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British supernatural folk-songs...?

GUEST,BlackAcornUK 24 Oct 19 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,BlackAcornUK 24 Oct 19 - 01:28 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Oct 19 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 24 Oct 19 - 01:43 PM
Iains 24 Oct 19 - 02:19 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Oct 19 - 02:35 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 24 Oct 19 - 02:43 PM
Dave Sutherland 25 Oct 19 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 25 Oct 19 - 06:33 PM
gillymor 25 Oct 19 - 06:49 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Oct 19 - 06:50 PM
Jack Campin 25 Oct 19 - 06:58 PM
theleveller 26 Oct 19 - 03:21 AM
Iains 26 Oct 19 - 04:43 AM
Big Al Whittle 26 Oct 19 - 05:36 AM
Ged Fox 26 Oct 19 - 05:59 AM
Brian Peters 26 Oct 19 - 06:12 AM
punkfolkrocker 27 Oct 19 - 03:14 PM
Dave Hanson 27 Oct 19 - 03:35 PM
Mr Red 28 Oct 19 - 03:00 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Oct 19 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,Kenny B(Inactive) 28 Oct 19 - 05:01 AM
Susan of DT 28 Oct 19 - 05:15 AM
DMcG 28 Oct 19 - 03:18 PM
Mrrzy 29 Oct 19 - 12:39 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 19 - 02:15 PM
Brian Peters 29 Oct 19 - 05:08 PM
Stewie 29 Oct 19 - 08:52 PM
rich-joy 30 Oct 19 - 02:15 AM
GUEST,ottery 30 Oct 19 - 06:17 AM
GUEST,ottery 30 Oct 19 - 06:20 AM
Sarah the flute 31 Oct 19 - 04:10 PM
GUEST 15 Oct 20 - 05:51 AM
Rumncoke 15 Oct 20 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,.gaegoyle 15 Oct 20 - 09:51 PM
Mrrzy 16 Oct 20 - 08:56 AM
Gordon Jackson 16 Oct 20 - 12:26 PM
The Sandman 16 Oct 20 - 04:30 PM
Felipa 16 Oct 20 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 01 Oct 23 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 01 Oct 23 - 08:23 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Oct 23 - 10:33 AM
The Og 01 Oct 23 - 06:27 PM
GUEST,RJM 02 Oct 23 - 02:54 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 02 Oct 23 - 05:32 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 02 Oct 23 - 05:34 PM
Mrrzy 02 Oct 23 - 09:42 PM
GUEST,RJM 03 Oct 23 - 03:11 AM
Jim Dixon 31 Oct 23 - 12:27 PM
Senoufou 01 Nov 23 - 04:31 AM
Senoufou 01 Nov 23 - 04:53 AM
Jim Dixon 01 Nov 23 - 01:21 PM
Jim Dixon 01 Nov 23 - 03:55 PM
Reinhard 02 Nov 23 - 12:32 AM
GUEST,paperback 02 Nov 23 - 01:06 AM
GUEST,paperback 02 Nov 23 - 01:34 AM
Jim Dixon 03 Nov 23 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 01 Oct 23 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,RJM 03 Oct 23 - 03:11 AM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 01 Oct 23 - 08:23 AM
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Mrrzy 02 Oct 23 - 09:42 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Oct 23 - 10:33 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 02 Oct 23 - 05:32 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 02 Oct 23 - 05:34 PM
The Og 01 Oct 23 - 06:27 PM
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Jim Dixon 01 Nov 23 - 01:21 PM
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Subject: British supernatural/macabre folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 01:25 PM

As we approach the Eve of All Hallows, I wanted to ask - what British traditional songs do people know of, that engage with the supernatural, or otherwise grisly or chilling material befitting of the season?

Songs that immediately spring to mind include Death and the Lady, Long Lankin, The Cruel Mother, Reynardine etc., but I'm really interested to gather other examples.

Not technically traditional numbers, but the recordings of Mr Fox are also an excellent source of ghastly/ghoulish material.

[Some song titles in this thread have been converted to links by a Mudelf.]


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 01:28 PM

PS I did a search to check whether or not there was already a thread - and all I could find was focused on American ballads (see below). Apologies if there was already another thread that I've missed!

/mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=39820&messages=54


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Subject: Lyr Add: BURKE AND HARE
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 01:37 PM

Unquiet Grave
Wife of Usher's Well
The Grey Cock - several versions

All wonderfully serious
There are wonderful children's versions of Death and the Lady - one begins
"If ever you see a hearse go by"
Another finishes with the singer shouting "For you" and grabbing the nearest listener
Can be very funny but best keep the defibrillator handy
Jim Carroll

I often roll this out this time of year, given the opportunity

BURKE AND HARE

William Burke it is my name
I stand condemned alone.
I left my native Ireland
In the county of Tyrone.
And o'er to Scotland I did sail,
Employment for to find;
No thought of cruel murder
Was then into my mind.

At Edinburgh, trade was slack,
No work there could I find;
And so I took the road again,
To Glasgow was inclined;
But stopping at the West-port
To find refreshment there,
0 cursed be the evil hour
I met with William Hare!

With flattering words, he greeted me
And said good fortune smiled;
He treated me to food and drink
And I was soon beguiled;
He said: "There's riches to be had,
And fortune's to be made,
For anatomists have need of us.
So join me in that trade.

Hare he kept a lodging-house
Therein a man had died,
His death went unreported
And of burial was denied
We put the dead man in a cart
And through the streets did ride.
And Robert Knox, the atomist,
The dead man he did buy.

To rob the new-dug graves by night
It was not our intent;
To be taken by the night watch
Or by spies was not our bent.
The plan belonged to William Hare
And so the plot was laid,
He said that "murder's safer
Than the resurrection trade."

Two women they were in the plot
The wife of William Hare,
The other called McDougal,
And travellers they did snare;
They lured them to the lodging house
And when they'd drunken deep,
Hare and me, we smothered them
As they lay fast asleep.

At first in fear and dread I was
But later grew more bold,
In nine short months, we killed fifteen
And then their bodies sold.
The doctors did not question us,
But quickly paid our fee,
The price they paid, it prospered us,
Both William Hare and me.

