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Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?

DigiTrad:
TAM LIN
TAM O THE LINN
TAMLIN
TAMLYN


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GUEST,Tim 06 Feb 11 - 08:30 AM
Les in Chorlton 06 Feb 11 - 10:10 AM
Les in Chorlton 06 Feb 11 - 10:13 AM
Lighter 06 Feb 11 - 10:29 AM
GUEST 06 Feb 11 - 11:07 AM
Fred McCormick 06 Feb 11 - 11:28 AM
JohnH 06 Feb 11 - 12:25 PM
Lighter 06 Feb 11 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 06 Feb 11 - 05:33 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Feb 11 - 05:50 PM
Lighter 06 Feb 11 - 07:54 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 07 Feb 11 - 05:58 PM
Lighter 07 Feb 11 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 08 Feb 11 - 04:01 AM
Allan Conn 08 Feb 11 - 04:05 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 11 - 04:36 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 08 Feb 11 - 05:26 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 11 - 06:24 AM
Kevin Sheils 08 Feb 11 - 07:23 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 11 - 08:11 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 08 Feb 11 - 08:16 AM
Lighter 08 Feb 11 - 08:56 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 11 - 10:21 AM
Little Robyn 08 Feb 11 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Tim 08 Feb 11 - 03:58 PM
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Subject: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: GUEST,Tim
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 08:30 AM

Bert Lloyd's version of Tamyln (Young Tambling), which can be heard on the Fellside CD 'An Evening with A.L. Lloyd', has always been my favourite but he doesn't mention a source.

Does anyone know where he got it from or do we think it's his own creation?


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 10:10 AM

This might help:

Here

Have fun

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 10:13 AM

Sorry, that's not what I intended at all.

try again?

Or here

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 10:29 AM

Malcolm Douglas said this on another thread ten years ago:

"A.L. Lloyd's form of the song . . . appears to be a modern adaptation by him (probably based on the text -without a tune- that James Duncan got from Bell Robertson in 1915), with a tune that may or may not be genuine (as usual, Lloyd seems to have been rather coy about where it came from)."

Malcolm always knew his stuff.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 11:07 AM

Nice one. Thanks to you both.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 11:28 AM

Lighter,

The tune sounds to me like an adaptation of Let No Man Steal Your Thyme. Probably modified by Bert.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: JohnH
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 12:25 PM

Heard him do it an a club in early 70's where he said that "5 or 6 sets have appeared recently..." but as none seems to be found anywhere I presume that it was Bert trying to validate his own work.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 04:18 PM

Fred, wasn't the classic version evidently touched up by Robert Burns (perhaps heavily)?


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 05:33 PM

"Heard him do it an a club in early 70's where he said that "5 or 6 sets have appeared recently..." but as none seems to be found anywhere ..."

On the CD 'The Muckle Sangs: Classic Scots Ballads', CDTRAX 9005, Greentrax Records, 1992, there are two fragments of 'Tam Lin' recorded from the Scots Travellers Betsy Johnston and Willie Whyte. The notes to this CD seems to consist of an extended essay, by Hamish Henderson, on Scots balladry and there is not much information about the actual recordings. I think, though, that the two fragments were recorded in the 1960s. I seem to hear elements of both tunes in Bert Lloyd's tune (but don't take that as gospel because I'm not good on tunes).

Bert seems to have been a 'sly old fox' and I suspect that there was some basis in fact and actuality in everything he did - he just tended not to elaborate on his sources, that's all.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 05:50 PM

If you want awesome versions of traditional ballads like Tamlin look to Bert Lloyd or Mike Waterson or Peter Bellamy but don't expect them not to have personalised their versions. If you want what came from oral tradition you need to go to those sources either recorded or in print, but be wary of those in print because an unknown number have also been heavily 'personalised' by collectors and antiquarians.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 07:54 PM

Steve, the problem is that when you go to oral tradition you're so often disappointed with what you find.

(I suppose I should have used "I" rather than the universal "you.")


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 05:58 PM

So, no-one's heard 'The Muckle Sangs' CD then? It feels like I just dropped the information down a well! Is anybody there!!!

I'd always thought of Tam Lin as a 'literary' ballad. But if it was collected from oral tradition, in the latter half of the 20th century, perhaps not?


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 06:39 PM

I haven't.

