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Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland

Jim Carroll 13 Jun 18 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Wm 13 Jun 18 - 03:17 PM
Brian Peters 13 Jun 18 - 03:23 PM
Brian Peters 13 Jun 18 - 03:24 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jun 18 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,Wm 13 Jun 18 - 11:27 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 18 - 03:06 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 18 - 03:36 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 14 Jun 18 - 06:17 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 18 - 06:45 AM
Brian Peters 14 Jun 18 - 07:27 AM
Brian Peters 14 Jun 18 - 07:29 AM
Brian Peters 14 Jun 18 - 07:35 AM
Brian Peters 14 Jun 18 - 07:37 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 18 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 14 Jun 18 - 09:54 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 14 Jun 18 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Wm 14 Jun 18 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Wm 14 Jun 18 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,Julia L 14 Jun 18 - 12:40 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 18 - 12:57 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 18 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Wm 14 Jun 18 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 14 Jun 18 - 02:20 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 18 - 02:51 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 18 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 14 Jun 18 - 03:31 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jun 18 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 15 Jun 18 - 05:42 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jun 18 - 06:32 AM
KarenJoyce 15 Jun 18 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 15 Jun 18 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 15 Jun 18 - 12:50 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jun 18 - 01:40 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Jun 18 - 02:08 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 17 Jun 18 - 06:49 AM
Vic Smith 17 Jun 18 - 08:16 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jun 18 - 08:17 AM
Richard Mellish 17 Jun 18 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 17 Jun 18 - 09:27 AM
Vic Smith 17 Jun 18 - 09:55 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jun 18 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 17 Jun 18 - 11:26 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jun 18 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 17 Jun 18 - 01:46 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Jun 18 - 02:45 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Jun 18 - 02:50 PM
Vic Smith 17 Jun 18 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,RA 18 Jun 18 - 03:40 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jun 18 - 03:43 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jun 18 - 03:47 AM
Liberty Boy 18 Jun 18 - 10:29 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jun 18 - 10:45 AM
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Subject: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jun 18 - 03:04 PM

Would appreciate some information please
I'm compiling a file of recordings of Irish versions of Child ballads sung by source singers (to be circulated to all interested when completed)
My late friend, Tom Munnelly reckoned there were fifty, as follows:

2        The Elfin Knight.                                                                              
4        Lady Isabel And The Elf-Knight.                                                
12        Lord Randal. (Appendix: Billy Boy)                                                        
13        Edward.                                                                                        
20        The Cruel Mother.                                                                        
21        The Maid And The Palmer.                                                        
44        The Twa Magicians.
46        Captain Wedderburn's Courtship.
49        The Twa Brothers.
53        Young Beichan.
56        Dives And Lazarus. (Appendix: Rye-Roger-Um.)        
68        Young Hunting.        
73        Lord Thomas And Fair Annet.
74        Fair Margaret And Sweet William.
75        Lord Lovel.
76        The Lass Of Roch Royal.
77        Sweet William's Ghost.
84        Bonny Barbara Allan
87        Prince Robert.
92        Bonny Bee Hom. (Appendix: The Lowlands Of Holland.)
93        Lamkin.
95        The Maid Freed From The Gallows. (Appendix: The Streets Of Derry.)
100        Willie O Winsbury.
112        The Baffled Knight
200        The Gypsy Laddie.
209        Geordie.
214        The Braes Of Yarrow.
221        Katherine Jaffray.
272        The Suffolk Miracle
274        Our Goodman.
275        Get Up And Bar The Door
279        The Jolly Beggar.
281        The Keach I The Creel.
286      The Sweet Trinity.
295      The Brown Girl (Appendix: Sally The Queen)

By Other Collectors
3        False Knight On The Road
12        Lord Randall
24        Bonnie Annie
39        Tam Lin
54        Cherry Tree Carol
99        Johnny Scott
106        Famous Flower Of Serving Men
115        Sir Hugh Or The Jew’s Daughter
148        The Grey Cock
178        The Farmer’s Curst Wife
293        Jock Of Hazlegreen
243        James Harris

I have been unable to locate the ones in red; if anybody can help me find them, or point out ny I have missed, I would be vary grateful
I may, if I have time, add a supplement of those Anglo-Irish narrative songs Child did not include - I'll see what kind of mood I'm inn tomorrow
Thanks in anticipation
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Wm
Date: 13 Jun 18 - 03:17 PM

Frank Quinn singing The False Knight on the Road on the British Library site.

