The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119745   Message #2600068
Posted By: GUEST,Bob Coltman
29-Mar-09 - 06:27 PM
Thread Name: Walk-on characters in songs.
Subject: RE: Walk-on characters in songs.
Child is full of them.

Take the House Carpenter for example. Disposed of in the first verse, yet he rates a title spot. Is this fair to the protagonists?

"Dear mother" in Lord Thomas and Fair Elinore. Two dear mothers actually, His and Hers, who are far wiser than the male and female lead. Not to mention the inhabitants of the various villages who thought he looked like the King and she looked like the Queen when they rode through -- local myopia, an undeveloped story aching to be told.

What about offstage figures? Lord Randall's (uncredited but lethal) sweetheart, not to mention scads of brothers in numerous ballads. Absent sweethearts and wives galore, as in The Two Soldiers, or, The Comrades' Last Brave Charge. Relatively few turn up late, like Lord Bateman's Turkish Lady. In fact, nearly everyone in the ballads is a walk-on, and some of them are dead.

"Your father and your mother" who "in yonders room do lie a huggin' one another" from Blow the Candles Out.

And then (no need to name the song, is there?) Sheriff Grayson of "If it hadn't been for Grayson, I'd've been in Tennessee." (Tennessee, the Volunteer State, being the walk-on state here.)

Porpoise and porgy of The Eddystone Light. Admissible as they're of human ancestry? Not to mention the keeper's son's (grand)mother sitting on a buoy:

Bein' a buoy for ships wot syle,
And not a boy who's a juvenile myle.

My Bonnie, who lies over the ocean. (Presumably she tells the truth this side of the water.)

The list must be endless.   Bob