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When I was single Irish Folk ?

GUEST,Jim Clark Acoustcarchive Channel Youtube 30 Jun 13 - 09:42 AM
maeve 30 Jun 13 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,Jim Clark Acoustcarchive Channel Youtube 30 Jun 13 - 09:51 AM
Mr Happy 30 Jun 13 - 09:52 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Jun 13 - 09:58 AM
maeve 30 Jun 13 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,Jim Clark Acoustcarchive Channel Youtube 30 Jun 13 - 10:12 AM
GUEST 30 Jun 13 - 10:30 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Jun 13 - 11:14 AM
gnu 30 Jun 13 - 11:33 AM
Rumncoke 30 Jun 13 - 12:30 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Jun 13 - 12:34 PM
Gurney 30 Jun 13 - 04:44 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Jun 13 - 05:26 PM
Rumncoke 30 Jun 13 - 06:14 PM
Amos 30 Jun 13 - 06:18 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Jul 13 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 01 Jul 13 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,Jim Clark Acoustcarchive Channel Youtube 01 Jul 13 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,mayomick 01 Jul 13 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 01 Jul 13 - 07:36 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Jul 13 - 03:22 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 02 Jul 13 - 10:26 AM
Jim McLean 02 Jul 13 - 10:54 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Jul 13 - 11:45 AM
Rumncoke 02 Jul 13 - 12:02 PM
GUEST 02 Jul 13 - 12:48 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Jul 13 - 02:07 PM
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Subject: "When I was single" Irish Folk ?
From: GUEST,Jim Clark Acoustcarchive Channel Youtube
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 09:42 AM

I am posting a few video gems from my archive nor previously seen on the internet,and have have just posted a video of the very popular Holohan Sisters performing their version of "When I was single".

When I Was Single The Holohan Sisters

I cant seem to pin down the origins of this song I wonder if a kind mudcatter can point me in the right direction as how old the song is and its correct origins ?

Thanking you in advance.

Kind Regards

Jim Clark
acoustc archive & poetryreincarnations at youtube


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: maeve
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 09:47 AM

Jim, I'm sure you'll get the assistance you request, but it would help if your link took us to the sound file rather than to this very thread.    :)


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: GUEST,Jim Clark Acoustcarchive Channel Youtube
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 09:51 AM

Blimey maeve how did I do that ha ha.

Here's the proper link...

When I Was Single The Holohan Sisters

Thanks for pointing out my error.

Kind Regards

Jim


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 09:52 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfLE8FkpF44


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 09:58 AM

Not an Irish song - seldom heard from the older singers (Margaret Barry sang it I think.
Probably English in origin - associated particularly with the North East.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: maeve
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 09:59 AM

Thank you, Jim and Mr. Happy.

There has been a fair amount of discussion regarding this song right here on Mudcat and on its partner the Digital Tradition. Have you tried the Filter and a search of the DT?


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: GUEST,Jim Clark Acoustcarchive Channel Youtube
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 10:12 AM

Thanks Maeve yes I have looked through the previous Mudcat references to this song,but havent found any detailed discussion.Yes The 1965 Margaret Barry Folkways recording is mentioned.

Thanks to Jim Carroll yes I suspected it was probably English in origin. I wonder if there is anything more specific known about the songs origins.I would just like a bit of informatve info that I can turn into notes for my video ?

Kind Regards

Jim


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 10:30 AM

First time I heard was on Makem & Clancy "Hearty and Hellish".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC2UHirTQxQ


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 11:14 AM

I was quite staggered to learn that there was so little information on this song - I seem to have known it forever.
The most extensive note I could find on it was in MacColl and Seeger's 'Travellers Songs From England and Scotland' (produced below)
Happy to follow up the references if it's any help - I think we have them all except Cowell.
Jim Carroll.

