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Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5

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Richie 16 Apr 13 - 10:49 PM
Richie 16 Apr 13 - 10:56 PM
Richie 16 Apr 13 - 11:01 PM
Richie 17 Apr 13 - 12:58 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Apr 13 - 04:55 PM
Richie 22 Apr 13 - 11:35 PM
Richie 24 Apr 13 - 10:19 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 25 Apr 13 - 05:03 AM
Richie 25 Apr 13 - 11:09 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 25 Apr 13 - 11:28 AM
GUEST 25 Apr 13 - 01:01 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 25 Apr 13 - 04:39 PM
Richie 26 Apr 13 - 01:05 AM
Richie 26 Apr 13 - 01:10 AM
Richie 26 Apr 13 - 01:33 AM
GUEST 26 Apr 13 - 01:52 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 26 Apr 13 - 05:51 AM
Lighter 26 Apr 13 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Rcihie 27 Apr 13 - 10:39 AM
Lighter 27 Apr 13 - 10:53 AM
GUEST 27 Apr 13 - 10:53 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 27 Apr 13 - 12:28 PM
Lighter 27 Apr 13 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Richie 27 Apr 13 - 12:39 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 27 Apr 13 - 12:51 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 13 - 02:46 PM
Lighter 27 Apr 13 - 04:11 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 27 Apr 13 - 05:39 PM
Richie 08 May 13 - 09:43 PM
Richie 08 May 13 - 09:57 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 09 May 13 - 07:24 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 09 May 13 - 07:31 AM
Richie 09 May 13 - 09:52 AM
Steve Gardham 09 May 13 - 11:13 AM
Richie 11 May 13 - 11:04 AM
Richie 11 May 13 - 11:15 AM
Richie 11 May 13 - 11:24 AM
Jim Carroll 11 May 13 - 11:30 AM
Steve Gardham 11 May 13 - 02:45 PM
Jim Carroll 11 May 13 - 03:11 PM
Stilly River Sage 11 May 13 - 03:18 PM
Richie 11 May 13 - 05:36 PM
Steve Gardham 11 May 13 - 06:30 PM
Lighter 11 May 13 - 07:45 PM
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Subject: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 10:49 PM

Hi,

I'm starting a new thread because Part 4 was getting long. Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

I've starting putting all or most of all the US versions in my book collection. I've completed Child 201-274 and I'm now on "Our Goodman" Child 274.

Does anyone know how I can get in touch wiht Joe Hickerson?

Also I'm not sure about the US blues versions. I've got 4 of them.
In 1927 Blind Lemon Jefferson recorded "Laboring Man Away from Home" which was unissed. Then he recorded "Cat Man Blues" in 1929.

Are these the same song?


A cover(?) of Cat Man Blues was sung by Piedmont blueman Blind Boy Fuller. It was recorded on 29th April, 1936, Vocalion Vo 03134, Re-issued on Document CD Blind Boy Fuller, Volume 2, Document DOCD-5092.

Who should get credit for the song Cat Man Blues? Any details would be appreciated.

I have the lyrics to both. Any other blues? I also have "Wake Up Baby" by Sonny Boy II.

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 10:56 PM

I'm posting "A Jacobite Song" whcih is VA-WV-Canada-British from 1914 and was published in TRaditional Ballads of Virginia by Davis as an Appendix.

Does anyone know which British version this is based on? Is it from a print source?


APPENDIX

"A Jacobite Song." Collected by Miss Martha M. Davis, Contributed by Miss Winifred Patterson, of Garoway, West Virginia. Rockingham County. April 6, 1914. Miss Davis writes: "Her great grandfather was an officer in the British navy and learned this from the sailors. Miss Patterson was born in Canada." The Scottish dialect spelling suggests a printed source, but none
is mentioned.

1 Hame cam oor gudeman at e'en,
an hame cam he,
And there he saw a saddled horse
where na horse shud be.
"And how is this and wha is this
and how cam this ta be ?
How cam this horse here
wi oot the leave o' me?"

2 "A horse?" quoth she.
"Aye! a horse!" quoth he.
"A ye old blind dottard carl (or fool),
and blinder might ye be,
It's nothing but a milch coo
my mither sent to me."

3. "A milch coo?" quoth he.
"Aye! a milch coo!" quoth she.
"Ah, far hae I ridden and muckle hae I seen
But a saddle on a milch coo saw I never ane."

4. Hame cam oor gudeman at e'en,
an hame cam he,
And there he saw a pair of boots
where na boots shud be.
"And how is this and wha is this
and how cam this ta be?
And how cam tha boots here
wi oot the leave o' me?"

5. "Boots?" quoth she.
"Aye! boots!" quoth he.
"A ye old blind dottard carl,
and blinder might ye be,
It's but a pair of milk stoops
my mither sent to me."

6 " Milk stoops? " quoth he.
"Ay, milk stoops!" quoth she.
"Ah, far hae I ridden, and muckle hae I seen,
But siller spurs on milk stoops saw I never ane."

7 Hame cam oor gudeman at e'en,
and hame cam he,
And there he saw a siller sword
where na sword shud be.
"What's this now, gude wife, and
what's this I see?
And how cam tha sword here
wi oot the leave o' me?"

8 "A swordl" quoth she.
"Aye, a sword!" quoth he.
"A ye auld blind dottard carl,
and blinder might ye be,
It is but a porridge stick
my mither sent to me."

9 "A porridge stick?" quoth he.
"Aye! a porridge stick!" quoth she.
"Weel far hae I ridden and muckle hae I seen,
But tassels upon porritch sticks saw I never ane."

   Stanzas about the hat come here.

10. Hame cam oor gudeman at e'en,
and hame cam he,
And there he saw a sturdy man
where na man shud be.
"And how's this now, gude wife,
and how cam this ta be?
And how cam this man here
wi oot the leave o' me!"

