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SweetThames and RecruitedColier

The Sandman 03 Aug 14 - 05:38 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Aug 14 - 06:16 AM
MGM·Lion 03 Aug 14 - 06:33 AM
Sue Allan 03 Aug 14 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 03 Aug 14 - 07:39 AM
The Sandman 03 Aug 14 - 07:45 AM
GUEST 03 Aug 14 - 07:47 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Aug 14 - 08:47 AM
MGM·Lion 03 Aug 14 - 08:55 AM
The Sandman 03 Aug 14 - 12:20 PM
Sue Allan 03 Aug 14 - 12:36 PM
greg stephens 03 Aug 14 - 12:57 PM
The Sandman 03 Aug 14 - 01:10 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Aug 14 - 02:57 PM
The Sandman 03 Aug 14 - 03:29 PM
GUEST 03 Aug 14 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 03 Aug 14 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Phil 03 Aug 14 - 07:23 PM
Betsy 03 Aug 14 - 07:31 PM
Brian Peters 03 Aug 14 - 07:46 PM
MGM·Lion 04 Aug 14 - 12:23 AM
Musket 04 Aug 14 - 02:06 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Aug 14 - 03:47 AM
Phil Edwards 04 Aug 14 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Aug 14 - 11:13 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Aug 14 - 12:46 PM
The Sandman 04 Aug 14 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 04 Aug 14 - 02:22 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Aug 14 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 06 Aug 14 - 02:18 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Aug 14 - 03:00 PM
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Subject: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 05:38 AM

when was Sweet Thames written?, when was Recruited Collier allegedly collected by Lloyd.
They share the same tune, Either MacColl or Lloyd was being econmical with the truth, if MacColl wrote his song first it means Lloyd either collected a tune from someone who used MacColls tune which is possible but unlikely, it was a co incidence[unlikely], Lloyd possibly lifted macColls tune and used it for a set of words to provide the song Recruited Collier


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 06:16 AM

Are you trying to make a complete arsehole of yourself Dick?
Lloyd published the song in 1952, MacColl used it for Sweet Thames in the latter half of the 1960s - you could have found this out for yourself - the song was doing the rounds of the revival as early as the early 1960s when it was included on The Iron Muse in 1963.
MacColl used and adapted traditional tunes for most of his songs, as did many songwriters - discussed ad-nauseum on this forum.
Where on earth does "economical with the truth come in anywhere?
Stop sniping at dead singers
No more from me -
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 06:33 AM

The refrain of Sweet Thames, for interest, comes from Prothalamion; or, A Spousall Verse in Honour of the Double Marriage of Ladie Elizabeth and Ladie Katherine Somerset, a poem by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599), one of the most important poets of the Tudor Period in England.
He tells of walking by the Thames and following two beautiful swans up the stream to London, where they meet and marry two fine young men. Each stanza ends with the refrain

"Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song."

≈≈M≈≈


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Sue Allan
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 06:40 AM

Surely both tunes are derivatives of the Irish tune Tuirne Maire (Mary's Spinning Wheel): the first version of the tune in a book dating from 1923 of songs sung by Eileen Costello of Connaught, and I think sung on Claddagh LP Once I Loved. Thanks to Fred McCormick for this information, kindly passed on to me when I was researching The Recruited Collier.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 07:39 AM

Sue. Not quite. The tune of TRC was indeed adapted from Tuirne Maire; the name of the book where Lloyd found the tune being Amráin Muige Seola (Muige Seola is a district of North Co. Galway, BTW. It's where the Keane Sisters used to live). However, the tune and form of Sweet Thames Flow Softly seem to me to have been taken (and much altered, as MacColl was wont to do) from a song called A Bhean Úd Thíos Ar Bruach An tSrutháin (Old Woman Washing By The River), which Elizabeth Cronin used to sing and which you can find a version of in Donal O'Sullivan's Songs of the Irish.

I'm not clever enough to post melodies, but O'Sullivan's literal translation of the first verse goes:

O woman down by the bank of the stream.
        Sho Hoo Lo, Sho Hoo Lo.
Do you understand the cause of my wailing?
        Sho Hoo Lo, Sho Hoo Lo.
That this day twelve month I was abducted from my palfrey
        Sho Hoo Lo, Sho Hoo Lo.
And was carried into the fort of the hillock.
        Sho Hoo Lo, Sho Hoo Lo.

Chorus        Shoheen, Shoheen, Shoheen, Shoheen
        Sho hoo lo, sho hoo lo.
        Shoheen, Shoheen, Shoheen, Shoheen
        Sho hoo lo, sho hoo lo.

