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Origins: Charming Young Widow I met on the Train

DigiTrad:
THE CHARMING YOUNG WIDOW


GUEST,Martin Ryan 28 Aug 16 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 28 Aug 16 - 05:48 AM
JHW 28 Aug 16 - 06:09 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 28 Aug 16 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 28 Aug 16 - 10:14 AM
Joe Offer 28 Aug 16 - 06:25 PM
Joe Offer 29 Aug 16 - 02:14 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 29 Aug 16 - 02:52 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 29 Aug 16 - 02:56 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 29 Aug 16 - 03:05 AM
Steve Gardham 29 Aug 16 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,Billy Weeks 05 Sep 16 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 05 Sep 16 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 05 Sep 16 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 05 Sep 16 - 04:07 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 05 Sep 16 - 04:28 PM
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Subject: Origins: Charming Toung Widow I met on the Train
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 05:46 AM

While there is a version of this in the Digital Tradition, we don't seem to have discussed it in any detail, ever. In Ireland, I usually hear it sung to the tune of "Bessie the Beauty of Rossinure Hill" (aka ..of Ballintown Brae) and in a version using Vermont/Boston as the location. Lots of variants now available on line in ballad and sheet music forms.

Anybody hear it sung in the wild these days?

Regards

p.s. I'll add some links to online sources later.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Toung Widow I met on the Train
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 05:48 AM

Digital Tradition version

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Toung Widow I met on the Train
From: JHW
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 06:09 AM

The Widows might?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Toung Widow I met on the Train
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 08:59 AM

Can a mudelf correct thread title please? It was not intended to be toung-in-cheek!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Toung Widow I met on the Train
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 10:14 AM

For the Ballad Index entry:

Click here

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Young Widow I met on the Train
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 06:25 PM

I think it's a good idea to do a full-fledged study of the song and see what we can dig up. Here is the Traditional Ballad Index entry:

Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train, The

DESCRIPTION: The singer meets a young widow with a baby on a train. They talk; she claims to see her husband's partner and flees the train, leaving him the baby. As the train pulls out, he finds she has stolen his watch and purse and left him a fake child
AUTHOR: W. H Gove
EARLIEST DATE: before 1867 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(4400))
KEYWORDS: trick money theft train
FOUND IN: US(MW,So)
REFERENCES (10 citations):
Randolph 390, "The Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 315-317, "The Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 390)
Peters, pp. 190-191, "The Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train" (1 text, 1 tune)
Dibblee/Dibblee, pp. 95-96, "The Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train" (1 text, 1 tune)
Spaeth-WeepMore, pp. 145-147, "The Charming Young Widow" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gilbert, pp. 49-50, "The Charming Young Widow I Met in the Train" (1 text)
JHJohnson, pp. 45-47, "The Charming Young Widow" (1 text)
Cohen-LSRail, pp. 46-51, "(The Charming Young Widow I Met in the Train)" (2 excerpts plus photos of two versions of the sheet music)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #289, p. 20, "The Charming Young Widow I Met in the Train" (3 references)
DT, CHRMWIDW*

Roud #3754
BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 11(4400), "The Charming Young Widow I Met in the Train," J. Harkness (Preston) , 1840-1866
NLScotland, L.C.Fol.178.A.2(071), "The Charming Young Widow I Meet in the Train" (sic.), unknown, c. 1860