11. "Oh! woe's me! an woe's me!
It's but ma cousin Mackintosh
from the North Countree."
"We'd be all hanged and quartered, Kate,
wi oot the leave o' me."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 11:01 PM

I'm posting the Country Music Sources entry by Meade. I'm woefully short on lyrics to these versions. I only have two of the recordings. Does anyone have a link to the recordings or can post the lyrics here. We need Stewie for something like this. (I have Coley Jones recording and text already).

TY- Richie

14. OUR GOODMAN-- CHILD 274

[Ref: (2) BSM, pp. 89-91; OFS, l,#33,181-5; (4) SOG&OC,'Drunken Fool,'p. 33; (5)'Laboring Man Away From Home,' Blind Lemon Jeffferson, 311511921, OK uniss, 'Drunkard's Special,' Coley Jones, 1210611929, Co 14489-D, FW FP251, FA2951, SF 40090 (cd), Yaz 2017 (cd); 'Three Nights Experience,' Homer & Jethro, early 1947, King682; 'Three Nights in a Bar Room,' Wade Mainer, ca. 1953, Blue Ridge 109.1

Three Nights Experience (W 142065- ) - Gid Tanner & Fate Norris (vcl duet w/vln & gtr) - 04-20-1926. Atlanta, Ga.
Co uniss

Three Nights Experience (W 30466-,{) - Earl Johnson & His Dixie Entertainers (vcl w/vln, bjo & gtr) -
0212111927. Atlanta, Ga.
OK45092 - 0511927; Pa R3859

Four Nights Experience (GE 13422-) - Thomas C. Ashley (vcl w/gtr & bjo by Dwight Bell) - 02-02-1928.
Richmond, Ind.
Gnt 6404; 04-1928
Chl 405 (Tom Hutchinson)

Three Nights Experience (AL 1431144) - John Evans (vcl w/gtr) - 02-1928. Ashland, Ky.
Br 237 - 0711928
Au22020 (Mike Long) - 05-1931

Six Nights Drunk, Pts. 1&2 (W 402006- /W 402007- ) - Emmett Bankston & Red Henderson (vcl w/gtr & bjo) - 07-30-1928. Atlanta, Ga.
OK45292; 03-1929

John The Drunkard (4053- ) - Carson Robison Trio (vcl w/nov acc); 08-1929. NYC.
Ro 1093 - llll929
Cq7728
Cam 9291

John The Drunkard (8995- ) - Carson Robison Trio (vcl w/hca & gtr) - 09-03-1929. NYC.
Pat32504 - 01/1930
Pe 12583 - 01/1930

Johnny The Drunkard (GE 16A9T - Asa Martin (vcl w/gtr) - 01-14-1930. Richmond, Ind.
Gnt7207 - 0711930 Spt 9642 (Emmett Davenport)
Ch 15922 (Jesse Coat) - 03/1930

Three Nights Drunk (BVE 82687- ) - Gid Tanner & Riley Puckett (vcl w/vln & gtr) - 03-29-1934. San Antonio, Tex.
Bb85748 -025935

Old Man Crip (61916-4) - Jolly Boys Of Lafayette (vclwl} vlns, accdn & gtr) - 01-1-1937. Dallas, Tex.
De 5431 - 9-13-1937

Five Nights Experience (BS 0277-) - Mustard & Gravy - Dixie's Tastiest Combination [Frank Rice & Emest Stokes, (vcl w/2 gtrs) - 09-28-1938. Rock Hill, S.C.
Bb 87905 - 11-1938


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 12:58 AM

Here's what I have so far today on Child 274 Our Goodman:

The Drunken Fool- Still (OK-GA) c.1900 Moores
Our Goodman- D.D.B. (MA) c.1805 Barry
Home Came the Old Man- (NC?) pre1943 Chase
The Jealous Hearted Husband- Dusenberry (AR) 1959
The Good Old Man- Napier (KY) 1913 Niles
Cat Man Blues- Blind Lemon Jefferson (TX) 1929
Drunkard's Special- Coley Jones (TX) 1929 REC
This Old Man- Tab Ward (NC) pre1966 Burton
Six Nights Drunk- Presnell (NC) pre1966 Burton
Cat Man Blues- Blind Boy Fuller (NC) 1936
Wake up Baby- Sonny Boy Williamson II (MS) 1958
Four Nights- Hampton (NC) 1933 Matteson
A Sailor Man Came Home- Lockley (CA) 1923
Gordon How Many Miles- Jones (MA) 1927 Gordon
The Drunk Husband- Taggart (WV) pre1974 Gainer
Four Nights- Frank Proffitt (NC) 1937 Brown C
Our Goodman- (VA) 1914 Davis A
Hobble Bobble- Paye (VA) 1914 Davis B
The Old Man- Maxie (VA) 1914 Fauntleroy; Davis C
Home Comes the Good Old Man- Dearing (VA) 1914
Cairo Gal- Sprouse (VA) Fauntleroy; Davis E
A Jacobite Song- (VA-WV-Can-British) 1914 Davis App.

You can look at individual version on my site:

http://bluegrassmessengers.com.temp.realssl.com/us--canada-versions-274-our-goodman.aspx

Looks like I have 5 African-American versions, with texts.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 04:55 PM

The Jacobite Song is almost verbatim the version in Johnson's Musical Miscellany and Herd. This variety is found in many Scottish collections up to the present, some from oral tradition, with little variation. Verse 11 appears to be a localised addition. It would require a check through all of the many Scottish versions to see if it is unique. A printed source is very likely. As the variant was in print with tune in the 18thc it would have been popular in the drawing room. Some English versions seem to have been popularised in this way also.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 11:35 PM

Hi,

I'm posting Blind Lemon's 1927 version which was unissued and lost!!

The lyrics and lead sheet was preserved. I have the melody and will post when I can learn the ABC method. Meade has the title wrong and dates it 3-15-1927. Another source has May, 1927

LRY ADD: "I Labor So Far from Home"- Blind Lemon Jefferson, March 15 1927, unissued

Old man went the other day his loving wife to see,
What did he see but someone's boots where his boots ought to be.
Wife, oh wife, dear loving wife, come quickly and tell to me,
Who's (sic) boots are these lying under my bed where my boots ought to be.
You old fool, blind fool, old man, can't you see?
That's nothing but a coffee pot my mother sent to me.
Ten thousand miles I've traveled, ten thousand more [miles] I go,
I never saw a coffee pot with boot heels on before.

