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Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?

DigiTrad:
BETTY ANNE
BLUE-EYED GIRL
PRETTY LITTLE MISS
SHADY GROVE


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Shady Grove - what verses do you use? (65)
Lyr Req: Shady Grove--Civil War Era? (3)
Shady grove Doc and Merle... Banjo tab.. (5)


GUEST,Jake 15 Aug 10 - 11:23 PM
MGM·Lion 15 Aug 10 - 11:32 PM
Hamish 16 Aug 10 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,Lynn W 16 Aug 10 - 04:11 AM
Jack Campin 16 Aug 10 - 05:19 AM
Acorn4 16 Aug 10 - 05:36 AM
dick greenhaus 16 Aug 10 - 06:08 AM
Mr Red 16 Aug 10 - 08:48 AM
Splott Man 16 Aug 10 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,Gerry 16 Aug 10 - 09:16 AM
Tootler 16 Aug 10 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,Bubblyrat 16 Aug 10 - 09:48 AM
leeneia2 16 Aug 10 - 01:29 PM
Uncle_DaveO 16 Aug 10 - 01:32 PM
Jack Campin 16 Aug 10 - 03:53 PM
bubblyrat 16 Aug 10 - 06:03 PM
Joe_F 16 Aug 10 - 06:09 PM
Genie 16 Aug 10 - 07:46 PM
Jack Campin 16 Aug 10 - 08:09 PM
The Sandman 16 Aug 10 - 09:27 PM
GUEST,Jake 16 Aug 10 - 11:50 PM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Aug 10 - 12:08 AM
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mattkeen 18 Aug 10 - 04:55 AM
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Joybell 19 Aug 10 - 09:18 PM
michaelr 20 Aug 10 - 11:04 AM
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Jim Dixon 21 Aug 10 - 02:44 AM
Jim Dixon 21 Aug 10 - 02:53 AM
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mayomick 21 Aug 10 - 10:58 AM
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GUEST,E.D. 13 Dec 12 - 12:40 AM
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GUEST,Rev Bayes 13 Dec 12 - 03:32 PM
michaelr 15 Dec 12 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,Comissar 28 Oct 15 - 09:25 PM
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Jim Carroll 30 Oct 15 - 01:47 PM
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Subject: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: GUEST,Jake
Date: 15 Aug 10 - 11:23 PM

Mulling (for the thousandth time) over the incongruity of 'Shady Grove' which is nothing about trees protecting the singer from the sun, but seems to be a woman's name, it occurred to me in a flash of insight, that of course it must have started as a song about a Woman or girl named "Sadie" with the surname "Grove", ie, "Sadie Grove", and was corrupted by the usual vagaries of oral transmission, etc, etc.   Searching this forum and the web generally provides no support for this conjecture, however.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Aug 10 - 11:32 PM

I have always shared this confusion: Shady Grove seems to be the woman's name, but also the name of the place or location in which she lives, sometimes incongruously both at the same time. The fact that it's one of those myriad songs [Going Down Town; Bowling Green ...] which share pretty much the same set of 'floaters' doesn't help.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Hamish
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 03:18 AM

"Wish I was in Shady Grove" takes on a new meaning.

"When I was in Shady Grove I heard them pretty birds sing" (and the earth moved, no doubt).


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: GUEST,Lynn W
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 04:11 AM

There is a comment on Wikipedia that the melody is similar to Matty Groves. Any connection, I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 05:19 AM

Wikipedia has got it backwards. The folk-revival version of "Matty Groves" took its tune from "Shady Grove".


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Acorn4
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 05:36 AM

Whatever, it's a fantastic song - I particularly like Doc Watson's interpretation.

I understand that the banjo tuning usually used is often called "Shady Grove" tuning. Can't think of any other song which has this honour of having a tuning named after it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 06:08 AM

Tell me where my true love is
Tell me if you can...
Down in a shady grove
With another man


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Mr Red
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 08:48 AM

not for any other reason than my one track mind is somewhat of a dirt track but......

The prosaic translation of "garden" aka "bonny black hare" aka "cuckoos nest" etc - does not the "shady grove" have potential for alluding to a garden? Of sorts? Oooer missus.

If I had the words in front of me I would go to town on the allusion. Or give up quickly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Splott Man
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 09:12 AM

If you had the words in front of you, it would be an optical allusion.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 09:16 AM

Acorn4, there's are modes in Jewish music named after prayers chanted in that mode, e.g., ahava raba.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 09:18 AM

If I had the words in front of me I would go to town on the allusion

Try the DT here

Looking at those words, it seems that Shady Grove is a place name. It is als possible the place is fictitious and the name was chosen so as to introduce some ambiguity into the song.

All speculation, of course!