As I understand it, "Tam Lin" began as a ballad in its familiar form some time in the 18th Century. Burns printed a text and tune, which he claimed to have got from tradition. As far as anyone knows, he was truthful about distinguishing traditional songs from his own creations. However, there were few reasons of art, conscience, or economics in those days to keep a literary fellow like Burns (who was also a genuine "trad singer" as we'd call him today) from overhauling a text and tune to improve it, with or without acknowledging his own efforts.

Burns songs were so popular, and cross-fertilization so easy, that any traces of "Tam Lin" collected over the past 200 years may owe something (or nothing) to his "definitive" version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 04:01 AM

Thanks 'Lighter',

That's the 'conventional' view, as I understand it - received wisdom if you like. But is it true? Alternatively, does it feed into the debate about the impact of print on oral tradition over the last few centuries?


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 04:05 AM

"As I understand it, "Tam Lin" began as a ballad in its familiar form some time in the 18th Century."

I think 'as far as we know' that would be right. The ballad is first mentioned in the 16thC "Complaynt of Scotland" though I don't think it actually gives any text. Walter Scott states that part of a version exists in a volume called "Songs of Scotland, 1774" which if true would likely be just a wee bit earlier than the Burns' version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 04:36 AM

As Shimrod said, there are two incomplete versions from traditional Traveller singers, Betsy Johnston and Willie Whyte (notes below) and a few verses were collectd by Hugh Shields in the 1970s, from Northern Ireland singer Eddie Butcher.
"As I understand it, "Tam Lin" began as a ballad in its familiar form some time in the 18th Century."      
With respect, as we have little knowledge of what existed in the tradition prior to the end of the 19th century, so we have no idea whether the ballad existed, or, if it did, in what form in the 18th century, we only know what went into print, which is no guide at all.
Jim Carroll

"Camped in the berryfields of Blairgowrie in the summer of 1956, and talking to many families of travelling people who were camped there too, I had plenty of opportunities of veri¬fying that belief in fairies, fear of abduction by fairies and all manner of taboos rooted in supernatural folklore were still living concepts among them. This naturally led me to ask for Tam Lin, and it soon became clear that there were people known to the campers who sang it. A young Johnston camped at the Standing Stones who told me a number of Marchen gave me an address in Dumbarton which he said might lead me to folk who could sing the ballad. Unluckily I had neither the time nor the funds to follow up this lead immediately, and when I did get to the address in question, I found that the family had done a moonlight flit, and there was no trace of them. All that a neighbour could tell me was that one of them was in Barlinnie prison in Glasgow, doing time for some trifling misdemeanour, so I resolved to try and contact him. A phone call to Barlinnie seemed to be a forlorn hope, but I made one all the same, and luckily got in touch with a sympathetic official. To him I dictated a message, couched partly in cant (the travellers' cover lingo), explaining who I was and what I wanted. The official told me to ring again in half an hour. When I did so, I was given an address in Risk Street in Glasgow. This turned out to be a "half way house", but within an hour of the second phone call to Barlinnie I had tracked the family down to its temporary home in Ancroft Street, and was recording "Tam Lin" from Betsy Johnston.
This was a moment to remember, like the first time I heard Jeanne Robertson launch into The Battle of Harlaw. With the first notes of "...Lady Margaret", which seemed to come 'seeping through the branches' of Chaster's Wood (or Carter-haugh), one was aware that one was in the presence of an immensely long unbroken oral tradition. Tarn Lin, on the lips of this stravaiging singer, provided instant evidence that the ballad had been travelling around for centuries in the care of these nomadic Johnstons, who were living out elemental ballad themes in South-West Scotland long before Robert Burns was born.
In addition, Betsy's version seemed to put into perspective the magnificent Tarn Lin which Burns sent to James Johnston for inclusion in The Scots Musical Museum-a version which is still (with Lord Hailes's Edward and a handful of others) one of the most famous ballad texts in the world. Burns drew on orally transmitted variants from the Borders and the South-West, but he tightened up the narrative and turned the ballad into a poem which reads supremely well on the printed page. In so doing he appears at one and the same time as a great art-poet, an 18th century-style collector, and a 'folk poet writ large'.

