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Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants

DigiTrad:
BINNORIE
BINNORIE (TWO SISTERS)
CRUELISH SISTER
OH, THE WIND AND RAIN (The Two Sisters)
THE CRUEL SISTER
THE SWAN SWIMS BONNIE (Two Sisters)
THE SWAN SWIMS BONNIE (Two Sisters)
THE TWA SISTERS
THE TWO SISTERS (7)
THE TWO SISTERS (8)
THE TWO SISTERS (9)
THE WIND AND RAIN (Two Sisters)
TWO SISTERS (12)
TWO SISTERS (13)
TWO SISTERS (Bonnie Broom)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Two Sisters - with a harp being made? (11)
Question on a TWO SISTERS song (18)
Shakespear song hi ho the wind and rain (20)
Lyr Req: Bow Down (from Dirk Powell) (21)
J. Moulden or Philippa: Two sisters (28)
Lyr Req: Minorie (20)
Lyr Req: I'll be true unto my love (11)
Minourie (Binorie, Minorie, The Two Sisters) (18)
(origins) Origins: Two Sisters links at MBM (1)
Lyr Add: Sheila Kay Adams' 'Two Sisters' (1)
Origins: background info for Two Sisters songs? (24)
Binnorie (18)
Lyr Req: Somebody's Waiting for Me (Sterling/Von T (8)
Binnorie - Icelandic version (19)
Lyr/Chords Req: Oh the Wind and Rain (30)
Two sisters, two songs? (15)
Lyr Add: The Two Sisters (of Sadie Damascus) (10)
Lyr Req: Two Sisters (Dylan) (8)
Lyr Req: Bows of London (from Waterson:Carthy) (4)
Lyr Req: Binnorie (from Elizabeth Stewart, #10) (17)
Lyr Req: charles ingenthron's twa sisters (4)
Lyr Req: Two little girls... (5)
the gay and the grinding (27)
Lyr Req: The Squire's Daughter (3)
Lyr Req: Loreena McKennitt's 'The Bonny Swans (13)
Stupid Question--'The Twa Sisters' (33)
Lyr Req: Twa Sisters / Lay Bent to the Bonny Broom (26)
Lyr Req: lee monroe presnell's two sisters (#10) (7)
(origins) Origins: Two Sisters (9)
Tune Req: 'Oh The Wind And Rain' (3)
'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary' (14)
Lyr Req: Two Sisters (Frankie Armstrong) (5)
Tune Req: Sven (SVEND I ROSENSGAARD) (23)
Cruel Sister (22)
Lyr Req: Stecher's 'Oh the Wind and Rain' (6)
(origins) Origins: The Bows of London (14)
(origins) Origins: The Cruel Sister - Old Blind Dogs (9)
Nothing to do this Friday? (Manchester, UK) (14)
Lyr Req: The Cruel Sister (esp. Old Blind Dogs) (8)
Lyr Req: american version of Two Sisters (12)
Lyr Req: Harp form a breastbone (10)
Yet another blurb about 'Cruel Sister' (3)
Lyr Req: Two Sisters (Niamh Parsons ver.) Tha (5)
Lyr Req: The Cruel Sister (from Pentangle) (12)
Percy's Song: History? (7)
Love and Death on the Shore (8)
Hilary Kelley (9)
Two Sisters, a' Bhean Eudach, Horpa (18)
Lyr/Chords Req: the two sisters (23)
Flanders ballad in Polish--fun project! (13)
I am humbled (124)
dulaman/two sisters (15)
Lyr Req: Dreadful Wind and Rain (13)
History of 'The Wind and Rain'? (11)
And A Two And A Three (5)
Lyr Add: Rollin' a-Rollin' (Child #10) (5)
Twa sisters (17)
Percy's Song (4)


