Today I've killed two true lovers,
And tomorrow I must die!'

Collected from Mrs Eva Warner Case, Harrison County, Missouri, 1916. In H.M. Beldon 'Ballads and Songs Collected by the Missouri Folk-Lore Society' Columbia 1940 (reprint edition 1966), p 58. With Music. Also printed without music in Duncan Emrich 'American Folk Poetry: An Anthology' Little, Brown and Company 1974. Child #81, Coffin #79, Bronson, II, 267.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Stewie
Date: 05 Dec 99 - 09:19 PM

Sorry, I seem to have missed quite a few of those damned line endings.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: sophocleese
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 12:20 AM

I always like the idea that Lord whatever won't kill Matty Groves unless it looks like a duel

"It'll never be said in Fair England that I killed a naked man"

but when it comes to killing his wife she doesn't get a chance to fight back and he doesn't care what gets said. Ahh those wonderful perks of patriarchy.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 12:29 AM

I see no evidence that Lord Wossname is an older guy, in my experience, it is the younger ones more likely to do violence without thinking it through.. And for years I misheard these lyrics as 'for you've two long and beaten swords and me not a fork and knife (or f**kin' knife, either has gone through my head at some point).

Digressing to the anorak - there is a specific disorder here, it affects quite a number of people, and is more common than you'd think. Many people are actually terrified of these people that do 'train spotting' and watch 'Star Trek' programmes; they are the innocent sufferers of this disorder. It's called annoraknaphobia.....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Art Thieme
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 12:50 AM

Joe and all,

I'm just about certain tha Joan Baez learned her version of "MATTY GROVES"---tune and lyric---from Bob Gibson when they worked together at the Gate Of Horn folk nightclub in Chicago 1959. Bob had been singing the song in Chicago for over a year by then and I do remember it as the only song he played with a 12-string guitar at that time. Later the 12-string guitar would become his main instrument. Baez opened the show for Gibson back then at the "Gate". One could not hear Baez and not be blown away by her voice in those days. Bob took Joan to the Newport Folk Festival as his guest in '59 and brought her up on stage to sing with him----and the rest is history (as they say).

Bob Gibson did the song just about the exact way Joe Offer posted it---except that I don't believe the last 4 lines of the song as posted were there at all. Nothing at all about kicking the severed head. Somehow, that image was comedic & people would giggle. It was a dramatic version that Bob did with a real intensity. As mentioned by someone here in this thread, Baez did it intensely also.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 05:59 AM

G'day,
Well maybe the lord wasn't OLD but I do imagine both the lady and Matty/Musgrave being 16-18 & the lord being at least half a generation older. Fits in with the times.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: AndyG
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 06:56 AM

re:
"but when it comes to killing his wife she doesn't get a chance to fight back..."

True, but, reading "naked" to mean "unarmed" the Lord gives Matty the better of his two weapons;
Then;

You shall strike the very first blow,
and strike it like a man.
And I shall strike the very next blow,
and kill you if I can.

Matty gets one this chance to survive, if he can kill or disable Lord Arnold/Darnel/Whatever then he won't be killed.

At least the Lady gets two chances!
one: Matty wins
two: She's pragmatic enough to answer
Who do like the better of us ?
as a survivor rather than a lover.

Remember by the values of her society she's the villain of this story and yet she gets a better chance than the chap she seduces !
( Noble blood d'you see, can't be goin' round killin' nobility willy-nilly. Give the oiks some uncommon rare ideas. ;)

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: selby
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 01:03 PM

I seem to recollect a very fine version sang by the Kipper family from Norfolk England that was steeped in the English unaccompanied singing tradition. Unortunately I have a copy but it is on vinyl and my record player is broken so I cannot supply the words. Keith


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Doctor John
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 02:30 PM

I think the best recorded versions are by Nic Jones as "Little Musgrave" and Hedy West as "Little Matty Groves" but can anyone fill in the blank:

The first come down was a gay lady Next come down was a ----- Next come down Lord Arnold's (?) wife The fairest of all three.

Dr John


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: lamarca
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 03:17 PM

Does anyone know from where Nic Jones got the tune for his version of Little Musgrave (still my favorite tune of all the versions I've heard)? Christy Moore says he took Jones' tune but used his own variant of the words for the version on Planxty's Woman I Loved So Well. Jerry Epstein says it sounds a lot like Richard Dyer-Bennett's tune (which I've never heard).

