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Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs

DigiTrad:
HANGMAN or THE PRICKILIE BUSH
POOR WILL AND THE JOLLY HANGMAN
THE GOLDEN BALL
THE PRICKILIE BUSH
THE STREETS OF DERRY


Related threads:
Recordings: 'Hangman' (Child 95) (26)
Tune Req: The Maid Freed From the Gallows (9)
Review: best version of prickly bush yet (7)


Eve Goldberg 03 Aug 09 - 12:55 PM
VirginiaTam 03 Aug 09 - 01:16 PM
VirginiaTam 03 Aug 09 - 01:24 PM
Eve Goldberg 03 Aug 09 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,stringsinger 03 Aug 09 - 02:42 PM
Eve Goldberg 03 Aug 09 - 04:54 PM
VirginiaTam 03 Aug 09 - 05:05 PM
Steve Gardham 03 Aug 09 - 06:32 PM
treewind 03 Aug 09 - 06:34 PM
s&r 03 Aug 09 - 06:42 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 03 Aug 09 - 08:26 PM
Eve Goldberg 03 Aug 09 - 09:06 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 03 Aug 09 - 09:42 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Aug 09 - 03:22 AM
Les in Chorlton 04 Aug 09 - 03:43 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Aug 09 - 09:44 AM
RWJ 04 Aug 09 - 10:03 AM
The Sandman 04 Aug 09 - 10:55 AM
The Sandman 04 Aug 09 - 11:01 AM
The Sandman 04 Aug 09 - 12:31 PM
Eve Goldberg 05 Aug 09 - 04:51 PM
Tootler 05 Aug 09 - 05:37 PM
The Sandman 06 Aug 09 - 08:44 AM
Flash Company 06 Aug 09 - 10:16 AM
Eve Goldberg 06 Aug 09 - 12:34 PM
Snuffy 18 Aug 09 - 03:08 AM
GUEST,MtheGM 18 Aug 09 - 05:05 AM
Snuffy 18 Aug 09 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,MtheGM 18 Aug 09 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,Chad Johnson 06 Nov 14 - 09:24 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Nov 14 - 11:09 PM
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Subject: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman song
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 12:55 PM

Hi all,

I recently was reminded of a version of the "Hangman" song we used to sing in our song circle. We called it "The Briery Bush" and I believe the version we sang was learned from Michael Cooney.

I searched around in the DT and the forum but didn't find this particular version. It has a beautiful hipnotic tune.

If anyone else knows this version, I'd be curious to know more about where it came from:


Hangman stay thy hand
Stay it for a while
I think I see my mother coming
Over yonder stile

Mother have you brought me silver
Or gold to pay my fee
Or have you come to see me hanging
On the gallows tree?

No I haven't brought you silver
Or gold to pay your fee
I have come to see you hanging
On the gallows tree

Oh, the briery bush
How it pricks my heart full sore
If ever I get out of the briery bush
I'll never go in it anymore

(repeat all four stanzas for father, sister, brother, etc.)

Then:

Hangman stay thy hand
Stay it for a while
I think I see my true love coming
Over yonder stile

True love have you brought me silver
Or gold to pay my fee
Or have you come to see me hanging
On the gallows tree?

Yes I have brought you silver
Here's gold to pay your fee
I've not come to see you hanging
On the gallows tree

Oh, the briery bush
How it pricked my heart full sore
Now that I'm out of the briery bush
I'll never go in it anymore


I have probably "folk-processed" the words a bit. The first two lines may be:

Hangman slack thy rope
Slack it for a while (etc.)


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 01:16 PM

There are several variations of the Hangman theme.

from the Contemplator

The ballad is known throughout Northern and Southern Europe. There are many versions - fifty in Finland alone. Variants and alternate titles include: The Maid Freed From the Gallows, The Pricklie Bush and Hangman, Hangman. No date is given for the ballad - it is said to be "ancient."
This ballad is Child Ballad #95 (The Maid Freed From the Gallows).

the contemplator has a midi file to listen too.

Gallows Pole (Leadbelly and others) starts

Hangman hangman slack a rope, slack it for a while.


