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Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 2

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Richie 14 Jun 12 - 09:58 AM
Richie 14 Jun 12 - 12:47 PM
Richie 16 Jun 12 - 08:30 AM
Richie 16 Jun 12 - 09:08 AM
Richie 19 Jun 12 - 10:41 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Jun 12 - 11:18 AM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 2
From: Richie
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 09:58 AM


Here's Barbara Allen; Sharp Version F:

This version was collected from Ada Smith by Olive Dame Campbell and listen to he sing it on my page. Clearly the melody and lyrics are Shrap F.

The question would be why is she singing Barb'ry Ellen and not Barb'ra Ellen as the text appears? Also the melody is the same but the text is curiously different. Perhaps she couldn't remember all the verses.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 2
From: Richie
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 12:47 PM


Here's an African- American version of Barbara Allen from 1888. Any earlier African- American versions?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 2
From: Richie
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 08:30 AM

After looking at "Bobree Allin" see link above in last post, here's what I found:

A Dusky Barbara Allen is an African-American version that was published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 77, Issues 457-562; dated 1888 edited by Henry Mills Alden. No source is given except that the ballads was sung by African-Americans in Virginia (see quote). There is an incomplete verse in Harper's version- stanza 8 is missing the last two lines. It was corrected in a later publication of the song in "Songs We Used To Sing," August 12, 1912. The correction was made by adding two standard lines:

I cannot keep you from death,
So farewell," said Bob-ree Allin

It was again reprinted by Dorothy Scarborough under the title Bob-ree Allin in her book, On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs (1925) after she was sent a copy by Alphonso Smith. Scarborough, "A Negro version of Barbara Allan, from Virginia, was sent to me by Professor C. Alphonso Smith. I had wondered if the Negroes had failed to appreciate and appropriate this most familiar and beloved of all the ballads, and so I was pleased at this contribution. This is sung in Albemarle, Wythe, and Campbell Counties, Virginia."

It also appears as Reed Smith's Version F "Bobree Allin" in his South Carolina Ballads. The incomplete stanza 8 has been "edited" without comment apparently by adding the last two lines from Stanza 5. The same version appears as Davis's Version C in Traditional Ballads of Virginia. Davis refers to the publication of the song in "Songs We Used To Sing," August 12, 1912.

Since Scarborough, Smith and Davis didn't know about the 1888 Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 77 publication, there is likely an earlier source than Harper's, now unknown- since the 1912 printing referes to specific locations in Virginaia- "Albemarle, Wythe, and Campbell Counties."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 2
From: Richie
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 09:08 AM

I'd like to know your opinion on this:

The curious and not well known fact about Barbara Allen is: almost no traditional singer sang "Barb-a-ra" Allen. Barbara is almost always sung as a contraction as "Barb'ra" Allen or as frequently sung in the Appalachians- "Barb'ry" Allen (not Barb-a-ry). Somtimes the titles reflect this pronounciation with the silent missing "a," usually they don't. Therefore many of the titles are innaccurate since they should reflect the way the singer pronounced the name, not a corrected generic title.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 2
From: Richie
Date: 19 Jun 12 - 10:41 AM


I'm lost in Barbara Allen. The three "collected" early US texts so far come from (1) the Stevens/Douglass manuscripts (New England c. 1841), (2) Walter S. Chatham of PA, (1777-1855) no date given but possibly dating to the 1700s and (3) The Old Album of William A. Larkin (1866).

This goes back to the 1700s through Walter S. Chatham of PA, (1777-1855)version but there is no concrete proof yet.

Here's my US version's page:

Here are my US versions- I have put but half of my texts on so far and very few of my 30 plus US recordings:

Bonny Barbara Allan- Broadside; Boston 1829
Barbara Allen- United States Songster (OH) 1836
Barbara Allen- Stevens (NY) 1841 Pioneer Songster
Barbara Allan- Forget-Me-Not Songster (MA) 1845
Barbara Allan- Southern Warbler (SC) 1845
Bonny Barbara Allen- Chatham (PA) c.1850s
Barbara Allan- (MA) c.1860 Sheet Music- Macfarren
Barbry Allen- Larkin (IL) 1866 Musick
Barbara Allen's Cruelty- (NY) 1888 Harper's
A Dusky Barbara Allen- (VA) 1888 African-American
Barbro Allen- (NC) 1893 Edmands JOAFL
Barbara Allen- Walters (MO) pre-1906 Belden A
Barbery Allen- Cotton (MO) pre1906 Belden B
Barbara Allen- Lowry (MO) pre-1906 Belden C
Barbara Allen- Williams (MO) pre-1906 Belden D
Barbara Allen's Cruelty- (MO) pre-1906 Belden E
Barbara Allen- Williams (MO) pre-1906 Belden F
Barb'ra Ellen- Smith (KY) 1907 Sharp F
Barbara Allan- Kerr (GA) 1928 JOAFL
Barbara Allen- Riddle (NC) pre-1926 Henry A
Barbara Allen- Kettler (IL) pre1939 Neely
Barbry Ellen- Aylward (NL) c.1950 Leach
Cowboy's Barbara Allen- Bray (WY) 1962 Thieme
Barbara Allen- Franklin (NC) 1929 Henry C
Barbey Ellen- Proctor (TN) 1928 Henry B
Barbara Allen- McCoy (GA) 1914 Sharp A
Barbary Allen- Norton (TN) 1916 Sharp E
Barb'ra Allen- MacKinney (GA) 1910 Sharp B
Barb'ra Ellen- Johnson (NC) 1916 Sharp D
Barb'ra Ellen- Gay (GA) 1914 Sharp C
Barbara Allen- Graham (CA) 1938 Robertson REC
Barbara Allen- Nye (OH) c.1937 Lomax REC
Barbara Allen- Judd/Spainhour (CA) 1940 REC
Barbara Allen- Tarwater (TN) 1936 Seeger REC
Barbara Allen- Nicholson (IN) 1946 Moser REC
Barbara Allen- Burl Ives (NY) 1953 Songbook
Barbara Allen- Kincaid (KY) 1928 REC
Bobree Allin- (VA) pre-1888 Davis C; Smith F
Barbara Ellen- Gilbert (VA) 1912 Davis A
Barbara Ellen- Pearson (VA) 1916 Davis B
Barbara Allen- Alley/Wilson (VA) 1921 Davis D
Bobby Allen- Hines (FL) 1939 Lomax REC
Barbara Allen- Collom (MI) c.1875 Gardner A
Barbara Allen- Heckel (IN) 1936 Brewster A
Barbara Allen- Merritt (IN) 1935 Brewster B
Barbara Allen- Elliott (IN) 1935 Brewster C
Barbara Allen- Hopkins (IN) 1935 Brewster D
Barbary Allen- Corn (IN) 1935 Brewster E
Barbara Allen- Shriver (IN) 1935 Brewster F
Barbara Allen- Huffman (IN) 1936 Brewster G
Barbry Ellen- Ritchie (KY) pre-1953 Music & REC
Barbara Allen- Bryant (IN) 1935 Brewster H
Barbara Allen- Mason (IN) 1935 Brewster I
Barbry Allen- Fendley (AR) 1963 Wolfe
Barb'ru Allen- Hedy West (GA) 1965 REC
Barbara Allen- Leslie (IN) 1935 Brewster J
Barbara Allen- Lomax (IN) 1936 Brewster K
Barbara Allen- Rothrock (IN) 1935 Brewster L
Barbara Allen- Waller (IN) 1935 Brewster M & N
Barbara Allen- Kent (Miss.) pre-1909 Perrow A
Barbara Allen- Holliman (Miss.) pre-1909 Perrow B
Barbary Allen- Shepherd (NC) 1923 Carter JOAFL
It Was in the Month of May- Borusky (WI) 1937
Barbara Allen- Pettit (KY) 1907 Kittredge JOAFL
Barbru Allen- Crocker (MS) pre-1926 Hudson A
Barbara Allen- Easley (MS) pre-1926 Hudson B
Barbra Allen- Bickerstaff (MS) pre-1926 Hudson C
Barbara Allen- Womble (MS) pre-1926 Hudson D
Bobr'y Allen- Wharton (VA) 1950 Leach JOAFL
Barbara Allen- Keener (WV) 1957 Musick A
Barbara Allen- Glasscock (WV) 1957 Musick B
Barbara Allen- (KY) 1917 McGill BOOK
Barbara Allen- (KY) Wyman/Brockway 1916 BOOK
Barbara Allen- Crawford (NC) 1913 Pound B
Barbara Allen- Frank Luther (NY) 1928 REC
Barbra Allen- Davis/Gordon (GA) 1927 Sandburg

O cruel Barb'ra Allen!!!!

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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 2
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jun 12 - 11:18 AM


Hi, Richie. We've all suffered from the generic titles syndrome. In retrospect I'm sure that most editors will agree that the ideal is a generic master title for identification purposes accompanied by as close as possible phonetic version of the singer's own title.

In this case most educated people are fully aware that the correct spelling of 'Barbara' as written on most birth certificates is this one, and so in their eyes to give a version as sung or spoken was an arbitrary decision. However, even in Pepys' time 'Barbara' was being written 'Barbary'.

If it's any help, the majority of people in England would call someone 'Barbra' or even 'Babs' or 'Barb'. The only people who would put in the correct required 'a' in speech are those brought up to pronounce everything correctly, or those who have spent much dosh on taking elocution lessons.

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