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: GUEST,Bubblyrat
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 09:48 AM

It's an address ; her name was " Dee Grove",and,not unnaturally, her house was called " Chez Dee Grove". QED.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: leeneia2
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 01:29 PM

I think somebody composed a fine tune and named it after a grove of trees that had seen that day. Then somebody who was not musical enough to enjoy a tune for its intrinsic value came along and slapped some words on it. This kind of thing happens a lot.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 01:32 PM

Acorn4 mused:

Can't think of any other song which has this honour of having a tuning named after it.

Well, there's Cumberland Gap tuning.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 03:53 PM

There is also Vestapol tuning for the guitar, hich has a thread on Mudcat already.

"Ahavoh rabboh" is a mode, not a tuning, and it isn't the mode "Shady Grove" is in (minor/dorian/mixolydian pentatonic, a.k.a. pi-3, not particularly unusual in any European folk tradition).


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 06:03 PM

Isn't that what kills rabbits ??


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Joe_F
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 06:09 PM

Surely you mean rabbohs!


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Genie
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 07:46 PM

Or maybe rabbis?

Hey, thinking about Jake's initial speculation, maybe Sadie was a shady lady?




On the tune thing, the melody Joan Baez used for "Matty Groves" is not at all similar to "Shady Grove." I'm wondering if some American folk singers borrowed the "Shady Grove" tune for the English ballad about Matty Groves when they decided to 'import' that saga?


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 08:09 PM

As far as I know it was the other way round - Fairport Convention adopted the American tune (which they got from Jean Ritchie) and put a British version of the "Matty Groves" text to it. The association doesn't predate the folk revival.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 09:27 PM

well when i play matty groves on banjo i use double c tuning, you can play a song in whatever tuning you want


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: GUEST,Jake
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 11:50 PM

@dick greenhaus, Hamish et al: I was unaware of songs that really are about trees or some place name; I know only 'Shady Grove' as performed, eg, by Doc Watson, it is unambiguously referring to a young lady. But maybe the existence of these other folk songs with similar-sounding words contributed to the confusion ?

leeneia2's suggestion also seems plausible to me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 12:08 AM

"Wikipedia has got it backwards."

Looks like somebody fixed it already... :-) (not me!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: GUEST,randjgc
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 04:42 AM

There is a place called Shady Grove outside Washington D.C. I don't know, however, if that is merely a coincidence.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: mattkeen
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 04:55 AM

Perhaps that was backwards to andthe place was named after the song

Either way its a fine song and I like Chris Drever's recentish version


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 08:43 AM

"Shady Grove," according to my notes, was the youngest member of the extended Grove family. There were in fact many other branches including the oak, the ash and the bonny birchum tree. But she soon proved a wild and willful young woman and was asked to leave. She was last seen in her bark, sailing toward Greater Britain in the early years of the Folk Song Revival.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Joybell
Date: 19 Aug 10 - 09:18 PM

What an interesting idea.
The broadside ballad "Liza Wells" has possible similiar changes. The girl's surname is different in some versions. There's a line in one version that may have originally been "..he knew Liza well" but later became ..."he knew Liza Wells." Can't remember the name change off-hand but Malcolm Douglas suggested the mondgreen, I remember.
"Randal My Son" is sometimes known as "Taranty My Son" - from "Where are you going to Randy my son?"
My favourite is "Alice Benbolt" -- from "Do you remember Sweet Alice, Ben Bolt?" This incorrect title is on the website of one of the Irish groups. Forgotten which one.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: michaelr
Date: 20 Aug 10 - 11:04 AM

Would that be Admiral Ben Bolt?

;-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Aug 10 - 07:46 PM

Could be, Michael. He was sweet too was he? The Sweet Admiral Ben Bolt. Yes I do believe I've heard of him.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Severn
Date: 20 Aug 10 - 09:22 PM

Could it have started out as "Shady Grover" Cleveland's campaign song?

Or maybe a blues called Shady Groove?


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Aug 10 - 02:44 AM

There are actually several places in the US named Shady Grove. These are listed by Wikipedia:

* Shady Grove, Iowa, founded 1857
* Shady Grove, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. (unincorporated)
* Shady Grove, Cherokee County, Oklahoma
* Shady Grove, McIntosh County, Oklahoma
* Shady Grove, Pawnee County, Oklahoma


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Aug 10 - 02:53 AM

The United States Official Postal Guide for 1912 lists post offices called Shady Grove in Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Kentucky, and one called Shadygrove (one word) in Pennsylvania.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Aug 10 - 03:34 AM

Now that is all very well and very interesting. But has any US census thrown up a *young woman* anywhere whose name is *Shady Grove*, to fit in with the other half of the puzzle?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: mayomick
Date: 21 Aug 10 - 10:58 AM

I've always seen it as a conscious pun by the songwriter. Like with Roisin the Beau .


