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Outlandish knights we have known

Phil Edwards 05 Feb 12 - 06:39 AM
MGM·Lion 05 Feb 12 - 06:45 AM
Dave Sutherland 05 Feb 12 - 06:54 AM
Phil Edwards 05 Feb 12 - 07:28 AM
MGM·Lion 05 Feb 12 - 07:49 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Feb 12 - 07:56 AM
Dave Sutherland 05 Feb 12 - 08:42 AM
Lighter 05 Feb 12 - 09:19 AM
Phil Edwards 05 Feb 12 - 09:46 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Feb 12 - 11:01 AM
Desert Dancer 05 Feb 12 - 01:23 PM
Anne Neilson 05 Feb 12 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,JohnSc 05 Feb 12 - 04:32 PM
The Sandman 05 Feb 12 - 04:48 PM
Phil Edwards 05 Feb 12 - 06:35 PM
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Subject: Outlandish knights we have known
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 06:39 AM

The Outlandish Knight (Child 4, a.k.a. Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight) seems to come with quite a number of different tunes.

Here's two that I prepared earlier. One of them follows Nic Jones's version on his first album quite closely; the other one is nothing like it, and nothing like Nic Jones's version on his second album either. Norma Waterson sings a different version again on Dark Light. So that's four to be going on with - any other favourite versions?

The estimable Andy Turner recently unearthed this - a broadside ballad that begins with the words "An outlandish knight" but otherwise has no connection with the more famous o. k. Lovely tune, though - I'll have a go at it some time.


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 06:45 AM

Well, if you are counting, Pip, why not just start with Bronson? He gives 141 tunes in the main entry.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 06:54 AM

Bert Lloyd claimed that the story was common throughout Europe.


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 07:28 AM

Obviously there are lots of them - but any other favourite versions?


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 07:49 AM

I very much like Ewan MacColl's 'May Colvin' version on The Long Harvest.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 07:56 AM

"Bert Lloyd claimed that the story was common throughout Europe."
He also linked it to a 3rd century BC gold plated sword scabbard hanging in the Leningrad museum.
It is one of the most popular ballads being sung until comparatively recently by Irish Travellers.
Favourite version - Fred Jordan's outlandish knight who came "alluding to me" takes some beating.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 08:42 AM

Fred Jordan's version remains my favourite too.


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 09:19 AM

>He also linked it to a 3rd century BC gold plated sword scabbard hanging in the Leningrad museum.

It's always easy and tempting to "link." You say, "Ooo! I see a similarity! Now you prove it's a coincidence!"

I don't know enough about the ballad or the scabbard to say whether Lloyd's "link" is significant, but it's a long, long way from Scythia in the 3rd century BC to Western Europe even in the Middle Ages.

Look at at this way. Whenever there's a showdown on a deserted street in a Western, while the terrified townspeople look on, one could say, "Ooo! It's just like Achilles facing down Hector in the Iliad! A link!"

Well, OK. But the link isn't much. It doesn't show that the story in the Western comes from the Iliad, or from antecedents of the Iliad, or from anywhere else except independent inspiration. The idea of a hero fighting a villain one on one seems pretty basic.

Admittedly, "Lady Isabel" is more complicated, which makes independent inspiration among the various versions look impossible. But we can only guess what story the scene on the scabbard might have illustrated. Since no Scythian literature survives, we're on our own.

Fun to think about, though.


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 09:46 AM

I wonder if this (PDF) was what Bert Lloyd had in mind? According to that article, there's an old Hungarian folk tale of a girl who runs away with a soldier. They rest under a tree; she sits with her back to it while he lies with his head in her lap, after warning her not to look up in the branches of the tree. When he falls asleep she looks up, to find the bodies of eleven girls hanging in the tree. She weeps with fear; her tears drop on his face and wake him up, whereupon he tells her (in so many words) that eleven pretty maidens he's hanged there and the twelfth will surely be her. Apparently there are different versions of how (if?) she gets out of it.

Anyway, there's a picture in that article of a very, very old piece of ornamental metalwork which seems to represent the crucial scene from the story - there's a woman sitting against a tree with a man lying with his head in her lap, and two horses tethered nearby. Conjectural, but interesting.


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 11:01 AM

"Fun to think about, though"
Didn't say I agreen with him, but I think the point that many of the motifs to be found in the ballads have been with us for a long time.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 01:23 PM

Pip, your link is bad.


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 01:51 PM

Just heard one of my favourite versions again this afternoon -- at the Glasgow Ballad Workshop our guest Kevin Mitchell sang a version called "False Lover John" which he'd learned from the singing of Corny McDaid from Donegal.

I've always been pleased by the occasional use of a lovely extended melodic line, and the fact that the caged bird which is witness to everything is actually a parrot.


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: GUEST,JohnSc
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 04:32 PM

Shelby Flint has a nice version. But I like Steeleye Span's version best.


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 04:48 PM

1.FredJordan! Ah , the version with the parrot, excellent


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Subject: RE: Outlandish knights we have known
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 06:35 PM

DD - try this one.


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