Valerie Meachum 17 Jul 99 - 01:25 PM
Lesley N. 17 Jul 99 - 01:56 PM
Philippa 17 Jul 99 - 02:33 PM
17 Jul 99 - 03:09 PM
17 Jul 99 - 04:50 PM
Valerie 18 Jul 99 - 10:04 AM
Susan of DT 18 Jul 99 - 10:05 AM
rich r 18 Jul 99 - 01:59 PM
Philippa 18 Jul 99 - 04:49 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 18 Jul 99 - 09:09 PM
JB3 19 Jul 99 - 01:34 AM
SueH 19 Jul 99 - 02:28 AM
Arkie 19 Jul 99 - 01:26 PM
Philippa 19 Jul 99 - 03:00 PM
hanny 27 Aug 99 - 06:53 AM
GeorgeH 27 Aug 99 - 09:49 AM
Philippa 27 Aug 99 - 09:52 AM
Frank Hamilton 27 Aug 99 - 10:48 AM
Sandy Paton 27 Aug 99 - 04:36 PM
Charlie Baum 27 Aug 99 - 04:46 PM
Philippa 27 Aug 99 - 07:14 PM
Philippa 27 Aug 99 - 10:12 PM
CeltArctic 28 Aug 99 - 01:07 AM
Sandy Paton 28 Aug 99 - 01:30 AM
Sandy Paton 28 Aug 99 - 02:06 AM
Richie 21 Nov 11 - 01:31 PM
Richie 21 Nov 11 - 01:59 PM
DrugCrazed 22 Nov 11 - 09:48 AM
Phil Edwards 22 Nov 11 - 01:52 PM
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Subject: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Valerie Meachum
Date: 17 Jul 99 - 01:25 PM

Hullo! I'm working on a webpage about the variants of Child ballad #10, most commonly called "Two Sisters", but also known as "The Swans Swim So Bonny", "Binnorie", "Cruel Sister", etc. (Also the basis for Loreena McKennit's "The Bonny Swans".)

I'm collecting as many variants as I can, as well as related tales, ballads, and non-folk works that show its influence. This is a personal pet project, part of my "Fireside Tales" site at http://wiliqueen.dreamhost.com/firesidetales

If anyone has leads on "Two Sisters"-related material (in addition to what's in the database here), I would appreciate it if you would contact me at valerie@wiliqueen.dreamhost.com.

Thanks for your time!


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Subject: Lyr Add: BARKSHIRE TRAGEDY
From: Lesley N.
Date: 17 Jul 99 - 01:56 PM

There's a Berkshire variant of Twa Sisters called the Barkshire Tragedy (not to be confused with Berkshire Tragedy - which I believe is in DT).

A varmer he lived in the West Countree,
With a hey down, bow down
A varmer he lived in the West Countree,
And he had daughters, one, two and three.
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.

As they were walking by the river's brim,
With a hey down, bow down
As they were walking by the river's brim,
The eldest push'd the youngest in,
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.

O sister, O sister, pray gie me thy hand,
With a hey down, bow down
O sister, O sister, pray gie me thy hand
And I'll gie thee both house and land,
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.

I'll neither, I'll neither gie thee hand nor glove
With a hey down, bow down
I'll neither, I'll neither gie thee hand nor glove
Unless thou'lt gie me thy own true love,
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.

So down she sank and away she swam,
With a hey down, bow down
So down she sank and away she swam,
Until she came to the miller's dam,
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.

O vather, vather, here swims a swan,
With a hey down, bow down
O vather, vather, here swims a swan,
Very much like a drownded gentlewoman
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.

The miller he fot his pole and hook
With a hey down, bow down
The miller he fot his pole and hook
And he fished the fair maid out of the brook,
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.

O miller, I'll gie thee guineas then,
With a hey down, bow down
O miller, I'll gie thee guineas then,
If thoul't fetch me back to my father again.
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.

The miller he took her guineas ten,
With a hey down, bow down
The miller he took her guineas ten,
And he pushed the fair maid in agen,
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.

But the Crowner he came and the Justice too,
With a hey down, bow down
But the Crowner he came and the Justice too,
With a hue and a cry and a hullabaloo,
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.

They hanged the miller beside his own gate,
With a hey down, bow down
They hanged the miller beside his own gate,
For drowing the varmer's daughter Kate,
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.

The sister she fled beyond the seas,
With a hey down, bow down
The sister she fled beyond the seas,
And died an old maid among black savagees,
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.

So I've ended my tale of the West Countree,
With a hey down, bow down
So I've ended my tale of the West Countree,
And they calls it the Barkshire Tragedee,
And I'll be true to my love
If my love'll be true to me.



(From One Hundred Songs of England Granville Bantock, Oliver Ditson Company, New York, 1914

You can find an arrangement of it at
The Barkshire Tragedy (http://www.contemplator.com/folk5/barkshire.html).


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Philippa
Date: 17 Jul 99 - 02:33 PM

Norwegian variant, with translation, will be found at: Horpa


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From:
Date: 17 Jul 99 - 03:09 PM

There are a little over 90 versions with tunes in Bronson's 'The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads'.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE DREADFUL WIND AND RAIN
From:
Date: 17 Jul 99 - 04:50 PM

Jerry Garcia and David Grisman do a version of it entitled "The Dreadful Wind and Rain" on their album Shady Grove.

