Thank you for your responses to my question, but GUEST (whichever one it is...) is right - I need to know if there is any info about the etymology of this song in America. Fr'instance:
Did Cecil Sharp find it in Appalachia? Did it first show up in Boston with the potato famine gang? Was it found on the rivers? or the western expansion?
My concert is a Memorial Day celebration of the American heritage in music - I've got someone playing William Billings, Ella Shephard (of the Fisk Jubilee Singers), even a shanteyman in love with an Indian princess. Yes, I know, I followed that thread too, but I'm going with the traditional explanation. These are not long scenarios - just something to add a little spice and education. My son (Chuchulan re-incarnate) is dying to play a teed-off Boston laborer complaining about the Yanks stealing his thunder, but I'd like to know if that's even a little accurate. I realize this may be a more fruitless quest than the Holy Grail, but thought I'd see if your folks had some stories. (I teach American music and the first thing I tell my students before I assign them the task of finding some info on folk songs is that it will be an exercise in futility.......) Should I start a new thread? The area in which I live is pretty limited, research-wise, except for the internet.
I've really enjoyed exploring this site, and someday when I have a lot of free time, I plan to do a lot more of it.
Thanks again, Lani