From Mainly Norfolk:

Frank Quinn of Coalisland, Co. Tyrone, sang False Knight on the Road in a recording made in 1958 by Sean O'Boyle on the anthology The Child Ballads 1 (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 4; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1968).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Jun 18 - 03:23 PM

Hi Jim,

'Knight on the Road' was collected from Frank Quinn of Coalisland, Co. Tyrone, by Sean O'Boyle, 1958.

Also 'The False Fly', collected in 1975/6 by Angela Bourke from Brid an Gamha of Carna, Co Galway.

Len Graham also had a version (or so it says in my notes on the ballad) version from Bridget McGowan for Connemara.

Does that help?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Jun 18 - 03:24 PM

Cross-posted there.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jun 18 - 07:29 PM

Thanks both - extremely grateful
I down, six to go.
I have a couple of verses of 'Lord Thomas' we got from an old singer in North Clare - most singers knew about it but nobody remembered much of it
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Wm
Date: 13 Jun 18 - 11:27 PM

From the same set as above, via Mainly Norfollk:

Mrs Maguire of Belfast sang this song as The Green Banks of Yarrow in a Peter Kennedy recording on the anthology Sailormen and Servingmaids (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 6; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1970).

Don't think this is on the British Library site, but if I remember correctly it is at at least adjacent to Child's B version of Bonnie Annie. I can dig up a digitized copy next week if you're in need of it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 03:06 AM

Many thanks again Wm - got that one - as with 'The False Knight on the Road', I'd overlooked that one
I've got the recording; if you have a copy of the text, I'd be grateful
I intend to place texts of all the songs in the file, (already got most of them), but I'm pushed for time at present, so any corners I can cut would help
If it's of interest, you are welcome to the file when it's done (as is anyone)
Gratefully
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 03:36 AM

I think that the 'Two Magicians' Tom Munnelly was referring to was Charles O'Boyle's two verses of 'Hares on the Mountain'
Innly:
44       The Twa Magicians.
49       The Twa Brothers.
73       Lord Thomas And Fair Annet.
286      The Sweet Trinity.
295      The Brown Girl (Appendix: Sally The Queen)

to go
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 06:17 AM

It's not a version of the Twa Brothers, but here's a an Irish version of "Edward" (Child 13) which has the opening verse from the Twa Brothers:
Patrick 'Jaws' Ward - Two Brothers (son come tell it unto me)

The line about two boys coming home from school is not part of any other Irish version of Edward I've heard. The two songs are closely related, so I guess it's not unusual to find mixed versions like this one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 06:45 AM

Thanks Kevin
I'm assuming that Tom was referring to THIS ONE - very popular with Scots Travellers
Edward is probably the most popular Traveller Ballad in the Child canon
The one I'll be using is a Traveller version the singer referred to as 'The Ballad of Cain and Abel' which he linked with the Biblical story and the Origin Myth that Travellers first took to the road after a man was banished for a crime (making the nails for the Crucifixion was the most widespread one, but boiling holy water to make tea is my particular favourite)
Nearly thare
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 07:27 AM

Jim, I'm not sure exactly what you need to fulfil your criteria, but Roud 180, which covers 'The Brown Girl' is in Moulden, Songs of the People 1 (1979) p.12, original source Sam Henry 1925, title 'Am I the Doctor?'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 07:29 AM

The only 'Golden Vanity' from Ireland I can find in the RI is in Kane, Songs & Sayings of an Ulster Childhood (1983) pp.130-131.

Or is it sound recordings that you're after?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 07:35 AM

Child 73: Two in RI.

'Lord Robert and Fair Ellen' from 'Dr Kelly', in Bronson (#41).

'Lord Thomas', in Univ. College Dublin, Nat. Folklore Collection: Schools Collection, Vol. 0706, p501; Performer Ms McCabe, Trohanny, Co. Meath; coll. Peggy O'Connor, 1938.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 07:37 AM

Nothing in the RI for Child 49, but Kevin's clip was interesting. #49 is certainly tangled up with #13 in some versions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 07:50 AM

It's recordings I'm after Brian - I have song files of everything other than those named
If I can't find them, I might well dig out texts if they are available
I hope to put up recorded versions with texts (got most of them in our own collection and Tom, Hugh Shields and others were very generous in the early days)
I also hope to put up a couple of articles and maybe a recorded lecture on the subject
Some time ago, a couple of friends from Wexford, Mick Fortune ans Aileen Lambert, launched a project, 'Man, Woman and Child' - a series of mid-day concerts in co-operation with the Irish National Library, aimed at promoting Child Ballads
Soon after, it was possible to hear Child Ballads sung in sessions
This is basically an attempt to make use of stuff we have which is laying dormant, to take up where Mick and Aileen left off
And, of course, to make widely known Ireland's (particularly the Travellers) important ballad contribution - "not a lot of people know that"
I've dropped John Moulden a line begging his help
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 09:54 AM

Jim,
regarding "The Brown Girl / Sally The Queen / The Sailor From Dover" (Child 295 Appendix).
Eddie Butcher used to sing a song, "Down by the canal", that had the doctor verses from Sally in it.

