The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #3850   Message #20113
Posted By: Bruce O.
28-Jan-98 - 12:43 PM
Thread Name: ADD: Barb'ry Allen
Subject: RE: LYR ADD: Barb'ry Allen
Let'd not get carried away. There are many hundreds of versions of "Barbara Allen"

Child at #84 quotes the entry from Samuel Pepys' diary of Jan 2. 1666, about hearing Mrs. Knipp singing "Barbary Allen". The earliest copy ever found is the broadside copy printed by Brooksby, Deacon, Blare and Back, which can't be earlier than 1689, and more likely July 1690 or later. [The ballad is ZN1459 in my internet broadside ballad index]

The song was printed in the 1740 edition of Allan Ramsay's 'Tea Table Miscellany' (not before) and the tune (for the 1st time) in the same year in James Oswald's 'A Curious Collection of Scots Tunes'. I can find no record of the tune in any of several Scots MSS known to me, c 1675 - 1740. The tune is conspicuous by its absence in C. M. Simpson's 'The British Broadside Ballad and Its Music', 1966.

Was this really a Scots song prior to 1740? Where in Scotland is Scarlet Town?

Murray S, ?