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Origins: Flora Lily of the West

DigiTrad:
FLORA THE LILY OF THE WEST
THE LILY OF THE NET


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Lily Of The West (22)
Róise na nAmhrán's Lily of the West (16)
Help: 'Lily of the West' known during Civil War? (40)
Lyr Req/Add: The Lily of the West (Knopfler/Chieft (20)
Lily of the West -history of (18)
Lyr Add: Lily of the Net (3)


MS44POST@aol.com 01 Dec 99 - 11:03 AM
01 Dec 99 - 02:23 PM
Jon Freeman 01 Dec 99 - 03:46 PM
01 Dec 99 - 03:51 PM
Martin _Ryan 01 Dec 99 - 05:11 PM
Willie-O 01 Dec 99 - 05:14 PM
Jon Freeman 01 Dec 99 - 05:26 PM
Joe Offer 01 Dec 99 - 05:46 PM
Bruce O. 01 Dec 99 - 06:06 PM
Lesley N. 01 Dec 99 - 07:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Dec 99 - 08:47 PM
Bruce O. 02 Dec 99 - 04:05 PM
Art Thieme 02 Dec 99 - 07:29 PM
Fortunato 03 Dec 99 - 10:56 AM
03 Dec 99 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,Adolfo 29 Nov 00 - 10:46 AM
MMario 29 Nov 00 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,Big Mick 29 Nov 00 - 11:14 AM
GUEST 30 Jul 12 - 12:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Jul 12 - 03:56 PM
GUEST 30 Jul 12 - 07:42 PM
Suegorgeous 30 Jul 12 - 08:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Jul 12 - 08:48 PM
GUEST,Don Wise 31 Jul 12 - 04:49 AM
Lighter 17 Mar 15 - 04:33 PM
GUEST,# 17 Mar 15 - 04:38 PM
Lighter 17 Mar 15 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,# 17 Mar 15 - 07:30 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Mar 15 - 08:13 PM
Lighter 17 Mar 15 - 10:57 PM
Lighter 18 Mar 15 - 06:29 AM
Lighter 18 Mar 15 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,mayomick 18 Mar 15 - 07:52 AM
Lighter 18 Mar 15 - 10:50 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Mar 15 - 04:39 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Mar 15 - 04:39 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Mar 15 - 04:40 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Mar 15 - 04:41 PM
Lighter 19 Mar 15 - 06:32 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Mar 15 - 11:38 AM
Lighter 19 Mar 15 - 07:27 PM
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Subject: Flora Lily of the West
From: MS44POST@aol.com
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 11:03 AM

Looking for history of the song. In particular, does it have a UK ancestor?


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From:
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 02:23 PM

As the copy in DT notes, the song is Laws P29, and the place to look for the information requested is in Laws book, 'American Balladry from British Broadsides', where broadsides are cited.


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 03:46 PM

There was some discussion on this song in rmf a couple of months ago - it may be worth seaching Deja News.

The song does exist in Songs Of The West (S Baring Gould) and it notes that "Flora Lilyof the West was won't to be sung annually at the Revel at St Brewards on the Bodmin Moors [Cornwall England] and can be traced back there to 1839" It also says that "the song is clearly of Irish Origin"

Jon


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From:
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 03:51 PM

Baring Gould also had a broadside of it, see Laws.


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 05:11 PM

The tune used in Ireland is the ubiquitous "Star of the County Down" Woman's name varies - Molly etc.

regards


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From: Willie-O
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 05:14 PM

It's related to "The Banks of Pontchartrain"--the tunes are similar and the metre is the same.

Funny how those things can work. A couple of years ago I befriended two young women living in a schoolbus on a B.C. mountainside. They were very good singers, had learned a bunch of trad songs off a Joan Baez tape which a friend had sent them. Being 18-year-old 90's girls with no previous exposure to this stuff, and no written lyric sources, they had some interesting interpretations. My favourite was in "Lily...", instead of "sore distressed my mind" they sang "sort of stressed my mind". Works perfect!

Bill C.


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 05:26 PM

Now tunes... That has reminded me, I think that a lot of the discussion in rmf was to do with similarities brtwwen a tune that this song is sung to and the Lakes of Ponchatrain and I have a feeling that the title of the thread referred toPonchtrain rather thab the other one.