The recording is available here, including a transcription:
Eddie Butcher - Down By The Canal

I don't know whether they are just stock verses that appear in several songs or if this is proof that the "Sally The Queen" ballad circulated in Ireland but I thought I'd let you know.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 11:13 AM

I realized that my post about Eddie Butcher's song is rather useless to you, because you need proper versions of the Child Ballads for your collection.

I was a bit too eager to help, I guess.
Well, at least Eddie's lovely song might get a bit of attention from people visiting this thread, I think the song deserves it.
It is interesting, though, that it has the same tune as Sally The Queen and the doctor verses.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Wm
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 11:53 AM

Jim, it's transcribed by another user here, but I can't immediately vouch for its accuracy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Wm
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 11:56 AM

Not sure the link above worked . . . it's located here: https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=84894#1569682. I'm copy/pasting the relevant text:

The Green Banks of Yarrow
Mrs. Maguire, on Sailormen and Servingmaids, The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 6, Topic 12T194

We hadn't sailed far nor we hadn't sailed any
We hadn't sailed far nor we hadn't sailed any
Till she cried out aloud for her baby
Love-lar-i-a, love-lily-love-lee

Up came the sea-captain, he spoke very bonny
Up came the sea-captain, he spoke very bonny
He said - Anything that you want, I will get it
Love-lar-i-a, love-lily-love-lee

Oh, get me a woman, and let her stay near me
Oh, get me a woman, and let her stay near me
Oh, get me a woman, and let her stay near me
Love-lar-i-a, love-lily-love-lee

Up came the sea-captain, he spoke very bonny
Up came the sea-captain, he spoke very bonny
Said - I can do for you, what a woman can't do any
Love-lar-i-a, love-lily-love-lee

Oh, hold your tongue, foolish man, hold your tongue, honey
Oh, hold your tongue, foolish man, hold your tongue, honey
Sure, you never knew what your mummy stood for you
Love-lar-i-a, love-lily-love-lee

Well, the nails they were scarce and the deals they were narrow
Well, the nails they were scarce and the deals they were narrow
And he buried his true-love on the green banks of Yarrow
Love-lar-i-a, love-lily-love-lee


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 12:40 PM

Hi Jim- I realize you are in the middle of a project but I would like to connect with you about my transcription project. I'm listening to audio collections made here in Maine and transcribing them as well as trying to compile as many local trad songs as possible. Please be in touch via email julia@castlebay.net. Thanks so much -Julia Lane


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 12:57 PM

"I was a bit too eager to help, I guess."
Both you and Brian have almost brought this project to fruition -I really am grateful
It also prompted me to pull down a book I have hardly looked at since we were given a copy - Eddie's book is superb
I don't think it is related to 'The Brown Girl' - I can't find anything on Roud that suggests that.

I'll probably go with the fragments of 'Lord Thomas' that we recorded - I remember being so frustrated at nearly getting it from singer after singer who "couldn't remember any more of it"
One singer in North Clare told us he heard it from a "Traveller woman called Mrs Stotered" (stotered means "drunk" around here)
Her real name was Sherlock and she a famous for her big ballads
She game our singer, Martin Howley a song she called 'The Old Armchair' - the only version of 'Fair Margaret and Sweet William' (Child 74) ever to turn up in Ireland
It Began, "Knight William was sitting on his old armchair"

Mrs Maguire's song is definitely the one I was looking for - she was remarkable woman for her small repertoire of songs - the Ballad Geordie, turns up as 'The Jersey' nad there's a nice version of 'The Cherry Tree Carol', and a version of 'The Lion's Den'
There is noo information about her and, as with all these singers, you can't be sure where they came from
She is listed as 'Belfast' but that is almost certainly where she was recorded.
We're attending the launch of a double C.D. of Robert Cinnamond songs later this year - he was listed as 'Belfast' but that is not where he was from.
Thanks for the text - much appreciated
Best
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 01:05 PM

By the way
Many of the songs we recorded in Clare can be heard on the Clare County Library Website under Songs from the Carroll Mackenzie collection at Clare library

Will post you my e-mail address - not too busy; I only do this sort of thing to keep me from hanging around street corners !!