But soon our crimes they were found out
In jail we were confined,
And cruel guilt it tore my heart
And much despairs my mind;
And Hare, who first ensnared me
And led me far astray
Has turned King’s evidence on me
And sworn my life away


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 01:43 PM

Hurrah! Die Toten reiten schnell!

Erm, yes, I know that's "Deutsch" and not "English."
It's a quote from Gottfried August Buerger's "Lenore,"
which has been set to music by numerous composers.
tive about
The Suffolk Miracle?
Both Child and Roud I believe.

Maybe there are songs about that in English.

(By the way, an English translation of the above:
Hurrah! The dead ride swiftly!)


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Iains
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 02:19 PM

Perhaps "The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry," a traditional folk song from Shetland and Orkney. A woman has her child taken away by its father, the great selkie of Sule Skerry which can transform from a seal into a human. The woman is fated to marry a gunner who will harpoon the selkie and their son. (Child ballad number 113)

and this thread
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=39820
Supernatural Ballads....??


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE DUNDEE GHOST (Matt McGinn)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 02:35 PM

This
THE DUNDEE GHOST
By Matt McGinn

Noo a deid man seldom walks, he very rarely talks,    (dead)
It’s no very often you’ll see him running aroond,
But I’m a refugee from a graveyard in Dundee
And I’ve come tae haunt some houses in Glasgow Toon
And I’ve come tae haunt some hooses in Glasgow Toon.

Noo the reason I arose was to get masel’ some clothes, (myself)
For I really get helluva cold below the ground,
And I whispered tae masel’, “ah, I think I might as well
Hang aroond a while and ha’e some fun,
I’ll hang around a while and ha’e some fun”.

Noo a chap put oot his light on a cold and frosty night,
I showed him one of ma eyes and I skelped his head, (smacked)
He said “Oh”, and I said “boo” he says, “who the hell are you” ?
I said, “don’t be feart, I’m on’y a man that’s deid,   (afraid)
Oh no, don’t be feart, I’m only a man that’s deid”.

Well the feller knelt and prayed and this is what he said;
“Oh why, in the name of God have you picked on me”   ?
So I battered him on the lug and I pulled awa’ his rug. (ear)
“The reason”, I said “is just tae let you see”.
“The reason” , I said, “is just tae let you see”.

Well he brought the polis in and I belted him on the chin,   (police(man)
The polis turned aroond and he blamed my friend.
And he marched him aff tae jile and he’ll be in there quite a while, (off to gaol)
But I’ll see naebody taks his single end,      (House of one apartment, flat)
Oh, no, I’ll see naebody taks his single end.

Noo the polis thought him daft and a lot of people laughed
When the feller said a ghost was in his hoose,
But what the feller said was true and I might be visiting you,
So just remember. I’m still on the loose,
Aye, just remember, I’m still on the loose.

TUNE HERE
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 24 Oct 19 - 02:43 PM

The Holland Handkerchief is a brilliant other-worldly ballad, which I remember Packie* singing. He wrote out the words for me in his beautiful handwriting, and I have them in a file box somewhere in this barn of a house. (This was in the pre-computer/word processor days, so they never got Typed Up For Posterity.) I loved the air too, suitably minor-key and brooding.

Anyway, the words are on this excellent website, and his version is the one Norma Waterson sings (scroll down, bottom left). In fact, I think he was the one who gave it to them, many years ago. Link is:

https://mainlynorfolk.info/watersons/songs/thehollandhandkerchief.html

And - if Ireland can be included - there's always She Moved Through The Fair, though it probably doesn't qualify as traditional because some of the words are said to have been written by Padraic Colum, a County Longford poet who is still in copyright. There's disagreement about the extent of his input, covered in more detail on Wiki. He apparently composed/collected it in Donegal, Packie's home county.

- - -
* Packie Manus Byrne, for anyone who doesn't already know.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 25 Oct 19 - 07:08 AM

The London broadside "The Midwife's Ghost" is in the DT.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 25 Oct 19 - 06:33 PM

Riddles (Child 1)
False Knight
Two Sisters
Sweet William's Ghost
Young Benjie (really spooky, this one).

Various witchcraft ballads, eg:
Willie's Lady
King Henry
Alison Gross
T
The supernatural element in Reynardine is a fake, though - see previous threads.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE TWO MAGICIANS (A. L. Lloyd)
From: gillymor
Date: 25 Oct 19 - 06:49 PM

The Two Magicians - Bert Lloyd w/ Dave Swarbrick

The Two Magicians

The lady stood at her own front door
As straight as a willow wand,
And along there come a husky smith
With a hammer in his hand.

And he said,

[Refrain]
“Bide lady, bide,
There's nowhere you can hide.
The husky smith will be your love
And that'll pull down your pride.

“Well may you dress, you lady fair,
All in your robes of red.
Before tomorrow at this same time
I'll have your maidenhead.”

Saying,
[Refrain]

“Away, away, you coal blacksmith,
Would you do me this wrong?
To think to have me maidenhead
That I have kept so long.

“I'd rather I was dead and cold
And my body laid in the grave
Than a husky, dusty, coal blacksmith
My maidenhead should have.”

Then the lady she held up her hand
And swore upon her soul,
She never would be the blacksmith's love
For all of a box of gold.

And the blacksmith he held up his hand
And he swore upon the mass,
“I'll have you for me love, me girl,
For the half of that or less.”

Saying,
[Refrain]

Then she became a turtle dove
And flew up in the air,
And he became an old cock pigeon
And they flew pair and pair.

And he cooed,
[Refrain]

And she became a little duck,
A-floating in the pond,
And he became a pink-necked drake
And chased her round and round.

Quacking,
[Refrain]

She turned herself into a hare
And ran upon the plain,
And he became a greyhound dog
And fetched her back again.

Barking,
[Refrain]

And she became a little ewe sheep
And lay all on the common,
And he became a shaggy old ram
And swiftly fell upon her.

Saying,
[Refrain]

She changed herself to a swift young mare
As dark as the night was black,
And he became a golden saddle
And clung unto her back.

Saying,
[Refrain]

And she became a little green fly,
A-flew up in the air,
And he became a hairy spider
And fetched her in his lair.

Saying,
[Refrain]

Then she became a hot griddle
And he became a cake,
And every change that poor girl made
The blacksmith was her mate.

Saying,
[Refrain]

She turned herself to a full-dressed ship
A-sailing on the sea,
And he became a captain bold
And aboard of her went he.