There were two sisters come walkin' down the stream.
Oh, the wind and rain.
The one behind pushed the other one in
Cryin' "Oh, the dreadful wind and rain."

Johnny gave the youngest a fair gold ring.
Oh, the wind and rain.
Didn't give the oldest one anything
Cryin' "Oh, the dreadful wind and rain."

They pushed her into the river to drown.
Oh, the wind and rain.
And watched her as she floated down
Cryin' "Oh, the dreadful wind and rain."

She floated 'till she come to the miller's pond.
Oh, the wind and rain.
"Pappa, oh pappa, there swims a swan
Cryin' 'Oh, the dreadful wind and rain.'"

The miller pulled her out with a fishing hook.
Oh, the wind and rain.
He pulled that fair maid from the brook
Cryin' "Oh, the dreadful wind and rain."

He left her on the banks to dry.
Oh, the wind and rain.
And a fiddlin' fool come a'passin' by
Cryin' "Oh, the dreadful wind and rain."

Out of the woods came a fiddler fair.
Oh, the wind and rain.
Took thirty strands of her long, yellow hair
Cryin' "Oh, the dreadful wind and rain."

He made a fiddle bow of her long, gold hair.
Oh, the wind and rain.
He made a fiddle bow of her long, gold hair
Cryin' "Oh, the dreadful wind and rain."

He made fiddle pegs from her long finger bones.
Oh, the wind and rain.
He made fiddle pegs from her long finger bones
Cryin' "Oh, the dreadful wind and rain."

Then he made a little fiddle from her breast bone.
Oh, the wind and rain.
The sound could melt a heart of stone
Cryin' "Oh, the dreadful wind and rain."

And the only tune that fiddle could play
Was "Oh, the Wind and Rain
The only tune that fiddle could play
Was "Oh, the Dreadful Wind and Rain."

The liner notes say that Garcia learned it from Jody Stetcher in the early 60's who, in turn, learned it from an autoharp player named Kilby (or maybr Kirby) Snow.


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Valerie
Date: 18 Jul 99 - 10:04 AM

Wow! I didn't expect such a wealth of information so quickly. Thanks much, everyone!


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Susan of DT
Date: 18 Jul 99 - 10:05 AM

A search for #10 in the blue search box above yields 10 versions of this song.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THERE WAS AN OLD JAYNOR
From: rich r
Date: 18 Jul 99 - 01:59 PM

Vance Randolph in "Ozark Folksongs Vol 1" prints 8 different texts and 5 tunes under the title of "The Miller's Daughters". I typed in one of the more unusual texts below. The dotted lines indicate lines that were missing from Randolph's text.

THERE WAS AN OLD JAYNOR

There was an old Jaynor lived in the woods
He had two daughters, they were the best,
The youngest gal she had a beau,
An' the oldest gal got mad at that.

Refrain:
Sing hi ri diddle di day,
Sing hi ri diddle di day.

He give the youngest a diamond ring,
An' the oldest swore revenge for that,
It's sister, oh sister, give me your beau
That I might have my own true love.

No, sister, that can't never be
For we have made our vow,
..................
An' our love is deep as the old mill pond.

She pushed the youngest sister in,
Sometimes she floated, sometimes she swum
....................
She floated down to the old mill dam.

The miller he took his old grab hook
An' hooked her out of the pin,
Took off her finger the diamond ring
An' pushed her back in again.

The oldest sister confessed her part,
An' the ring was found with the miller;
The miller was hung on the old mill gate
For drownin' his own sister Kate.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Philippa
Date: 18 Jul 99 - 04:49 PM

The autoharp player is KIRBY Snow


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 18 Jul 99 - 09:09 PM

I think there is a Gaelic version as well. Though I'm not coming up with the name right now.


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: JB3
Date: 19 Jul 99 - 01:34 AM

There was a recent thread on this subject. I'll try to find it and refresh it.

June


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: SueH
Date: 19 Jul 99 - 02:28 AM

Nancy Kerr & James Fagan have the song on their CD 'Starry Gazy Pie' as 'The Berkshire (spelt as the county) Tragedy'. They say it is a variant of Two Sisters & is in Broadwood's English Country Songs.