Message been sent
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Wm
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 02:04 PM

Jim wrote: I think that the 'Two Magicians' Tom Munnelly was referring to was Charles O'Boyle's two verses of 'Hares on the Mountain'

Bronson's speculation on form aside, is there any evidence connecting TWO MAGICIANS with HARES ON THE MOUNTAIN? In the context of this project there's not much harm in erring on the side of inclusivity, but my feeling is that it's a tenuous association at best.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 02:20 PM

I once heard a radio documentary about Tom Munnelly's song collecting work where he explained how he almost missed recording Martin Howley's "Knight William", an important ballad because he thought Martin wanted to sing him "Granny's Old Armchair".

Martin was telling him again and again that he wanted to sing him "The Old Armchair" and Tom dismissed it as not worth recording and asked for other songs until he finally gave in and was amazed when it turned out to be a unique version of a Child Ballad.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 02:51 PM

I agree entirely - it used to be called The Lord Gregory Syndrome" - anything that mentioned "shoeing your pretty little feet" was a version of Child 76
I decided to carry out this project using Tom Munnelly's list - Tom was the finest ballad scholar I ever knew and I'm sure he would have been selective in his writing - this list was a rough guide rather than a close study
For my part, it disturbs me contrary to how the older singers chose their traditional repertoire, many of the newer singers have more or less ignored the narrative aspects of their tradition - apart from a few exceptions, the ballads don't get sung
I can only hope this redresses the imbalance
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 02:53 PM

Tom introduced us to Martin - we went with him short;y after he got 'The Old Armchair'
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 03:31 PM

Jim,
there is an Irish version of "The Twa Brothers" (Child 49) after all.
It was recorded very recently, in 2016 in Co. Galway from a Traveller, Maggie Mongins:

1st Recording:
The Two Brothers (Take 1) - Maggie Mongins

2nd Recording:
The Two Brothers (Take 2) - Maggie Mongins

It does turn into "Edward" about halfway through, just like some of the old Scottish versions of "Twa Brothers" do, but it is undeniably a version of Child 49.

It's wonderful that gems like this are being recorded even nowadays from the travelling people.
Our knowledge of ballads and folk stories would be much poorer if it weren't for them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jun 18 - 03:53 AM

Many, many thaks Kevin - you really have taken a dog-with-a-bone approach to this
It's a beautiful version (we are in the dept of Travellers again)
There seems to be no information of the collector, location or where it is held (it looks like it might be the British Library)
It isn't the one referred to on Tom's list - he died over ten years ago and the list was completed at least ten years before that
I wouldn't be surprised if his came from Travellers as well
I'll continue to chase up the one he referred to so I can legitimately add it to the folder; failing that, I'll put in your link and transcribe the text - I'm sure nobody can complain about that
John Mouldon was at Galway Uni and he's offered to help
THe Travellers, both in Scotland and Ireland, have been the saviour of many of the ballads

Years ago, I began to compile a collection of our Traveller recordings with a view to publishing them - I chose a hundred pus songs and as many stories - there a masses of interviews containing detailed information of the oral traditions of Travellers
Thanks to the demise of the Celtic Tiger Arts fundinging for such projects died up and I shelved it
Last week a nice lady from the World Music Dept of Limerick University visited us and we discussed the possibility of moving the work along - a fair amount is already completed
I am hoping to get her advice in the next few weeks when she sees what I have doe so far - fingers crossed
Thanks again
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 15 Jun 18 - 05:42 AM

Jim, did you check the other Maggie Mongins stuff? here


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jun 18 - 06:32 AM

Hi Peter, no I didn't
Some interesting stuff there
Interesting that it confirms it to be The Song Collectors Collective.
Fascinating that there should be another version of The House Carpenter - the only other version recorded in ireland was from a singer who learned it in America, where it is common.
I have a few issues with The Collective, mainly that they provide very little information as to the origins of their material, regarding both the singers and the collectors.
For me, that makes the songs artifacts rather than expressions of the people and the communities they came from
Some time ago a 'Collective' member was featured on a radio programme, where he spoke about Tipperary Traveller, Mary Delaney as if he had personally known and recorded her - he hadn't
The recording of her he played was from our 'From Puck to Appleby' album
Our part as collectors in recording these songs is unimportant but the background to the recording of these songs is part of their continued transmission and needs to be made available.
I may be over-sensitive over these issues, but in the end, it is us who have to answer to the singers and their families regarding the use made of the recordings
Field work never really got over the Peter Kennedy era and is still fighting the suspicion that gave rise to.
Many thanks Peter - the responses to this project are giving me a real buzz.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: KarenJoyce
Date: 15 Jun 18 - 11:57 AM

I hope I am not stepping into something political here. I simply want to point out there is a bit more information available than just the sound files for the material on SoundCloud for which Peter Laban provided a link above.

