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Traditional songs & madness

Jane Bird 16 Apr 99 - 10:11 AM
Bert 16 Apr 99 - 10:15 AM
Bert 16 Apr 99 - 10:21 AM
Wolfgang 16 Apr 99 - 10:33 AM
AndyG 16 Apr 99 - 11:30 AM
hotspur 16 Apr 99 - 11:30 AM
Frank of Toledo 16 Apr 99 - 11:34 AM
Barbara Shaw 16 Apr 99 - 11:46 AM
Bruce O. 16 Apr 99 - 05:01 PM
LEJ 16 Apr 99 - 05:19 PM
Barbara 16 Apr 99 - 07:11 PM
Colin The Whistler (inactive) 16 Apr 99 - 10:08 PM
Lucius 16 Apr 99 - 11:05 PM
16 Apr 99 - 11:13 PM
Penny 17 Apr 99 - 04:24 AM
Susan of DT 17 Apr 99 - 10:30 AM
Jane Bird 19 Apr 99 - 08:15 AM
Shack 19 Apr 99 - 12:47 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 02 May 99 - 07:47 PM
Charlie Baum 02 May 99 - 11:04 PM
Charlie Baum 03 May 99 - 12:09 PM
Matthew B. 03 May 99 - 02:26 PM
Charlie Baum 03 May 99 - 03:18 PM
Sandy Paton 03 May 99 - 06:40 PM
Jane Bird 06 May 99 - 06:58 AM
ddw in windsor 06 May 99 - 08:57 PM
Susan A-R 06 May 99 - 10:36 PM
Sandy Paton 07 May 99 - 12:45 AM
Bob Landry 07 May 99 - 03:00 PM
Bert 07 May 99 - 04:05 PM
GUEST 06 Sep 14 - 03:38 AM
GUEST 06 Sep 14 - 04:07 AM
Jack Blandiver 06 Sep 14 - 04:16 AM
Jack Campin 06 Sep 14 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Rahere 06 Sep 14 - 02:38 PM
Jack Campin 06 Sep 14 - 03:23 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Sep 14 - 03:48 PM
GUEST 06 Sep 14 - 08:03 PM
Tattie Bogle 06 Sep 14 - 08:22 PM
MGM·Lion 07 Sep 14 - 04:03 AM
Steve Gardham 07 Sep 14 - 01:15 PM
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Subject: Traditional songs & madness
From: Jane Bird
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 10:11 AM

I'd like some helping looking for some songs, please. Have you ever come across any traditional songs that take mental ill heath as a theme?

Ones I think of off the top of my head (and after looking through the database) are:
Fair William and Lady Maisry
Bedlam Boys

Cheers, Jane Bird


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Bert
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 10:15 AM

A search for Bedlam gives you four hits.


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Bert
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 10:21 AM

Then there's "Come inside"


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Wolfgang
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 10:33 AM

not traditional, but by a songwriter wit a traditional way of performing: Luka Bloom's (then: Barry Moore) "Jenny of the sung"

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: AndyG
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 11:30 AM

Sort of depends on your viewpoint, I suppose, but I'd say songs like Crazy Man Michael and that family of songs blaming murder and misdeed on mental factors fit into this category too.

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: hotspur
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 11:30 AM

You could argue for madness as a theme of a lot of the murder ballads, since a lot of the people in them act really insanely! Cf. Lord Randall--I always thought it was bizarre that the mother spends half the ballad asking her dying son what property he's going to leave her. How sane is that?


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Frank of Toledo
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 11:34 AM

Lunatic Asylum recorded by Rick Lee on Waterbug. In his liner notes Rick says "the basic story is about the Lunatic Asylum, where two patients, while they were in the "asylum", probably Eastern State Lunatic Asylun in Knoxville Tennessee, now called Lakeshore Hospital. They suffered some sort of mental illness or emotional breakdown , sometime around the turn of the century. The song was collected in the field by Tony Cavender of Eastern State Tennessee University around 1974. lyricsa and more background forthcoming is wanted/


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 11:46 AM

Gordon Lightfoot did a beautiful song called: That Same Old Obsession.