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 01:24 PM

Oops

I forgot to say, I would like to hear the melody of the one you posted. Is it the same as the midi on the Contemplator site?


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 01:36 PM

Hi Virginia Tam,

Thanks for the information. There are a bunch of Mudcat threads about the various versions of the song, and I knew it was a descendant of a Child Ballad.

The melody that I learned is different from the one on the Contemplator site.


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: GUEST,stringsinger
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 02:42 PM

The "Prick-e-lie Bush" I learned from Sandy Paton.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 04:54 PM

I wonder if that one has the same melody.


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 05:05 PM

Mudcatter Woodsie sings the Prick-e-lie Bush too I think. Wonder if there is a video of him singing it.


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 06:32 PM

The Watersons sang two different versions, one pre-Carthy and one post-Carthy. It also occurs in a cantefable/folk tale called 'The Golden Ball' but I can't remember if it was an interloper there or not.


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: treewind
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 06:34 PM

So does Mudcatter Mary Humphreys [myspace: it's on the playlist as Prickleye Bush]
We can send the music (ABC or PDF) and/or the words if anyone likes that version.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: s&r
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 06:42 PM

I love this


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 08:26 PM

It seems to share a common theme and a bit of musical similarity with MacPherson's Lament.


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 09:06 PM

s&r,

I loved that animation! That's basically the melody that I know, with a few variations. We always sang it a capella, with a bit more of a meditative feel. I don't know if that's the way Michael Cooney sang it, or if we folk-processed it.

Sandy, you think that melody is related to MacPherson's lament?


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 09:42 PM

Some similarity especially the last line, not the same but related.

MacPherson's Lament


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 03:22 AM

Here is a beautiful offshoot of the ballad from Sarah Maken of Keady, Armagh. Some people relate it to the events following the 1798 rebellion in Ireland.
Jim Carroll

DERRY GAOL, sung by Sarah Makem, Keady, Co. Armagh; recorded by Peter Kennedy and Sean O'Boyle. This is certainly one of the finest folk ballads recorded on either side of the Atlantic in this century. It uses the pattern of the medieval Fair Maid from the Gallows to tell a story which can be interpreted as both revolutionary and romantic. Sarah Makem, who performs the song in superb style, here gives her view of the story:
A young gentleman that fell in love with a rich lady and her parents didn't want him to get her, and she fought hard to get him and she went away to the Queen and got pardon. She took her Willie and she married him and defied her parents—she was right. I didn't blame her one bit. He was the fellow she wanted and she was right to take him.
Reference:
Sam Henry No 705.

1        Oh, it's after morning, there comes an evening.
And after evening another day.
And after a false love, there comes a true one.
It's hard to hold them that will not stay.

2        As he went walking up the streets of Derry,
I'm sure he marched up right manfully;
He was more like a commanding officer
Than a man to die on the gallows tree.

3        The very first step he went up the ladder,
His blooming colours began to fail,
With heavy sighs with dismal cries,
"Is there no releasement from Derry Gaol."

4        The very next step he went up the ladder.
His aged mother was standing by—
"Come here, come here, my old aged mother
And speak one word to me before I die."

5        The very next step he went up the ladder.
His aged father was standing by.
"Come here, come here, my old aged father.
And speak one word to me before I die."

6        The very next step he went up the ladder.
His loving clergyman was standing by.
"Stand back, stand back, you old prosecutors,
I'll let you see that he will not die."

7        "I'll let you see that you dare not hang him.
Till his confession unto me is done;
And after that, that you dare not hang him.
Till within ten minutes of the setting sun."

8        "What keeps my love, she's so long a-coming ?
Or what detains her so long from me ?
Or does she think it a shame or scandal
To see me die on the gallows tree ?"

9        He looked around and he saw her coming.
As she rode swifter than the wind.
"Come down, come down, off that weary gallows.
For I bear pardon all from the Queen."

10    "Come down, come down, off the weary gallows.
For I bear pardon all from the Queen,
I'll let them see that they dare not hang you.
And I'll crown my Willie with a bunch of green."


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 03:43 AM

What is often forgotten is that, although very long versions of these ballads have been collected, the first versions were often quite short. The 'Folk process' then got working allowing people to add verses and so create more elaborate varients.