Old man went the other night his loving wife to see,
What should he see but someone's horse where his horse ought to be.
Oh, wife, oh wife, dear loving wife, come quickly and tell to me,
Whose horse is this hitched in my rack where my horse ought to be.
You old fool, blind fool, old man, can't you see?
That's nothing but a milk cow that my mother sent to me.
Ten thousand miles I've traveled, ten thousand more I go,
I never saw a milk cow with a saddle on before.

Old man went the other night his loving wife to see,
What should he see but someone's coat where his coat ought to be.
Wife, oh wife, dear loving wife, come quickly and tell to me,
Whose coat is this hanging on my rack where my coat ought to be.
Old fool, blind fool, old man, can't you see?
That's nothing but a blanket my mother sent to me.
Ten thousand miles I've traveled, ten thousand more I go,
I never saw a blanket with coat sleeves on before.

Old man went the other night his loving wife to see,
What should he see but some old man lying where he ought to be.
Oh wife, oh wife, dear loving wife, come quickly and tell to me,
What man is this lying in my bed where I ought to be.
You old fool, blind fool, old man can't you see?
That's nothing by (sic) a baby my mother sent to me.
Ten thousand miles I've traveled, ten thousand more I go,
I never saw a baby with whiskers on before.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 10:19 PM

The jazz version by Tom Archia- Cabbage Head part 2 has the word,
"voutieoreenie" in the famous rolling pin verse-- I couldn't undertand what "Doc" Jo Jo Adams was singing. Here's the verse with my footnote:

She said, "Be 'shamed you fool, you drunken old fool,
Well honey can't you see?
That ain't nothin' but a rolling pin,
That your grandpa made for me.

I said, "I've travelled this world for many miles,
And I hope to travel some more.
But I'll be dogged if I ever saw a rolling pin,
With a voutieoreenie on it before. [1]

1. usually it's: balls on it. In this case Luigi Monge and David Evans have "voutieoreenie" what ever that it- haha.

What is "voutieoreenie"? Here's the link to my transcription:
http://bluegrassmessengers.com.temp.realssl.com/cabbage-head-part-1--2--tom-archia-tx-il-1948-.aspx

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 05:03 AM

Richie - voutiereenie was a typical word used by guitarist Slim Gaillard (of Slim & Slam) in his Vout-speak, his mostly nonsense-word hipster speak. Here's a page with some of the words he used: Vout-O-Reenee Dictionary. The dictionary describes Vout-o-reen-ee as good performance, good music (though when I've heard him he sounds like he's choosing the meanings at random!).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 11:09 AM

TY Mick,

It must be an inside joke about Slim's hip-speak. In this case Vout-o-reen-ee would be slang for an unmentionable anatomical part- you just have to use your imagination.

R-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 11:28 AM

I think you mostly had to use your imagination with all of Slim's speak!

I have one record of his (Son of McVouty, I think) and a few tracks on compilations, and from memory he seemed to insert the vout-speak words at random to mean anything. As I recall, vout, reet and o-rooney appear quite frequently, and in combinations.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 01:01 PM

There are two versions of "Western Cowboy" that are related versions. Apparently it's the same song as Leadbelly's (which I have) but with different lyrics. Does anyone have text or way to access these two: Percy Ridge's "The Western Cowboy" (April 10, 1934, AFS 200 B-1; Rounder 11661-1821-2; a composite folksong containing verses from Child no. 274), Harry Jackson's "The Western Cowboy" (probably April 1939; another similar composite folksong).

Also looking for Mitchell Helton's [alias Egg Mouth] "Blind Fool" (probably April 1939)and Will Starks's "Our Good Man" (August 9, 1942, AFS 6652-A-1).

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 04:39 PM

Richie

The Percy Ridge recording is in a programme at archive.org: Eat My Country Acapella. (It's a big download, ca 109Mb, the song is at 46 mins in)
If you don't want to download the whole thing and you'd like an mp3 of just the song (~2Mb) pm me an email address and I'll forward it to you.

Below is my transcription, but I'd like someone to check it.

I can't find the Harry Jackson version anywhere (except in holding university indexes).


Mick



THE WESTERN COWBOY

When I was a cowboy out on the Western plain
Made a half a million pullin' on my bridle rein.
O my wife, O my wife, won't you please listen to me,
O my wife, O my wife, won't you please listen to me,
Whose horse is that in my horse-chaise? where my horse used to be?

Blind fool, blind fool, you blind you cannot see,
Blind fool, blind fool, you blind you cannot see
Nothing but a milk cow your mother sent to me.

Over many miles I've travelled, like to travel a-many more,
Many miles I've travelled, like to travel a-many more,
Never seen a milk cow with a saddle on before.

Blind fool, blind fool, you blind you cannot see,
Blind fool, blind fool, you blind you cannot see,
Nothing but a milk cow your mother sent to me

O my wife, O my wife, won't you please listen to me
O my wife, O my wife, won't you please listen to me
Whose boots are that behind the door where my boot used to be?

Blind fool, blind fool, you blind you cannot see,
Blind fool, blind fool, you blind you cannot see,
Nothing but a milk churn that your mother sent to me.

Over many miles I've travelled, like to travel a-many more,
Over many miles I've travelled, like to travel a-many more,
Never seen a milk churn with spurs all on the floor.

O my wife, O my wife, won't you please listen to me
O my wife, O my wife, won't you please listen to me
Whose head is that on my pillow where my head used to be?

Blind fool, blind fool, you blind you cannot see,
Blind fool, blind fool, you blind you cannot see,
Nothing but a baby your mother sent to me.


Spoken:
Now this song was sung by Percy Ridge of Fort Worth, Texas, on April the 10th, 1934.




Source: Percy Ridge from link above.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 01:05 AM

TY Mick!!!

