The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157805   Message #3832726
Posted By: Jim Carroll
15-Jan-17 - 08:00 AM
Thread Name: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
Edom of Gordon was of one of the ballads we recoded MacColl talking about at length in terms of identifying with his songs - something he argued was essential if you were going to retain it in your repertoire over a length of time.
He described having to record it for the series, The Long Harvest (I'm pretty he had learned it earlier and abandoned it)
He'd been requested to include it by the producer of the series as said he just couldn't come to terms with it - his comment was something like: "how could you sympathise with any of these people; they were all killers, slaughtering each other for land and political power; one as bad as the other.
I tried it one way and then another, without success, until I came to the verses about the young daughter being thrown over the castle wall and impaled on Gordon's lance.

"And Gorden turned ower and ower, and oh, her face was wan,
He said "You are the first that e'ere I wished aliave again"

And then he turned ower again, and oh, her face was white,
"I might ha'e spared that bonnie face to be some man's delight".

He said; "that's what these ballads are about; the waste, the ***** waste of human life, and that's what makes them important - the humanity".
It's an approach that has always worked for me.
For the record, Ewan sang and recorded 175 Child Ballads, a number of them in multiple versions
Jim Carroll