The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #96947   Message #1901312
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
06-Dec-06 - 02:18 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (from Phoebe Smith)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 2nd word of Phoebe Smith's barbara Allen
The Roud Index lists first lines. The entry for the Voice of the People issue has "In North town I were bred and born", while the Yellow Handkerchief issue has "In [North?] town I were bred and born"; others, then, have been not quite sure what she actually sang.

Scarlet Town is by far the most common, but Reading Town is not unusual, and appeared on broadsides. All sorts of other places appear from time to time, some deliberate localisations (London, Lexington, Dublin, Cambridge, Liverpool); others probably just corruptions of "Scarlet" (Charlotte, Story, Stoney, Starling).

I don't know of any traditional examples that have Newry, but Alfred Williams (Folk Songs of the Upper Thames, 1923) found a Newbury once.