The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #50640   Message #775121
Posted By: John Minear
01-Sep-02 - 08:18 AM
Thread Name: Wild Boar: History, Lyrics & Discussion-Child #18
Subject: Lyr Add: OLD BANGUM (from Jean Ritchie)
On her CHILD BALLADS IN AMERICA, Vol. 1, put out by Folkways Records, Album FA 2301 (now available from Smithsonian Folkways), Jean Ritchie sings a version of "Old Bangum" learned from her mother's cousin, Ellen Fields.


Bangum rid by the riverside
Dillum down dillum
Three young ladies there he spied
Dillum down dillum
Killy ko cuddle down
Killy ko corn.

There's a wild boar in these woods,
Who'll eat his meat, 'll suck his blood.

If you would this wild boar see
Blow a blast, he'll come to thee.

Slapped the horn into his mouth,
Blew a blast both North and South.

Wild boar come in such a rush,
Split his way through oak and ash.

Fit four hours by the day,
At last the wild boar run away.

Old Bangum follered him to his den,
Saw the bones of a thousand men.

Jean sings a very different version on her children's album, JEAN RITCHIE, CHILDHOOD SONGS, put out in 1991 by Greenhays Recordings(marketed by Flying Fish Records). This version sounds British and is called "Olde Bangum". This is one in which Bangum goes after a dragon.

In the introductory notes to her Child ballads, she says:

"Back in the days when Balis and Abigail Ritchie's big family was "a-bornin' and a-growin'," none of them had ever heard of Francis J. Child, nor had anyone else in that part of the Kentucky Mountains, I believe. The word 'ballad', or 'ballit' meant, in our community, the written-down words for a song. I remember hearing one old lady near home say proudly to another, "Now I've got Barbry Ellen up there in my trunk. Joe's Sally stopped in and she writ me out the ballit of it."

"Writing out the ballit" for our family songs was rarely done. All of us, Mom, Dad, and all thirteen children could write, but these old songs and their music were in our head, or hearts, or somewhere part of us, and we never needed to write them down. They were there, like games and rhymes and riddles, like churning-chants and baby-bouncers and gingerbread stackcake recipes, to be employed and enjoyed when the time came for them. Nobody got scholarly about them and I have a feeling that's why they have been genuinely popular all these years.

These old story songs, now. We sang and listened to them, for themselves. For the excitement of the tale, or the beauty and strength of the language or of the graceful tunes, for the romantic tingle we got from a glimpse of life in the long-ago past, for the uncanny way the old, old situatins still stir the present. Heads nodding over Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender. "Ain't that right, no? That's j'st what he ort to a-done to her!"

As I remember, it took a special time for us to appreciate these "big" ballads. Of course, we hummed them about the housework, and when walking along the roads, and in the fields, but that wasn't really singing them out. It had to be a quiet time for that, as when the family gathered on the front porch, evenings, and after awhile the house clatter ended and the talk dwindled and died. Then was the time for Lord Bateman, or The Gypsie Ladie to move into ur thoughts. Or, it could be a time at play-parties when the players dropped down to rest, between spells of dancing, - that was a time to listen to a good long tale."(p.1)