Saying,
[Refrain]

So the lady ran in her own bedroom
And changed into a bed,
And he became a green coverlet
And gained her maidenhead.

And was she woe, he held her so,
And still he bad her bide,
And the husky smith became her love
And that pulled down her pride.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Oct 19 - 06:50 PM

"The supernatural element in Reyardine is a fake, though -"
Debatable Brian
We heard part of an Irish version of it from two elderly farming brothers in North Clare and they first told it as a ghost story
They said they got it from local Travellers
Stranger things....!
Jim


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Oct 19 - 06:58 PM

Two Magicians
The Wife of Usher's Well

While it never got into folk tradition, the song about the murderer Mary McKinnon I included in my "Embro, Embro" pages, where her dissected corpse rises from the grave to deliver an awful warning, reaches a level of Grand Guignol horror that I doubt has ever been matched in popular literature.

I've also included the actual chant used by the witches of North Berwick to raise a storm intended to kill James VI in 1592, with a purported tune. You sing it with jew's harp accompaniment. Easily singable but I've never heard it done. Fearties.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: theleveller
Date: 26 Oct 19 - 03:21 AM

Tam Lin.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Iains
Date: 26 Oct 19 - 04:43 AM

"Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight" (Child #4; Roud #21)
The Two Magicians
[ Roud 1350 ; Child 44 ; G/D 2:334 ; Ballad Index C044 ; trad.]


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Oct 19 - 05:36 AM

With her 'ead tucked underneath her arm


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Ged Fox
Date: 26 Oct 19 - 05:59 AM

My Lady's Coach

My Lady's Coach alternative tune


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 Oct 19 - 06:12 AM

Debatable Brian
We heard part of an Irish version of it from two elderly farming brothers in North Clare and they first told it as a ghost story.


Interesting, Jim. I was referring to Bert Lloyd's 'brightly shining teeth', but I'd accept that the Rinordine character does seem quite sinister in some other versions.

With her 'ead tucked underneath her arm"

Often in my repertoire around this time of year.

'The Frozen Girl' isn't supernatural, but the idea of driving around in a carriage with a corpse as a passenger is a bit creepy.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 27 Oct 19 - 03:14 PM

Personl tastes and all that...

But this version My Lady's Coach

is the one more to my liking...

Now if only there was a version with droning Northumbrian smallpipes...???


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 27 Oct 19 - 03:35 PM

You have to admit, whoever wrote it, it's quite chilling,

Both day and night she's followed him,
His teeth did brightly shine,
As he led her over the mountains,
Did this sly bold Reynardine.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Mr Red
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:00 AM

Supernatural cf ghosts and witches is a fine distinction - have a look at - Halloween playlists


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 04:03 AM

Then there's that classic about the brides in the bath murderer


https://soundcloud.com/denise_whittle/george-joseph-smith


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,Kenny B(Inactive)
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 05:01 AM

How about the Highwayman by Alfred Noyes set to music at

The Highwayman - Loreena McKennitt

Or Dundee Cat Sung by Hamish Imlach


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 05:15 AM

Check out several keywords in the Digital Tradition: @myth @devil @witch @fairy


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: DMcG
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:18 PM

I hadn't heard "The Ballad of Cursed Anna" for a few decades before I sang it at a local club three years ago. I have heard it about a dozen times since....
... but that may be a lack of attention on my part! I doubt if I am any kind of trendsetter in such things.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 12:39 PM

Twa magicians is awfully rapey.

The Dublin Murder [a.k.a. Green Grows the Laurel] (he stabbed her and ripped her and cut her in 3)

I think most of my ghost ballads have already been mentioned.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 02:15 PM

"he stabbed her and ripped her and cut her in 3"
PRETTY POLLY (never heard it located in Dublin)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 05:08 PM

"he stabbed her and ripped her and cut her in 3"

Er, wasn't it her that did that to him?

Unless we're talking about that rather nasty version of Lizzie Wan?


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 08:52 PM

This was referred to above by Bonnie. Lovely rendition.

The Holland Handkerchief

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: rich-joy
Date: 30 Oct 19 - 02:15 AM

That was indeed lovely, Stewie!!

Re the OP's request, I'm surprised no one has mentioned "Lyke Wake Dirge", which, a la Young Tradition, I recall being a popular one at this turn of the year - perhaps not "supernatural" but fitting the "chilling material befitting of the season" in the original request!!

Cheers, R-J


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,ottery
Date: 30 Oct 19 - 06:17 AM

Interested to hear that there's a German cousin of The Suffolk Miracle (which I also know under the name The Holland Handkerchief). When I was a child, I had a collection of folk stories from the Fen Country called The Dead Moon. The Suffolk Miracle was one of them, and it terrified me so much it gave me nightmares. Still scares me, though I enjoy the song. In terms of spooky/supernatural ballads, I did.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,ottery
Date: 30 Oct 19 - 06:20 AM

Hmm, the rest of my post has been eaten. Serves me right for trying to write on my phone on a train. I was trying to mention The Huntsman, which I know from a Fay Hield album. Last verse very creepy. https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/thehuntsman.html


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Sarah the flute
Date: 31 Oct 19 - 04:10 PM

White dog of Yockenthwaite? sung by Artisan


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 20 - 05:51 AM

Cruel Ship's Carpenter
Molly Vaughan
Two Sisters

And my favourite:

A lady stood at the churchyard door (ooh aah).

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 15 Oct 20 - 08:11 PM

There's 'The ghost with the squeaky wheel'
I've only heard the Scottish version sung, where the wheelbarrow is desqueaked with whisky, but the same tale is told in Yorkshire where the hot fat and vinegar from some fish and chips does the trick.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,.gaegoyle
Date: 15 Oct 20 - 09:51 PM

There are four "Halloween Songs" in grade three California 1956 and two in the same issue for grade four.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Little Orphant Annie comes to our house to stay, to wash the....


