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Origins: the rout for the blues

GUEST,G.I. Joe 06 Jan 09 - 08:09 PM
Leadfingers 06 Jan 09 - 08:16 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Jan 09 - 08:38 PM
Nerd 06 Jan 09 - 11:16 PM
breezy 07 Jan 09 - 04:30 AM
pavane 07 Jan 09 - 04:52 AM
Terry McDonald 07 Jan 09 - 05:11 AM
Keith A of Hertford 07 Jan 09 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,Brian Bull 07 Jan 09 - 12:21 PM
Les in Chorlton 07 Jan 09 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Ebor_fiddler 07 Jan 09 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 07 Jan 09 - 05:23 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Jan 09 - 07:23 PM
Nerd 07 Jan 09 - 08:10 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Jan 09 - 11:31 PM
GUEST,Brian Bull 08 Jan 09 - 04:27 PM
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Subject: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: GUEST,G.I. Joe
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:09 PM

I have the words and melody for The "rout has just come for the Blues" I am wondering what is the history of the song? When did it first appear ? who wwas the author? Etc...    I know the Blues were the Household Cav. about Cromwells time. Can anyone help????


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:16 PM

Do you mean the "Salisbury Plain" , Rout of the Blues ??


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:38 PM

Number 21098 in the Roud Folk Song Index. An anonymous broadside song of the early 19th century. Several editions can be seen at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

Success to the Blues

A transcription from the Robin and Barry Dransfield recording (well known back in the 1970s) was posted here some years ago; not too easy to find as there seems to be something wrong with the onsite search engine at the moment. You can see it at Post Lyrics 'The Rout of the Blues'.

I don't recall if the Dransfields said which traditional version they had arranged, and the discussion doesn't tell us. One from the Sharp collection I suspect, given the opening line.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: Nerd
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 11:16 PM

Info on the Dransfields' version:

"The Royal Horse Guards are known as the Blues. This song about their mustering was put together by Barry from The Idiom of the People, Ingeldew's Yorkshire Ballads and a vaguely remembered tune learned originally from Dave Howes of York."

From the 1970 album The Rout of the Blues.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: breezy
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:30 AM

its in the singing refs repertoire, so we get to hear it from time to time, good song and he does it well.

I recall hearing Barry and Robin performing it too back in the 60s whilst I was in Leeds


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: pavane
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:52 AM

Mrs Pavane & I have been known to perform it, too, but not as well as the Dransfields.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 05:11 AM

Like most people, I learned it from the Dransfields and have always sung it with the 'As I crossed over Salisbury Plain' opening line. However, I have a copy of the Hammond brothers' manuscript where they call it 'The Blues' sung by Mr Barratt of Puddletown and his opening verse is:

As was awalking down Staffordshire Square
Some most beautiful place for to view'
Then I saw the girls acrying with the wringing of their hands
Saying the rout is now come for the Blues, the Blues
Saying the rout is now come for the Blues.

One of the Hammonds wrote 'Variant of tune 'Rout has come for the Blues' in 'Garland of Country Song, p.99.' below the melody. As I can't read music, I'm not sure of the exact melody that Robert Barratt sang and just how different it is from the Dransfields' version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 05:29 AM

previous discussion

Note also the 2 related threads given.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: GUEST,Brian Bull
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 12:21 PM

I have in my possession a letter from the Assistant Curator of the Household Cavalry Museum in Windsor (from way back in 1972 when the Dransfields version of this song was very popular). He explains that in the 18th and 19th centuries regiments were given 'Routs' or 'Marching Orders' if it was necessary to move them from one location to another. At the museum they had all the 'Routs' for the Blues (a regiment of Household Cavalry) from 1683 onwards and the relevant one seems to be for 11th May 1803 when the Blues were ordered to move from Salisbury to Croyden.

At the time we were under threat from Boneparte so I suppose the Blues were being moved to a strategic position to defend London.

The Curator adds that the Blues were the favourite regiment of George III who often wore their uniform. They were also popular with the local lasses wherever they were quartered and hence the distress among the locals upon hearing that they were to leave.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 12:39 PM

Scarborough sands anybody?


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: GUEST,Ebor_fiddler
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:38 PM

Yes, that's how I learned it. I had a feeling that Dave Hilary put it together from a set of broadside words he found (from memory in York Library from locally collected documents, though this may be incorrect) and to a version of "The Streets of Laredo" rather than any particular English-collected one". This would be in the very early sixties in York (where at the time, God bless them both, the Dransfields were a cheap booking - and very welcome too!) A lad called Steve Campbell used to sing it.

Are you listening Steve? You know more that me about this song!


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 05:23 PM

I had always thought that the Dransfields got it from Dave Hillery, formerly of York (or Ripon), living in Manchester when the Dransfields' LP came out and now in Durham. He sang a lot of Yorkshire songs, some he collected himself. I remember him well as a resident at Harry Boardman's folk club in Failsworth and then Manchester in the early 70s. He and Harry made an LP together for Topic, Trans-Pennine, and the notes there to Scarborough Sands state:

"Some years ago Dave Hillery came across 'Scarborough Sands' in Holroyd's Collection of Yorkshire Ballads (1892). He adapted this tune to the words and sang it regularly around the York area. Astonishingly (or perhaps predictably) the song has since cropped up all over the place with the tune described as traditional and Scarborough replaced by bamburgh, Salisbury Plain and even Liverpool."

Derek Schofield


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 07:23 PM

It looks as though Scarboro' Sands was the northern version of 'Success to the Blues' as printed by Catnach and Pitts among other southern printers. SS was printed by Williamson of Newcastle and Bebbington of Manchester although Bebbington also printed a version called 'The Clara Boys'. Simiar broadside ballads are 'The Rifle Boys' and 'Lancashire Lads'


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: Nerd
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 08:10 PM

Derek, you're probably right in a way. Dave Howes probably got it from Dave Hillery, and the Dransfields say they got the tune from Howes. But they went to Idiom of the People for the words; that set came (as Malcolm said) from Sharp, so that's where Salisbury Plain came into their version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 11:31 PM

Of the two earlier threads on this song (the 'third' is a completely different song with a similar opening line), Lyr req: Rout of the Blues contains some useful information; the other (see Keith's link) began as a long and slightly painful attempt by several people (including me; nine years ago I was a comparatively recent 'returner' to the subject and lacked many of the resources I now have access to) to remember the words of the Dransfield recording. A broadside transcription and some useful comments were added a few years later, though.

'Scarboro' sands' is a localisation printed in Ingledew's The Ballads and Songs of Yorkshire (1860), from a broadside in his collection. It has 'the Queen' instead of 'King George', incidentally, so may be a later form. The Bodleian broadsides have Rosemary Lane and Rosemary Hill, but both Scarborough sands and Salisbury Plain (and other locations) were found in various late C19 / early C20 oral examples.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the rout for the blues
From: GUEST,Brian Bull
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 04:27 PM

I believe the original version was 'Salisbury Plain' on the grounds (as stated yesterday) that the Blues were definitely stationed in Salisbury in 1803 and were given their 'Rout' (i.e. marching orders) to move from there to Croyden. 'Scarborough Sands' I believe to be a later corruption of the kind that easily happens in oral tradition and to the best of my knowledge the Blues were a Southern regiment and were never billeted in Scarborough so there is no historical basis for that version. As for Rosemary Lane, another corruption of Salisbury Plain I suggest.

All the internal eveidence of the words of the song is consistent with the 1803 'rout' from Salisbury in the reign of George III.


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