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Origins: Lovely Joan

Dave Rado 22 Sep 14 - 06:50 AM
maeve 22 Sep 14 - 07:19 AM
GUEST,SteveT 22 Sep 14 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,Rahere 22 Sep 14 - 08:29 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Sep 14 - 10:18 AM
Lighter 22 Sep 14 - 10:25 AM
Brian Peters 22 Sep 14 - 10:29 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Sep 14 - 11:02 AM
Dave Rado 22 Sep 14 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 22 Sep 14 - 12:29 PM
Dave Rado 22 Sep 14 - 01:56 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Sep 14 - 01:57 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Sep 14 - 02:56 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Sep 14 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Rahere 22 Sep 14 - 03:38 PM
Brian Peters 22 Sep 14 - 03:40 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Sep 14 - 03:45 PM
maeve 22 Sep 14 - 04:30 PM
Phil Edwards 23 Sep 14 - 03:01 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 23 Sep 14 - 06:12 AM
MGM·Lion 23 Sep 14 - 06:27 AM
Susan of DT 23 Sep 14 - 06:55 AM
Brian Peters 23 Sep 14 - 07:03 AM
MGM·Lion 23 Sep 14 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 23 Sep 14 - 07:39 AM
GUEST 23 Sep 14 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 23 Sep 14 - 09:58 AM
Brian Peters 23 Sep 14 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,Rahere 23 Sep 14 - 11:50 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Sep 14 - 01:31 PM
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Subject: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Dave Rado
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 06:50 AM

Hi

As far as I can gather from other threads, the earliest written record of the traditional song "Lovely Joan" (or "Sweet Lovely Joan" according to some sources), is 1909; and yet both the tune and the lyrics sound Elizabethan to me. Can anyone shed any light on roughly how old the song really is, and any more information about its origins? Given that there is the word "pook" in it, it would appear to come from Somerset or thereabouts - have I got that much right?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: maeve
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 07:19 AM

Dave, did you read this entry from the illustrious Malcolm Douglass?
It appears to answer your last question.
**********************************************
Penguin: Lovely Joan

Subject: RE: Penguin: Lovely Joan
From: Malcolm Douglas - PM
Date: 27 Nov 06 - 06:45 PM

"Stooks are a lot smaller than stacks; I'm not entirely sure what "pooks" are in this context, but it's worth mentioning that they don't belong in 'Lovely Joan' at all; Bert Lloyd transplanted a verse from a completely unrelated song ('Blow away the Morning Dew') for reasons of his own. It was a Somerset version, so I'd look for "pooks" in a good dialect dictionary. "


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: GUEST,SteveT
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 07:29 AM

The Roud Folk Song Index records that Sharp collected a version from James Proll of Monksilver, Somerset in 1906 which could establish your Somerset connection. There are also many references to earlier broadside versions e.g. J. Catnach's, Catalogue of Songs (1832). I'm sure some more knowledgeable readers will soon provide more information.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 08:29 AM

Actually, RVW 1908.
Pooks have little etymology, but came to attention with Kipling in 1906, so the likelihood is it's very close to those dates.
Thematically, it takes off from where Outlandish Knight left off, for all that I argue the coda is borrowed from someone's version of Young Hunting, both found in Arthur Quiller Couch's 1910 Oxford Book of Ballads. One might think, perhaps, that unknitting the former left a hole which Lovely Joan fills.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 10:18 AM

Collected early by Sharp indeed; but I think the [1st] Penguin Book version is a Vaughan Williams collected one, well known to many as VW used its air as the second theme of his "Greensleeves Fantasia".

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 10:25 AM

The Oxford English Dictionary shows there's no mystery about "pook":


"A heap, spec[ifically]... a haycock; a roughly assembled heap of hay, oats, barley, or other unsheafed produce, not more than 5 feet high, pitched together for carting to a rick."

Current since before 1607 - with an example as recent as 2003.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 10:29 AM

Regarding the tune, it's in the Dorian mode, and slightly unusual in that it starts with a run from the 5th of the scale to the 7th, and doesn't hit the tonic until the end of the first phrase. Sharp used to think that tunes like this were survivals from mediaeval church music, but not many people do now. It's a common enough mode in the traditional song repertoire, although it has to be said this is a particularly good example of a Dorian tune.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 11:02 AM

Although widely printed in the 19thc I have no versions earlier than the early 19thc. Most versions have a standard 10 stanzas and start 'A story unto you I will relate' but there were 2 12-stanza versions printed in the North East by Marshall of Newcastle and Walker of Durham (the Marshall probably the earlier) that start 'I'll tell you of a worthy knight'. Yes I agree it sounds vaguely like an earlier piece but towards the end of the 18thc there was a lot of writing of faux medieval pieces for pageants and plays, and there is a pretty good chance this is where it came from.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Dave Rado
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 12:18 PM

Many thanks for all the replies. Re. Maeve's post, I admit I misread the post you quoted from and didn't notice the bit about pooks being transplanted - but SteveT seems to have found evidence for a Somerset connection anyway. Re. Steve Gardham's post, do you have more detail on the earliest 19th century version you have? Before I saw your post I thought the earliest known written version was the 1906 one.