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Subject: Lyr Add: GREEN GROWS THE LAUREL
From: Mrrzy
Date: 16 Oct 20 - 08:56 AM

In Dublin's fair city, in Dublin's fair town
There lived a young girl by the name of miss Brown
She courted a sailor for 7 long year
And from the beginning he called her his dear

One morning so early by the break of the day
He called to her window and to her did say
Rise up, bonny Mary, and come you with me
Such things they will happen, such things you will see

He took her o'er mountain, he took her o'er dell
She heard through the morning the sound of a bell
All over the ocean, all over the sea
Ye maidens of Dublin, take warning by me

O sailor o sailor, come spare me my life
But out of his pocket he took a penknife
He stabbed her and ripped her and cut her in 3
Then he buried poor Mary beneath the green tree

Now green grown the laurel and red grows the rose
And a black bird will follow wherever he goes
Crying Sailor O sailor where'er ye be
The blood flows forever beneath the green tree


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 16 Oct 20 - 12:26 PM

I’m quite surprised no one’s mentioned the book, Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads, by Lowry Charles Wimberly. Originally published in, I think, 1928, it’s still in print today. Excellent book.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Oct 20 - 04:30 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-ogTQqP6NQ Halloween


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Felipa
Date: 16 Oct 20 - 07:32 PM

see also Ballads and songs w/ haunting theme ( a recent Mudcat thread)


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 01 Oct 23 - 07:12 AM

Again, if you don't mind Irish sources, this is hard to beat:

The Otherworld


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 01 Oct 23 - 08:23 AM

"Willie's Fatal Visit" Roud 244; Child 255 is hard to beat for ghostly chills - Ray Fisher does a magnificent job of singing it too.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Oct 23 - 10:33 AM

Does anyone remember that Jim Reeves song about a ghost dog? His master returns home after many years away The dog saves him from drowning in the creek, He gets home and they tell him that the dog died ages ago.

It used to be on a jukebox in a pub I went into.

[That would be Old Tige. -- A Mudelf]


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Subject: Lyr Add: WITH 'ER 'EAD TUCKED UNDERNEATH 'ER ARM
From: The Og
Date: 01 Oct 23 - 06:27 PM

Not a folk song - 1934 lyrics by R P Weston and Bert Lee, music by Harris Weston - but a good number..

With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm

In the tower of London, large as life
The ghost of Anne Bolyn walks, they declare
Poor Anne Bolyn was once King Henry's wife
Until he made the headsman bob her hair
Ah, yes, he did her wrong long years ago
And she comes up at night to tell him so

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the bloody tower
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour

She comes to haunt King Henry, she means giving him what for
Gadzooks, she's going to tell him off for having spilled her gore
And just in case the headsman wants to give her an encore
She has her head tucked underneath her arm

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the bloody tower
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour

Along the draughty corridors, for miles and miles she goes
She often catches cold, poor thing
It's cold there when it blows
And it's awfully awkward for the Queen to have to blow her nose
With her head tucked underneath her arm

Sometimes gay King Henry gives a spread
For all his gals and pals and ghostly crew
The headsman craves the joint and cuts the bread
Then in comes Anne Bolyn to queer the do
She holds her head up with a wild war whoop
And Henry cries "don't drop it in the soup!"

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the bloody tower,
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour

The sentries think that it's a football that she carries in
And when they've had a few they shout "is Ars'nal going to win?"
They think it's Alec James instead of poor old Ann Boleyn
With her head tucked underneath her arm

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the bloody tower
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour

One night she caught King Henry, he was in the canteen bar
Said he, "are you Jane Seymour, Anne Bolyn, or Katherine Parr?
For how the sweet san fairy ann do I know who you are
With your head tucked underneath your arm?"


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,RJM
Date: 02 Oct 23 - 02:54 AM

The Wife of Usher's Well


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SENTRY AND THE NIGHT VISITOR
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 02 Oct 23 - 05:32 PM

I wrote this one a few year back to use at Halloween.
It's based on some old folk tales blended with some science fantasy. Best performed by a duo taking half a verse each.

THE SENTRY AND THE NIGHT VISITOR.

“Who comes this way?” the sentry cried,
Peering through the dark.
“Who comes this way at dead of night,
And causes dogs to bark?”
“You do not want to know my name,
Nor yet my purpose here.
Forget that I have come this way
Or it will cost you dear.”

“Stand forward, and be recognised.”
The sentry called again.
“ For I must know if you are foe
or friend to those within.
“There are some here who combat me
Each and every day
To others I am bless’d relief
A friend upon their way.”

“Why come you now at dead of night?”
The sentry questioned still.
“What business will not wait ‘til light
And better time fulfil?”
“My business waits for none, I fear,
The time already planned,
For light and dark are both the same
As neither stay my hand.”

“Who do you visit in this place?”
The sentry now did ask.
“Who has business at this hour,
Why now this ill timed task?”
“I come for one within these walls,
To take him far away,
But who will come with me tonight
Is not for me to say.”

“I know you now” the sentry said
“The one who comes for all.
But I must stand my post outside
And keep you from the wall.”
“Then you will come with me tonight,
And keep your word in faith.
For those within will all sleep sound.”
So vanished man and wraith.

Robin


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 02 Oct 23 - 05:34 PM

I should add that Nick Hennesey does a very good version of the "Holland handkerchief" where he sings part of the story then switches to storytelling mode then reverts to singing for the end.

Robin


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 02 Oct 23 - 09:42 PM

Ooh I like the man and wraith. Tune?


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,RJM
Date: 03 Oct 23 - 03:11 AM

black belt,that is a clever well written song


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GHOST WI’ THE SQUEAKY WHEEL (Clelland
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 Oct 23 - 12:27 PM

Rumncoke mentioned this on 15 Oct 20.

Lyrics copied from a blog, here, and tweaked a bit by me, to agree with what Robin Lang seems to sing. The blog has a recording, and so does Spotify.


THE GHOST WI’ THE SQUEAKY WHEEL
Written by Tom Clelland
As recorded by Robin Lang on “The Water of Life” (2003)

Now, Wullie was a fearless man.
When other fellows turned and ran,
He’d shake the shiver from his hand
    And stand up straight an’ weel.
All superstitions he disdained
As spooky stories fit for a wean
Till he met a phantom o’ his ain,
    A ghost wi’ a squeaky wheel.

The bells had claimed the old year end.
Wullie’d been first-footin’ friends.
Blithely turnin’ home again,
    He took the river road.
The moon was full with frosty bite,
The water deep and still and iced,
His breath like silver stars at night,
    No living soul abroad.

CHORUS: Now, blended whisky’s power is slight.
Guid malt could face the deil,
Should you meet on a winter’s night
A ghost wi’ a squeaky wheel.