Sue


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Arkie
Date: 19 Jul 99 - 01:26 PM

This may confuse the little issue of the name of the autoharp player mentioned earlier, but I have always heard him referred to as KILBY Snow. He has had quite an influence on contemporary autoharpers and a son carrying on the tradition. He also did a wonderful rendition of the Two Sisters which was called the Wind and the Rain and as published in a issue of Sing Out magazine was a little different from the Garcia version.


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Philippa
Date: 19 Jul 99 - 03:00 PM

Arkie, now I don't remember the right name, I thought I did yesterday. A fantastic autoharp player anyhow.

George Seto : there's some info. on "A' Bhean Eudach", the most well-known name for the Gaelic song you mention in the Horpa thread (clickable link in third posting from top). And at Horpa you'll get a link to An Bhean Udaí Thall lyrics. To my mind the Gaelic song isn't a version of the Two Sisters. Of course there may be some historical connection, but the two women aren't related in the Gaelic song and I don't think there are any versions with the story of the drowned woman's body being made into a musical instrument. And in the Gaelic song, the drowned woman is always a mother; as far as I'm aware she's always a fiancee in the English-lang. and Scandinavian versions of Child 10. I've heard a few well-known singers introduce the Gaelic song as being a story of two sisters, but they were introducing versions collected by Margaret Fay Shaw and by Frances Tolmie for which the informants had specified that the jealous woman was a neighbour (in Irish versions of the story which accompanies the song in this 'cantefable' she's usually a servant).


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: hanny
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 06:53 AM

Philippa, I don't think that there is a Dutch version of the Two Sisters, at least I'm not familiar with it. But you never know, I can ask someone, o.k.? take care


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: GeorgeH
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 09:49 AM

The version Lesley N gives above is very close to the one Clannad sang when they used to be a folk band . .

G.


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Philippa
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 09:52 AM

Clannad actually sang an American version of the Two Sisters. John Moulden told me that the group got the song from Derry man Brian Mullen.


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 10:48 AM

Sandy Paton taught us a version of the Binorie Ballad. It has a variant, "On the Bonnie Banks of Binorie".

Sandy's version is nice but I would also reccommend Sandy's Folk Legacy recording of one of the finest variants I've heard by Horton Barker, a bard of the Appalachians.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 04:36 PM

I recorded the Horton Barker version (thanks, Frank) before we started Folk-Legacy, so it went on a Folkways album, probably available now as a "custom cassette" from Smithsonian/Folkways in Washington. I sorely wish it was a Folk-Legacy item!

The "Binorrie" version I sang around Chicago back in the dark ages was learned from Ewan MacColl while we were in London. He sang it at The Princess Louise sessions. God, he was great singer with an astounding repertoire!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 04:46 PM

Horton Barker has a version of the Two Sisters which was on the Library of Congress recordings of ballads in the U.S. I believe this recording has just be reissued by Rounder. I'm not sure if this is the same performance recorded by Sandy Paton, or if he sang it again for Alan Lomax or somebody from the Library of Congress.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Philippa
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 07:14 PM

I like the Horton Baker version very much; I like the way he sings it. But as I recall it doesn't have the verses about the musical instrument singing the tale of murder, a most interesting element of the ballad. Otherwise, Baker's version is quite similar in style and content to the version Clannad sings to a different air.


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Philippa
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 10:12 PM

Child 10: I'm afraid my comment on the similarity of style might be misconstrued and may sound sttrange to people who are familiar with both versions, the similarity of style is in the song, the words and the tune. Baker's singing is unadorned and unaccompanied and thus rather different from Máire Ní Bhraonáin sing with Clannad.
for a very full version of the two sisters story see the Norwegian Horpa (clickable link at my posting of 17 July above).


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: CeltArctic
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 01:07 AM

I recently came across a beautiful version of this ballad sung by Ewan MacColl. His version is entitled "Minorie", but contrary to what the name might imply, the tune is very different fron Binnorie. It can be found on the CD "The Real MacColl"; by Topic Records. Unfortunately, his album notes don't mention where he learned this particular version.

Moira Cameron


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 01:30 AM

You're right! My memory failed me again! The "Binorrie" was the one Richard Dyer-Bennett recorded, "Minorrie" was the MacColl version. I used to sing both, then often did one of the "Wind and Rain" versions (the one Howie Mitchell used to sing).