Re. the Vaughan Williams Greensleeves fantasia, although it has helped to keep the tune alive, it seems to have led to most people knowing it only as a tune rather than as a song, which I think is a shame, because it's a delightful song. I've never heard it sung in any folk club (but I'm about to put that right by learning it and singing it myself).

I think the nicest version of the song that I've heard is by Folkal Point, on youtube - and there's another weird thing - how did such a wonderful folk group as they were only manage to release one album in 1972 before disbanding? Apparently they're about to release their second album , after more than 40 years!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 12:29 PM

Dave Rado. "I've never heard it sung in any folk club (but I'm about to put that right by learning it and singing it myself)."

By all means do so. It was immensely popular at one time, to the extent that you couldn't get in a folk club for folk singers whose sole aim in life seemed to be to sing Lovely Joan.

As a result, and like many another masterpiece, it died the death and everybody stopped singing it.

Shame.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Dave Rado
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 01:56 PM

Thanks Fred. That's a shame, as you say. I think a good rule of thumb is that if attending a folk club only occasionally, it's best to sing reasonably unusual songs; whereas if attending regularly, one should try to sing a mixture of well known and unusual ones, but not any that have been sung recently by others. Going to the extreme of never singing any of the most popular traditional songs because they were done to death in the distant past seems crazy to me - and it should be quite easy to avoid doing a particular song to death if people were thoughtful about it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 01:57 PM

Most of the versions I have are from the Madden Collection which isn''t yet online. There are probably plenty of versions on the Bodleian Broadside Ballads website. The only one I have a copy of is printed by Jacques of Manchester and it's the 10-stanza version, ref. Harding B11 (2227), but just put Lovely Joan into the search engine and see what you get. If you don't get what you want come back to me and I'll post the 12 st version.

Incidentally Haly of Cork printed a 7 st version titled 'A New Song called Lovely Joan'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 02:56 PM

Just checked. All of the versions on the Bodleian are the 10 st, earliest Catnach c1830. Will post the longer version or relevant parts shortly.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HANDSOME JOAN THE DAIRY MAID
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 03:20 PM

Handsome Joan The Dairy Maid

I'll tell you of a worthy knight,
That fell in love with a maiden bright,
And many a wanton trick he play'd
On handsome Joan, the dairy maid.

He mounted on his milk white steed,
And away he went to yon hill head,
And there he met with handsome Joan,
As she sat milking all alone.

He pulled out a purse of gold,
And said, Fair maid, do you this behold!
All this I would give for your maiden-head;
And her cheeks they blush'd like roses red.

Indeed, kind sir, you must be denied,
To-morrow I am to be a bride,
To-morrow I am to be wed,
And my love shall enjoy my maiden-head.

This will buy you sheep, this will buy you kye,
And all your wants this will supply;
And this will do more good to you,
Than twenty maiden-heads would do.

Indeed, kind sir, you must forbear,
I'd rather wear my gown thread bare,
Than play the wanton with you here,
And then to go and face my dear.

He curs'd, he damn'd, he vow'd, he swore,
He would whether she would or no:
These words they frighten'd handsome Joan,
As she sat milking all alone.

She said, Kind sir, there's no time to stand,
But give to me the purse in hand;
And as he lighted from his steed,
Your most obedient, sir, she said.

As he was looking for a bed,
She mounted on his milk-white steed;
And as he turn'd him round again,
Like light'ning Joan rode o'er the plain.

He call'd, he bawl'd, he bid her stay,
But she ne'er minded but rode away;
And as her heart was very glad,
The knight was standing raving mad.

She would neither stop nor stand
Till she came to her lover's land;
and to her love she did declare
It was the knight that chas'd her there.

With her love she would not stay,
But mounted her steed and rode away;
She rode off with her purse of gold,
And left the knight the pails to hold.

Marshall, Printer, Newcastle.

I can see nothing here that says this piece is any older than c1800. There are a few nods in the language to the older ballads but there were plenty of imitations about at that time. It's not in ballad metre and is not of ballad rhyming scheme


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 03:38 PM

It's the Milk White Steed so ruddy often which says it's not been folkified properly, someone would have fixed that.

The womens voices of CSH Choir do it too. And sing the song...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 03:40 PM

Re folk club performances, I don't think I share Fred's recollection of it being sung everywhere, but Martin Carthy did record the RVW version (which seems to be the one from Christopher Jay). I've been known to do a version that I learned from Bob Lewis's singing - which is rather like one the Gardiner collection (James Blooming's?).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 03:45 PM

An earlier piece which tells much the same story is 'The Merchant's Son of York and the Beggar Wench of Hull' 17thc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: maeve
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 04:30 PM

Does anyone have Tony Cuffe's version? That was the first I heard- and one of my favorites.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 03:01 AM

Dave Rado

Going to the extreme of never singing any of the most popular traditional songs because they were done to death in the distant past seems crazy to me

Perhaps Lovely Joan doesn't deserve to be rested indefinitely, but are you saying songs don't ever deserve it - no, nay, never?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 06:12 AM

Dave. Actually, the Wild Rover is a bloody good song. The problem is two-fold.