I looked at the web page of The Song Collectors Collective (here) and found that there is some information (perhaps not as much as would be wished) about the singers, including some of their own words. The amount of information varies, so if one looks scant, don't assume all are equally so.

You get to it by clicking on 'TRADITION BEARERS' at the top. This takes you to a page with an image and a bit of text about each person, and if you click on one of these you get to a page with information about them along with the material they provided. In some cases there is more than one link to (what I assume to be) the same sound file, and for me sometimes one would work and another not, so don't give up at the first failure.

As for the collectors, the 'SCC TEAM' is listed under 'ABOUT' (at the top). I have not explored deeply enough to know whether 'the team' means all the collectors represented on the site or a subset who have overall responsibility. To learn more about these individuals, however, it appears one has to go back to one's search engin of choice to see what might be available on the Internet about them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 15 Jun 18 - 12:42 PM

I really didn't mean to cause any controversy, I was just excited to hear a recording of "Twa Brothers" from Ireland and wanted to share it.

To be honest, I don't know much about the persons behind the Song Collectors Collective.
Sam Lee is a "modern" (as in not quite my taste) folk revival singer, but he seems to be a nice person and I'm grateful to him for recording many of the remaining traveller families.

It's really interesting to compare the songs that he and his friends recorded with previous recordings, especially those that Jim and Tom Munnelly made because many come from the same family traditions.

Jim's right, though, it's a shame that the SCC doesn't provide more background info on where the singers learned their songs.
Many songs in the SCC collection are quite intriguing, and it would help clear some mistery if we knew here the singers learned them...

Here's what they have to say about Maggie Mongins:
Maggie Mongins - Tradition Bearer

There's a lot of interesting stuff to be found there, this song is related to the beautiful "When I Was in Horseback", from Mary Doran:
As I Went Out Walking One Fine Summer's Morning - Molly Collins

Here's an Irish version of the "House Carpenter":
The House Carpenter - Willie Heaney

This fragment may or may not be related to John Reilly's "The Well Below The Valley":
There's A Well Down In The Valley (fragment) - Julia Power

Here's another one of John Reilly's rare songs:
The Sea Captain (Take 3) - Tom Stokes

Like I said, it's all quite intriguing, but we know nothing about the song's origins, meanings, what the singer's think about their songs etc. and that's a shame.
That "House Carpenter", for example, could be either a true rare survival of a ballad thought extinct in Britain and Ireland or it could be learned from the radio/record of a Revival Singer, we just don't know...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 15 Jun 18 - 12:50 PM

Sorry, I messed up the link to Julia Power's song:
There's A Well Down In The Valley (fragment) - Julia Power


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jun 18 - 01:40 PM

I didn't mean this to be an issue and I'm grateful for the information provided by Karen
We always tried to keep our singers in touch with what happened to the songs and information that they gave us
WE nearly go into hot water in the very early days when we passed on recordings to someone who said he was carrying it out research, only to learn from one of our Traveller friends that it was used in a radio broadcast
As it transpired, we had made enough friend in the Travelling community to be ably to maintain the trust we had built up - that trust lasted for thirty years until our last singer died
THe story of the abuse of Tom Munnelly's recordings of John Reilly songs by P. K. is a legendary example of both a collector and an extremely important and very generous singer being ripped off
As far as I am concerned, this music belongs to us all - or rather, it belongs to nobody
We have always been more than happy to pass on what we record on request, but at the same time, we needed to show our singers that we weren't exploiting them
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 02:08 AM

Hope my diversion hasn't put anybody off - if it has, I apologise
I'm all but finished the preliminary stages of this project; I'm waiting for a few bits of information to tie up the missing songs from Tom's list
There are a few additions I'm considering

