The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8648   Message #54210
Posted By: Wolfgang
15-Jan-99 - 09:35 AM
Thread Name: If i was a blackbird?
Subject: RE: If i was a blackbird?
Walton's has five verses very close to DTs version 1 (which mentions Andy Stewart as singer), except:

they leave out verse 2
they print instead as their verse 4:

For what can a poor colleen do by herself,
when her man's gone away, sure she's left on the shelf,
she longs for her sailor to be by her side,
for she knows in her heart she's his one darling pride.

If you think that doesn't fit into DT's male singer version, you're right, for Walton's print as their main version a woman's version starting:
I am a young maiden and my story is sad,
for once I was courted by a brave sailor lad,
he courted me truly by night and by day
but now he has laft me and gone far away.

Then they print an alternative verse for the male version:
I'm just a young sailor and my story is sad,
for once I was happy and a brave sailor lad.
I courted a lassie by night and by day,
but now she has left me and gone far away.

They leave it to the reader to adapt all other verses.

Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger in "Travellers' songs from England and Scotland" print two quite different versions. I cite from their notes:
"Like most identifiable combinations of floater-verses, this song has its kernel: the [chorus of DT version #1]. The couplets which form the first halves of [DT #1 verses and 4] are relatively stable elements as is [DT #1 verse 5].
The song does not appear to have survived in the New World, though one can find stanzas from it scattered throughout the huge corpus of love-lamentations like 'The Wagoner's lad', 'Little Sparrow', 'Pretty Saro', 'The Turtle Dove' and many others."