The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #15782   Message #889588
Posted By: Desert Dancer
13-Feb-03 - 12:51 PM
Thread Name: J. Moulden or Philippa: Two sisters
Subject: Lyr Add: TWO SISTERS (from Sharp/Karpeles)
Linking some bits together:

I think it's funny that UK writers think it sounds American, when I think of it as Irish-sounding because I first heard it from them. (Though certainly the text is more American in its sparseness.)

This thread has the text of the Clannad version.

Their text seems to be collated from more than one version, but in all the discussions I don't think this detail has been posted: the melody and gist of the words is from Two Sisters version E in Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles, English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians. It was collected from Mrs. Clercy Deeton at Mine Fork, Burnsville, North Carolina, September 19, 1918. It's one of fourteen versions published there. Here's the text:

Two little sisters side and side
Sing I dum, sing I day.
Tow little sisters side and side,
The boys ar bound for me.
Two little sisters side and side,
The oldest one for Johnny cried.
I'll be kind to my true love
If he'll be kind to me.

2. Johnny bought the old one a beaver hat,
The youngest one thought hard of that.

3. Johnny bought the young one a gay gold ring,
He never bought the old one a single thing.

4. Two little sisters a-going down stream;
The oldest one put the young one in.

5. She floated on down to the miller's dam;
The miller brought her safe to land.

6. The miller has hung on the gallows so high;
The oldest one was hung close by.

~ Becky in Tucson

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