The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16718   Message #1567069
Posted By: Artful Codger
20-Sep-05 - 04:03 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
Regarding the other song of the same name:

Can someone supply an accurate transcription of Martin Carthy's "Sheepstealer", from Skin and Bone? The only one I've found (at Reinhard Zierke's site, prepared by Wolfgang Hell and Garry Gillard) does not match the recording at a number of points. But what I think Carthy is singing at some of them is also questionable, and I'd prefer to avoid mondegreens.

For instance, the start of the second verse was transcribed as "We killed the sheep and skinned it all upon an open bough". Instead, I hear "with the skin and all" (distinctly syncopated) and "open vow". But no matter how I try to massage this, I come up with nonsense. What does "open bough" mean? Why would you kill or skin a sheep on a bough? "Open vow" is also suspect, though it might mean a gentlemen's agreement, and thus set up for the disagreement over who gets what. As for "killed the sheep with the skin and all", is there any other way, without getting macabre?