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Gorgeous Gary
Date: 21 Aug 10 - 09:40 PM

I'm reminded yet again that I really need to get around to learning "Shady Grove." Given that I only live two miles from it. (Or at least from the road named after it...)

-- Gary


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: GUEST,E.D.
Date: 13 Dec 12 - 12:40 AM

I have never heard the tuning been called shady grove tuning, for me its always sawmill tuning, or mountain minor, or g modal. There is another song that has a tuning named after it, the cumberland gap tuning, a tuning that fred cockerham used to play the song "little satchel".


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 Dec 12 - 01:01 PM

I think the tune was composed by somebody who felt the mystery and beauty of a shady grove of trees. Quite possibly it was a person who spent all day sweating in a hot field or working in a hot, clanky mill.

Unfortunately, some turkey came along later and decided it needed words, probably merely for the purpose of recalling the tune at a dance. Whoever it was composed the most obvious, work-free words possible.

I think we should deep-six the lyrics and honor the memory of the composer.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: PHJim
Date: 13 Dec 12 - 01:01 PM

Like Guest:E.D., I have never heard sawmill tuning called Shady Grove tuning. I've never liked "Mountain Minor" as a name for a tuning that is not minor, nor does it make playing in a minor key any easier. Probably "Sus fourth Tuning" would be a more accurate name. As far as "G Modal" goes, calling anything modal makes me wonder, "Which mode?" How can a tuning be modal?

Black Mountain Rag tuning for the fiddle
Spanish Tuning for guitar, named for Spanish Fandango or Spanish Flang Dang.
Jack Campin already mentioned Vastopol or Bastopol tuning, named for the tune Siege Of Sevastopol (sometimes spelled Sebastopol)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 13 Dec 12 - 03:32 PM

Oh come on people. It's so obviously a reference to a hairy pussy that you're making me worry about the production of the future generation of folk singers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: michaelr
Date: 15 Dec 12 - 05:38 PM

Just happened to hear a live recording of Doc Watson singing the song this afternoon. He definitely addresses "Shady Grove" as a person, not a place, and sings "I'm bound to go away" (not "I'm bound for Shady Grove"). (He said he used the song to court his wife, Rosa Lee.) So it appears the OP was correct in surmising a mondegreen.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: GUEST,Comissar
Date: 28 Oct 15 - 09:25 PM

In the late 80's, while leading a folk guitar workshop, Martin Carthy was asked about the similarity of the tunes. He replied that when Fairport encountered the words to Matty Groves, it had no tune or final verse. Fairport adopted the Shady Groves tune well known in Appalachia, tidied up a few lyrics, and added (or rewrote, I forget) the final verse to come up with the version we all know.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 29 Oct 15 - 04:10 PM

I always assumed that the Shady Grove melody was adapted from Matty Groves, not the other way round. Good to know.

I've been singing and playing this one a long time (in Sawmill tuning) and I think the singer was perhaps too shy to sing out the name of the girl he was pining for in front of his comrades so he used the name of her home town instead.

Last Chance tuning is another one named for it's tune.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Mr Red
Date: 30 Oct 15 - 06:07 AM

I'm surprised there was no mention of BAGDAD tuning. There was a thread where someone suggested people tried writing a tune/song for it.
htree threads:
BAGDAD tuning (thread Sept 02)
BAGDAD tuning (thread May 03)
BAGDAD tuning (thread Apr 03)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 15 - 01:47 PM

lexbledsoe.com/2010/02/08/shady-grove-and-the-tradition-of-living-songs/
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Oct 15 - 04:16 PM

'Shady Grove' might well be a mondegreen in America, or even someone's name, or a place, but this side of the pond it's been a cliché for centuries to describe a spot overshaded by plant growth.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 15 - 05:13 PM

For misheard lyrics the correct term is soramimi.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Oct 15 - 03:57 PM

In Italy possibly, but here it's a mondegreen.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: Lighter
Date: 31 Oct 15 - 04:53 PM

In how many field-collected versions is "Shady Grove" a girl's name?

Maybe the confusion existed only in one before it was frozen into a revival version.

That doesn't answer the mondegreen question, but it might make it a lot less interesting.

Personally, I'd never sing a mondegreen that I knew of, especially if it made no sense.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Shady Grove' a mondegreen ?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 31 Oct 15 - 06:02 PM

"soramimi" is actually not Italian, but Japanese. Not quite the same thing, in fact, as what we are considering in re Shady Grove: Wikipedia entry under heading 'soramimi' clarifies how it differs from a mondegreen, which indeed is what this thread is concerned with in consideration of "Shady Grove".

≈M≈


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