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Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John

GUEST,Nick Dow 27 Jun 15 - 05:35 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Jun 15 - 05:45 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Jun 15 - 05:51 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Jun 15 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 28 Jun 15 - 03:40 AM
Tradsinger 28 Jun 15 - 09:13 AM
Tradsinger 28 Jun 15 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,George Frampton 28 Jun 15 - 10:15 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 15 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,# 28 Jun 15 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,# 28 Jun 15 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Jun 15 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Nck Dowi 29 Jun 15 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Jun 15 - 08:56 PM
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Subject: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 27 Jun 15 - 05:35 PM

It's one of my recordings from the Gypsy folk in Blackpool. It seems to be a confusion between the Outlandish Knight, Binnorie, and a murder ballad. Has any body come across a song about two sisters 'Murdered by Sicilian John'
It could be of early music hall origin, or a fragment of a gallows ballad.
It follows the Outlandish knight format of 'It is not fitting that a rogue like him should walk with the two sisters' then goes into unknown (to me) territory about this John murderer.
Any ideas?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Jun 15 - 05:45 PM

Nick,
It looks to be 'The Folkestone Murder'. I think his name was 'Switzerland John' or at least it was in a version I collected. I'll check it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Jun 15 - 05:51 PM

The girls were Maria and Caroline and it happened in 1856. There are plenty of recordings, Mustrad and Voice of the People disc 21, track 21. It's in Kennedy and in Ken Stubbs' book. You can get the version I recorded on the BL Sound Archive website.

The Murder Club book for SE England has a full prose account of the murder, discovery and trial.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Jun 15 - 05:51 PM

Ought to add it's Roud 897.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 28 Jun 15 - 03:40 AM

Great! Many Thanks Steve.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: Tradsinger
Date: 28 Jun 15 - 09:13 AM

This song, usually called "The Folkstone Murder" is based on a true story. In 1856, a Serbian soldier named Dedea Redanies, who was a private with the British Swiss Legion, struck up a friendship with a family called Back, from Dover. On 2 August 1856, Redanies and the two Back girls, Caroline aged 19 and Maria aged 17, set off to walk from Dover to Folkstone. Later the girls were found stabbed to death. Redanies was arrested, charged and found guilty. He was hanged in Folkstone on New Year's Day 1857.

So your "Sicilian John" should be "Switzerland John".

Strangely, the song recounting the murder was not noted until 50 years later. Sharp did not encounter it at all and most collected versions, nearly all from England, have been found since 1940. It seems to have found favour particularly amongst gypsy singers.

Tradsinter


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: Tradsinger
Date: 28 Jun 15 - 09:16 AM

Tradsinter? Typing too quickly - Make that Tradsinger.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: GUEST,George Frampton
Date: 28 Jun 15 - 10:15 AM

George Spicer and Charlie Bridger, each born in south Kent both sing 'Switzerland' John. As said, this is curious in itself as murderer Dedanies was a Serbian living in barracks at Shorncliffe at the time.

However, if your source sings 'Sicilian', then Sicilian it is! That's the glory of tradition. The same song can manifest itself with slightly altered lyrics and/or melody in different regions.

Reg Hall wrote some notes in 'Ethnic' magazine and commented to me that Spicer's rumpty-tumpty 6/8 tune seems reminiscent of the Music Hall, and I am inclined to agree. As far as I'm aware, the broadside from which it is derived has yet to be located.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 15 - 11:00 AM

Ethnic article here
Jim Carroll

THE FOLKESTONE MURDER.
Dedea Redanies was born during the 1830's in Belgrade. In 1855 he was converted to Catholicism in Milan (having been born a Moslem) and shortly after came to England where he enlisted in the British Swiss Legion. This formation (about which the Imperial Service Institute is unable to furnish any details) was stationed at 'Dover Castle. Here he became acquainted with Mrs. Back who was. a laundress living in Albion Place, Dover* Her husband was employed on a dredger in Dover harbour. During the summer of 1856 Redanies was apparently 'going steady' with the elder daughter - Caroline - and on August 2nd*of that year he accused her of receiving attentions from a sergeant in the same unit. She denied this, and Redanies, apparently satisfied, proposed a walk over the thwns to Shorncliffe Camp on e following day (Sunday). According to the ballad Mrs. Back insisted on her younger daughter's accompanying them. At Steddy's Hole - some five miles out, and about half way along the cliffs to Folkestone; -he killed both girls. Redanies was captured on the following day (after 'trying to commit suicide) at Milton Chapel Farm, Chartham, near Canter¬bury, and was hanged at Maidstone on New Year's Day 1857.
''The Folkestone Murder" was undoubtedly printed on broadside during the 1850's as the song is widely distributed in Kent and Sussex and the text shows little variation* That the. event made a deep impression on the countryside is shown by the fact that most of the singers who have this song claim that they or a cousin or an aunt "knew them (Caroline and Maria) well" and that they used to go hop-picking, with the girls.
Of several texts known to us, the following is the most complete and is from our old friend George Spicer of Selsfield, West Hoathly (born Langton, near Dover). The second text is from the late Mrs*Lester of Saint Hill Green, East Grinstead (born Lewes)* We print six tunes - one each from the Burgess family (W. Firle), Harry Cox (Catfield, Norfolk), George Spicer, and Lester, and two from Pop Maynard (Copthorne)* There is a version in Vol. V.No 19 of the Journal of the Folk Song Society.