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Bruce O.
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 05:01 PM

In the Scarce Songs 2 file on my website is an 18th century copy of "The Maid in Bedlam", and preceeding it is most of "The Black's Lamentation" [in Bedlam], c 1735-40 on which it was loosely based. www.erols.com/olsonw


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: LEJ
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 05:19 PM

This thread title strikes me as a fitting description of conversations on the Mudcat


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Barbara
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 07:11 PM

Hills of Shiloh by Shel Silverstein. An eerie song about a bride waiting for her intended to return from the war.


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Colin The Whistler (inactive)
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 10:08 PM

Now harm..and excuse this..but some traditional songs, (sean nos..excuse the spelling) just like our mandolin player @ Song The Rock would drive ya to bloody madness

Jesus i'm getting wild sarcastic

FOR A BELFAST MAN THATS A RARE THING TO SAY !!!

Colin Ballygally


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Lucius
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 11:05 PM

I didn't check the DT, but if Bedlam Boys (Boys of Bedlam) wasn't one of the four hits, it should be. A great Morris dance, and even more fun to sing afterwards.

Still I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys, bedlam boys are bonnie.......


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From:
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 11:13 PM

LEJ.....words of wisdom!!!!(giggle) Night Owl


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Penny
Date: 17 Apr 99 - 04:24 AM

Does "Tom O' Bedlam's Song" count? It's singable.


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Susan of DT
Date: 17 Apr 99 - 10:30 AM

not traditional, but:

Dr. Freud
Bold Fisherman (twinki doodleum)


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Jane Bird
Date: 19 Apr 99 - 08:15 AM

I am specifically looking for traidional songs, actually, interesting as contemporary songs about mental illness are. I want to look at the way this theme is delt with in folk songs and lore, you see.

I've seen Flagcrackers of Craven (a border side from North Yorkshire) dance "Bedlem Boys": it's rather dramatic and very menacing. They're accompanied by a singer who belts the songs out very impressively!

Cheers,
Jane


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Shack
Date: 19 Apr 99 - 12:47 PM

A cajun song named "Evangeline" includes the lines,

"Bajou Sam from South Lous-i-anne had gam-bol-ing (gambling) in his veins; Evangeline, from the Maritime, slowly going insane. She stands on the top of a hick-o-ry hill, alone in the lightning and thunder, while down on the river, the boat was a-sinking. She watched the Queen go under."


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 02 May 99 - 07:47 PM

"Evangeline" is by The Band. I think someone,Canadian Acadian or Lousiana Cajun, has done a version in French.

It's the "Maritimes", not the "Maritime".


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Subject: Lyr Add: The Lunatic Asylum^^
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 02 May 99 - 11:04 PM

The Lunatic Asylum song noted above, recorded by Rick Lee on his recent CD "There's Talk About A Fence".

The Lunatic Asylum

© 1982 Tennessee Folk Heritage/Tennessee Folklore Society

collected from Mrs. E.B. of Limestone, Washington County, Tennessee,
written by her aunt and another patient
in the Eastern State Lunatic Asylum in Knoxville, Tenn., (now called Lakeshore Hospital)

CHORUS: Oh glory, Oh glory
Fare you well there's a better day a-coming
Where I won't mind asylum;
I'll be over double trouble
And I'm bound for the happy land of Canaan

Now I had a home in East Tennesee
And plenty of friends all around me
But they took me on the sly
And they made me believe a lie
They took me to the lunatic asylum

CHORUS

It's? CHORUS

And I guess I'd better tell about the jackets that were there
The jackets they were thick all around me
They'd lace them on so tight
That they made me want to fight
When they took me to the lunatic asylum

CHORUS

And I guess I'd better tell about the patients that were there
The patients they were thick all around me
They come down so thick
That they gave me many a lick
When they took me to the lunatic asylum

CHORUS

?And I'm bound from this lunatic asylum

Transcribed by Charlie Baum, who heard this song and had to learn it. The tune is wonderful, but I suggest you listen to Rick Lee's recording because his phrasing and old-fashioned banjo accompaniment are so magnificently done. (Or, if you can find it, the original recording on an obscure label published by the Tennessee Folklore Society back in the early 80s.)