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Quare Bungo Rye" (theme: the singer is left with a baby; but not "The Basket of Eggs" where the girl gets the baby back)
cf. "The Black Velvet Band" (I) (theme: the woman pick-pocket)
NOTES: Cohen believes that there are "two closely related ballads, both dating from the 1860s" with this title. It doesn't seem worthwhile to split them, though. - RBW
I think there are three ballads here:
1) Dibblee/Dibblee has the singer going to Montreal on the train to pick up an inheritance left by an uncle. He meets the "widow" and "baby." She leaves him with the "baby" after picking his pocket, but there is no mention of the baby being dead or "fake."
Broadside Harding B 11(4400) has the singer going to London on the train to pick up an inheritance left by an uncle. He meets the "widow" and "baby." She leaves him with the "baby" after picking his pocket. The baby is a "dummy." The singer has no money to pay for his ticket and must settle the next day. This one is at least recognizable as Dibblee/Dibblee and the ballad behind the DESCRIPTION above.
Broadside NLScotland L.C.Fol.178.A.2(071)f like Bodleian Harding B 11(4400); the difference is that the singer is on the train to Glasgow. The commentary includes this statement: "There are many broadsides which warn more naive citizens against charming women pick-pockets."
2) See LOCSinging, sb10057a, "The Charming Young Widow I Met In The Train," H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878: the uncle is dying in Boston. The singer meets the "widow" and "baby" on the train to Boston. She leaves him with the "baby" after picking his pocket. The baby is dead and she leaves a note asking that he bury it. He does. There are no lines in common with the other two ballads; tune: "Jenny Jones." (This version is a variant of Bodleian, Harding B 11(1684), "The Charming Young Widow I Met in the Train," W.S. Fortey (London), 1858-1885 that takes place on the way to London; tune: "Jenny Jones" )
3) See LOCSinging, sb10056b, "The Charming Young Lady I Met in the Rain," H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878: this one takes place in London: There is no inheritance, no train, no baby; the pick-pocket trick remains. A crowd blocks his pursuit and he is charged with assault. When he can't pay the fine -- because he has lost all his money -- he must spend a fortnight in jail. There are no lines in common with the other two ballads. This is attributed, on the broadside, to J.G. Peters. (There is a duplicate at Bodleian, Harding B 18(83), "The Charming Young Lady I Met in the Rain," H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878.) (This version is a variant of Bodleian, Firth b.26(366), "The Charming Young Widow I Met in the Train," H. Such (London), 1863-1885.)
The H. De Marsan New York broadsides are so close to each other and to "The Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train" -- without being the same ballad -- that it is clear that two are derived from a third. [H. De Marsan 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
In addition, there is "The Charming Young Lady I Met in the Rain," credited to J. G. Peters, which I would assume is a parody of this although I have not seen it; such information as I have comes from Edwin Wolf 2nd, American Song Sheets, Slip Ballads, and Political Broadsides 1850-1870, Library Company of Philadelphia, 1963, p. 20. Both this parody and Wolf's version of the "Charming Young Widow" are said to be the tune "Jenny Jones." - RBW
Last updated in version 3.5
File: R390

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The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


THE CHARMING YOUNG WIDOW (DT Lyrics)
(W.H. Cove and John Parry ca 1840)

I live in Vermont, and one morning last summer
A letter inform'd me my Uncle was dead.
And also requested I'd come down to Boston
As he'd left me a large sum of money it said.
Of course I determined on making the journey
And to book myself by the "first class" I was fain.
Tho' I had gone "second" I had never encounter'd
The Charming Young Widow I met on the train.

Yet scarce was I seated within the compartment,
Before a fresh passenger enter'd the door,
'Twas a female--a young one--and dress'd in deep mourning
An infant in long clothes she gracefully bore,
A white cap surrounded a face oh so lovely!
I never shall look on one like it again
I fell deep in love over head in a moment,
With the Charming Young Widow I met in the Train.

The Widow and I side by side sat together
The carriage containing ourselves and no more,
When silence was broken by my fair companion
Who enquired the time by the watch that I wore.
I of course satisfied her, and then conversation
Was freely indulged in by both, 'till my brain
Fairly reeled with excitement, I grew so enchanted
With the Charming Young Widow I met in the Train.

We became so familiar I ventured to ask her
How old was the child that she held at her breast.
"Ah Sir!" she responded, and into tears bursting
Her infant still closer convulsively pressed.
"When I think of my child I am well nigh distracted
Its Father--my Husband--oh my heart breaks with pain."
She choking with sobs leaned her head on my waistcoat
Did the Charming Young Widow I met in the Train.

