The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #32328   Message #1293486
Posted By: Susanne (skw)
09-Oct-04 - 09:11 PM
Thread Name: Jim Jones: Background?
Subject: RE: Jim Jones: Background?
Kerrin, there is nothing in the info I've collected (see below) to indicate Jim Jones was a real person.

[1967:] Most of the transportation ballads are passive enough in outlook; self-pity if not repentance is the mood. None of the surviving songs of the penal settlements shows the smouldering sense of vengefulness that characterizes the excellent Jim Jones at Botany Bay, reported, alas, only once in Charles Macalister's 'Old Pioneering Days in the Sunny South' (Goulburn, N.S.W., 1907), a book of reminiscences, mainly of the Sydney area in the 1840s. Jim Jones follows the conventional pattern of arrest, sea-voyage and hard times on landing. His crime, as usual, is poaching, and his sentence, transportation for life. The judge adds a lowering postscript. [...]
Jim Jones stands out from the ruck of transportation songs by reason of its strong bloodshot defiance. The good Australian social historian Russel Ward observes that in the ballad 'instead of an implicit acceptance of the rules of society, there is an explicit assumption that society itself is out of joint and even a hint that in the new land society may be remoulded nearer to the heart's desire.' If the song is to be taken literally, it must have been made up between 1 September 1828, when 'bold Jack' Donahoe first emerged as a bushranger, and the time two years later when the troopers shot him dead in the Bringelly scrub. But the date and manner of the ballad's origin is not the only mystery surrounding it; a deeper riddle is: why has such a well-made mettlesome piece failed to keep its hold on the interest of singer and audience when flabbier creations on the same theme have ostentatiously survived into our own time? (A. L. Lloyd, England ?)

[1972:] Jim Jones, to the tune of Irish Mollie-Oh, is a typical transportation ballad. [...] A study of the text [of the published version of 1907] shows a break in the four line pattern after line 10 indicating that the missing lines are 11 and 12. Without these two lines the remainder of the song does not fall into logical verses. John Meredith supplies some lines to fill this gap [...] but unfortunately gave no indication of where he had collected them. They differ from the rest of the song in that they mention New South Wales, while elsewhere only Botany Bay is given as the destination. (Edwards, Overlander 3f)

[1974:] This ballad recounts some of the horrors of life in the convict settlements of Australia and reveals some of the bitter defiance which was engendered in the convicts. Many men took to the bush, and took arms against their oppressors. The bushrangers are still celebrated in song in the Australia of today. It is significant that this ballad mentions poaching as a transportable offence. Many English and Irish poachers were transported, as were other types of criminals and political offenders, including trade unionists. The Tolpuddle martyrs are a famous example from the last category. (Palmer, Touch 245)

[1998:] [A hero is] the man who swears never to bow the knee. I always thought that Jim Jones was an English as well as an Australian song, but it didn't take that many conversations with snarling Melbourne chums to convince me otherwise. It really is a mighty song. Anon strikes again. (Notes Martin Carthy, 'Signs of Life')

BTW of thread creep: Is Kerrin your first name? I'm interested because it might come from the area where I live, though it's very rare. Good luck for your research!