Fans of Tam Lin (Child 39) should find the story of A Bhean Úd Thíos Ar Bruach An tSrutháin interesting BTW. It concerns a woman who has been abducted by the fairies. She calls to the woman doing her washing to tell her husband to come there tomorrow (when the fairy court do ride presumably) and bring a wax candle and black handled knife. If he doesn't stab the first steed which comes out of the gap then, he'll never get her back.

Whatever about that, personally I can hear no resemblance at all between STFS and TRC.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 07:45 AM

I was asking a question, thanks sue allan and MGM for useful replies.
I was not sniping at anyone, only suggesting that if MacColl had written it first [which it now appears he did not] that it would in my opinion have made it unlikely that lloyd had collected a song which shared the same tune as sweet thames, particularly as Recruited Collier has only ever been collected once .
Jim you completely misread my post., which was an attempt to unravel the mystery of one of the songs Lloyd supposedly collected
Jim, you are the only person who has made an arsehole of them selves and that is you, kindly desist.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 07:47 AM

Many thanks for clarification Fred! Sorry for getting your info muddled. Actually though, I do hear resonances of the two tunes in each other - although that could probably be said for many tunes.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 08:47 AM

It is highly unlikely that Ewan lifted the 'Sweet Thames' tune from either Mrs Costello or Donal O'Sullivan - it wan't the way he worked.
He usually took a tune he was familiar with, sang it around the house, making adaptaitions to it as he went, until he finally came up with somethiing that satisfied him - I saw him do it on several occasions.
It is probable that he took it directly from Frankie Armstrong's singing of The Recruited Collier - one of her standards, and one of the first songs she sang at a Critics group meeting.
In fact, 'Thames' and 'Collier' are extremely close - I've never really noticed how close before now.
Quite often he knocked the original about so much that they became virtually impossible to compare - his favourite pattern for a tune (according to Peggy) was the one Used for 'Sweet William' (Famous Flower of Serving Me) which he got from Greig's 'Last Leaves'.
He used that for 'Shoals of Herring' among others
The only one I can think of in his later songwriting, that he didn't alter, was the beautiful Sicilian tune he used as he got it, for 'The Joy of Living'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 08:55 AM

These bits of info you provide are extremely interesting and valuable, Jim. You were very lucky to know Ewan so well, and have such opportunities for observing him at work. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 12:20 PM

"n fact, 'Thames' and 'Collier' are extremely close - I've never really noticed how close before now"
yes, but because I suggested they were the same, which they are, I was not sniping at MacColl, they are both good songs, although the alleged Bert composition is in my opinion marginally better.
I was trying to ascertain, which was first, because it might have thrown light on the lack of traditional authencity of the bert song if sweet thames had been written first, please stop being so defensive and childish, Jim, you have lots of useful information which you can impart without jumping to wrong concluisons, and name calling.
so it seems MacColl fitted words to tunes when he wrote songs, which may be useful info for aspiring songwriters, this was apparently what MacCartney did for the beautiful song Yesterday.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Sue Allan
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 12:36 PM

Apologies - 'guest' above was me ... on iPad, sans cookie! V. interesting discussion this.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: greg stephens
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 12:57 PM

Tell us more, GSS. Who did MacCartney lift Yesterday off? Surprised we haven't heard about the lawsuit, surely it would have worth a bob or three to someone?


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 01:10 PM

he did not lift anything, did i say that he did?
I said he wrote the tune before he wrote the words. I said"so it seems MacColl fitted words to tunes when he wrote songs, which may be useful info for aspiring songwriters, this was apparently what MacCartney did for the beautiful song Yesterday."
I never said PAUL MAC wrote words to traditional tunes, or that he lifted tunes from anyone else, read my post again , if its not clear go to specsavers.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 02:57 PM

" Thank you for sharing it all with us"
You can't imagine what a pleasure it is to be able to, more or less interference free
If I have time I'll tell you about Betsy's Minah bird.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 03:29 PM

Jim, I forgive you.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 03:30 PM

"In fact, 'Thames' and 'Collier' are extremely close"

Somebody (not necessarily Miller) had the words to Recruited Collier and fitted a tune to it. I don't suppose you've ever done that. You might possibly have noticed (though possibly not) that, in the Olden Days before iPod, tunes were written down much less frequently than words.

Actually, "Andy's Gone with Cattle" fits te Recruited Collier much better (though than what I'll leave your poor trammelled mind to speculate).