That's like Hamper McBee's version found in a 1978 video which is 28 minutes long and has two verses at 7:20.


I'll give it a listen,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 01:10 AM

BTW Mick please send me the mp3 I'll put it on my site with the text,

Richiematt@aol.com

R-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 01:33 AM

Mick, I found two minor corrections for Western Cowboy.

First stanza last line:

Whose horse is that in my horse-chains where my horse used to be?

Seventh stanza econd line:

Many miles I've travelled, like to travel a-many more,

Should be same as teh third stanza second line.

Great job, TY again!!!

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 01:52 AM

BTW the voice at the end of Western Cowboy was John Lomax, who recorded the ballad at State Pen, Huntsville, Texas.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 05:51 AM

Thanks for the corrections Richie. I've sent you the recording.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 10:15 PM

The first couplet of Ridge's songs is likewise the first couplet of Lead Belly's well-known take on "The Old Chisholm Trail."

In its issue for Feb. 21, 1953 _Billboard_ (p. 34) listed a song by Charles R. Grean & Tom Glazer called "Home Came a Sailor," rec. by Elton Britt & Rosalie Allen on the RCA Victor label.

This a "pop" version, with altered words, of a version of 274, possibly "inspired" by the six four-line stanzas in Frank Shay's "More Pious Friends and Drunken Companions" (N.Y.: Macaulay, 1928, pp. 104-105). Shay calls his version "a sterilization of a ribald ballad." He offers no tune. Eric Posselt ("Edgar Palmer") included it w/o attribution in "G.I. Songs" (N.Y.: Sheridan House, 1944).

About 1960 a trio called The Four Sergeants recorded Shay's/Posselt's words - or similar ones - to "Son of a Gambolier" for the sailor's verses and "Sailing, Sailing" for the wife's. Good choice!

Anyway, I suspect Shay, who I believe was very briefly a U.S. merchant sailor himself ca1914, learned the song with the characteristic opening words and then bowdlerized it to an unknown degree. The first line of each of the husband's stanzas, as follows, is lifted almost verbatim from Robert Louis Stevenson:

"Home came the sailor, home from the sea,
And there in the X a strange Y did see...."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: GUEST,Rcihie
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 10:39 AM

It look like "A Jacobite Song" which is from VA-WV- Canada, British, 1914 in Davis Appendix and Creighton's version sung by Mrs. E. H. McKeen, of Sherbrooke, are based on a version in Smith's Scottish Minstrel.

[Child says, "In Smith's Scottish Minstrel, IV, 66, the piece is turned into a Jacobite ballad. The good wife says she is hiding her cousin Mclntosh; 'Tories,' says the goodman."

Does anyone have the text for teh version in Smith's Scottish Minstrel, IV, 66 ?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 10:53 AM

Not a "trio," obviously.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 10:53 AM

Thanks Lighter- this may be close to what Britt sang.

THE SAILOR'S RETURN- The Three Hats Vol.2 (1950)
(Tune: "Our Gude Man')

Home came the sailor, home from the sea,
And there in the stable a strange horse did see.
"O wife, now tell me what can this mean,
"A strange brown horse where my mare should have been?"
"You old fool, you danged fool, you son-of-a-gun," said she,
"It's nothing but a milk cow my mother sent to me."
"Miles have I sailed, five thousand or more,
"But a cow without an udder I never saw before."

Home came the sailor, home from the sea,
And there in the parlor a strange coat saw he.
"O wife, now tell me what can this mean,
"A coat that's not mine where my coat should have been?"
"You old fool, you danged fool, you son-of-a-gun," said she,
"It's nothing but a blanket my mother sent to me."
"Miles have I sailed, five thousand or more,
"But buttons on a blanket I never saw before."

Home came the sailor, home from the sea,
And there in his bed a strange face did see.
"O wife, now tell me what does this mean,
"Another man's head where my own should have been?"
"You old fool, you danged fool, you son-of-a-gun," said she,
"It's nothing but a cabbage head my mother sent to me"
"Miles have I sailed, five thousand or more,
"But whiskers on a cabbage head I never saw before."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 12:28 PM

Richie

The Smith text is available at archive.org: Smith: Scottish Minstrel: Hame Cam Our Gudeman At E'en. I haven't time to copy it at the moment (got to walk the dog!), but if you haven't got round to it, I'll do it later.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 12:30 PM

They are indeed the same.

The tune name, "Our Gude Man," however, probably means no more than that it is a version of that song.

I have no idea where The Four Sergeants came up with their "double" tune. It may have been suggested by the recording. There is no reason to assume that it was "field-collected" with Shay's lyrics, but we simply don't know.

Somebody had to combine the two at some point.

But it's probably safe to say it was sung "in tradition" by very few people - if that many. (I performed it in class a few times with slightly saltier words from other versions, but I'd be amazed to think that anyone could have learned it from me, much less passed it on.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 12:39 PM

I've put "Home Comes A Sailor" lyrics on my site: http://bluegrassmessengers.com.temp.realssl.com/home-came-a-sailor--britt-tn-1953-rec.aspx



Hers' a Bahama version from 1918, any other versions from Bahama? The Lomax text?

113. A MAN OF TRAVEL- From Mary Kargel, about age 68, from Fresh Creek, Andros.

I.[1] Once upon a time dere was a man went to sea. A nort' win' sprung up, an' he have to turn back home. Another gentleman carry his horse an' tie at his gate. De owner of de house was in his bed. Dis gentleman came in an' put his glove on de table, an' his beaver on de table, an' he hang up his horse-whip. An' de husban' came out an' ax her, —

"My deah, my deah, what horse dis could be?"
"A milken' cow my moder sen' for me."
"I was a man of travellin' ten thousan' miles or mo',
A milkin' cow wi' a saddle on I never saw befo'."

"My deah, my deah, what glove dis could be?"
"A nice pocket book my moder sen' for me."
"I was a man of travellin' ten thousan' miles or mo',
A pocket-book wi' de fingers on I never saw befo'."