I've been singing this for awhile, putting together my favorite verses from all the versions I've heard to Nic Jones' tune - it was the first really long ballad I ever learned, and it took me a lot more than one listening to remember it!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 06:00 PM

Selby - could you be thinking of the Copper Family (though I think they came from Sussex)? The 'Kippers' were a spoof mainly maintained by Chris Sugden (one of the funniest people on the folk scene) who did the most hilarious parodies of folk songs. IIRR, Chris had to go solo again when his 'Dad' (whose name escapes me) retired from singing. He also plays as a duo with Dave Burland occasionally. - Susanne


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Bruce O.
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 06:20 PM

For reference, the oldest copy, c 1630, is now in the Scarce Songs 2 file at www.erols.com/olsonw


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 07:03 PM

G'day,
The Nic Jones tune might have been partly his own work. Christy Moore recorded it twice with Nic's tune, once with Planxty.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 08:44 PM

Just a footnote to the version recorded by Planxty:

"I collected it in a book which had no music but I was lucky to collect a tune from a Nic Jones album discovered on a field trip through Liam O'Flynn's flat."
Christy Moore (The Woman I loved So Well, 1980)

"Musgrave's tune is more a creation of my own than anything else, although the bulk of it is based on an American variant of the same ballad, entitled Little Matty Groves."
Nic Jones. (Ballads & Songs, 1970)

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Art Thieme
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 11:55 PM

Folks, I just got a note from Joe Offer saying he couldn't find Gibson and Baez doing "Matty Groves" on any old LP.

That's right. They never sang "Matty Groves" together on any recording that I know of. Baez (barefoot on stage) opened the show for Mr. Gibson who was a star in Chicago in the late 1950's at The Gate Of Horn. When folks heard her VOICE at Newport when Bob brought her up and they sang "Virgin Mary Had A-One Son" and a few others, it was the start of an amazing career for Ms. B.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: selby
Date: 07 Dec 99 - 01:10 PM

Susanne Henry Kipper who was Sid Kipper's dad was looked after by a gentleman called Dick Nudds Keith


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Doctor John
Date: 07 Dec 99 - 01:54 PM

... and then there's a relation called ------ Herring. Sid Kipper takes us all back to reality. Dr John


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Bugsy B.
Date: 07 Dec 99 - 02:05 PM

What's up Doc., can't put up with information threads, so have to turn them into BS ones?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 08 Dec 99 - 12:47 AM

good thread. I don't have anything particularly useful to add, so I'm just enjoying it.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Hedy West (inactive)
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 12:59 AM

Dr John, The missing words in the variant I sing is "a ree", which can only be a deterioration. But that's how Granmaw knew it and sang it:
"The first come down was a gay lady,
And the next come down was a ree,
The next come down, Lord Arnold's wife,
The fairest of all three, three,
The fairest of all three."

Hedy

Dr. John, Change that "is" to "are", yet another deterioration. Hedy


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: GUEST,kendra
Date: 31 Dec 02 - 08:24 PM

I think most of y'all would be interested in watching the movie "songcatcher" as Delaidus, the orphan girl, or Emmy Rossum , performs one of the most beautiful and pure versions of this song I have ever heard.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: GUEST,Marmot
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 04:21 AM

Thanks everyone! I've got a new perspective on the song now! Never actually saw the verse about the swords and I'd been under the impression that Matty was supposed to attack Lord Arlen with his pocket knife - which seemed a bit strange after the Lord had been 'honourable' enough to refuse to kill him naked. Incidentally, does everyone think the Lady is supposed to be the villain - Lord Arlen himself, though the wronged party, could still be seen as the evil killer!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Joe_F
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 07:22 PM

By the standards of most of us, I dare say, Lord Arlen was just as culpable as his wife. But I doubt if the makers of the song had any such idea. I said this on another thread, and I know people disagree, but I think the lady was meant to be the only wicked one, and all the others only did what honor required (according to their lights) in the situation she created.

She seems to me (at this distance, in my swivel chair) to be a psychopath. Notice her grotesque lack of prudence at every stage -- satirized by Leslie Fish (1993):

Now where was Arlen's wife through this? She stayed beneath the covers,
She watched the fight, and did her nails, while Arlen killed her lover.

She never thought to run and hide, nor did she make excuses,
She said the one thing guaranteed to make Arlen blow his fuses.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: johnfitz.com
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 12:06 AM

any good place to hear a good version of this song online?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Maryrrf
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 09:05 PM

You can hear it in full on my website - here's a link to the page:
http://www.maryfsmith.freeservers.com/recordings.htm

Just scroll down the songs to Mattie Groves and you can hear the full length version. The lyrics to this version are similar to the ones posted above by Joe Offer. It's one of my favorite ballads!