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 03:35 PM

Moving slightly off target -- I'm fascinated by the marriage of new words to traditional tunes, and the necessary adaptations. (Tried it once myself with a good set of words from the Greig-Duncan collection whose tunes didn't satisfy -- and the more I could hear the rhythm of the text, the closer I came to an elusive tune from traditional memory. So eventually I found a way to match them both.)

Can Jim perhaps help with any information about the song The Tenant Farmer? This is a great set of words from MacColl, matched with a most evocative tune which sounds as if it wouldn't be out of place in a traditional song. But all that is said in The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook is 'words and music by Ewan MacColl' -- though there is a lovely explanation of how the song came to be written, as a summary of the life of Ewan and Peggy's nearest neighbour when they had a cottage near Lockerbie.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 07:23 PM

I've sung Jenny's Complaint to the air Robert Anderson specified; it's similar to TRC as we now kinky it, but not all that similar. Do we think that's what Lloyd's tune was based on?


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Betsy
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 07:31 PM

I haven't an association with a Minah Bird but perhaps THAT'S just my ignorance.
But on this theme, I wrote a song - "They don't write 'em like that any more" only to dicover that it was running a close parallel to Manchester Rambler and Sylvias Mother. Chronologically I was in the middle, but it IS unnerving when songs overlap like this .....and one starts to think !!
The parallels are endless especially when one considers the amount of tunes that Mr.Zimmerman borrowed. 'Tis a quare thing this song-writing lark , but we could identify parallel songs ad infinitum .I think it's generally an accidental pitfall, not a malicious intent - at least I hope not.
Cheers
Betsy


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 07:46 PM

Betsy, none of us lives in a musical vacuum, so of course any tune writer can't help but borrow bits. I don't write too many songs, but I've been known to take a newly-written tune down to a pub session and see whether anyone says, "Hey, that's a nice version of so-and-so" - in which case a few additional tweaks are necessary to disguise it. Your song stands up very well beside either 'M/c Rambler' or 'Sylvia's Mum', by he way.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 12:23 AM

I once pointed out to Peter Bellamy that one song from The Transports, which he claimed all had original tunes, was very redolent of a traditional song: I Once Lived In Service/The Fair Maid On The Shore. He said he didn't think he'd ever heard Fair Maid -- certainly not one he'd ever sung; and asked me how it went. When I'd just sung him the first couple of lines, he said, "Well, I suppose I must have heard it some time, then, & had it at the back of my mind."

And so these things happen.

And have you ever related Tomorrow Belongs To Me, from Cabaret, to The Rout Of The Blues? Probably coincidental; and maybe nobody else can hear the resemblance I do: but who can really tell?

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Musket
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 02:06 AM

The permutations of musical cadences that are easy on the ear are less than the mathematical number per se. Once you start a tune, and the starting line being similar to another, the rest is a forgone conclusion.

However, in this case, McColl's tune for Sweet Thames was very much a nod to the tune used for Recruited Collier. I never knew the man in the way Jim did but I did interview him on several occasions and he spoke of the wealth of tunes lying there for Peggy to get his words around. I am sure I am one of many who sing the final verse of Sweet Thames to just about the same tune exactly, as "going up" at the end of the first line denotes finality. (Hymns provide many examples of the style.)

When I was a teenager, I wrote a song for a rock band I was in, and years later heard a song to about the same tune on about the same subject. Be buggered if I know whether it was coincidence, one if us had once heard the other and forgot the source or, as I said, there are logical conclusions in play regarding songwriting.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 03:47 AM

