The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166098   Message #3991326
Posted By: Steve Gardham
07-May-19 - 04:16 PM
Thread Name: If you don't like ballads......
Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
We don't hear many RH ballads because most of them were never part of oral tradition as far as we know. IMO the best of the Child Ballads are those that have gone through a long period in oral tradition and had the edges rubbed off, one reason why American versions have been so popular even in this country.

Those with only 4 or 5 versions that have not been part of oral tradition for a couple of centuries should be left like that. Those that have endured in oral tradition have done so for good reasons. Those that are non-pc can still be sung with a few minor alterations. 'Maid Freed' is dismissed as repetitive and boring but one man's meat. It is a survival from a cantefable and as a song it remains popular for the same reasons as chorus songs do. It has endured pretty well in the revival repertoire.

I have sung the more popular ones like, Mermaid, Golden Vanity, Henry Martin in the past but those that I could sing at the drop of a hat are Elfin Knight, Cruel Mother, Cruel Sister and Maid and the Palmer.