And if you want a chuckle, go to this page of my website for a glimpse of a terrifying Scottish creature known as THE WILD HAGGIS! . Scroll down to the first paragraph and click on the link.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: GUEST,folkman
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 01:56 PM

Joan Baez did a slower version with similar words to the ones posted by Joe. Tune was slow, if i remember right.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: GUEST,Bob Jones
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 11:45 AM

I recently heard a male american singer perform "Matty groves"
accompanying himself on a spanish guitar.It sounded like a recent recording - a fine version - the guy had quite a deep voice and a wicked guitar picking style.Any ideas who it might have been. The DJ
who played it had no idea. Thanks - Bob Jones


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 11:35 AM

refresh


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Subject: Lyr Add: MATHY ROSE
From: GUEST,twilli3@earthlink.net
Date: 11 Mar 04 - 01:21 AM

This is the way I heard this song years ago.

4 and 20 ladies all
Dancing at a ball
Lord Banner's wife a being there
The fairest of them all

First come in was Lily white
The next came pink and blue
Lord Banner's wife a being there
Of the two.

She walked right up to little Mathy Rose
Said won't you take a ride?
You will have servants at your command
And a fair lady by your side.

Take a ride I dare not want
I dare not for my life
I can tell by the rings that are on your fingers
You are Lord Banner's wife.

What if I am Lord Banner's wife?
Lord Banner is not at home
He sits a many a mile from here
Upon King Henry's throne.

Now little Foot page a being there
Heard all was said and done
And swore Lord Banner would hear of this
Before the morning sun.

He ran till he came to the water's edge
And then he jumped in and swam
He swam till he came to the other side
And again he jumped up and run.

And so on.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Matty Groves
From: GUEST,maryrrf
Date: 11 Mar 04 - 08:23 AM

There are so many variants of this song - all of them great! It must have been one of the "tabloid" stories of the day like Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco, or Jean Harris and Dr. whatever his name was (Scarsdale Diet Doctor) - or OJ Simpson etc...


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Subject: Lyr Add: MATTIE GROVES (from Joan Baez)
From: GUEST,Alfred Raddatz von "Wir sind Heiden"
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 12:35 PM

ANSWER TO:
""Subject: RE: Matty Groves
From: Will
Date: 22 Feb 99 - 11:02 PM

Joan Baez recorded it on Joan Baez in Concert. But they were dressed in Black. Very different words. I never noticed back then how Spanish her guitar playing was. In this song, the guitar builds up incredible tension and power. ""

A little late, but anyone who will search for the rare lyrics of the differet live version of the "Mattie Groves" that Joan Beaz sung, gonna find them here:

Joan Baez - Mattie Groves (live)


Hi ho, hi ho, holiday, the best day of the year
Little Mattie Groves to church did go, some holy words to hear
Some holy words to hear

He saw two ladies dressed in black, as they came into view
Lord Arlen's wife was gaily clad, a flower among the few
A flower among the few

She tripped up to Mattie Groves, her eyes so low cast down
Sayin pray, oh pray, come with me stay as you pass through the town
As you pass through the town

I cannot go, I dare not go, I fear it would cost my life
For I see by the little ring you wear you are Lord Arlen's wife
You're the great Lord Arlen's wife.

This may be false, this may be true, I can't deny it all
Lord Arlen's gone to consecrate King Henry at Whitehall
King Henry at Whitehall

Oh pray, oh pray, come with me stay, I'll hide you out of sight
I'll serve you there without compare, and sleep with you the night
and sleep with you the night

Her little page did listen well to all that they did say
And err the sun could rise again, he quickly sped away
He quickly sped away

And he did run the King's highway, he swam across the tide
He ne'er did stop until he came to the great Lord Arlen's side
To the great Lord Arlen's side

Guitar bridge

How now, how now my bully boy? What news brings you to me?
My castle burnt, my tenants robbed, my lady with baby?
My lady with baby?

No harm has come to your house and lands, his little page did say
But Mattie Groves is bedded up with your fair lady gay
With your fair lady gay

Lord Arlen called his merry men, he bade them with him go
he bade them nary a word to speak and nary a horn to blow
And nary a horn to blow

But among Lord Arlen's merry men was one who wished no ill
and the bravest lad among the crew blew his horn so loud and shrill
Blew his horn so loud and shrill

Guitar Bridge 2

What's this, what's this cried Mattie Groves, what's this that I do hear
It must be Lord Arlen's merry men, the ones that I do fear
The ones that I do fear

Lie down, lie down little Mattie Groves and keep my back from cold
It's only Lord Arlen's merry men they're calling the sheep to fold
They're calling the sheep to fold

Little Mattie Groves he did lie down, he took a nap asleep
And when he awoke Lord Arlen was standing at his feet
A-standin at his feet

Guitar Bridge 3

How now, how now, my bully boy, how do you like my sheets?
And how do you like my fair young bride who lies in your arms asleep?
Who lies in your arms asleep?

