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Origins: The Wagoner's Lad

GUEST 01 Jan 09 - 05:45 AM
Susan of DT 01 Jan 09 - 06:31 AM
jzm 01 Jan 09 - 06:53 AM
freda underhill 01 Jan 09 - 07:30 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Jan 09 - 02:05 PM
jzm 01 Jan 09 - 02:24 PM
Janie 21 Feb 15 - 02:59 PM
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Subject: Origins: The Wagoner's Lad?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 05:45 AM

Does anyone know the origins of this song? The recordings are mostly American (Dylan, Biez, O'Brien, The Dukhs and others I'm sure), but it has the feel of an Anglo transplant somehow. I found a web reference to it originating from a Broadside Ballad, but no info to back up the claim :-(

Any thoughts most appreciated, John.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Origins of The Wagoner's Lad?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 06:31 AM

Look at the Origins: On Top of Old Smoky thread, which is current. There is overlap between the two songs in the early versions.

And please use a name other than "Guest"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Origins of The Wagoner's Lad?
From: jzm
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 06:53 AM

> Look at the Origins: On Top of Old Smoky thread,
> which is current. There is overlap between the two
> songs in the early versions.

Some maybe, it's not completely clear to me how they overlap from that thread, except that the Lomax's had them as one one song.

> And please use a name other than "Guest"

Apologies! I lost my cookie somehow, reset now.

Thanks, John.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Origins of The Wagoner's Lad?
From: freda underhill
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 07:30 AM

American collection origins detailed here -
the Wagoner's lad was included by Harry Smith in his Anthology of American Folk Music , a six-album compilation of eighty-four American folk recordings issued from 1927 to 1932.

When the Anthology was recorded in mid 52s, the Wagoner's Lad was on Vol 1, ballads, a copy of the original recording from 1928, by Buell Kazee.

The link above includes words and an MP3 based on the Buell Zazee version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Origins of The Wagoner's Lad?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 02:05 PM

"Wagoner's Lad" was collected by Cecil Sharp, and published by Wyman and Brockway, 1916, "Lonesome Tunes," W. H. Gray & Co., NY.

Lyrics of "Wagoner's Lad" and other members of the "Old Smoky" complex are posted and discussed in thread 76295: Old Smoky
It is impossible to separate the songs.

Dorothy Scarborough collected and published eight North Carolina Appalachian variants of 'Wagoner's Lad' in "A Songcatcher in the Southern Mountains," 1930; the more complete are posted in the thread linked above.

The Traditional Ballad Index, copied in the linked thread, lists recordings, including the first by George Reneau, 1926.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Origins of The Wagoner's Lad?
From: jzm
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 02:24 PM

Looks like I asked a dumb question: the Anthology answered the "where's it from" question very well!

Many thanks for your very patient answers, John.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Wagoner's Lad
From: Janie
Date: 21 Feb 15 - 02:59 PM

Lisa Null wrote extensively about the origins of this song for the liner notes of Peggy Seeger's Bring Me Home. http://www.peggyseeger.com/listen-buy/bring-me-home/bring-me-home-notes-text

Copying her notes, as the link will likely one day disappear.

NOTE BY ELISABETH HIGGINS NULL:


Peggy first recorded the "Wagoner's Lad" in 1955 on a Folkways album, (Folksongs of Courting and Complaint, FA 2049). That year, she also recorded a variant of the same song, "My Horses Ain't Hungry," with her brother Mike on American Folk Songs for Children, issued on Folkways (reissued Rounder 1801, 1977) and consisting of songs from Ruth Crawford Seeger's book, American folk songs for children in home, school, and nursery school : a book for children, parents, and teachers (Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1948). The countermelody that serves as a turnaround between verses on this recorded version of "My Horses Ain't Hungry" is echoed here in her solo guitar. Peggy's tune for the "Wagoner's Lad" repeats the first line twice and moves on to a related and higher third line before recapitulating the first line. This AABA pattern is structured differently than the typical ABBA pattern more widely associated with the song.

"The Wagoner's Lad" and "My Horses Ain't Hungry" belong to a larger family of tunes ranging from "Rye Whisky" to "Farewell to Tarwathie." Many of its floating verses appear in a variety of songs such as "Bachelor's Hall" or "On Top of Old Smoky." "The Wagoner's Lad" is found primarily in the United Sates although its opening verse appeared as early as 1728-1732 in a British theatrical piece "The Ladies' Case" and was later set to music by William Boyce (1711-1779), the English classical musician:

Oh Hard is the fortune of all womankind
They're always controlled, always confined
Controlled by their parents until they are wives
Then slaves to their husbands the rest of their lives.

Bruce Olson, in a guest post on the Mudcat Café, an online folksong forum associated with the Digital Tradition, gives a partial history of the song, "Hard is the Fortune of All Womankind." He tells us it was printed in the eighteenth century and quotes the text from a single song sheet with music published in 1730. Henry Carey is credited with creating the lyrics of the verses that seem originally to have constituted the complete song:

How hard is the fortune of all womankind,
Forever subjected, forever confined,
The parent controls us until we are wives,
The husband enslaves us the rest of our lives.

If fondly we love, yet we dare not reveal,
But secretly languish, compelled to conceal,
Deny'd every freedom of Life to enjoy,
We're sham'd if we're kind, we're blamed if we're coy.

If fortune we have Oh! then we must be joyn'd,
To the Man that is by our Parents Design'd,
Compel'd for to have the Man we never see,
No matter if Ugly or Handsome he be.

Then who would be Wealthy or Strive to be great,
Since so many Dangers upon them does wait,
That Couples most happy that Love uncontroul'd,
That marries for nothing despises the Gold.

The lyrics bear the earmarks of a popular song designed for genteel company, but their sentiment has been distilled and emotionally compressed in Peggy's version. These are stylistic hallmarks of Anglo-American oral tradition. Olson also shares something about the song's printed history:

The song was printed without credits and without music in a book of 1734, 'The Vocal Miscellany', II, p. 159, and noted in a book with music, 'The Universal Musician', [1737], to have been sung by Miss Raftor (trained by Carey) at the Theatre Royal. She made her debut in 1728 and became Mrs. (Kitty) Clive in 1732. Mr. Gouge (whose first name seems to be unknown) was credited with the music in later printings, e.g., 'The Muses Delight', p. 143, Liverpool, 1754 (slightly revised and retitled 'Apollo's Cabinet', 1757). The song then can be definitely put as 1728-32. The verses here [above] are from the single sheet issue, c 1730.

Peggy's version closely resembles the seminal rendition by Buell Kazee, first recorded in 1928 (Brunswick 2138, 064); on Harry Smith's compilation Anthology of American Folk Music (3 vols., 6 LP) (FA 2951/2952/2953, 1952). Kazee's version has been covered by artists ranging from Joan Baez to Bruce Molsky.


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