The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #171844   Message #4157608
Posted By: Steve Gardham
14-Nov-22 - 02:20 PM
Thread Name: Barbara Allen - Martinmas
Subject: RE: Barbara Allen - Martinmas
Hi Vic. The phrase 'well-a-day' features in some of our earliest songs dating back to Tudor times and probably earlier. Check out the earliest versions of 'Adieu, Adieu' and 'Devol the Highwayman'. Also one of the earliest forms of the Jack Hall/Benbow tune/format from the 16th century uses it. I interpret it as a verbalised sigh, but it may have had different connotations at different times.