The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #87534   Message #1635362
Posted By: Abby Sale
27-Dec-05 - 09:05 AM
Thread Name: Happy! – Dec 26 (Kwanzaa / St Stephen)
Subject: RE: Happy! – Dec 26 (Kwanzaa / St Stephen)
Thanks for the input.

Lomax (Alan in this case - more reliable than John) doesn't give the source in the notes. He says the NY version is the Wren type and I think he means it is either defunct at the time of writing or else that its use on St Stephen's Day was a thing of the past.

At the song itself, (p.311) he cites HH Flanders, _Ballads Migrant in New England_ p.58; Dean-Smith, _A Guide to English Folk Song Collections_; _An Index to the songs published in the "J. of the Eng Folk Dance & Song Soc." since 1888_ (at "Cutty Wren") & Opie, _Oxford Dict. of Nursery Rhymes_ p.367.

You'd have to check there. I'd start with Flanders, of course.

I'm not sure if you're saying this but there's no question in my mind (or, apparently, Lomax') the Barlow and Wren are versions of the same song. Ballad Index, as you say gives separate entries but note that they have the same Roud number, 236. My Roud confirms that. I'll drop a note to Bob Waltz of BI. He's very, very, very good but doesn't claim utter perfection.

Lomax goes on that Barlow became progressively more popular moving out West just because of the strong hunting theme. Seems they liked shooting things on the frontier. Or songs about it. But it was mostly about non-wren critters and more a children's song.