"My deah, my deah, what beaver dis could be?"
"A nice ban'box my moder sen' for me."
"I was a man of travellin' ten thousan' miles or mo',"
A nice ban'box wi' a high crown on I never saw befo'."

"My deah, my deah, what whip this could be?"
"A sugar-stick my moder sen' for me."
"I was a man of travellin' ten thousan' miles or mo',
A sugar-stick wi' a long tail on I never saw befo'."

"My deah, my deah, what man this could be?"
"A nice fine nurse my moder sen' for me."
"I was a man of travellin' ten thousan' miles or mo',
A nice fine nurse wi' de whiskers on I never saw befo'." [2]

1 Informant 29 (who is Mary Kargel, about age 68, from Fresh Creek, Andros). Compare North Carolina, JAFL 30: 168 (No. 61); Scotch, Herd, 2 : 172-175.

2 Unfortunately the cylinder on which I recorded this song split before it had been transcribed.


Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 12:51 PM

The dog decided to eat before he went out, so here's the Smith text. I corrected the OCR in a hurry, so you might want to check it.

Mick



HAME CAM OUR GUDEMAN AT E'EN

Hame cam oure gudeman at e'en,
And hame cam he,
And there he saw a saddle horse,
Where horse sud na be.
Oh! how's this and what's this?
And wha's may he be?
How cam this horse here
Without the leave o' me?
Recit:
Ye silly, blind, doited carl,
In time:
And blinder may ye be;
It's but a bonnie milk-cow
My minny sent to me.
Recit:
Milk cow! quo' he; Ay milk cow, quo' she;
In time:
O far hae I ridden, and mickle hae I gaen,
Recit:
But a saddle on a milk-cow
In time:
Saw I never nane.


Hame cam oure gudeman at e'en,
And hame cam he,
And there he saw a siller gun,
Whar nae sic gun sud be.
How's this? and what's this?
And how cam this to be?
How cam this gun here
Without the leave o' me?
Ye stupid auld doited carl,
Ye're unco blind I see ;
It's but a bonnie parritch-stick
My Minnie sent to me.
Parritch-stick! quo'he; ay parritch-stick,quo' she;
Far hae I ridden, and mickle hae I seen,
But siller munted parritch-sticks
Saw I never nane.


Hame cam oure gudeman at e'en,
And hame cam he,
And there he saw a feather-cap,
Whar nae cap sud be.
How's this? and what's this?
And how cam this to be?
How cam this bannet here
Without the leave o' me?
Ye're a silly auld donard bodie,
And unco blind I see;
It's but a tappit clocken hen
My minnie sent to me.
A clocken hen! quo'he; a clocken hen, quo' she;
Far hae I ridden, and farer hae I gaen,
But white cockauds on clocken hens
Saw I never nane.

Ben the house gaed the gudeman,
And ben gaed he,
And there he spied a Hieland plaid,
Whar nae plaid sud be.
How's this? and what's this?
And how cam this to be?
How cam the plaid here
Without the leave o' me ?
Oh hooly, hooly, my gudeman,
And dinna angered be ;
It cam wi' cousin McIntosh
Frae the north countrie.
Your Cousin! quo he, aye cousin, quo she;
Blind as ye may jibe me,I've sight enough to see,
Ye're hidin tories in the house
Without the leave o' me.

Source: Smith: The Scottish Minstrel, vol 4, 1823


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 02:46 PM

Not for the sensitive
Jim Carroll

TH' OWD CHAP CAME OWER THE BANK.   
From the singing of Harold Sladen, Openshaw, Manchester, Easter 1934.

Th' owd chap came ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a pair of mucky clogs where his owd clogs should be
Come Here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see,
How come this pair of mucky clogs where my owd clogs should be ?
Oh you owd bugger, you daft bugger, it's plain as plain can be
They're just a couple of pickle jars me owd mam sent to me
Oh I've been ower hills and dales me lass, and many a grassy moor,
But girt hob-nails on pickle jars I've never seen before.

Th' owd chap came ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a coat on back o' t' door where his owd coat should be,
Come here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see
How come this coat on t' back o' t' door where my owd coat should be ?
0 you owd bugger, you daft bugger, it's plain as plain can be,
It's just an owd pudding cloth me owd mam sent to me.
Oh I've been ower hills and dales me lass and many a grassy moor.
But buttons on a pudding cloth I've never seen before.

Th' owd chap came ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a head on t' pillow where his owd head should be
Come here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see
How come this head on t' pillow where my owd head should be ?
Oh you owd bugger, you daft bugger, it's plain as plain can be
That's just a girt big turnip me owd mam sent to me,
I've been ower hills and dales me lass and many a grassy moor
But a girt big turnip full of teeth I've never seen before.

T' owd chap come ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a pair of hairy cods where his owd cods should be
Come here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see
How come this pair of hairy cods where my owd cods should be
Oh you owd bugger, you daft bugger, it's plain as plain can be,
They're just a couple of garden spuds me owd mam sent to me
Oh I've been ower hills and dales me lass and many a grassy moor
But garden spuds with airs on I never saw before.

T' owd chap come ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a great big standing prick where his owd prick should be
Come here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see
How come this girt big standing prick where my owd prick should be
Oh you owd bugger, you daft bugger it's plain as plain can be
It's just a home grown carrot me owd mam sent to me
Oh I've been ower hills and dales me lass and manv a grassy moor
But a carrot diggin' a girt big hoyle I never seen before


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 04:11 PM

Sung by MacColl on one of his later albums, no?

Sounds to me like Sladen or somebody else went to work on the text with a will: clogs, pickle jars, pudding cloth, turnip, etc.- all unique to this version?

Who collected it?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 05:39 PM

Sung by Harold Sladen, collected by MacColl. Sladen was 18 when it was collected and learnt it from his grandmother who lived in Wigan (Notes in Richards & Stubbs The English Folksinger).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 08 May 13 - 09:43 PM

Hi,

I've moved on to 275 Get Up and Bar the Door. Seems like many of the collected US versions are questionable. Cox, Combs, Gainer, Brown A and B, plus Niles are all questionable- I've pointed this out even tho I hate doing it. Should I?