There are four songs in Irish which are versions of Child ballads or are reputed to be related to have originated from them
Joe Heaney and JUnior Crehan (a Clare fiddle player we recorde) both sang versions of Lord Randal (no question they are the same as the ballad)
Joe sang a song similar to Our Goodman
An Mahaighdean Mhara (The Mermaid) is reputed to be a version of The Two Sisters
Like many Irish language songs, it is part of a longer story - in this case, a jealous waiting maid is combing her mistresses hair on the seashore, she ties her mistress's hair to the rocks and she is drowned
The maid marries the master of the house and brings up his child
I've never been convinced that this is related to the ballad - others are
I can't remember the fourth, but I think it may be 'Maid Freed from the Gallows'

I intend to include children's versions of ballads - Lord Randal (Henry My Son), The Cruel Mother (Weela-Weela-Walya); I need to check if there are others

I am trying to decide whether I should include ballads which haven't been recorded, but just written down
There is a version of THe Two Sisters written down from an Irishman in Liverpool by Frank Kidson

Many thanks for your assistance and encouragement - any other thoughts would be welcome
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 06:49 AM

This is just my opinion, but I think you should include Irish Language songs if the story is close enough to the Child Ballad.

I also think that you might as well include written down texts, especially if there's no sound recording available of that particular ballad.
That way it'll be a complete overview of all the Child Ballads known to have been sung in Ireland.(And hopefully get people to sing them again)

I have a question, are you going to include a single "definite" version of each Child Ballad or will you include multiple versions where available?
Anyways, I wish you best of luck with your project, I'm looking forward to seeing/hearing it when it's completed.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 08:16 AM

This is just my opinion, but I think you should include Irish Language songs if the story is close enough to the Child Ballad.

A very interesting statement and one that moves us further away from F.J. Child's statement of intent, given in the title of his tome, English & Scottish Ballads.
All of the ballads Child includes are in some form of language that should be comprehensible to those who can read English even if some are in quite archaic versions of English or in related Scottish forms; Lallans, Doric, etc.
If we were to consider all the recognisable ballad stories that have transferred themselves into other languages then we are making a vast extension of Child's original concept and quite quickly shade into entirely different forms of expression.
Let's just take one example - King Orfeo (Child 19) - The text given is from the singing of a Mr Andrew Coutts of Unst, Shetland by Mr Biot Edmondston. Subsequently another text version came to light - a more complete text, from a Bruce Sutherland of Turf House, North Yell, Shetland in 1865.
The ballad has been collected in the oral tradition twice in Shetland, both from distant ancestors of mine, from John Stickle (by Pat Shuldham Shaw) and Kitty Anderson (by Francis Collinson). Both these versions and the one given in Child have response lines in Norn, the ancient Viking language of Shetland. Interestingly, these responses refer to a hart running through a wood though on last month's really enjoyable stay on Shetland, I saw neither tree nor deer!
This ballad has been collected in in a arc of locations from Northern Norway, through Shetland, the Faroes (quite a few times) and even a suggestion of a fragment from Iceland and only the Shetland versions have any English in them.
King Orfeo is taken to be a real historic character, based on a King of Thrace from the 6th century BC and if we are to consider every version of his story then we have to go back at least as far as Ovid and Virgil and all the countless takes that have been put on the story of Orpheus and Eurydice and all many minstrels' stories, novels, romances, operas etc. that have been based on that.

Perhaps someone would like to undertake that study and tell me they get on!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 08:17 AM

I'll include multiple versions if they are different enough to merit it - there doesn't seem much point in putting in similar too similar versions
Thanks for your help and encouragement
I'm now gathering texts of all the songs and perhaps selecting some background information on ballad singing in Ireland - we have recorded lectures by Tom Munnelly and Hugh Shields and a few articles
Hopefully it could make a useful package
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 09:07 AM

Vic has a good argument there.

On the other hand, the Irish and English languages have co-existed in Ireland for several centuries, albeit for much of the time not at all harmoniously. Quite a few songs in Irish have been translated into English and we might expect some to have gone the other way. So perhaps a ballad in Irish deserves to be included if it looks like a translation from a Child ballad, but not if it looks like an independent telling of the same story, and not if it tells a related but different story.

Then again, "a related but different story" applies to some versions in English.

My two penn'orth!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 09:27 AM

- To Vic Smith:
This is something I have always been struggling with.
When you are making a collection of Child Ballads, where do you stop?

Francis James Child did mention foreign language analogues to the ballads he categorized, but many of them were only distantly related or happened to contain a similar feature by coincidence.
There might be some, like the Joe Heaney's Irish Lord Randall, for example, which are very closely related to their English Language counterparts, but that's the problem, how to decide what to include and what to leave out?