I understand that the first version of said ballad went:

Hangman stay thy rope, stay it for a while
For I think I see my father coming
Coming over yonder .....ugh

L in C


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 09:44 AM

There is a thread on this under the title 'A Lancashire Ballad' in Notes and Queries Series 6, part 6 starting at p 269 and running from there, Jul-Dec 1882, to Jul-Dec 1884. Perhaps Joe could link it up to this thread!


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: RWJ
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 10:03 AM

The first version i heard was by Led Zeplin. They credit ti as trad but cant remember if the sleave notes give any idea of where they found it


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 10:55 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8ZFVD7qkRU
peggy seeger sings it in this interview


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 11:01 AM

I really like peggys version,I think she is in cgcgbe guitar tuning.


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 12:31 PM

just listened to Mary Humphreys singing,that is very good too,and lovely accompaniment.


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 04:51 PM

Thanks for the link to the Peggy interview. Now I understand the story behind the Golden Ball comes. I could never quite figure out why she's asking her relatives to find a golden ball! And I think you are right about the tuning, Captain Birdseye.

I also like Mary Humphrey's version.


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Tootler
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 05:37 PM

I agree with you about Mary Humphrey's version. I heard her do it live and her accompaniment was spot on.


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 08:44 AM

here is leadbellys version,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmTNgJxlrCY


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Flash Company
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 10:16 AM

My old mate, Kenny with the Union Folk in Altrincham used to sing this:
Oh aye the prickle-eye bush,
It pricks my heart full sore
And if ever I get out of the prickle-eye bush
I'll never get in it anymore.

Also Jimmy Driftwood:
Slack your rope, hangman
Loose it for a while,
Thought I saw my Father coming riding many a mile.

I particularly like Mothers reasons for coming to watch the hanging in this version:

You wouldn't make my feather bed
Nor brew me a spot of tea
So I have come to see you hang upon the gallows tree!

They were tough in the old west!

FC


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 12:34 PM

Oooh, love that Leadbelly version! Thanks Captain Birdseye!


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Snuffy
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 03:08 AM

Child's B version, from Motherwell's Mss, does not have the "prickly bush" chorus, but instead has:

Hey the broom, and the bonny, bonny broom,
The broom o the Cauthery Knowes!
I wish I were at hame again,
Milking my ain daddie's ewes.

These words do not sit very easily with the "usual" tune: is there any tune known for this version, either in Bronson or from a revival recording?


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: GUEST,MtheGM
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 05:05 AM

This chorus has somehow strayed in from the separate ballad of The Broom of Cowdenknowes, Child #217, quite widely recorded by, eg, The Watersons on Topic's New Voices, June Tabor, Silly Wizard &c. Some of these should be accessible on YouTube. The version of Prickly Bush which uses it as chorus could presumably be sung to the same tune.


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Snuffy
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 09:25 AM

I agree it could be sung to one of the tunes for BotC, but is there any evidence that it ever has been?


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: GUEST,MtheGM
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 09:59 AM

That's one trouble with Child — he gives few tunes, and it can only be a matter of conjecture as to what tune might have been used for most of his versions. He was a literary professor, only really interested in printing the word-variants which had previously appeared in print in collections by Percy, Douce, &c. Bronson's later superb compilation of The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads rarely relates any particular air he publishes to any specific version in Child. And in response to Snuffy's question above, and speaking in general terms, any ballad in normal ballad-metre COULD be sung to any tune associated with any of them It's only by convention that this particular tune is called Willie o Winsbury and that one is called Young Hunting. But, further to Snuffy's question, does not the migration of that particular chorus, irrelevant to the 'hangman' theme but much associated with Cowdenknowes, suggest that that version would most probably have been sung to a tune conventionally associated with the latter?


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: GUEST,Chad Johnson
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 09:24 PM

have you heard Tia Blake's version.?? she recorded it in the early 70's in Paris. what a beautiful version. by the way you clearly have great taste in music.!


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Subject: RE: Briery Bush/Prickly Bush/Hangman songs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 11:09 PM

Executioner - don't press your button
the poison will stop my heart
I'm sorry this is Texas, son
And we don't care a fart.....


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