30 STILL I LOVE HIM
This is probably one of the most frequently reported songs in the British Isles and, undoubtedly, one of the least printed. Texts show considerable regional variation, though the refrains remain consistent and most versions retain the stanza which begins 'When I was single I wore a black shawl'. This would seem to indicate a relationship with 'The Joyful Maid and Sorrowful Wife', a song in which a wife's loss of youth and freedom are symbolically represented through juxtaposed items from her premarital and postmarital wardrobe.
In North America there is a large group of songs with roughly the same theme, usually beginning in the following manner:

When I was single, went dressed all so fine,
Now I am married, go raggedy all the time.
Lord, don't I wish I was a single girl again! (A)

A Glasgow children's street-song of the 1930s expresses similar sentiments in a similar way:

When I was single, I used to go and dance,
Now I am married, I cannae get the chance.
O it's a life, a weary weary life,
It's better to be single than to be a married wife. (B)

In all these single-vs-married songs, a social institution (marriage) is viewed as the source of the heroine's unhappiness. In 'Still I Love Him', however, there is a different emphasis. The institution still exists, the heroine still has much of which to complain, but she has by her side a flesh- and-blood companion - less than perfect, perhaps, but human and therefore capable of inspiring love in spite of the institution.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
British Kennedy, p. 460.
General 'The Joyful Maid and Sorrowful Wife': Cowell (unpaginated); JFSS, vol. VIII, pp. 148—50; JEFDSS, vol. III, pp. 51—2; also vol. IV, pp. 5—6; Kidson, pp. 156-7; Mason, p. 42; Ritchie (2), p. 33; Ritson (1), pp. 9-11.
Reference for song from which stanza (B) is quoted above: Buchan and Hall, p. 30.
References for songs from which stanza (A) is quoted above: Belden, pp. 437-9; Randolph, vol. III pp. 69-70.


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: gnu
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 11:33 AM

GUEST Date: 30 Jun 13 - 10:30 AM was me.


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 12:30 PM

I have the song early in my book - with some fisher type versed added later.

However, not Irish

When I was single I wore a plaid shawl
now that I've married I've nothing at all
but still I love him I'll forgive him
I'll go with him wherever he goes

He comes up our ally to give me a shout
the tail of his shirt from his trousers hangs out

he bought me some bloomers they were red white and blue
then to clean windows he tore them in two

He took me to an ale house and bought be some stout
before I could drink it he got us thrown out

He borrowed some money to get a ring for me
then him and his mates all went off on a spree

my back it is aching my fingers are sore
from gutting the herring he brings to the shore

The storm it is raging his boat isn't in
no one can tell me what's happened to him

If he's gone to Heaven he'll come to no harm
If he's in Hell well at least he'll keep warm

There's a cake in the oven and cheese on the shelf
If you want any more you must sing it yourself

My memory seems to be improving, but if there are any more verses in the book I'll add them later.

I'm afraid that I kept no record of where I heard the songs I sing.

I used to have a very very good memory, and wrote down the words only to keep a record of the guitar chords to use - I know about a dozen, and where to put the capo.

These days I find that it is really difficult to learn a new tune. I never had any trouble remembering tunes, and I could play them on a recorder (the woodwind instrument) to pass them on to other people, but now - tunes just do not stick.

Mind you - these modern tunes they don't seem to have the same spirit as the old ones. I listen to them and they seem to have a familiar phrase here and there, but nothing to set you dancing in the streets.


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 12:34 PM

A bit more
Jim Carroll

The words attached to this tune in Sam Cowell's 120 Comic Songs (c. 1850) are a modern edition of an old song of which a traditional Yorkshire version appears in Mr. Frank Kidson's Traditional Tunes, unfortunately attached to a tune reminiscent of the early Victorian "I'll hang my harp on a willow-tree." Sam Cowell's tune is a rather more elaborate version of the tune " When I was a maid " (The world it went very well then) in Miss Mason's Nursery Rhymes, but the tune here printed repeats a melodic phrase which only occurs once in Miss Mason's traditional version. The full title of the small ballad-collection from which the above text is taken is " The North-Country Chorister ; an unparalled variety of Excellent Songs, collected and published together for general Amusement, by a Bishoprick Ballad Singer." It was published at Durham in 1802 and edited by Ritson in his Northern Garlands. From this little volume comes also the "Tommy Linn" text in the present number of the Journal, which has not printed any version of either song before.
From internal evidence the song appears to be of some antiquity. A West-Country version, " The Maid and the Wife," was contributed to Word-Lore, Vol. 2 (1927), p. 17, by Miss Mary Corner of Wellington (Somerset), but without tune. The tune given above sounds like an old dance-air.—A. G. G.