Oh it's very well I like your bed and it's fine I like your sheets
But it's best I like your fair young bride who lies in my arms asleep
Who lies in my arms asleep

Rise up, rise up little Mattie Groves as fast as e'er ye can
In England it shall ne'er be said that I slew a sleepin man
I slew a sleepin man

Now the first to struck little Mattie struck, he hurt Lord Arlen sore
But the next to stroke Lord Arlen struck little Mattie struck no more
Little Mattie struck no more

Rise up, rise up my gay young bride, draw on your pretty clothes
Now tell me do you like me best, or like your Mattie Groves
Or the dying Mattie Groves

She picked up Mattie's dying head she kissed from cheek to chin
Said it's Mattie Groves I'd rather have than Lord Arlen and all his kin
Lord Arlen and all his kin

Woe is me, woe is thee, why staid you not your hand
For you have killed the fairest lad in all of England
In all of England

source/Quelle: http://www.chivalry.com/cantaria/lyrics/mattie-groves.html

Alfred Raddatz: (changes Joan Baez sung live/Änderung zu der Version die Joan Baez live gesungen
hat)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Matty Groves
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 28 Jul 05 - 05:20 PM

It's never too late to agree with Kendra, right?

Just want to totally agree with her about Emmy Rossum's fine Matthy Groves in Songcatcher.

I have been looking all my life for a version I could like, and sing, and hers is it.

Anybody want to post Emmy Rossum's lyrics, as far as they go in the film, and an ABC of the tune????? I bet Kendra (if still checking in) would like that and I would too. Maybe some other people would like it as well.

(They're not on the soundtrack CD, a major crime, but then that CD is one of the wrongest-headed ever).

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Matty Groves
From: John Minear
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 08:13 AM

Bob, Emmy Rossum probably learned that version she sings in "Songcatcher" from Sheila Kay Adams, who was her voice/dialect/song teacher coach for that movie. Sheila sings it on a cassette entitled SHEILA KAY ADAMS, A SPRING IN THE BURTON COVE, and on her CD entitled WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO JOHN PARRISH'S BOY?, both available from her at: Sheila Kay Adams, PO Box 1401, Mars Hill NC 28754, and both very good. T.O.M.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Matty Groves
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 08:44 AM

or from CAMSCO Music 800/548-FOLK (3655)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Matty Groves
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 31 Jul 05 - 10:55 AM

Thanks, Turtle Old Man and Dick.

Well, fresh from a viewing of Songcatcher, here's Emmy's version of Shiela Kay Adams' version. Note that it includes only selected verses. ABC first.

MATTHY GROVES
Emmy Rossum as learned from Shiela Kay Adams

.G A A C A C C Å
.G A A C D D-E
E E A A C D E E D
C A .G .E A C, D
C A .G .E.G A

Oh holiday, oh holiday,
The first day of the year
Little Matthy Groves to church did go
Some holy word to hear, hear,
Some holy word to hear

She step-ped up to little Matthy Grove,
Her eyes kept on the ground,
Oh please, oh please come with me, say,
As I go through this town, town...

...

Oh what is this, said little Matthy Groves
As he sat up in bed,
I fear it is your husband's man
And I will soon be dead, dead...

But little Matthy Groves he lay back down
And soon fell fast asleep,
When he woke up Lord Daniels
Was standing at his bed feet, feet...

Saying how to you like my snow white pillow,
Saying, how do you like my sheet?
Saying, how do you like my pretty woman
That's a-layin' in your arms asleep, sleep...

The first swing that little Matthy made,
It hurt Lord Daniels sore,
The next swing that Lord Daniels made,
Little Matthy couldn't fight no more, more...

Adams' version, of course, fills out the missing pieces.

My sentiment when I first saw the film, and it's still my sentiment now, is that I wish somebody would convince both Emmy Rossum and Iris DeMent to make innumerable CDs of traditional songs. They are two of the finest traditional voices alive today.

Of course that's impossible. Emmy, as shown by her more recent films, is a songstress of decidedly stage-style and popular talent who only visited traditional song on her way up...and Iris has her country singer's career to nourish. We're left to cherish immortal moments that are chopped and channeled to fit a film.

Still great, though. And DeMent fully justifies her film attribution as "Mrs. Gentry" -- a reference to Jane Gentry, the great North Carolina ballad singer recorded by Cecil Sharp, whose songs I mostly know from meeting and recording her daughter, Maud Long, in Hot Springs in 1955. DeMent is in her league as a singer, which is high praise indeed.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Matty Groves
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 06:36 AM

A long tima ago (and at my age, that is l o n g !) I heard a version live, no idea of the band, very close to the majority of the Fairports versions, where the final two lines were :

'But bury my Lady at the top
For hers was the greater sin.'

Tony


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Matty Groves
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 08:41 AM

That couplet more often ends with something like "she comes of better kin". Focussing on the greater sin would suggest she should be buried further down.


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