Past Crossford Park and village sign,
The iron brig and wall behind,
The silver birch and the old hedge line,
    Wull sauntered worry-free,
When in the distance came a great
Sound that made him stand and wait,
Like the swinging o’ some hellish gate,
    A rasping, rhythmic gree.

Wull stood transfixed as it drew near,
The squeaking growing ever clear,
A piercing echo through his ear,
    From the depths of Hell it rang;
An’ a sight that gripped him tae the marrow:
A figure, ghostly grey and hollow,
A grisly shape that pushed a barrow
    Wi’ the face of old Boab Lang.

CHORUS

“Well, Boab,” said Wull, and showed no fear,
“It’s unco strange tae meet you here.
We have nae met these twenty year,
    Mony an Auld Lang Syne.”
The ghost looked Wullie in the eye
An’, in a mournful voice, did cry:
“Beware, puir sinner, born to die!
    Be ready for your time!

“We all must pass, each single yin,
Our earthly pockets filled wi’ sin,
That drags us doon and draws us in
    To this world and its sorrows.
Damned selfishness breeds despair,
Transgressions greedy, cruel and sair—
We a’ hae sins, but I had mair,
    Enough to fill this barrow.

CHORUS

“The Clyde, the burn, the Nethan River
Bind me on this road forever.
Runnin’ water I can never
    Cross nor bridges breach.
Between these points, traverse I must.
These chains and torture serve me just,
But the worst is this infernal rust
    And this old wheel’s hellish screech.”

Says Wull, “Ma freend, I cannae judge.
I’ll try help you wi’ your drudge.”
But the barrow Wullie couldnae budge
    Like it were solid steel.
“But I have the very dab,” cries he.
“The finest whisky’s what you need.”
And his good malt Wullie freely gied
    An’ poured it on the wheel.

The whisky stopped the squeakin’ dead.
The ghostly figure smiled instead.
The screechin’ ceased in Wullie’s head,
    And silence once more reigned.
Wull crossed the bridge at Hazel Burn,
His good deed done, his sleep well earned,
An’ he watched the ghost as he did turn
    And started down again.

CHORUS TWICE


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Senoufou
Date: 01 Nov 23 - 04:31 AM

When in the Girl Guides (1950's) we sang:-

Whenever you see a hearse go by
Remember that you are going to die.
Ha ha ha, hee hee hee,
How happy we shall be.
They put you in a deep dark hole,
Then go away to pray for your soul,
Ha ha ha, hee hee hee
How happy we shall be.
The worms crawl in and the worms crawl out.
They crawl in thin and they crawl out stout
(chorus).
Your eyes fall in and your teeth fall out.
Your brain comes trickling down your snout.
etc etc.
I don't think this would go down well with today's 'snowflakes' eh?


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Senoufou
Date: 01 Nov 23 - 04:53 AM

Just to add, this macabre song was sung to the tune of The Teddy Bears' Picnic!


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Subject: Lyr Add: GEORGE JOSEPH SMITH (Big Al Whittle)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Nov 23 - 01:21 PM

This was mentioned by Big Al Whittle on 28 Oct 19 (and in several other threads) but apparently the lyrics have never been posted at Mudcat before. Furthermore, Big Al’s website is defunct, and so is the Soundcloud page he linked to. But Big Al himself is still around, and I hope he won’t mind me posting these. Following is my transcription from Spotify. You can also hear it at YouTube:


GEORGE JOSEPH SMITH
As recorded by Big Al Whittle on “St Peter and John Dillinger,” 2006.

Well now, my name is George Joseph Smith,
And I’m the bloke you’d hate to tangle with.
Oh, yes, I will, mate, make you me wife
As soon as I’ve insured your life.

Then I’ll drown you in the bath, drown you in the bath,
Drown you in the bath ‘cause I’m a psychopath.

Now, some people think as I’m not the norm
‘Cause I like fillin’ in insurance forms.
It isn’t that I like to kill,
But fillin’ in the forms gives me a thrill.

And I drown ‘em in the bath, drown ‘em in the bath,
Drown ‘em in the bath ‘cause I’m a psychopath.
I drown….

Now, the most moving thing what I ever heard
Was my good lady wife’s dying words.
As I yanked her into the tub,
She softly murmered: “Glub, glub, glub-glub-glub, glub-glub-glub-glub-glub.”

Oh, I drowned her in the bath, drowned her in the bath,
Drowned her in the bath ‘cause I’m a psychopath.
Drowned her….

So in my prison cell I sit,
Well and truly—in—the deepest trouble imaginable,
But before I go to meet my end.
I still think I could recommend—

Yeah, drowning in the bath, drowning in the bath,
Drowning in the bath if you’re a psychopath.


[Big Al uses cockney pronunciations (“frill” for “thrill,” etc.) but I have not attempted to represent them in these lyrics. See the Wikipedia article about George Joseph Smith.]


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE HUNTSMAN (from Fay Hield)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Nov 23 - 03:55 PM

GUEST,ottery mentioned this on 30 Oct 19 - 06:20 AM.

I found these lyrics at the Mainly Norfolk website, and I also listened to the recording on Spotify and verified that the transcription is accurate. (I tweaked the spelling and punctuation a bit, though.) You can also hear a performance on YouTube.


THE HUNTSMAN
As sung by Fay Hield on “Looking Glass,” 2010.

The huntsman blew loud on his horn, blew loud on his horn,
And all that he blew it was lost and gone, was lost and gone,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
And all that he blew it was lost and gone.

He cast his net the bush about, the bush about.
A nut-brown girl jumped quickly out, jumped quickly out,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
A nut-brown girl jumped quickly out.

O nut-brown girl, don’t you run away, don’t run away.
My hounds they will run and they’ll howl and bay, they’ll howl and bay,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
My hounds they will run and they’ll howl and bay.

Your hounds may run but they’ll catch me not, they’ll catch me not,
I’ll run through fields and I’ll never stop, I’ll never stop,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
I’ll run through fields and I’ll never stop.

My hounds will win and you know full well, you know full well,
They long for the sound of your funeral bell, your funeral bell,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
They long for the sound of your funeral bell.

Well, if I die, then I’ll be dead, then I’ll be dead,
And bury me under the roses red, the roses red,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
And bury me under the roses red.

