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Girl/Lady From The North/West Country

GUEST,marijn1412 18 Apr 12 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,STM 18 Apr 12 - 06:21 PM
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Subject: Girl/Lady From The North/West Country
From: GUEST,marijn1412
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 05:43 PM

I was wondering if Dylan's 'Girl From The North Country' could have been influenced by George and Gerry Armstrong's 'Lady From The West Country' (spotify link).

Not only the titles are similar, but there is something in the structure and melody of both songs that resemble.

It's well known that the main source for this song is Martin Carthy's version of Scarborough Fair, but it could be that Dylan knew 'Lady From The West Country' (which is in fact an Ozark version of the old Scottish ballad 'The Wife Of Ushers Well'), heard the similarities and used it as a second starting point for his own song.

He could have learned the song through Paul Clayton (who knew George and Gerry), but he might also have heard the album, Simple Gifts. The album was released in 1961 and on it there are a few other folk songs that are connected to Dylan:
- Froggy Went A-Courtin' (recorded on 'Good As I Been To You')
- Black Jack Davy (recorded on 'Good As I Been To You')
- Peggy-O (recorded on 'Bob Dylan', this is the only version I know with the Louisiana reference that predates Dylan's version)
- The Wind And The Rain (melody used for 'Percy's Song', he learned the song through Paul Clayton, who in turn may have learned it from George and Gerry)

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Subject: RE: Girl/Lady From The North/West Country
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 06:21 PM

I'm not currently in a position to hear the song as I'm on my phone, however, the title is similar to a song on the new Hannah James and Sam Sweeney album; Hannah sings an unaccompanied ballad called "There was a lady lived in the West" (I think). She learnt it from a recording on Voice of the People (Harry Cox off the top of my head, but I may be wrong). So maybe this was a source of them too?

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Mudcat time: 18 December 3:06 PM EST

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