The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34080   Message #2567952
Posted By: Lighter
15-Feb-09 - 10:24 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Blood Red Roses (what's it mean?)
Subject: RE: Blood Red Roses
Having checked out, on a hunch, the unabridged version of Hugill (not the abridged recent edition), I now think it more likely that Hugill influenced Lloyd rather than the other way around.

Of the ten stanzas Hugill prints, five were sung by Lloyd on "The Singing Sailor." Hugill also says that the song was "very popular in Liverpool ships, yet overlooked by most collectors." That suggests to me that he' personally heard several versions, and it seems unlikely (though certainly not impossible) that he would include stanzas that he'd recently learned from a Hollywood movie.

Besides indicating, in brackets, that "blood-red roses" is a variant of "bunch o' Roses [sic]," Hugill also prints a slightly different tune with the words printed as "Hang down, ye blood-red roses."
Again, it seems doubtful that he would have included the words "blood-red" if he'd only heard them in the movies.

In "Shanties and Sailor's Songs" (1969), Hugill again prints "Hang down, ye blood-red roses," this time as his only version.

Lloyd recorded "Blood-Red Roses" on LP at least three times that I can think of between ca1956 and ca1970, making his recordings the most likely source of most revival versions.

Burl Ives also recorded the shanty at some point, with some quite different lyrics, source unknown. It would be very interesting to know where he got them from. Ives seems to have sung "bunch of roses," as far as I can tell.