I now remember seaching and listening to the tune at Contemplator which IMO was the same tune for both songs. It doesn't seem to bear any resemblance to the 2 tunes given in Songs Of The West.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 05:46 PM

Note also this thread about the Chieftains/Mark Knopfler recording of the song. I swear we had something earlier about the European origins of the song - I'll look around a bit more.
I'm sure I'm not the only one here who learned the song with these lyrics (click) from the Peter, Paul and Mary Moving album. Oh, yeah, there's an interesting recording by a young feller named Dan Milner on an album called Irish Ballads and Songs of the Sea. Dan calls his Lily of the West "Molly," not Flora.
-Joe Offer-

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

    Lily of the West, The [Laws P29]

    DESCRIPTION: The singer courts (Mary/Flora), only to see her courting another man. He stabs the other man to death. He is taken and sentenced, all the while saying that he loves the Lily of the West despite her betrayal
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1839
    KEYWORDS: homicide jealousy betrayal trial
    FOUND IN: Britain(England(North,South,West)) Ireland US(Ap,MW,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf)
    REFERENCES (18 citations):
    Laws P29, "The Lily of the West"
    Belden, pp. 132-133, "The Lily of the West" (1 text plus reference to 1 more)
    Randolph 145, "The Lily of the West" (3 texts plus a fragment, 2 tunes)
    High, pp. 13-14, "The Lillie of the West" (1 text)
    Eddy 49, "The Lily of the West" (2 texts, 1 tune)
    BrownII 267, "The Lily of the West" (1 text, with little of the plot remaining)
    Chappell-FSRA 113, "The Lily of the West" (1 fragment)
    Moore-Southwest 85, "The Lily of the West" (1 text, 1 tune)
    SharpAp 148, "The Lily of the West" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Rosenbaum, p. 135, "The Lily of the West" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Fife-Cowboy/West 54, "Lily of the West" (2 texts, 1 tune)
    SHenry H578, pp. 416-417, "Flora, The Lily of the West" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Huntington-Whalemen, pp. 133-136, "The Lily of the West" (1 text, 1 tune)
    OLochlainn 93, "The Lily of the West" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Peacock, pp. 473-474, "The Lily of the West" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Creighton-NovaScotia 42, "Lily of the West" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Silber-FSWB, p. 225, "Lily Of The West" (1 text)
    DT 507, FLORAWST*

    Roud #957
    RECORDINGS:
    Mr. and Mrs. Freeman Bennett, "The Lily of the West" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
    W. Guy Bruce, "The Lily of the West" (on FolkVisions1)

    BROADSIDES:
    Bodleian, Harding B 19(104), "The Lily of the West," W. Birmingham (Dublin), c.1867; also 2806 b.9(276), 2806 c.15(122), 2806 b.11(137), Harding B 19(15), "The Lily of the West"
    LOCSinging, as107800, "The Lily of the West," J. Andrews (New York), 1853-1859; also as107780, sb20280a, as107790, "The Lily of the West"
    NLScotland, L.C.Fol.70(87a), "Flora The Lily of the West," Poet's Box? (Dundee), c. 1880-1900

    SAME TUNE:
    Caroline Of Edinburgh Town (per broadsides Bodleian LOCSinging as107800, LOCSinging as107780, LOCSinging sb20280a)
    NOTES: OLochlainn 93 ends happily: "I then did stand my trial, and boldly I did plead, A flaw was in my indictment found and that soon had me freed."
    Broadside LOCSinging as107800: J. Andrews dating per Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS
    Last updated in version 3.3
    File: LP29

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Song List

    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From: Bruce O.
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 06:06 PM

See also the old thread 'Songs to Star of the County Down' (more properly "Gilderoy"), where "Lily of the West" is noted. For other titles of the "Gilderoy" tune see Family 1 in the Irish tune index on my website, the earliest good copy of the tune (not that in Pills) being B159 there.


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From: Lesley N.
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 07:32 PM

Here's what I found on it (which is at Lily of the West (http://www.contemplator.com/folk2/lilywest.html). On my pages the tunes to Lakes and Lily are noticably similar, but when someone wrote me they were the exact same tune I confess I can't hear that much similarity!

Rev. S. Baring-Gould collected versions of Lily of the West in Devonshire, Yorkshire and elsewhere. Baring-Gould felt the ballad was of definite Irish origin (though it may not have been sung to a similar air) and traced it back to at least 1839. The lyrics in Sam Henry's Songs of the People are an Irish version which begins; "When first I came to Ireland..."

Another theory of it's origin traces it back to the West of Ireland during the time of Cromwell.


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 08:47 PM

The Lily of the West is in Colm O Lochlainn's Irish Street ballads, which first came out in 1939. She's called Molly, and the plot's similar to the DT version, except i's not clear whether he actually kills the fella

I stepped up with my rapier
and my dagger in my hand
And dragged him from my false love
and boldly bid him stand
But being mad with desperation,
I swore I'd pierce his breast
I was then deceived by Molly O,
the Lily of the West

Then he's sent for trial, and she testifies against him, but he gets off:

"A flaw in my indictment found
and that soon had me freed

The judge is on his side it seems:

That beauty bright, I did adore,
The judge did her address
"Now go, you lovely Molly O,
the lily of the West.

