The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #107128 Message #2219282
Posted By: Nerd
19-Dec-07 - 06:33 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: Odd Minstrel Song = John Barleycorn (?)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Odd Minstrel Song = John Barleycorn
This is a great piece! I agree about the folklore connections, and of course the connections to other minstrel songs--"jawbone," etc.
As to Jim's post, no one has ever proved there WAS a "traditional 'John Barleycorn' ritual," and most scholars today would be loath to speculate. If there were such a ritual, it presumably would be reflected in the song, so JB wouldn't cut HIMSELF down, but be cut down by others.
I like the touch that Jim Jawbone cuts himself down by mistake. It is a great and amusing image, but of course impossible and absurd in practice. This leads me to think the song is a half-homage, half-parody of John Barleycorn, rather than a straight "lift" as Jim suggests.