A similar problem are ballads like Earl Brand, The Douglas Tragedy, Child of Elle, Erlinton and The Bold Soldier/Keeper/Dragoon.
Or what about Henry Martin and Sir Andrew Barton?
What about Katharine Jaffray and The Green Wedding?
The Three Ravens and The Twa Corbies?

All tell more or less the same story, all of them are English/Scottish and yet I would (again, that's just my opinion) consider them to be separate ballads.

I often don't know where to draw the line between where one ballad stops and another begins and by which criterias we should separate them or treat them as the same thing.
Sometimes ballads we consider to be variants of the same differ in story details, sometimes story details are the reason we separate them, it's all quite confusing.

Now I don't want to derail this thread again, but could you point me towards any texts or recordings of non English variants of the King Orfeo ballad?
I'd be interested in learning more about them.

There's just so much that's worth discussing and thinking about that it's hard for me to keep focused on one subject.

I'm aware of a Swedish song, Harpans Kraft, which does have some similarities to the Orfeo story, but I wouldn't call that a version of the same ballad.
Two beautiful field recordings of Harpans Kraft are on the CD "Den Medeltida Balladen", sung by Ester Sjöberg and Svea Jansson.

I have uploaded them to Soundcloud, if you're interested in hearing them:
Harpans Kraft - Ester Sjöberg
Harpans Kraft - Svea Jansson

King Orfeo is one of those ballads that fascinates me, I wonder how the medieval lay of Sir Orfeo turned into a local Shetland ballad...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 09:55 AM

I hope that Jim doesn't mind the thread drift, but in response to what Kevin writes:-

As far as I remember, my information about the spread of King Orfeo came to me from a talk at a festival (Whitby?) given by Peter Shepheard. I've tried to find this on the internet, but the only reference to it that I can find you can read by clicking here where Pete writes:-
The ballad is also still to be found in the oral tradition in Norway.

and to bring it back to Ireland.....
I do not speak Irish of Scots Gaelic, but I have been told by those with a knowledge of Gaelic culture that the ballad form is unknown in these languages and that any appearance of it would indicate a translation, most likely from English.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 11:06 AM

Happy to see this go wherever it goes Vic
King Ofeo has always fascinated me
There was a pubblished sizeable study of it back in the sixties, - I was put off by all the 'funny writing" - I regret never having bought it now.

"the ballad form is unknown in these languages"
Depends what you mean by the term - narrative songs are certainly rare. but there are a few (I believe - I'm not an Irish speaker)
Joe's version of Lord Randal ir repetitive rather than narrative - it was suggested once that he made it himself from his contact with Ewan and the revival, but we have the recording o the interview where he sings it for Ewan and Peggy, and Junior Crehan's version confirms that an Irish text was current when he learned it early in the 20th century.
One of the articles I'm thinking of putting in this package is by Hugh Shield who (I think) deals with Irish language ballads - it's a long time since I read it.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 11:26 AM

I'll stop drifting to other topics now, I promise.

I don't know much about Irish Language songs, but I'll be looking forward to Hugh Shield's article or anything else on the subject.
I'm always eager to learn something new, and Irish and Scots singing is a topic I've completely ignored so far.

I also didn't know that ballads were mostly unknown Irish and Scots Gaelic culture. I guess I just blindly assumed that they'd exist in pretty much any European language.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 11:42 AM

"I'll stop drifting to other topics now, I promise."
It really doesn't matter Kevin
I'll reopen this thread as a progress report, but that shouldn't stop people using it as they wish to - the more the merrier
It's good to see people discussing ballads
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 01:46 PM

Thank you, Jim.
I'm glad I found the courage to post on mudcat.

It's great to exchange thoughts and learn something from other like minded people.
I don't know anybody (outside of mudcat) who has even the slightest interest in traditional music, except my father.

It takes time to appreciate ballad singing, many people have short attention spans nowadays, maybe that's the reason it's not very popular anymore.
I play field recordings to my friends and family from time to time, but they prefer the "fancy" modern sounding stuff over singing in the old style, if they even like folk music at all.

They do like the stories of the ballads, though, when I explain them to them.
My dad also likes it when I play him the "original" versions of songs he knows from the Dubliners, Clancy Brothers, Martin Carthy, Steeleye Span and whatnot.