Firstly, the happy-clappy-stompy-Guinness swilling-fine girl you are mob completely missed the point, as they did with everything. The result was that a lot of people - me included - got turned off everything remotely associated with ersatz Irishness. Unfortunately, a lot of babies got thrown out with an awful lot of bath water.

Secondly, absolutely everyone sang the well known versions and nobody ever bothered to look for alternatives. EG., The folk world was swamped by the ubiquitous Clancy Brothers version of TWR (which isn't even Irish as Brian Peters may well explain), ignoring, among others, Sam Larner's splendid version.

I'm glad to report that LJ never seems to have suffered the mauling which TWR was subjected to. Regarding Brian's post about the ubiquity of LJ, perhaps I'm guilty of exaggeration. However, it's important to remember that developments on the folk scene were often more localised than they later became. EG., Liverpool in the mid/late 60s had developed a good strong core of traddies, for want of a better word; people who wanted to sing traditional songs in an authentic traditional style.

The problem however was lack of resources. Records cost a fortune in those days and there were very few LPs of traditional singers available, and precious few even of "acceptable" singers like Ewan MacColl, Bert Lloyd and Louis Killen. (NB., I am talking of the days before even Caedmon's Folksongs of Britain became widely accessible and affordable.)

Prime among those records was that first LP of Martin Carthy, the one which showed him sat aboard a pallet and which had Lovely Joan on the tracklist. Naturally we were all agog at Lovely Joan, not least because of its beautiful tune, and the way in which the stuck up toff receives his come-uppance. The consequence was that everybody learned it and everybody sang it - until they got tired of it and moved onto something else. Greenland Whale Fishery? Who mentioned The Greenland Whale Fishery?

They were happy adventurous days for sure. But Jeez, I wish we'd had one tenth of the resources then that we've got now.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 06:27 AM

It was the unfortunate taking up of The Wild Rover by footie crowds that really settled its hash so far as the folk scene was concerned. It started of as quite a subtle song of Jack Ashore pretending to be down on his luck to test who his true friends were. The landlady who refused him credit {"such custom as yours I can get any day"},
soon changed her tune when "out of my pocket I pulled guineas bright, and the landlady's eyes opened up with delight. She said 'I have whisky and wines of the best, and the words that I spoke were only in jest'." Really quite a sad song, thematically related to Harry Cox's The Green Bed. But you'd never know that from hearing it roared out at Anfield or the Emirates, would you now?

≈M≈


sorry for drift -- not the song in the thread title; but the subject of this one emerged


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Susan of DT
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 06:55 AM

Frankie Armstrong recorded Crafty Maid's Policy on Lovely on the Water. Same story without the beginning details.Crafty Maid


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 07:03 AM

Ah, Fred, I hadn't realised it was on the first Carthy LP with the palette - before my time. He re-recorded it in the late 70s, but I can see how that first LP would have spawned a lot of copies.

On the 'done to death' issue, although I've always believed in seeking out unfamiliar versions of songs, one nice thing now is that many of the flogged equine carcasses of the 60s come up smelling of roses to the present younger generation of singers, who are approaching many old chestnuts with fresh thinking and a lack of all our baggage.

Talking of 'The Wild Rover' (which I will probably be at greater length when the paper comes out), here's a nice version by the present librarian at the VWML and her partner.

Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp: The Wild Rover


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 07:28 AM

Lovely version. Just like the good old... Thanks, Brian!

≈Michael≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 07:39 AM

Glad to hear that your paper on TWR is to be published. Folk Music Journal, I take it?

And yes, it's nice to see people going back to some of those old chestnuts, and interpreting them properly. Jimmy Crowley's rendering of The Holy Ground is a delightful case in point.

Now then how does it go again?

"On the fourteenth of February we sailed from the land....."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 08:15 AM

Black Knight recorded a rock version of it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 09:58 AM

Of what?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 10:24 AM

Glad to hear that your paper on TWR is to be published. Folk Music Journal, I take it?

That's right. Watch this space.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 11:50 AM

OK, I'll bite. New thread being started on The National Song Book.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 01:31 PM

Being curious, I looked in the DT to see what is there.
Lovely Joan, 6 verses (Palmer)
Sweet Lovely Joan, 10 verses (Purslow, The Constant Lover)
In the posts-
Lovely Joan, 7 verses, (Acle (RVW 1908))

In this thread,, Thanks, Steve-
12 verses, Marshall, Printer.


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