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 03 May 99 - 12:09 PM

Jane--

Notes about the Tennessee Lunatic Asylum song (above):

"This song was collected in the field by Tony Cavender of the ETSU Sociology/Anthropology Department in 1974 when he was interviewing the late Mrs. E. B. of Limestone, Washington County, Tennessee concerning a variety of subjects including midwifery.

"Tony Cavender and I [Ricahrd Blaustein] published an article about the song -- Richard Blaustein and Anthony P. Cavender, 'The Lunatic Asylum: Folksong As Healing Process?', Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, vol. XLV, no. 1, March 1979. and the field recording itself was issued on an LP edited by Charles K. Wolfe for the Tennessee Folklore Society, 'Tennessee: The Folk Heritage, Vol.2, The Mountains,' TFS 103, 1982, which was nominated for a Grammy in the Traditional Folk Music category in 1982.

"We did not refer to Mrs. B. by her full name in either the article or album notes but instead called her 'Mrs. E. B.' to preserve her anonymity and protect her family from any embarrassment because of the theme of insanity in the song.

"The basic story about the 'Lunatic Asylum' is that Mrs. E. B.'s aunt apparently composed the song with another patient while they were in what was then called a 'lunatic asylum,' probably Eastern State Lunatic Asylum in Knoxville, now calledLakeshore Hospital. Mrs. B's aunt suffered some sort of mental illness or emotional breakdown after her husband was killed in a train wreck returning from military service sometime around the turn of this century.

"Apparently Mrs. B. learned the song after hearing her aunt sing it at family singing sessions; they would get together on Sundays after church and have singing sessions at home. After so many years, Mrs. B. was understandably vague about names, places and dates." -- RB

Perhaps the Folklore Society Bulletin article might be of use to you.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Matthew B.
Date: 03 May 99 - 02:26 PM

Kewl stuff about those asylums.

As for contemporary stuff, have you ever considered Donovan's When You're Strange?


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 03 May 99 - 03:18 PM

On a contemporary note, there are the songs on the first album of folk singer-songwriter Dory Previn, circa 1969 or 1970. She had been the wife of Andre Previn, and when he dumped her for Mia Farrow, she had a "nervous breakdown." The songs she wrote as part of her therapy, including "Mr. Whisper," are some of the most amazing first-hand depictions of a descent into madness I've ever heard.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 03 May 99 - 06:40 PM

Jane: I recorded a version of "Black Jack Davy" (Child #200) from Frank Proffitt in northwestern North Carolina back in 1961 that might be of interest to you. He learned the song from his aunt, Nancy Prather, who called it "Gyps of David," and, with his dedication to his tradition, Frank kept it that way. In this version, after the "good man" tracks down his wife, who has run off with the "Gyps of David," he asks her:

"Will you return to the gold I have?
Will you return to your baby?"
"No, never will I leave the arms,
The arms of the Gyps of David,
The arms of the Gyps of David."

This leads into the final verse, which I believe to be unique in the tradition:

He jumped into the waters wide,
In madness he was raving,
And floated off down to the sea
Because of the Gyps of David,
Because of the Gyps of David.

You can find this version on Folk-Legacy's very first release, now available as a custom cassette: Frank Proffitt, of Reese, North Carolina - C-1.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Jane Bird
Date: 06 May 99 - 06:58 AM

The asylum song which Charlie Baum turned up is facinating. Thanks for that. As for "Black Jack Davy", I never come across that version before. Thanks also!

Any other traditional songs about mental illness out there?

Cheers,
Jane


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: ddw in windsor
Date: 06 May 99 - 08:57 PM

Jane, are you considering things about psychopaths? If so, you might consider Sam Hall (words in the DT), a convicted murderer who doesn't seem to have any remorse. Of course, he never tells us WHY he killed -- maybe he had good reason and was willing to take the consequences.

Just a thought....l

ddw


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Susan A-R
Date: 06 May 99 - 10:36 PM

Seems to me that Ewan McCall did one about having a mad wife. Here's a pretty phonetic snippet from my memory (haven't heard it in about 17 years). Anyway, here goes

Oh my wife she is humpy she's lumpy My wife she is crazy she's cracked ??? Her tongue it goes clickity clack

Tae me ingting tae me ingting tae me ido tae me ingting tae me ingting tae me iday Tae me robobo robobo randy Me Lubstone keeps babin' away

In the end I believe that he drowns his wife It ends with something like I dipped her three times in the river and carelessly bade her good day.