I don't mean to discredit these performers, but we tend to forget the people who gave this music to us so generously.
Without Tom Lenihan, Nora Cleary, Jeannie Robertson, Duncan Williamson, Walter Pardon, Sam Larner and all the others there would be no folk music.

My hat's off to people like you, Jim, for going out and recording the men and women who grew up with traditional music and for allowing us to get an insight into their culture and way of living which has disappeared forever. (And for sharing the fruits of your work with us all)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 02:45 PM

"My hat's off to people like you, Jim,"
It was a pleasure Kevin - done for the enjoyment - and it was a privilege to spend time with every one of them
Not long before Martin Howley died we heard hed'd been ill so we went to visit him
We'd been there for about five minutes when he asked did we have a tape recorder with us
Pat hastened to explain that we hadn't come to record but to see how he was.
He replied, "I am a poor man; I have nothing to leave behind me but my songs".
Pat chokes up whenever she tells that story.

Similarly, the day before we returned home to London, Martin's fellow Noth-Clareman, Pat MacNamara handed us a scrap of paper with a list of stories and songs he hadn't yet given us - he said, "I haven't told you these yet, but I will when you come back next year - if I'm not here, come up to the graveyard and I'll tell them up to you".
Pat died the following winter.

With memories like those, you don't need much else
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 02:50 PM

Missssed one.
Old bachelor, Martin Reidy - the "long song singer" (one of them lasted for over 15 minutes), sat back after a recording session one afternoon and told us "You know, I'm delighted when you started to take down my songs.
I was so worried they would die out when I passed that I tried to teach the dog to sing them".
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 02:59 PM

Martin Reidy - the "long song singer" (one of them lasted for over 15 minutes)
Huh! Our local hero, Gordon Hall, was only getting into his stride after a quarter of an hour.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: GUEST,RA
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 03:40 AM

Guest, Kevin W writes: "I also didn't know that ballads were mostly unknown Irish and Scots Gaelic culture."

'Ballads' in the Anglo-Saxon sense of rhyming quatrains might not exist in Scottish Gaelic, but then there are the ancient lays which in a narrative, if not structural sense could be construed as ballads... songs such as 'Am Bron Binn', which is notable as being a rare occurrence of Arthurian material in the Gaelic language. There's a whole book about that song, 'Am Bron Binn: An Arthurian Ballad in Scottish Gaelic' by Linda Gowans. Then there are all the fenian lays, the material from which James McPherson constructed his 'Ossian'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 03:43 AM

Hope his song was more interesting than 'The True Lover's Discussion' (the one Martin sang) which was a debate between the merits and demerits of their different religions
We have a recording of Martin singing it at a session at the local Summer School
In deference to the unfamiliar listeners, he decided to halt the song before the end (it's that sort of song)
The locals who were familiar with the song howled in protest that he should finish it - he grinned and pushed on to the end
I have to say that, while the subject matter doesn't interest me particularly, Martin's singing always brought the song alive for me.

MaColl told us how, when he first started singing big ballads in public, he used to divide his longest, 'Gil Morice' into two halves, part before the interval, part after.
One night, a somewhat tipsy regular approached him in the in the interval and berated him for the practice - "it's like waiting for the other ***** shoe to drop"
Several singers (including Ewan) have told us that if you can get a song to work for you, you can get it work for whoever is listening.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 03:47 AM

Sorry - didn't quite finish that point
Walter Pardon once sang us his version of 'Van Diemen's Land' (with the refrain at the end of each verse)
At the end he commented "That's a long old song, but it was a long, old journey" - in my opinion, a perfect example of a singer involved in his song
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Liberty Boy
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 10:29 AM

Jim, In his book “Narrative Singing in Ireland” published in 1993 Hugh Shields says “Only two ballads seem to have gone into Irish retaining something of the ballad character”. He then names them as “Cá rabhais ar Feadh an Lae uaim” a version of Lord Randal (Child 12) collected in Roscommon in 1905 and “Muire agus Naomh Ioseph” The Cherry Tree Carol (Child 54) collected in 1897 also in Roscommon. Both edited by Douglas Hyde. Perhaps Muire agus Naomh Ioseph should be included in your list?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 10:45 AM

Thanks J
I know that
Since then, Seven Drunken Nights' and more recently, 'The Two Sisters' have been suggested
Thanks for 'The Cherry Tree Carol' - that's the one I forgot
I don't think there are any recorded song versions

Best to Con Fada on Friday, would have loved to be there but Hotels are as precious as final tickets these days
(ditto for Rosie)
Jim


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