By this time the Train had arrived at a Station
Within a few miles of the great one in town
When my charmer exclaimed, as she looked through the window
"Good gracious alive! why there goes Mr. Brown.
He's my late Husband's Brother; dear Sir would you kindly
My best beloved child for a moment sustain? "
Of course I complied--then off on the platform
Tripped the Charming Young Widow I met in the Train.;

Three minutes elapsed when the whistle it sounded
The Train began moving-no Widow appeared.
I bawled out "stop ! stop!" but they paid no attention
With a snort, and a jerk, starting off as I feared.
In this horrid dilemma I sought for the hour-
But my watch! ha! Where was it ? Where, where was my chain!
My purse too, my ticket, gold pencil-case! all gone!
Oh that Artful Young Widow I met in the Train.

While I was my loss thus so deeply bewailing
The Train again stopped and I "tickets please" heard.
So I told the Conductor while dandling the infant
The loss I'd sustained--but he doubted my word.
He called more officials; a lot gathered round me,
Uncovered the child--oh how shall I explain!
For behold 'twas no baby! 'Twas only a dummy!
Oh that Crafty Young Widow I met in the Train.

Satisfied I'd been robbed they allowed my departure
Though, of course I'd to settle my fare the next day.
And I now wish to counsel young men from the country
Lest they should get served in a similar way.
Beware of Young Widows you meet on the Railway
Who lean on your shoulder; whose tears fall like rain.
Look out for your pockets in case they resemble
The Charming Young Widow I met on the Train.

From Flashes of Merriment, Levy
@travel
filename[ CHRMWIDW
TUNE FILE: CHRMWIDW
CLICK TO PLAY
RG


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Young Widow I met on the Train
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 02:14 AM

Martin, I am on the road until November 1. I have this song in several songbook, and can look it up then if you remind me. Joe


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Young Widow I met on the Train
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 02:52 AM

Thanks, Joe. I hear it occasionally at the Goilin Singers Club, from Mick Kealey, to the air mentioned in the original posting - which suits it very well, IMHO.

It get's localised as it moves around, appropriately enough. Here's a link to a Scottish ballad-sheet version:

Click here

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Young Widow I met on the Train
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 02:56 AM

And a North Wales/London variant:

Click here

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Young Widow I met on the Train
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 03:05 AM

As mentioned, the air I've heard used is very close to that of "Bessie the Beauty of Rossinure Hill", beautifully sung here by Jim McFarland:

Click here

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Young Widow I met on the Train
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 11:46 AM

Haven't got the full details handy but my index comes up with words and music by W H Gove of Boston c1868.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Young Widow I met on the Train
From: GUEST,Billy Weeks
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 02:43 PM

This was popular on the British music halls in the 1860s. It opens 'I live in North Wales and one evening last summer…' and puts the singer on a London train, but it is otherwise almost word for word the version given by Joe (28 August). Kilgarriff dates it to c.1863 and names singers as Fred Albert and W Randall. I have sheet music of that period, with a coloured lithographic cover showing the widow leaving the Welsh gent holding the baby. Alas, the music pages are in deplorable condition through many past years of heavy use.

The London publisher was Duff and Hodgson. No composer is named and the tune is obviously traditional. My copy says it was 'written by W H Cove' and 'sung with immense success by Mr W Randall'. Kilgarriff says that the other named singer, Fred Albert, claimed to sing only his own songs, but he was clearly not on oath.

Are any other songs by Gove or Cove known?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Young Widow I met on the Train
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 03:43 PM

GUESTBilly Weeks

"... the tune is obviously traditional.." Any trace of a sound file on line?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Young Widow I met on the Train
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 04:03 PM

There's a sound sample online for this Canadian version:

Click here

Sounds a bit like 'Spanish Ladies" to my ear - or at least the chorus of the latter.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Young Widow I met on the Train
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 04:07 PM

And a version from the Ozarks:
Click here

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Charming Young Widow I met on the Train
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 04:28 PM

Somewhere I have a recording of Dr. Price of this forum singing a Welsh version at 1982 Potardawe Festival. Perhaps we shall hear from Mick where he got it from.


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