Colm O Lochlainn found the words in a printed ballad sheet, and he gives it the the tune used for Star of the County Down and My Love Nell.


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From: Bruce O.
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 04:05 PM

In 'The Blarney Comic Songbook', Glasgow, c 1870, William Carleton's "My Love Nell" has the tune direction "Come all ye". Can anyone identify that tune? {Some of Carleton's songs may be found in the Levy collction, but not "My love Nell")


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 07:29 PM

Bob Gibson did a nice version on one of his Riverside LPs. (circa 1959) It's not on the CD compilation I have from that era.


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From: Fortunato
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 10:56 AM

Willy-o, Two eighteen year old girl folksingers living in a school but in BC? Out east here that sounds like an adventure. Can I come out and play with you guys?

Fortunato


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Subject: RE: Flora Lily of the West
From:
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 12:20 PM

Keep your trivia off of information threads!


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Subject: Knopfler's Lily of the West
From: GUEST,Adolfo
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 10:46 AM

Greetings everyone and thanks for being always so helpful and kind. I'm looking for Knopfler's lyrics to Lily of the West (very much like Peter Paul and Mary's Flora). The song as such is included in Chieftains' Long Black Veil. Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knopfler's Lily of the West
From: MMario
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 11:05 AM

I think is someone in here if you follow the links previous thread,


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knopfler's Lily of the West
From: GUEST,Big Mick
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 11:14 AM

Hi,
There is a songbook available from www.elderly.com that contains the lyrics and chords/music to all the songs on this CD. Simply go here and use their search engine.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jul 12 - 12:54 PM

Oh the hell with it. I wrote the damned thing in the 1960's and sold it to Bob Dylan. Screw it. Believe whatever. I'm done with it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Jul 12 - 03:56 PM

A copy of "Flora, Lily of the West," at the Bodleian Library is on a sheet with "Roving Journeyman." Listed as Ireland, Scotland; the latter ballad as Irish.
Harding B11(1228), Printers Series: (139). No date.
It's when I came to England, .....

"Lily of the West," Ballads Catalogue: 2806 b.9(276); Birmingham, W.
(Dublin), c. 1867; on sheet with "Lovely Mary of the Shannon Side." 2806 b.9(276); also Harding B19(104), with "Donnely and Oliver" and Lovely Mary....". "When first to Ireland some pleasure for to find, ....."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jul 12 - 07:42 PM

Guest - you wrote it in the 60s after all the earlier documentations above? right.....

But what's also interesting is that on the Bob Dylan version that I have on record, Bob credits himself as the writer. Or was that just his common practice?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 30 Jul 12 - 08:02 PM

oops, that last was me, sorry.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Jul 12 - 08:48 PM

Currently considering lawsuit against guest of 30 Jul 12.

Some authorities (resident in provincial facility in Ponoka, AB) regard me as composer.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 04:49 AM

Pete Coe sings a version on his current CD. According to his sleeve notes his version was "collected by Baring-Gould from Matthew Baker, Lew Down, in 1889."

Don


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Mar 15 - 04:33 PM

Here is a NYC broadsheet "copyright 1860." It appears to be the oldest text that can be dated with certainty. The indicated tune is "Caroline of Edinburg-Town" :
   
http://memory.loc.gov/rbc/amss/sb2/sb20280a/001r.jpg

I just came down to Louisville some pleasure for to find,
A handsome girl from Michigan, so pleasing to my mind.
Her rosy cheeks and rolling eyes, like arrows, pierced my breast,—
They call her handsome Mary - the Lily of the West.

I courted her for many a day, her love I thought to gain,
Too soon, too soon she slighted me: which caused me grief and pain.
She robbed me of my liberty - deprived me of my rest;
They call her handsome Mary - the Lily of the West.

One evening, as I rambled down by yon shady grove,
I met a Lord of high degree conversing with my love.
He sang, he sang so merrily, whilst I was sore oppressed,
He sang for handsome Mary - the Lily of the West!

I rushed up to my rival, a dagger in my hand.
I tore him from my true love, and boldly bade him stand;
Being mad with desperation, my dagger pierced his breast,
I was betrayed by Mary - the Lily of the West!

Now my trial has come on, and sentenced soon I'll be
They put me in the criminal box, and there convicted me.
She so deceived the Jury, so modestly did dress,
She far outshine [sic] bright Venus - the Lily of the West.

Since then I've gained my liberty, I'll rove the country through.
I'll travel the city over to find my loved one true;
Although she stole my liberty, and deprived me of my rest,
Still I love my Mary, the Lily of the West.