Here's a link to one:
http://bluegrassmessengers.com.temp.realssl.com/john-jones--thomas-wv-pre1975-gainer.aspx

Coffin lists the version in Davidson's Universal Melodist- how can that be a US version?

Also I can find the version in Delehanty & Hengler's Song and Dance Book- 1874. Is it on-line? Are there other versions in US songsters?

Any other US versions? I have Davis, Barry, Creighton and Flanders to put on yet.

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 08 May 13 - 09:57 PM

Slight correction to last post:

Also I can't find the version in Delehanty & Hengler's Song and Dance Book- 1874

R-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 09 May 13 - 07:24 AM

Richie

22 entries in Roud (#115) for USA. The ones you haven't got/put up yet seem to be:

Randolph OFS 1 (2 versions:Wilbur/MS, Bone/MS)
Morris: FS of Florida (Salswell/FL)
Combs: FS of Southern United States (Chenoweth/WV)
Moore: Ballads and FS of the Southwest (Couper/OK)
Boette: Singa Hipsy Doodle (Montgomery/WV)
Coffin: BTBNA (no name)
Kirkland: Southern Folklore Quarterly 13 (Salswell/FL)
Combs: Folk-Songs du Midi des Etats-Unis (Chenoweth/WV) same as above?
Sharp: mss folk tunes (Clapp/NY)
LOC: recording 3251 A1-Flanders, you may have (Robertson/IL)

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 09 May 13 - 07:31 AM

I can't see the songster online, though Harvard U.Library have it and a lot of others:

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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 09 May 13 - 09:52 AM

TY Mick,

The Combs is the same as Cox, this one is questionable since it was supplied by Woofter and seems to be a rewrite of Child B. The Kirkland is the same as Morris. Have the rest except Sharp MSS- that would be Clapp NY.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 May 13 - 11:13 AM

'I've moved on to 275 Get Up and Bar the Door. Seems like many of the collected US versions are questionable. Cox, Combs, Gainer, Brown A and B, plus Niles are all questionable- I've pointed this out even tho I hate doing it. Should I?'

Richie,
Firstly, why do you hate doing it?
Secondly, if there is a good reason to be suspicious then I would say you have an obligation to your readers to make this clear, even if it's only repeating soe's suspicions.

Personally I'd say the whole transmission of the song carries some doubt. Versions vary very little. It's a nice little joke but it hardly fits in with Child's criteria. I think he only included a few pieces like this as examples. There are thousands of similar pieces of similar age that he could have chosen. I'm not saying it didn't exist in oral tradition but like some others it seems to have enjoyed more of a print tradition than an oral tradition.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 11 May 13 - 11:04 AM

Hi,

In the case of Gainer's version, it's appalling that he would have little regard publishing and attributing two informants-- to the same ballad. What's worse is it seems like he thinks this type of scholarship is OK. Maybe he's done it for so long. I don't like having to point it out because he has family, former colleagues and the University of West Virginia- all promoting his lifework.

I'll just say it- I don't believe his version of child 275 is authentic, I'll list some of the reasons below. It seems like he wrote it based on his friend Carey Woofter's version-- and Woofter's version is likely not authentic either.

Gainer's bio is here: http://www.libraries.wvu.edu/collections/patrickgainer/

Clearly he was dedicated to preserving folk-songs and West Virginia tradition.

Gainer's version is in the DT.

Gainer surely knew the title of the "other" West Virginia version, "Old John Jones," that his collecting friend, Carey Woofter, supplied to Combs and Cox. Because there were two different informants given by Woofter for the same rare ballad and some of Woofter's contributions have come into question, there is a possibility that version is not authentic.

Gainer choose not to associate his version by title with that version even though John Jones, (coincidentally?) was present in the text as the name of the central figure and was a possible title. For whatever reason Gainer decided not to mention Woofter's version in his notes (see below)- even though he knew about it. (Gainer, Woofter, Combs and Cox were all associated with the University of West Virginia in the mid-1920s- Gainer and Woofter were students, Combs was a teacher working on his doctorate (his collection of folk songs) and Cox was a teacher. Another collector, Louis Chappell, was also there at that time and Gainer did some field work with him.)

The same identical text version with the same melody that Gainer published in 1975, he published in his 1963 "West Virginia Centennial Book of 100 Songs." The problem is-- Gainer said it was sung by "Charlie Montgomery, Elizabeth, Wirt County." Marie Botte reprinted it from that publication under Gainer's title, "Get Up and Bar the Door." How Gainer could publish the same ballad and same melody in 1975 by a different informant (W. A. Thomas) and make no comment about the two different informants- I don't know. I can only assume from the lack of information that there weren't two different informants and conclude that the source is questionable and was probably Gainer.

Gainer's collected version seems suspiciously similar to Woofter's although there are some differences. Similar to Woofter, incidences regarding the authenticity of the informants (i.e. having two different informants for the same song) have occurred among other of Gainer's collected songs. Although familiar with folk song scholarship- he doesn't include much information like the date.

Finding a rare ballad is cause for celebration- instead there's a shroud of obfuscation. There no mention of the other version found in 1963 in his 1975 book- how can that be?

So this information weighs heavy on me- and I don't like it.

Comments?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 11 May 13 - 11:15 AM

Here's are the notes and text from Gainer's Folk-Songs from the West Virginia Hills 1975:

[John Jones, my title] Child 275, "Get Up And Bar The Door"- This ballad, preserved in family tradition for many generations, brought laughter to the family circle on many a long winter evening. It was sung by W. A. Thomas, Webster County.

1. The wind blew high, the wind blew cold,
It blew across the moor.
When John Jones said to Jane, his wife
"Get up and bar the door."

2. "Oh, I have worked all day," said she,
"I've washed and scrubbed the floor,
You lazy man, get up, I say,
Get up and bar the door."