Journal of the Folk Song Society No. 33 1929


WHEN I WAS A MAID.
ALTHOUGH the air to this quaint rhyme smacks too much of a modern production once highly popular to be ancient; yet the song itself bears intrinsic evidence of being of a very old ditty.
The whole scheme of the song proclaims this, and the allusions to shoes of "Spanish black" and to the rich girdle confirm it. I obtained the song from Mr. A. Wardill, of Goathland, North Yorkshire.

When I was a maid, a maid, a maid,
And lived with my auld mither at hame,
I'd meat and I'd drink and I'd fine claithing,
And money I wanted nane.

O, then! O then I was a maid,
And lived with my auld mither at hame;
I'd meat and I'd drink and I'd fine claithing,
And money I wanted nane.

My gown was made of the finest silk,
And flounced right down to the ground ;
The girdle that I wore round my waist,
Was sell't for a hundred pounds.
O, then ! O, then ! I was a maid, etc.

My stockings were made from the softest woo',
And gartered aboon the knee ;
My shoes were made of the Spanish black,
And they buckled right merrily.
O, then ! O, then ! I was a maid, etc.

A young man came a wooing me,
He asked me to wed ;
I was so fond when he showed me a ring,
That "Yes" was the word I said.

O, then ! O, then ! I was a wife,
And frae my auld mither taen,
I'd sorrow and grief all t' days of my life,
And money I never had nane.

My gown was made of the coarsest stuff,
And slitten right down to the hand ;
The girdle that 1 wore round my waist,
Was aye but a tarry band.
O, then ! O, then ! I was a wife, etc.

My stockings were made from the coarsest woo',
And patched wi' mony a clout;
My shoes were made of the auld tan leather,
And my tears cam' blobling out.
O, then ! O, then ! I was a wife, etc.

Kidson's Traditional Tunes


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Gurney
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 04:44 PM

I thought it was Geordie, possibly because I've even heard an American duo singing it obviously localised from there.

Mind you, that's only a stone wall away from Scotland, and the version above seems to be in a Scots dialect, although collected further south.

Doesn't matter to me. I'll sing in anyone's accent. If I can.


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 05:26 PM

The song 'Still I love him' was once very popular all along the east coast of Britain, possibly linked to the connected fishing communities though all the versions I have seen (barring the one above) have no mention of any fishing. My mother sang a version which I still sing. And no printed versions before the 20th century, so quite a rare folk song.


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 06:14 PM

These days I often wish that I had noted down where I heard the various songs I wrote down - unfortunately when I was writing them down few people had any interest in that sort of thing - and there is also the problem that I collected what I heard - so I do recall hearing Bitter Withy sung - it was in the Portsmouth polytechnic folk club upstairs in The Star on Lake Road, in the early 70's by a man wearing trousers made out of curtain material and playing a piano accordion. Not a great help really when people want scholarly origins and well researched performer names.


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Amos
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 06:18 PM

There is a version sung by an unhappily married male, which Burl ives put in on e of his early albums. "I Wish I Were Single Again" is probably its name.

For when I was single
My money (pockets) did jingle
And I wish I were single again, again
I wish I were single again!


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 10:20 AM

Unlike 'Still I Love Him', 'I wish I was single again' can be taken back to at least 1800 on broadsides.


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 11:16 AM

The notion it is Irish probably stems from the fact the Bothy Band recorded it.


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: GUEST,Jim Clark Acoustcarchive Channel Youtube
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 11:40 AM

Thanks Everybody what an amazing forum Mudcat where else could so much great information be found.Mudcatters you are the best.

Kind Regards

Jim


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: GUEST,mayomick
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 01:03 PM

Peter Kennedy gives a cockney version in his Folks Songs of Ireland and Great Britain called He Comes Down our Alley.