An English broadside in Bodleian is dated to between 1855 and 1858. Instead of "Lexington," it takes place in "England" (far more likely for the presence of a "lord of high degree"). "Michigan" is naturally absent. These versions say explicitly that a "flaw in the indictment" set the narrator free. He becomes a vagabond, and Flora, who "swore [his] life away, still "disturbs [his] rest" - as well she might. He determines to "ramble for" her. Nowadays that would make him a dangerous stalker.

The text published by Taylor of Waterloo Road gives the author's name as "George Brown."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: GUEST,#
Date: 17 Mar 15 - 04:38 PM

thread.cfm?threadid=34906#473525

Related Mudcat thread.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Mar 15 - 05:28 PM

Thanks, #. I see that the 1860 text already appeared there.

The 1855-58 date is probably accurate.

An account linking an American version to an supposed actual murder appeared in Frank Cowan's pioneering "Southwestern Pennsylvania in Song and Story 1878). Cowan's version involves not a lord but a lout, and the "Lily" gets a full name and a soiled reputation:

"The following song belongs to the era of the keelboatmen on the Ohio river and its tributaries, although it is sung occasionally at this day. The heroine is said to have been the daughter of a clergyman of Lexington, Kentucky - her name, Mary Morrison, on account of her great beauty and accomplishments styled 'The Belle of Lexington' and 'The Lily of the West.' For some unknown cause, she ran away from her home, and abandoned herself to a life of dissipation in Louisville. Here, a young man of fine address, from Ohio, became enamored of her charms and made a proposal of marriage to her. She accepted him. But while awaiting the wedding-day, he became aware of her shameless life; and in a moment of passion, incident upon meeting her in company with her lover for the nonce, he killed him: for which he was tried for murder and convicted; and while in prison awaiting the day of execution, he composed the song which bears her name.

"For all of which, and the song, I am indebted to my genial friend Wm. H. Morrow, Esq., of Manor."

My take on all this, even before finding this passage, was that the only sort of woman in the Victorian Age to have a public nickname like the "Lily of the West" would have to be either an actress (like "The Jersey Lily,' Lily Langtry), or a prostitute. Indeed, actresses in general were often assumed to have been scandalously free in their relationships - like chorus girls in the early 20th century.

I believe that angle would not have been lost on many 19th century readers, audiences, singers, or reciters.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: GUEST,#
Date: 17 Mar 15 - 07:30 PM

I can't find anything that predates that, Lighter. Certainly seems though that the song was all over everywhere.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Mar 15 - 08:13 PM

Whilst it was widely printed in the middle of the century both Catnach and Pitts printed it in England. The Pitts printing is at his number 6 address which indicates after 1818 and could be up to 1844. I think Catnach would have been 1830s, so a rough guess would be c1830 between them. Only a few Dublin-printed sheets of the middle of the century set it in Ireland, such as Birmingham and Nugent. There were only a few 19th century hacks allowed to have their names on the sheets as authors. Both George Brown and John Morgan lived in London. Morgan was more prolific but Brown wrote such pieces as Pretty Caroline, The Merchant's Daughter and Constant Farmer's Son, Bonny Bunch of Roses-O, The Dark-eyed Sailor, The Cruel Lowland Maid, as well as this one. One of his datable pieces is dated 1834.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Mar 15 - 10:57 PM

> Brown wrote such pieces as Pretty Caroline, The Merchant's Daughter and Constant Farmer's Son, Bonny Bunch of Roses-O, The Dark-eyed Sailor, The Cruel Lowland Maid, as well as this one.

Thanks, Steve. He wrote at several winners, didn't he?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 06:29 AM

Oops...a mysteriously intrusive "at."

Does it change our sense these songs to know that they (and presumably others) were all written by the same man?

Regrettably I think it does. A personality begins to form in the mind, however vaguely. Gone is the "voice of the folk."

Too much information....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 06:30 AM

Nuts! "Our sense *of* these songs."

A little too quick on the trigger.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: GUEST,mayomick
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 07:52 AM

What Keats said about science unweaving the mystery of the rainbow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 10:50 AM

Yeah. See also Poe's "To Science."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 04:39 PM

I know I'm a realist and sceptic but it doesn't change the songs one iota to me. Somebody wrote each and every one of them so why does putting a name to a few of them make them any different? To the best of my knowledge we have no info on Brown (unlike Morgan) and with a name like that it's unlikely we ever will.

I never had you down as an out and out romantic, Jon!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 04:39 PM

Took me about 20 goes to get that last post up.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 04:40 PM

Hey, first time on that last one!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Mar 15 - 04:41 PM

And that one!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Mar 15 - 06:32 AM

Steve, Call me a romantic with a very seared conscience.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Mar 15 - 11:38 AM

Okay,
I'll keep that in mind. I won't hold it against you as long as you accept my realism.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flora Lily of the West
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Mar 15 - 07:27 PM

I accept reality. I don't always like it.


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