And on her grave the rose grew tall, the rose grew tall,
A squire rode by for to pick them all, to pick them all,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
A squire rode by for to pick them all.

O squire, O squire, let the roses stand, the roses stand.
They are for a better young huntsman’s hand, a huntsman’s hand,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
They are for a better young huntsman’s hand.

The huntsman blew loud on his horn, blew loud on his horn,
And all that he blew it was lost and gone, was lost and gone,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
And all that he blew it was lost and gone.

* * *
Tbis appears to be a translation of a German song. The Mainly Norfolk website also gives lyrics in German:


ES BLIES EIN JÄGER WOHL IN SEIN HORN
After the old ballad of the Nachtjäger (the night hunter); melody after Friedrich Nicolai, 1777

Es blies ein Jäger wohl in sein Horn, wohl in sein Horn,
Und alles was er blies, das war verlor’n, das war verlor’n
Hallia hussassa! Tirallala!
Und alles was er blies, das war verlor’n.

Soll denn mein Blasen - verloren sein? ...
Viel lieber wollt’ ich kein Jäger sein. ...

Er warf sein Netz - wohl über’n Strauch ...
Da sprang ein schwarzbraunes - Mädel heraus ...

„Ach schwarzbraunes Mädel, - entspring mir nicht! ...
Ich habe große Hunde, - die holen dich. ...

„Deine großen Hunde. - die fürcht ich nicht, ...
Sie kennen meine hohen, - weiten Sprünge nicht. ...

„Deine hohen weiten Sprünge, - die kennen sie wohl, ...
Sie wissen, daß du heute - noch sterben sollst. ...

„Und sterbe ich heute, - so bin ich tot, ...
Begräbt man mich - unter Rosen rot. ...

„Wohl unter die Rosen, - wohl unter den Klee, ...
Darunter vergeh’ - ich nimmermeh’. ...

Er warf ihr das Netz - wohl über’n Leib, ...
Da ward sie des jungfrischen - Jägers Weib.

[Literal translation:]

A hunter blew his horn, his horn,
And everything he blew was lost, it was lost
Hallia hussassa! Tirallala!
And everything he blew was lost.

Should my blowing be lost? ...
I would much rather not be a hunter. ...

He threw his net – however, over a bush...
Then a dark brown girl jumped out...

“Oh, dark brown girl, don’t run from me! ...
I have big dogs - they'll come for you. ...

“Your big dogs. - I'm not afraid of them...
You don't know my high, long jumps. ...

“Your high, long jumps - they know them well...
They know that you are supposed to die today. ...

“And if I die today, I am dead...
Bury me - under red roses. ...

“Well among the roses, - well among the clover, ...
Underneath it disappearing - I never go. ...[*]

He threw the net over her body ...
Then she became the young hunter's wife. ...


* I think this line could use a better translation, but I am not fluent in German, and Google wasn’t much help.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Reinhard
Date: 02 Nov 23 - 12:32 AM

I would translate the second-to-last verse as

“Well below the roses, - well below the clover,
Below them I'll decay - nevermore.

And I copied Fay Hield's verses from her album's booklet to the Mainly Norfolk page so I trusted that the transcription is accurate ;-)


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 02 Nov 23 - 01:06 AM

Senoufou

We sang -

The worms crawl in the worms crawl out
the worms play pinochle on your snout

They eat your eyes they eat your nose
they eat the jelly between your toes

No problem from the folks with my brother and I singing this but one night in the car I added 'pray for the dead and the dead will pray for you' and there was a pause then a stern Baptist warning not to say 'that!'

Go figure ( - :


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 02 Nov 23 - 01:34 AM

Its not British but you may enjoy it Boones Ferry Road (Shoebox Letters)

Right near to the exact spot that fateful night I was called out for praying

Some background https://newcollinsview.blog/history/BoonesFerryRoad/

All things considered perhaps I shall say a prayer or two for Jesse Boone


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Subject: Lyr Add: WILLIE'S FATAL VISIT (from Ray Fisher)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 03 Nov 23 - 02:38 PM

This was mentioned by Georgina Boyes on 10 Oct 23. I found the lyrics at 3 places online, but I listened to the recording named below, and tweaked them to agree with what Ray Fisher sings. Several other singers have recorded the song also. You can hear Ray Fisher’s recording at Spotify or YouTube.


WILLIE’S FATAL VISIT
As recorded by Ray Fisher on “Traditional Songs of Scotland,” 1991.

Does my love ride, or does he rin,
Or does he walk the woods amang?
He vow’d this nicht tae come tae me.
Alas! but my love tarries lang.

He disnae ride nor does he rin,
But fast walks he along his way.
He has mair mind on his fair new love
Than he has o’ the licht o’ day.

He saw a hound draw near a hare,
And aye that hare draw near a toun,
And that same hound has won the hare,
But Willie’s won tae ne’er a toun.

For as he gaed up yon high, high hill,
And on and doon yon dowie den,
’Twas there he met wi’ a greivious ghost
That would fear ten thousand men.

He’s hurried on thro’ Mary’s Kirk,
And on and doon by Mary’s Stile,
And wan and weary was the ghost
That upon him grimly smiled.

“Aft hae ye traivell’d this road, Willie,
Aft hae ye traivell’d it in sin,
But ye’ll never traivel this road again,
For yer days on Earth are deen.

“Aft hae ye traivell’d this road, Willie,
Wi’ ne’er a thocht o’ charity,
But ye’ll never traivel this road again,
For the slightin’ o’ the bairn an’ me.

“Aft hae ye traivell’d this road, Willie,
Yer fair and new love for to see.
But ye’ll never traivel this road again,
For this nicht aveng’d I’ll be.”

Then she has ta’en her perjur’d love,
An’ she has torn him fae gair tae gair,
And on ilka side o’ Mary’s Stile
O’ Willie she has hung a share.

His faither and mither both mak moan.
His bonnie new love she grat sair.
His faither and mither both mak moan,
And his new love tears her hair.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 01 Oct 23 - 07:12 AM

Again, if you don't mind Irish sources, this is hard to beat:

The Otherworld


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,RJM
Date: 03 Oct 23 - 03:11 AM

black belt,that is a clever well written song


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 01 Oct 23 - 08:23 AM

"Willie's Fatal Visit" Roud 244; Child 255 is hard to beat for ghostly chills - Ray Fisher does a magnificent job of singing it too.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,RJM
Date: 02 Oct 23 - 02:54 AM

The Wife of Usher's Well


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 02 Oct 23 - 09:42 PM

Ooh I like the man and wraith. Tune?