"The Tenant Farmer?"
Hi Annie - I read your question just before I went to bed, it's been bugging me all night - thanks a bunch!!
I've sung the song since the first time I heard it back in the early 80s and have in the back of my mind that I'd asked him about the tune, and he told me he'd just kicked various tunes around in his head till he came up with it.
I woke up this morning with the idea that he'd based it on Willie Cameron's 'Tattie Liftin' Time' - the structure fits, the opening lines roughly coincide musically and the date of composition would be around the time that they were working on the English and Scots Travellers songbook.
When I first moved to London they invited me to stay with them until I found work and somewhere to live
Ewan was working on new songs at the time and he would take a tune and wander round the house whistling and humming it under his breath until he had it to satisfaction - the habit used to drive me demented!
As the note says, the song was written after a Hogmanay party in their cottage in Sandiford, outside Locherbie - they'd been talking to local farmers who told them about the circumstances which gave rise to the idea.
They used to let people they knew stay there when it wasn't in use; Pat and I stopped there on a couple of occasions and we were fascinated by the huge ordnance survey map they had pinned up on the wall pinpointing the location of all the ballads located in the area.
Using it as a guide, we visited Caterhaugh, Wamphrey, Yarrow, Ettrick, Hermitage.... including a wonderful scramble up the side of the Grey Mare's Tail to St Mary's Loch in the pissing rain - good days.
When I re-started singing a few years ago I sang Tenant Farmer at our regular music sit-in session in town - it was fairly crowded and I was standing next to an elderly farming couple at the bar.
When I reached the verse about the family being evicted, the old man roared in my ear, "the bastards" - worth a thousand ovations; land ownership is still a very sore point in Ireland.
During the time I was staying with them in the sixties I became very friendly with Ewan's mother, Betsy - she was more or less chair-bound and I used to sit in her room talking to her, particularly about the time the family first moved to Salford - fascinating.
She had a Minah Bird for company which she had tried to teach to whistle 'The Internationale' but hadn't quite managed,
At first I found Betsy's accent fairly hard going and it really wasn't helped by that **** bird whistling the first eight notes (not quite the full line) of a revolutionary classic - something else I had to get used to.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 05:03 AM

it's similar to TRC as we now kinky it,

I'll try that again from a proper keyboard!

I've sung Jenny's Complaint to the air Robert Anderson specified ("Nancy's to the greenwood gane"); it's similar to The Recruited Collier as we now know it, but not all that similar. Do we think that's what Lloyd's tune was based on?


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 11:13 AM

I just went to the DT and downloaded MacColl's tune for 'Sweet Thames'. I can hear faint echoes of 'The Recruited Collier' in it, but not enough to bother the copyright authorities.

It's a charming tune, and I've been enjoying the playing of it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Schweik.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 12:46 PM

"but not enough to bother the copyright authorities."
One of the advantages of presenting one of your own compositions as genuine is you can't claim copyright on it - perhaps we should encourage the practice!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 01:55 PM

good point, Jim, and an interesting one because it Shows Bert that was not in it for the money, his only concern was helping others and improving the repertoire he really believed in it being peoples music, and I feel indebted to him and MacColl, overall I think we have all benefited from them both of them.


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 02:22 PM

Thanks, Jim, for your earlier response to my enquiry about The Tenant Farmer -- and apologies for giving you an annoying ear-worm!

Anyway, since I'm now home after a busy day, I'll give The Tattie Lifting tune a proper go though I'm not seeing the connection so far. (Probably need to be freer with the rhythm, especially in the second part of the tune -- but the main problem is that MacColl's song sounds modal to my untutored ear whilst Tattie Lifting seems to be in a major key…)


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 03:02 PM

No problem Anne - I enjoy working these out.
"Probably need to be freer with the rhythm, especially in the second part of the tune "
Ewan started with a tune as an inspiration, no more than that, and took it to where he wanted - modes, rhythm, speed.... whatever
For an example of what he did, take 'Sweet William' (Famous Flower) from Last Leaves and copare it to 'Shoals of Herring' ot Tunnel Tigers that was William Taylor - fairly convoluted.
I'm fairly confident I am right about Tattie Liftin' - the dates of writing the song coincide with when he was working on the Travvelers book - it was a little later that he recorded 'Tenant Farmer' for the Blackthorn album.
I'd be interested if you come up with an alternative
Good luck
Jim


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 06 Aug 14 - 02:18 PM

Hi, Jim -- spent a good time going through the Travellers' Songs book looking at all the other songs (because I'm still not convinced by the link to The Tattie Lifting) and I was sure that the melodic clue would be in the phrase "a tenant farmer" of MacColl's song.

Didn't find a conclusive link, but I'm intending to do a real exploration of the tune Nicky Tams, which seems promising.

And if it's all a waste of time, should make us all the more appreciative of Ewan's facility with the marriage of text and melody!

(And I know the thread is originally about Lloyd's contribution in potentially supplying the melody for Sweet Thames -- but the thrill of recognising a possible link between text and melody has overwhelmed me…)


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Subject: RE: SweetThames and RecruitedColier
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Aug 14 - 03:00 PM

Good luck Anne - please let me know how you get on.
I was alerted to Ewan's method of making songs when I attended a feature evening entitled 'Song Anlogues' at the Singers Club.
I came out reeling with the number of apparently unrelated songs they managed to link including a one-off I sing entitled, 'Farmer Micheal Hayes', which I believed to be unique.
Peggy matched it with another immediately - can't remember which - I've always kicked myself for not recording the evening.
Jim


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