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Laws' American Balladry - years covered?

GUEST,Paul Slade 02 Jan 12 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,SteveG 02 Jan 12 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 02 Jan 12 - 05:23 PM
Susan of DT 03 Jan 12 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,SteveG 03 Jan 12 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,SteveG 03 Jan 12 - 02:05 PM
Reinhard 03 Jan 12 - 02:47 PM
Susan of DT 03 Jan 12 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,SteveG 03 Jan 12 - 05:58 PM
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Subject: Laws' American Balladry - years covered?
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 03:00 PM

Can anyone tell me the exact period covered in Laws' American Balladry from British Broadsides? When was the first American ballad sheet he considers there printed, and when was the last?


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Subject: RE: Laws' American Balladry - years covered?
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 05:07 PM

The first thing to note is that this study was done in the 50s and lots more broadside copies are now available, so Laws is far from being comprehensive. He didn't much bother with American printed examples as the title suggests, although many of the ballads were also printed in America albeit at a later date than in Britain. Laws would have had access to the Stationers registers and would have been aware that some of them were first printed in the 16th century although these would have appeared in Child and he seems to have avoided those ballads already with a designated Child number many of which appeared on broadsides on both sides of the Atlantic. Some of the ballads were still being printed into the 20th century but I can't remember seeing references to these in Laws. He didn't actually give printers' dates for any of his references so we can't be certain how recent the printings are. He must have had access to some of the larger collections and many of these go upto the 1880s or so. Also he was in some cases at least looking at style and conjecturing from content and style that they were from British broadsides without actually having seen the broadside. I should also imagine he was using references to broadsides from earlier anthologies from both sides of the Atlantic. To answer your question precisely you would have to go through the whole book and even then some of the references are vague.

If it's any help a rough guide is that the majority date from the late 18th/early 19th centuries. About 20% from an earlier period.


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Subject: RE: Laws' American Balladry - years covered?
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 05:23 PM

Thanks very much for that. I know Laws' collection mentions 45 American texts of the ballad I'm interested in, but I was hoping to pin down exactly the period this covered. Perhaps that simply isn't going to be possible.


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Subject: RE: Laws' American Balladry - years covered?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 06:25 AM

There is at least one version of each Laws song in the DT. Laws does not include texts of the songs - just references and plot.

There are a few songs that are in both Child and Laws:
    Child #    Laws    Title
      7         M27    Douglas Tragedy
    43         K27    Maid on the Shore
    53         O26    Lord Bateman
    112         N24    Clear Away the Morning Dew
    283         L1    Yorkshire Bite
    295         P9    Rich Irish Lady


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Subject: RE: Laws' American Balladry - years covered?
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 01:16 PM

There are several much more comprehensive indexes of ballads available nowadays, not least the DT. Possibly more comprehensive is the Roud Index which also covers broadsides. If you tell us which ballad you are interested in we might be able to enlighten you further. The Roud Index is available online via the EFDSS website.


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Subject: RE: Laws' American Balladry - years covered?
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:05 PM

Hi Susan,
If I might be so bold, including all of these as Child ballads, is grasping at straws (IMHO). Maid on the Shore simply shares a motif/plot very loosely with a Child ballad and The many Rich Irish Lady versions are based on a Baring Gould forgery (295B) which he cobbled together from 295A and the well-known broadside ballad. Lord Bateman is a 19thc broadside hack's rewrite of Young Beichan, possibly even a parody/burlesque.


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Subject: RE: Laws' American Balladry - years covered?
From: Reinhard
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:47 PM

The Traditional Ballad Index lists these ballads for the Child and Laws numbers Susan mentions:

Child 7         Roud 23         Earl Brand
Laws M27       Roud 321       The Bold Soldier

Child 43       Roud 34         The Broomfield Hill
Laws K27       Roud 181       The Maid on the Shore

Child 53       Roud 40         Young Beichan
Laws O26       Roud 8124       The Turkish Lady

Child 112       Roud 11         The Baffled Knight
Laws N24       Roud 674       Katie Morey

Child 283       Roud 2640       The Crafty Farmer
=Laws L1         Roud 2640       The Crafty Farmer

Child 295       Roud 180       The Brown Girl
Laws P9         Roud 180       A Rich Irish Lady

The first four pairs are categorised as different but related songs referring to each other.


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Subject: RE: Laws' American Balladry - years covered?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 03:38 PM

They are usually (often?) so listed. I realize some are a stretch, ie Maid on the Shore as Broomfield.


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Subject: RE: Laws' American Balladry - years covered?
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 05:58 PM

The first American collectors were naturally so desperate to collect Child Ballads that anything with a slight connection was pounced upon and so in every American anthology upto the 40s Child Ballads were placed in a separate section at the beginning. Then upto the 50s (Laws' time) the 'secondary' ballads were given in a middle section. Most academics now see these so-called 'secondary' ballads for what they are, not directly connected to the Child ballads. The Bold Soldier for instance has only a very tenuous connection to Earl Brand.


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