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Oct 23 - 10:33 AM

Does anyone remember that Jim Reeves song about a ghost dog? His master returns home after many years away The dog saves him from drowning in the creek, He gets home and they tell him that the dog died ages ago.

It used to be on a jukebox in a pub I went into.

[That would be Old Tige. -- A Mudelf]


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SENTRY AND THE NIGHT VISITOR
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 02 Oct 23 - 05:32 PM

I wrote this one a few year back to use at Halloween.
It's based on some old folk tales blended with some science fantasy. Best performed by a duo taking half a verse each.

THE SENTRY AND THE NIGHT VISITOR.

“Who comes this way?” the sentry cried,
Peering through the dark.
“Who comes this way at dead of night,
And causes dogs to bark?”
“You do not want to know my name,
Nor yet my purpose here.
Forget that I have come this way
Or it will cost you dear.”

“Stand forward, and be recognised.”
The sentry called again.
“ For I must know if you are foe
or friend to those within.
“There are some here who combat me
Each and every day
To others I am bless’d relief
A friend upon their way.”

“Why come you now at dead of night?”
The sentry questioned still.
“What business will not wait ‘til light
And better time fulfil?”
“My business waits for none, I fear,
The time already planned,
For light and dark are both the same
As neither stay my hand.”

“Who do you visit in this place?”
The sentry now did ask.
“Who has business at this hour,
Why now this ill timed task?”
“I come for one within these walls,
To take him far away,
But who will come with me tonight
Is not for me to say.”

“I know you now” the sentry said
“The one who comes for all.
But I must stand my post outside
And keep you from the wall.”
“Then you will come with me tonight,
And keep your word in faith.
For those within will all sleep sound.”
So vanished man and wraith.

Robin


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 02 Oct 23 - 05:34 PM

I should add that Nick Hennesey does a very good version of the "Holland handkerchief" where he sings part of the story then switches to storytelling mode then reverts to singing for the end.

Robin


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Subject: Lyr Add: WITH 'ER 'EAD TUCKED UNDERNEATH 'ER ARM
From: The Og
Date: 01 Oct 23 - 06:27 PM

Not a folk song - 1934 lyrics by R P Weston and Bert Lee, music by Harris Weston - but a good number..

With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm

In the tower of London, large as life
The ghost of Anne Bolyn walks, they declare
Poor Anne Bolyn was once King Henry's wife
Until he made the headsman bob her hair
Ah, yes, he did her wrong long years ago
And she comes up at night to tell him so

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the bloody tower
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour

She comes to haunt King Henry, she means giving him what for
Gadzooks, she's going to tell him off for having spilled her gore
And just in case the headsman wants to give her an encore
She has her head tucked underneath her arm

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the bloody tower
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour

Along the draughty corridors, for miles and miles she goes
She often catches cold, poor thing
It's cold there when it blows
And it's awfully awkward for the Queen to have to blow her nose
With her head tucked underneath her arm

Sometimes gay King Henry gives a spread
For all his gals and pals and ghostly crew
The headsman craves the joint and cuts the bread
Then in comes Anne Bolyn to queer the do
She holds her head up with a wild war whoop
And Henry cries "don't drop it in the soup!"

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the bloody tower,
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour

The sentries think that it's a football that she carries in
And when they've had a few they shout "is Ars'nal going to win?"
They think it's Alec James instead of poor old Ann Boleyn
With her head tucked underneath her arm

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the bloody tower
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour

One night she caught King Henry, he was in the canteen bar
Said he, "are you Jane Seymour, Anne Bolyn, or Katherine Parr?
For how the sweet san fairy ann do I know who you are
With your head tucked underneath your arm?"


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 02 Nov 23 - 01:34 AM

Its not British but you may enjoy it Boones Ferry Road (Shoebox Letters)

Right near to the exact spot that fateful night I was called out for praying

Some background https://newcollinsview.blog/history/BoonesFerryRoad/

All things considered perhaps I shall say a prayer or two for Jesse Boone


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 02 Nov 23 - 01:06 AM

Senoufou

We sang -

The worms crawl in the worms crawl out
the worms play pinochle on your snout

They eat your eyes they eat your nose
they eat the jelly between your toes

No problem from the folks with my brother and I singing this but one night in the car I added 'pray for the dead and the dead will pray for you' and there was a pause then a stern Baptist warning not to say 'that!'

Go figure ( - :


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GHOST WI’ THE SQUEAKY WHEEL (Clelland
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 Oct 23 - 12:27 PM

Rumncoke mentioned this on 15 Oct 20.

Lyrics copied from a blog, here, and tweaked a bit by me, to agree with what Robin Lang seems to sing. The blog has a recording, and so does Spotify.


THE GHOST WI’ THE SQUEAKY WHEEL
Written by Tom Clelland
As recorded by Robin Lang on “The Water of Life” (2003)

Now, Wullie was a fearless man.
When other fellows turned and ran,
He’d shake the shiver from his hand
    And stand up straight an’ weel.
All superstitions he disdained
As spooky stories fit for a wean
Till he met a phantom o’ his ain,
    A ghost wi’ a squeaky wheel.

The bells had claimed the old year end.
Wullie’d been first-footin’ friends.
Blithely turnin’ home again,
    He took the river road.
The moon was full with frosty bite,
The water deep and still and iced,
His breath like silver stars at night,
    No living soul abroad.

CHORUS: Now, blended whisky’s power is slight.
Guid malt could face the deil,
Should you meet on a winter’s night
A ghost wi’ a squeaky wheel.

Past Crossford Park and village sign,
The iron brig and wall behind,
The silver birch and the old hedge line,
    Wull sauntered worry-free,
When in the distance came a great
Sound that made him stand and wait,
Like the swinging o’ some hellish gate,
    A rasping, rhythmic gree.

Wull stood transfixed as it drew near,
The squeaking growing ever clear,
A piercing echo through his ear,
    From the depths of Hell it rang;
An’ a sight that gripped him tae the marrow:
A figure, ghostly grey and hollow,
A grisly shape that pushed a barrow
    Wi’ the face of old Boab Lang.