"The song, which now seems to be widespread in England , Scotland and Irealnd was not known by the public until recorded from Phil Hammond in Norfolk and broadcast in 1952."


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 07:36 PM

First I heard "Still I Love Him" = this version of When I Was Single was from a recording in the late 1950s (best guess c. 1958 or '59. The original take may have been on Topic in England.

The singer was the unaffected, memorable Isla Cameron.

My guess is that, though the song is older, her lovely version was first to inject the song into the 1950s folk revival. Certainly many of us (yes, even us boys who could scarcely dwell in the female persona of the song) were singing it all over the place after that.

Bob


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 03:22 AM

"The original take may have been on Topic in England"
It was, it was my first time hearing of it too.
It was a 10" album of Isla and MacColl, entitled 'Still I Love Him'.
Most tracks from it (minus her version of 'Geordie') were made available as a free download a couple of years ago - might be still lurking out there somewhere.
For me, the verse in Rumncoke's version gives the song an edge most of the more up-tempo and somewhat misogynist ones sadly lack; wish I could remember where I first came across it - maybe in Isla's - must dig it out.

"The storm it is raging his boat isn't in
No-one can tell me what's happened to him"

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 10:26 AM

Lovely verse, Jim!

Not in Isla's, is my best memory. I've never heard it before, and would love to know its origin. If traditional (my bias showing), I'd gladly add it to my version.

And this is my chance to thank you for your always knowledgeable, enjoyable posts.

Best wishes,

Bob


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 10:54 AM

We sang this in Scotland but this is all I can remember.

When I was single, I used a powder puff,
Noo that I'm married, I cannae afford the stuff.
It's a life, a life, a weary, weary life,
It's better tae be single than tae be a married wife.
For wan shouts, "Mammy, gie me a piece and jam."
The other shouts, "Mammy, help me intae ma pram."
It's a life, a life, a weary, weary life,
It's better tae be single than tae be a married wife.

When I was single, I used tae comb ma hair,
Now that I'm married, I huvnae the time tae spare.
It's a life, a life, a weary, weary life.
It's better tae be single than to be a married wife.
For wan shouts, "Mammy, help me intae ma bed."
The other shouts, "Mammy, scratch ma widden leg."
It's a life, a life, a weary, weary life,
It's better tae be single than tae be a married wife.

When I was single, I used tae comb ma hair,
Now that I'm married, I huvnae the time tae spare.
It's a life, a life, a weary, weary life.
It's better tae be single than to be a married wife.


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 11:45 AM

"If traditional (my bias showing),"
And mine!
I think it is traditional - will try to dig out some information.
"And this is my chance to thank you"
Thank yourself Bob (as they say around here)
It's nice to get a chance to sound off - and exchanging knowledge is always a two-way street.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 12:02 PM

Almost right - one verse is wrong though

He borrowed some money to buy me a ring
then he and his mates all went off on a fling

the sense is the same though.

it is no 11 in my book - which puts my writing it down possibly as far back as 1970.


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 12:48 PM

Jim's verse is traditional but modern if Peter Kennedy's notes are correct . He wrote that the song wasn't known to the "public" before 1952 , but the BBC source must have heard it from somewhere :
The fisherwives' version from Yarmouth in Norfolk

my back is a-breaking my fingers are sore
guttin' the herrings he brings from the shore

if he's gone to heaven , he'll come to no harm
If he's gone down below , he'l keep himself warm

The storm it is raging his boat isn't in
No-one can tell me what's happened to him


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Subject: RE: When I was single Irish Folk ?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 02:07 PM

There are already 4 distinct and separate songs on this thread. To most people that won't matter but to some that might be confusing.

Regarding the OPs original song 'Still I Love Him' I'll ask my mam where & when she got her version. Her tune is noticeably different from the one we all sang in the clubs in the 60s. She's 90 this year. I seem to remember she learnt most of her songs in pubs and on coach outings. She also sings 'I wish I was single again' the man's counterpart.


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