Kind friends come pay attention and listen to my song
It is about a murder it won't detain you long
'Twas near the town of Folkestone this shocking deed was done
Maria and sweet Caroline were murder'd by Switzerland John

He came unto their parents house at nine o'clock one night
But little did poor Caroline think he ow'd! er any spite
Will you walk with me dear Caroline the murderer did say
And she agreed to accompany him to Shorncliffe Camp next day

Said the mother to the daughter you'd better stay at home
It is not fit for you to walk with that young man alone
You'd better take your sister to go along with you
Then I'll have no objection dear daughter you may go

Early the next morning before the break of day
Mairia and sweet Caroline from Dover Town did stray
But before they reach'd to Folkestone the villain drew a knife
Maria and sweet Caroline ho took away their life

Down on the ground those sisters fell all in their bloomin' years
For mercy cried we're innocent their eyes they fill'd with tears
He plung'd the knife into their breast those lovely breasts so deep
He robb'd them of their own sweet lives and left them there to sleep

Three times he kiss'd their pale cold cheeks as they lay on the ground
He took their capes from off their backs for on him they were found
He said farewell dear Caroline your blood my 'and 'as stain'd
No more on earth shall I see you but in heav'n we'll meet again

Early next morning the bodies they were found
At a lonely spot call'd Steddy Hole a-bleedin' on the ground
And if you go unto this spot these letters you will find
Cut deeply in the grass so green Maria and Caroline

When the nows it reach'd their parents1 ears they cried what shall we do
Maria has been murder'd and lovely Caroline too
They pull'd and tore their old grey hair in sorrow and surprise
While tears they fell in showers from their poor aching eyes

This murderer has been taken 'is companions do him deny
And he is sent to Maidstone and there condemn'd to die
He said farewell to all 'is friends in this world I am alone
I've got to die for murder far from my native 'omo

The dismal bell is tolling the scaffold I must prepare
I wish in 'eav'n my end shall be and meet dear Caroline there
Now all young men take warning by this sad fate of mine
And remember of Maria Back and lovely Caroline

Mrs Lester.
Kind friends do come before me now and listen to my crime
I'll tell you of a murder which won't detain you long
'Twas near the town of Folkestone this shocking deed was done
Maria and sweet Caroline was murder'd by Switzerland John

'e went down to that fair maid's 'jzfase at nine o'clock that night
Little did sweet Caroline think ow'd 'er any spite
Will you take a walk sweet Caroline this villain 'e did say
She promis'd to accompan' *im to Shoreham cliff next day

The mother to 'er daughter you'd better stay at 'ome
I don't think it is safe for you to walk with that young man alone
You'd better take your sister to walk on by your side And then
I 'ave no objection deear daughter you may go

Early the next mornin' at the break of day
Mir-iar and sweet Caroline from Folkestone town did stray
And as they reach'd to Shorncliffe the villain drew a knife
'e took away Mir-iar an' ser-weet young Caroline's life

' e kiss'd their pale cold faces as they laid on the ground
'e took the capes from off their necks which on! im they were found
'e said fearwell sweet Caroline your blood my 'ands 'as stain'd
I 'ope to meet yet up in 'eav'n. and clasp your arms once again

The news it reach'd their parents 'cuse they cried what shall we do
Mir-iar! as been murder'd and sweet young Caroline too
They rued and tore their old grey locks in agony and in woe
Their death that came to them a shock it soon brought old age's past

Pop Maynard has verses 1, 2, 3, 4-, 8, 9 & 10 as George Spicer's text.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: GUEST,#
Date: 28 Jun 15 - 02:32 PM

http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/9th-august-1856/5/criminal-romance-will-find-it-difficult-to-paralle

That's froma newspaper of the time.

http://www.mun.ca/folklore/leach/songs/NFLD2/4A-05_51.htm

That's from GEST, Newfoundland.

Heck of a story and a clear example of the folk process in action :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: GUEST,#
Date: 28 Jun 15 - 02:38 PM

And here's another account.

http://www.planetslade.com/broadside-ballads-foreigners-downfall.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Jun 15 - 11:53 AM

Here's something to tell your daughters and granddaughters.

Some years ago, 'Dear Abby' (or was it Ann Landers?) a famous advice columnist, surveyed her readers on what kind of man never to marry. Thousands of replies produced the following - you can never be happy with, and you can never change these men:

a jealous man

a drunkard

a mama's boy.

Jealous men are heartbreaking, even dangerous, and this song shows it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: GUEST,Nck Dowi
Date: 29 Jun 15 - 07:30 PM

Thank you all for your help. My singer had verse three and four, then forgot the words and asked her brother to sing it, and he gave another couple of verses and then moved on to singing Colleen Bawn without any Warning.
The same session included Her Mantle so green. The{Gaberlunzie}Beggar man. The unquiet grave, The bay of Biscay, When I entered sweet Swansea, Black Hearted Gypsy, Down by the Tanyard side, and many more.
I am slowly ploughing through them and reconstructing missing verses etc.
The Family were the Gormans, and the Wilsons. Mary Lee {nee Wilson, is married to my long time close friend Walter. Mary taught me The Tanyard Side and approved my guitar arrangement. Sam and Lily Gorman were her aunt and uncle and Sam fathered Bartley Gorman the famous bareknuckle fighter.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Murdered by Sicilian John
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Jun 15 - 08:56 PM

The cursor on my laptop has gone bonkers don't know who the above guest is!


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