3. "Oh, I have worked so hard," said he,
"I know I can't do more;
So come, my own, my dearest wife,
Get up and bar the door."

4. Then they agreed between the two,
A solemn oath they swore,
That the one who spoke the very first word
Would have to bar the door.

5 The wind blew east, the wind blew west,
It blew all over the floor,
But neither one would say a word
For barrin' of the door.

6 Three robbers came along that way,
They came across the moor;
They saw a light and walked right in,
Right in through the open door.

7 "Oh, is the owner of this house
A rich man or a poor?"
But neither one would say a word
For barrin' of the door.

8 They ate the bread, they drank the ale,
Then said, "Come, give us more."
But neither one would say a word
For barrin' of the door.

9 "Let's pull the old man's beard," said one,
"Let's beat him till he's sore."
But still the old man wouldn't speak
For barrin' of the door.

10 "I'll kiss his pretty wife," said one,
"Oh, her I could adore."
And then the old man shook his fist
And gave a mighty roar.

11 "Oh, you'll not kiss my wife," said he,
"I'll throw you on the floor""
Said she, "Now, John, you've spoken first,
So get up and bar the door."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 11 May 13 - 11:24 AM

Marie Boette published Gainer's version in 1971 (Sing Hipsy Doodle)just 4 years before he changed the informant's name to W.A. Thomas. Gainer was well aware of this book and contributed several ballads and songs.

Here's what Boette says:

GET UP AND BAR THE DOOR

Dr. Patrick W. Gainer is one of West Virginia's foremost leaders in searching and preserving the music natiue to the State. A West Virginia University professor, his courses in balladry have been most rewarding to extension students throughout the localities where he has taught. Possessing a beautiful tenor voice he has made two records
for Folk Heritage Recording. Dr. Gainer was Chairman of the Centennial Committee on Folklore which published the West Virginia Centennial Book of 100 Songs from which with his permission the above ballad and three others were taken. This ballad was sung for him by Mr. Charlie Montgomery, Elizabeth, Wirt County.

The words of this song remind one of a party game where one person is supposed to remain silent for a certain time regardless of questions or heckling.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 May 13 - 11:30 AM

"Sounds to me like Sladen or somebody else went to work on the text with a will....."
Sorry - been away - why should any one individual have "gone to work on it" with or without a will?
Seamus Ennis had an equally bawdy/obscene and inventive Irish version of it - that's the folk process for you!
Too many unqualified suggestions of late on what the folk process did or didn't do to songs in my opinion.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 13 - 02:45 PM

Richie,
Some suggestions.
1) Leave out the version and include a straightforward explanation of your misgivings.
2) Include the version and without any opinion of your own expressed, just append the historical facts you have given here and allow readers to form their own conclusions.

Jim,
There is nothing wrong with scholars having misgivings about the honesty of collectors/antiquarians in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 May 13 - 03:11 PM

"There is nothing wrong with scholars having misgivings about the honesty of collectors/antiquarians in my opinion."
Of course not - just as there is nothing wrong with having misgivings about people who express those misgivings as definitive, dismissive and often extremely insulting and partonising statements without providing the evidence to back up their claims - want a sample?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 May 13 - 03:18 PM

A note regarding the research from a couple of weeks ago. The Western Cowboy performance by Percy Ridge of Fort Worth, TX. I was curious and Googled Mr. Ridge. It appears that there are more recordings of him, in case someone decides to follow down that rabbit warren.

"Percy Ridge" of Fort Worth, Texas search results. In particular, http://www.keeponliving.at/year/1934.html. From the page header:

1934

. . .

music - the Glyndebourne festival is inaugurated - Arnold Schoenberg emigrates to the US - Dmitri Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District - Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France - Cole Porter: Anything Goes - Edward Elgar (†) - Gustav Holst (†) - Charley Patton

first released recordings by Bill "Jazz" Gillum, Jimmie Gordon, Joe Pullum, Sun Ra

musical instruments - the Hammond organ, electric organ, invented by Laurens Hammond, manufactured by the Hammond Organ Company


1934.04.09? - US: Texas: Huntsville (State Penintiary) - recordings for the Library of Congress - Jim Boyd, Percy Ridge

1934.04.10 -- US: Texas: Huntsville (State Penintiary) - recordings for the Library of Congress - Percy Ridge

Ad you can buy that one recording here.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richie
Date: 11 May 13 - 05:36 PM

Hi,

Steve- think it's best to just state the facts- since I don't know why Mr. Gainer did what he did- and keep my opinions out of it. I suppose I could try and track down the informants to see if they were real- but what's the point.

Others including Wilgus have been more vocal see: A Fraudulent "Elfin Knight" from West Virginia by Bernth Lindfors, who discusses Woofter's version,from which Gainer has the same chorus:
http://bluegrassmessengers.com.temp.realssl.com/1a-fraudulent-elfin-knight-from-west-virginia.aspx

Clearly such a rare find as Gainer's Child 275- Get Up and Bar the Door should be a reason for celebration, instead I feel sadness after looking at the facts.

Jim- perhaps Steve was commenting on my post rather than yours- I as always, welcome any feedback you can give (good or bad)- and thanks for your contribution to this thread.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 13 - 06:30 PM

Richie,
I understand your use of the word 'rare' in the context of its appearance in America, But what surprises me is that it hasn't turned up there much more frequently. Perhaps it has and the collectors simply ignored it because they presumed it was straight out of a book, being such an obvious Scots song. It appears in many collections over here both prior to and after Child's time. It even appears in some Burns collections. There are versions in Gardner and Chickering, Morris, E & C Moore, and as you would expect in some Canadian Collections.

If you go to the Bodl site Douce Prints S 9 (p208) you can see an upmarket broadside with the dots, dated 1785 printed in London, title 'John Blunt'. Pieces of this sort were usually as performed in the theatre.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Lighter
Date: 11 May 13 - 07:45 PM

I'd be very interested in seeing Ennis's version for its own sake.

It seems possible to me, who know nothing about the facts of this specific case, that Gainer's inconsistent attribution may have been nothing more than a laps of memory or a confusion in his notes.