I'm willing to bet that the Lomax Library of Congress recording of Horton Barker was made some years before mine. Horton was pretty well-known for his ballad singing, even sang at the old White Top festivals, back in the 30s. I was happy to make it possible for people to hear an entire solo recording of his singing. Yes, he sang all of his songs without accompaniment, as did almost every traditional singer I ever recorded, whether in England, Scotland, Canada, the Adirondacks, Appalachia or the Ozarks. Our Aglo-American ballad tradition has always been an unaccompanied one.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 02:06 AM

Agghh! That's "Anglo," of course.


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Richie
Date: 21 Nov 11 - 01:31 PM

Hi,

In the Lyr Add: BARKSHIRE TRAGEDY above it should be

O miller, I'll gee thee guineas ten, (gee not gie and ten not "then")- please fix.

I'm psoting the text from Thomas Hughes 1859 book, The Scouring of the White Horse. According to Child, Hughes learned his version from his father. Child adds, "We may, there fore, assign this version to the latter part of the 18th century." Hughes rewrote his father's version which I can also post(see link below), if anyone wants it.

THE BARKSHIRE TRAGEDY- Thomas Hughes 1859

A varmer he lived in the "West Countree,
      Hey-down, bow-down,
A varmer he lived in the West Countree,
And he had daughters one, two, and dree.
      And I'll be true to my love,
      If my love'll be true to me.

As thay wur walking by the river's brim,
       Hey-down, bow-down,
As thay wur walking by the river's brim,
The eldest pushed the youngest in.
      And I'll be true &c.

"Oh sister, oh sister, pray gee me thy hand,
Hey-down, &c.
And I'll gee thee both house and land."
And I'll, &c.

"I'll neither gee thee hand nor glove,
Hey down, &c.
Unless thou'lt gee me thine own true love."
And I'll, &c.

So down she sank and away she swam,
Hey down, &e.
Until she came to the miller's dam.
And I'll, &c.

The miller's daughter stood by the door,
Hey-down, &c.
As fair as any gilly-flow-er.
And I'll, &c.

"Oh vather, oh vather, here swims a swan,
Hey-down, &c.
Very much like a drownded gentlewoman."
And I'll, &c.

The miller he fot his pole and hook,
Hey-down, &c.
And he fished the fair maid out of the brook.
And I'll, &c

"Oh miller, I'll gee thee guineas ten,
Hey-down, &c.
If thou'lt fetch me back to my vather again."
And I'll, &c.

The miller he took her guineas ten,
Hey-down, &c.
And he pushed the fair maid in again.
And I'll, &c.

But the Crowner he cum, and the Justice too,
Hey down, &c.
With a hue and a cry and a hulla-balloo.
And I'll, &c.

They hanged the miller beside his own gate,                  
Hey down, &c.
For drowning the varmer's daughter, Kate.                  
And I'll, &c.

The sister she fled beyond the seas,
Hey-down, &c.
And died an old maid among black savagees.                  
And I'll, &c.

So I've ended my tale of the West Countree,
[Hey-down, &c.]
And they calls it the Barkshire Trage-dee.                  
And I'll, &c.

It's essentially the same version- to read the excerpt and more info:
http://bluegrassmessengers.com/the-drowned-lady--hughes-pub-1859-child-lb.aspx

Richie


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Richie
Date: 21 Nov 11 - 01:59 PM

BTW,

Barkshire Tragedy was included in Hughes 1859 book, The Scouring of the White Horse. No info was given as to the source or date- obviously it's pre-1859.

The Drowned Lady- Child L b. dates back the "latter part of the 18th century."

Kilby Snow's "Wind and Rain" dates back to the 1800s. He learned the ballad circa 1913. The lyrics in the DT are not Snow's exact lyrics (he did several versions) but covers.

Here are the lyrics from Smithsonian Folkways Recording; Kilby Snow: Country Songs and Tunes with Autoharp (Folkways 03902).

http://bluegrassmessengers.com/wind-and-rain--kilby-snow-virginia-c-1913.aspx

I know three independent versions of "Wind and Rain" from traditional sources- Snow's is one of them.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 22 Nov 11 - 09:48 AM

Due to being on phone, I've no idea what you have but I tend to confuse people a hell of a lot by singing Clannad's Two Sisters - seems it isn't as well known as I thought it was.


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Subject: RE: Two Sisters (Child #10) Variants
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 22 Nov 11 - 01:52 PM

It struck me a while back that if you sing one of the short versions of Two Sisters (ending with the "five gold rings" verse), then sing The Wind and the Rain, you've essentially told the story of the Two Sisters over two separate songs. So I did (with Percy's Song for good measure).


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