Willie Whyte, a well known figure among the Aberdeen tra¬vellers, was one of the links in the chain which led me to Jeannie Robertson.
There is some ambiguity as to the mode of Betsy Johnstone's tune; much depends on whether her last note is considered to be the key-note or tonal centre of the whole. If one decides it is - and my impression of the tune supports this decision -then it follows that the air is closer to the Lydian (a rare mode in Scottish tunes) than to any other. The musical significance of the sharpened fourth here does not depend on its total duration nor on whether it is accented; the question is more subtle and elusive. Many a ballad tune will shift its tonal centre at least once, and here the fourth line's ending on the sixth of the scale may be heard as a fleeting reference to the Dorian mode, which is the relative minor of the major-mode Lydian.
Betsy's fine tune is given - as an example of the Lydian -in Francis Collinson's The Traditional and National Music of Scotland (p. 16), but neither this nor Willie Whyte's tune is in Bronson.
Betsy's performance of this powerful and haunting ballad is intensely rhythmic (you can hear the tapping of her foot occa-sionally), yet paradoxically it sounds untrammelled, free of all save her own inner consciousness of that pulse which is part of nature itself. Betsy's resonant voice increases the song's impact, and she uses occasional fleeting yet effective ornamentation of the mordent type.
Willie Whyte's version settles, after the first line, into some¬thing very close to Sheila MacGregor's tune for The Twa Brothers. His unashamedly flamboyant, emotional and more ornamented rendering provides an interesting contrast and complement to Betsy's."


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 05:26 AM

Thanks, Jim, for posting those notes. Are they from an earlier vinyl version of 'The Muckle Sangs'? The CD version that I own has frustratingly little information about the actual recordings. I also presume that the notes were written by Hamish Henderson?

I still think that Bert Lloyd's version of 'Tam Lin' was, at least in part, based on one of these recordings (probably Betsy Johnston's?).


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 06:24 AM

Hi Shimrod,
They are from the vinyl version, Will post them complete if you PM me.
I agree with you about Bert's version being based on Betsy's, and yes, the notes were by Hamish Henderson.
I still find it fascinating that we owe the survival of many of the big ballads to the non-literate Travellers; the same is mainly true in Ireland. Tom Munnelly suggested that this was due to their love of a good story.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 07:23 AM

"The love of a good story" is right Jim. Bert certainly had it as well.

I remember the first time I heard Bert sing Tam Lin was at the Cellar CSH (probably from memory 1967 or 8. I'd taken a lady friend who wasn't particularly into the music but enjoyed the evening. On the way home I commented on what a great song Tam Lin was, when she asked which one that was and I'd described it she added that she hadn't realised it was a song and thought he was telling a story. Which is a great comment on Bert's communication I think.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 08:11 AM

Just remembered that Scots Traveller Duncan Williamson sang a full version of the ballad - to be found on his album, 'Put Another Log on the Fire' (Veteran).
As well as being a magnificent storyteller Duncan was a remarkable, and often overlooked source for the ballads
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 08:16 AM

You might find this site useful.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 08:56 AM

Thanks, Alan, for reminding me of the early mention of the (or "a similar") title. It may, however, allude instead to the very different song of "Tam o the Linn."

And Jim, "what was in print" is far from being a complete guide, but it is better than no guide at all. If something was in print, at least we know it existed. Enthusiasts sometimes assume that ballads are almost timeless artifacts, centuries older than their first known appearance and (it sometimes seems) hardly changed since then. That approach is just as misleading (though far more fun) than insisting on a printed text before allowing the possibility of a song's existence.

Even Henderson gets carried away. He talks about the Johnstons "living out elemental ballad themes in South-West Scotland long before Robert Burns was born." Perhaps, but here it more or less suggests that they were singing "Tam Lin" long before Burns was born, too. Whether they were or not is quite unknown.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 10:21 AM

"but it is better than no guide at all...."
I agree entirely; I just think we have to beware of spurious statements by those claiming to know definitely where and when our ballads and songs originated. There is a great deal of evidence that farmworkers, fishermen, miners, Travellers.. etc were making songs right up to the disappearance of the oral tradition, and there is no reason whatever to believe that these didn't include our repertoire of ballads and folksongs, though there are those who would have it different - not suggesting for a minute that you are numbered among these.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 01:59 PM

I remember Bert Lloyd at the Wellington folk festival in 1970 singing Tamlyn. He was asked about the Steeleye Span version and he said something to the effect that "they do it their way, I do it my way, we have no quarrels...." all said with a grin on his face and in his voice.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Origins: A. L. Lloyd - Tamlyn: Source?
From: GUEST,Tim
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 03:58 PM

Cor, thanks. This is all excellent. Glad I asked now.


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