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Lyr Req: The Robber Bridegroom

Surreysinger 01 Apr 07 - 07:46 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Apr 07 - 09:10 PM
Surreysinger 02 Apr 07 - 05:42 AM
Reinhard 28 Mar 16 - 06:28 AM
Susan of DT 28 Mar 16 - 07:27 AM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Mar 16 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 29 Mar 16 - 09:12 AM
Reinhard 29 Mar 16 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 29 Mar 16 - 12:56 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: The Robber Bridegroom
From: Surreysinger
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 07:46 PM

A friend played me a tape of a song which she said was entitled "The Robber Bridegroom" last week - one of those songs you hear and think "I want..." - or at least it was in my case. I have no idea who was singing the song, or where it came from, and have been searching fruitlessly on Google for it. I can find references to folk tales, and to an American musical with that title, but no reference to a folk song. The story line is fairly straightforward - young lady inherits pots of money, is courted by young man, who arranges to meet her at night below the trysting tree. She arrives early and hides to surprise him; he turns up with a friend and digs a grave (nice!). She catches him out, and rides away with the money etc etc.

Does anybody know the song? Can anyone provide me with details of where I can get hold of lyrics, melody, or a recording?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Robber Bridegroom
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 09:10 PM

So far as I know, the only (published) traditional form with a tune was a cante-fable version from Yorkshire that appeared in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society, vol II, issue 9, 1906, 297-9, as 'One Moonlight Night'. Frank Kidson got it from Kate Thompson of Knaresborough. There was a single sung verse (the 'riddle' one), the rest being prose narrative. Three other versions of the same verse (none with tunes) were appended.

I gather that a (modern) versification of the story later appeared in Kidson's Peasant Songs, but I haven't seen that. If the recording you heard began 'Oh bring with you your dowry, love', that was probably it. Alternatively, somebody else may have put it together; Martin Carthy recorded a form, as 'The Cottage in the Wood', back in 1974; that was a collation from several fragmentary sources, plus some new material of his own. I believe that Deek and Dorothy Elliott may have sung a song called 'The Robber Bridegroom' at some point, but I don't know anything about it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Robber Bridegroom
From: Surreysinger
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 05:42 AM

Many thanks for that Malcolm - I wondered if you might be able to supply something!! At least it gives me a bit more to go on... I have a feeling I may have to go back to my friend and beg steal or borrow a copy of the tape recording!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Robber Bridegroom
From: Reinhard
Date: 28 Mar 16 - 06:28 AM

Derek and Dorothy Elliott sang "The Robber Bridegroom" in 1972 on their eponymous first album. Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman learned it from them an recorded it in 2015 on "Tomorrow Will Follow Today".

Alice Jones sang this as "One Moonlit Night" in 2014 on her and Pete Coe's album of songs from the Frank Kidson collection, "The Search for Five Finger Frank".

These are Kathryn Roberts lyrics:

"Go bring to me your dowry love
And some of your fathers gold besides,
That you may ride along with me
And be made next day my lovely bride."

She took the dowry, she took the gold,
The appointed night came very soon.
And away she's gone to the trysting tree
By the pale light of the rising moon.

She's come in first to the trysting tree,
Said, "In the leaves above I'll hide
To surprise my love, so that when he comes
He will wonder where is my lovely bride."

She waited a while as she sat hid,
She saw two men below her feet.
Her love she saw in the pale moonlight
As he dug a grave below the tree.

They waited a while but she never stirred
And at last they left their dreadful plan.
And when they both had safely gone
She slipped from the tree and home she ran.

A week went by, her love she met
At a neighbours house to pass the time.
The lads and girls they jest and played
And asked each other riddles and rhymes.

Her false love whispered, "Where were you love
The night I waited in vain for you?"
"I'll answer that," this girl replied,
"If you'll answer me this puzzle true:

"One moonlit night as I lay hid,
I looked for one but two came there.
The boughs did bend and the leaves did shake
For to see the hole the fox did make."

His colour changed and up he rose,
He saw his treachery made so plain.
Out of the doors into the night,
Never seen in those parts again.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Robber Bridegroom
From: Susan of DT
Date: 28 Mar 16 - 07:27 AM

See also:Young Andrew
False Sir John
and other versions of Child #4

In these songs the male lover asks her to steal her dowry from her parents and run away with him to be wed. He then takes the money and threatens to kill her.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Robber Bridegroom
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Mar 16 - 03:02 PM

Danke sehr for the lyrics, Reinhard. How nice to see evil thwarted!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Robber Bridegroom
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 29 Mar 16 - 09:12 AM

This song was featured in English Dance and Song magazine a year or so ago. All the details about the song were in the article. Join EFDSS, support the library and learn stuff! Derek (former editor)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Robber Bridegroom
From: Reinhard
Date: 29 Mar 16 - 01:05 PM

Derek, the original request for the lyrics of this song was posted nine years ago, well before the song appeared in EDS last spring. So what's your complaint?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Robber Bridegroom
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 29 Mar 16 - 12:56 PM

Sorry, I was reading this on my phone and didn't look at the dates, which I would noally do if reading on my PC. Not so much a complaint, more a case of promoting Efdss and their magazine, especially when I was editor! :-)
Derek


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