On the other hand, Lindfors has shown that anything reported by Woofter must, unfortunately, be tainted with suspicion.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 May 13 - 03:22 AM

"Jim- perhaps Steve was commenting on my post rather than yours"
'Fraid he wasn't Richie - he specifically referred to me, and it's part of an ongoing battle which both of us feel strongly about.
Personally, I'm happy when anybody's work is examined and questioned when it's done in those terms, but I have become very tired of innuendo and the suggestion that some researchers and singers were being in some way deliberately dishonest in what they do (or did - grave-dancing seems to be very much a part of what we do).
If you have reservations about somebody's work you specify what those reservations are rather than set out to undermine their work by suggesting they are being or have been dishonest.
I would have thought that the starting point of any such discussion is that they might simply be "wrong" rather than "lying".
"I'd be very interested in seeing Ennis's version for its own sake."
I heard him sing it once (not in public), but I'm not sure it was ever recorded by anybody.
I think Bronson refers to it somewhere; I'll look it out.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 12 May 13 - 06:49 AM

I'm actually rather surprised that "Get up and bar the door" isn't more widely collected. To my mind it's an easily memorable joke with a simple storyline and a punchline that rolls off the tongue, so just from the point of view of narrative transmission, I would have thought that people who heard it would pick it up without too much trouble.

The reason I think this is empirical: basically, having heard a couple of versions of this sung at folk clubs, but not yet having learned a particular version to sing myself, I found that the story and enough of the key words had lodged in my head so easily that I was able to sing my own version to a tune of my own invention without too much hassle and without needing to look up that many of the gaps. I'm not saying that this is exactly the same process as oral transmission among the communities where these songs were collected, but just as an experiment in thinking about how easily songs can spread, I would say that I found this one much easier to pick up and relate in my own way than many other ballads that I've heard more frequently and yet still can't recall much of.

Compare it to some of the other Child Ballads with more convoluted plotlines and arcane references (surely just as arcane in the 19th and early 20th centuries), that don't lend themselves to transmission quite so easily, it seems like a prime candidate for wide circulation without too much variation - to use a technical term, it just struck me as a "stickier" song than many others.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 May 13 - 09:34 AM

Absolutely, Richard.

I would imagine most active singers on the folk scene pick up songs in a variety of ways. There are those that I have deliberately sought out and learnt from books or recordings, and those I have picked up simply by hearing them sung frequently. In some cases I have heard and read many versions of a ballad (usually a Child Ballad) that I have been able to construct a version in my own head without recourse to an existing version. I know traditional singers who have learnt their songs in similar varied ways, so we're not all that different to them in many ways.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 12 May 13 - 11:08 AM

I don't get it. I have been advised that searching for the origins of these ballads or elements of of them is actually a vain endeavor. Before that I was notified that it is surely vain to insist, as Tom Lenihan did that, well, nevermind...

Yet, you all bring up and discuss the matter of origins incessantly. What's up with that?

And many of you treat published material like it contains some sort of gospel truth. The fact is, the first published records of many of these ballads were indeed tailored to specific agendas both political and cultural. Percy altered and tore pages out of a folio that was practically mythical in it's time. Child ignored many ballads he should have included and put his Victorian spin on everything (Brit wannabe). Sir Walter Scot, forget it! He was even worse than the other two when it comes to contrivance on these ballads.

Not to mention that printers did anything for money. They cared not a fig for whether a ballad they were printing had any folk tradition behind it or not. Literary people had a distinct advantage as far as setting it all down for posterity and they set it down anyway they damned well pleased, in whichever way suited their little ballad agendas. Sticking their little flags in anywhere they could like European explorers :-)

In a way, Child's Ballad book is like the Bible. People pore over every word as if it comes from God Himself and seem to want to ignore the fact that, historically speaking, it has been heavily tampered with. There is a Bible scholar, Martin Vining, who wrote a ground breaking book that interprets scripture according to "pesherim." I am convinced. I believe he cracked the code and makes a brilliant case for his somewhat radical assertions. I did not write him immediately to say, "Careful, careful, we can never know these things for sure!" Especially since he put the work in and I did not.

Yes, be ever so careful! In other words, don't think too deeply about any of this and don't share your ideas if they go against the conservative consensus. Close-minded ballad sages who feel they know better than you will show up to dog you, trying to throw you back to square one every chance they get. It must be noted that it's a different affair to simply collect songs and know a lot about the people who gave them to you than it is to generate theories about origins of songs and attempt to defend those theories. Most of you are like botanists who say, "The world is full of beautiful flowers but we must confine ourselves to knowledge of where they grew and who picked them."

That must be how the fact that since there are cockades of various colors, this detracts from the established meaning of the white one. I can't remember whether it was Mr. Gardham or Mr. Boden who came up with that one, but either way, it's nonsense. A lot of nonsense and conceit find their way into these discussions. I've found that you really have to keep your hands up and dispense with any attempt at humor or humanness. What a shame.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Lighter
Date: 12 May 13 - 11:32 AM

I suspect that it's rarely sung today because few folkie icons have recorded it, regardless of its appeal to many of us.

And if it was rarely collected, my guess is that, despite what one might expect (or wish), it was never very popular.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 May 13 - 12:54 PM

The subject of literal links to traditional singing is far too complicated an issue to be dealt with as simplistically as it is here.
Some of our rarest ballad survivals in these islands have come from non-literate sources - Travellers, certainly true of both Scotland and Ireland where ballads like Lamkin, Maid and the Palmer, Young Hunting, Lady Margaret... have come from singers with no literary skills and no access to the printed word.
Even in the more literate communities printed songs were treated with either suspicion and/or deference, which influenced any changes made to them.
Because singers could read, didn't automatically mean they learned songs from print - as Mrs Laidlaw was once heard to remark.....!
"we're not all that different to them in many ways"
We're totally different - especially since we became passive recipients to our culture rather than creative participants.
When that happened in the traditional communities the songs all but totally disappeared.
Jim Carroll


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