Ring any bells for anyone else out there??

Susan


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 07 May 99 - 12:45 AM

Yeah, but in my mind's ear it's not MacColl singing, but Tommy Makem. Early Clancy Brothers/Tommy Makem recording?

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Bob Landry
Date: 07 May 99 - 03:00 PM

Shack. If you can get it at your local library, check out the Henry Wordsworth Longfellow poem "Evangeline". You'll find out why she might have been going mad.

Susan A-R - check out The Cobbler by Tommy Makem. That's where those lines come from. The lyrics and music can be found in a Clancy Brothers book (small format, green cover) published, I think, in the 1970's. I have a copy at home.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Bert
Date: 07 May 99 - 04:05 PM

"The ID goes marching on" by Melanie


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 03:38 AM

Through Moorfields.


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 04:07 AM

Spencer the Rover is said by some to be about a wanderer who has had some kind of mental collapse.
Having studied workhouse vagrancy these people were common, expecially homeless soldiers back from war campaigns.
Contemporary songs might include The Dutchman, and Reg Meuross new song about Alzheimers, brian Dewhurst was the man who found the song Boys of Bedlam as adopted by Steeleye Span, crazy man michael is not a traditional song.


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 04:16 AM

By the title, I thought this was another 1954 thread...


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 08:43 AM

Here's a Scottish one.

Crazy Jane

The tune is "Fy gar rub her o'er with stra".


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 02:38 PM

One of the best versions of Bedlam Boys was done by the Cecil Sharp House Choir, Sally Davies arranged it in a fine round in the chorus - but CSH won't allow her to record anything, which is more than just a pity.
I would also suggest that if you don't take Long Lankin as possession, then it must be about psychopathic madness. You could also probably treat the entire ghost corpus as displaced grief, verging on schizophrenia.


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 03:23 PM

Nobody's mentioned "My lodging is on the cold ground" yet.

From other languages than English: there are poems embedded in the Irish story of Mad King Sweeney which are probably singable, though I don't know of anybody doing it. and there are a lot of songs in several Middle Eastern languages about Majnun driven mad by his love for Laila. I'm more familiar with the Turkish ones (Leila and Mecnun). This one by Asik Veysel has been covered by lots of people:

Veysel
Ruhi Su (probably more listenable for most)

Norse songs about berserking?
Malay songs about going amok?


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 03:48 PM

The OP request was 15 years ago. She's probably moved on by now.

But if not there are at least half a dozen Child Ballads that have one of the main characters 'running brain' at the end, though I should add most of these flowed through the pen of Peter Buchan who had his own stock of commonplaces which he used freely.

There is a concordance at the back of Vol 5 which should flag these up. If not there is an online concordance somewhere out there.

There are dozens of Bedlam songs. The simplest place to find them would be on the Bodleian Ballads website.


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 08:03 PM

The OP request was 15 years ago. She's probably moved on by now.
love how they pop back up!!!


there was an old woman lived under the hill weel ah weelah wye ah...makem&clancys










7&


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 08:22 PM

Ok, well....15 years on....the song Susan A-R asked about is Dick Darby the Cobbler: words in the DT. And it was sung by The Clancys and Tommy Makem, and scores of other people!


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 04:03 AM

Actually, Tattie B & Susan A-R, it was only sung, solo, by Tommy Makem. When he sang it as part of the 'Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem' act, the rest of them would retire to the back of the stage to give him the spotlight spot. It's on Youtube. There is also an informative ongoing thread on here, called "Dick Darby the Cobbler: songs with same tune", which I have refreshed as part of this discussion.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Traditional songs & madness
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 01:15 PM

This old woman who lived under a hill was originally a duke's young daughter who became pregnant to her father's clerk, had 2 babies born in secret and murdered them, fearful for being cast out on the streets by her father. Presumably already driven out of her mind by then she sees the spirits of her 2 babies who condemn her into Hell.


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