CHORUS

“Well, Boab,” said Wull, and showed no fear,
“It’s unco strange tae meet you here.
We have nae met these twenty year,
    Mony an Auld Lang Syne.”
The ghost looked Wullie in the eye
An’, in a mournful voice, did cry:
“Beware, puir sinner, born to die!
    Be ready for your time!

“We all must pass, each single yin,
Our earthly pockets filled wi’ sin,
That drags us doon and draws us in
    To this world and its sorrows.
Damned selfishness breeds despair,
Transgressions greedy, cruel and sair—
We a’ hae sins, but I had mair,
    Enough to fill this barrow.

CHORUS

“The Clyde, the burn, the Nethan River
Bind me on this road forever.
Runnin’ water I can never
    Cross nor bridges breach.
Between these points, traverse I must.
These chains and torture serve me just,
But the worst is this infernal rust
    And this old wheel’s hellish screech.”

Says Wull, “Ma freend, I cannae judge.
I’ll try help you wi’ your drudge.”
But the barrow Wullie couldnae budge
    Like it were solid steel.
“But I have the very dab,” cries he.
“The finest whisky’s what you need.”
And his good malt Wullie freely gied
    An’ poured it on the wheel.

The whisky stopped the squeakin’ dead.
The ghostly figure smiled instead.
The screechin’ ceased in Wullie’s head,
    And silence once more reigned.
Wull crossed the bridge at Hazel Burn,
His good deed done, his sleep well earned,
An’ he watched the ghost as he did turn
    And started down again.

CHORUS TWICE


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Subject: Lyr Add: GEORGE JOSEPH SMITH (Big Al Whittle)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Nov 23 - 01:21 PM

This was mentioned by Big Al Whittle on 28 Oct 19 (and in several other threads) but apparently the lyrics have never been posted at Mudcat before. Furthermore, Big Al’s website is defunct, and so is the Soundcloud page he linked to. But Big Al himself is still around, and I hope he won’t mind me posting these. Following is my transcription from Spotify. You can also hear it at YouTube:


GEORGE JOSEPH SMITH
As recorded by Big Al Whittle on “St Peter and John Dillinger,” 2006.

Well now, my name is George Joseph Smith,
And I’m the bloke you’d hate to tangle with.
Oh, yes, I will, mate, make you me wife
As soon as I’ve insured your life.

Then I’ll drown you in the bath, drown you in the bath,
Drown you in the bath ‘cause I’m a psychopath.

Now, some people think as I’m not the norm
‘Cause I like fillin’ in insurance forms.
It isn’t that I like to kill,
But fillin’ in the forms gives me a thrill.

And I drown ‘em in the bath, drown ‘em in the bath,
Drown ‘em in the bath ‘cause I’m a psychopath.
I drown….

Now, the most moving thing what I ever heard
Was my good lady wife’s dying words.
As I yanked her into the tub,
She softly murmered: “Glub, glub, glub-glub-glub, glub-glub-glub-glub-glub.”

Oh, I drowned her in the bath, drowned her in the bath,
Drowned her in the bath ‘cause I’m a psychopath.
Drowned her….

So in my prison cell I sit,
Well and truly—in—the deepest trouble imaginable,
But before I go to meet my end.
I still think I could recommend—

Yeah, drowning in the bath, drowning in the bath,
Drowning in the bath if you’re a psychopath.


[Big Al uses cockney pronunciations (“frill” for “thrill,” etc.) but I have not attempted to represent them in these lyrics. See the Wikipedia article about George Joseph Smith.]


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE HUNTSMAN (from Fay Hield)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Nov 23 - 03:55 PM

GUEST,ottery mentioned this on 30 Oct 19 - 06:20 AM.

I found these lyrics at the Mainly Norfolk website, and I also listened to the recording on Spotify and verified that the transcription is accurate. (I tweaked the spelling and punctuation a bit, though.) You can also hear a performance on YouTube.


THE HUNTSMAN
As sung by Fay Hield on “Looking Glass,” 2010.

The huntsman blew loud on his horn, blew loud on his horn,
And all that he blew it was lost and gone, was lost and gone,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
And all that he blew it was lost and gone.

He cast his net the bush about, the bush about.
A nut-brown girl jumped quickly out, jumped quickly out,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
A nut-brown girl jumped quickly out.

O nut-brown girl, don’t you run away, don’t run away.
My hounds they will run and they’ll howl and bay, they’ll howl and bay,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
My hounds they will run and they’ll howl and bay.

Your hounds may run but they’ll catch me not, they’ll catch me not,
I’ll run through fields and I’ll never stop, I’ll never stop,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
I’ll run through fields and I’ll never stop.

My hounds will win and you know full well, you know full well,
They long for the sound of your funeral bell, your funeral bell,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
They long for the sound of your funeral bell.

Well, if I die, then I’ll be dead, then I’ll be dead,
And bury me under the roses red, the roses red,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
And bury me under the roses red.

And on her grave the rose grew tall, the rose grew tall,
A squire rode by for to pick them all, to pick them all,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
A squire rode by for to pick them all.

O squire, O squire, let the roses stand, the roses stand.
They are for a better young huntsman’s hand, a huntsman’s hand,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
They are for a better young huntsman’s hand.

The huntsman blew loud on his horn, blew loud on his horn,
And all that he blew it was lost and gone, was lost and gone,
Tarrio sa sa, ti ra la la,
And all that he blew it was lost and gone.

* * *
Tbis appears to be a translation of a German song. The Mainly Norfolk website also gives lyrics in German:


ES BLIES EIN JÄGER WOHL IN SEIN HORN
After the old ballad of the Nachtjäger (the night hunter); melody after Friedrich Nicolai, 1777

Es blies ein Jäger wohl in sein Horn, wohl in sein Horn,
Und alles was er blies, das war verlor’n, das war verlor’n
Hallia hussassa! Tirallala!
Und alles was er blies, das war verlor’n.

Soll denn mein Blasen - verloren sein? ...
Viel lieber wollt’ ich kein Jäger sein. ...

Er warf sein Netz - wohl über’n Strauch ...
Da sprang ein schwarzbraunes - Mädel heraus ...

„Ach schwarzbraunes Mädel, - entspring mir nicht! ...
Ich habe große Hunde, - die holen dich. ...

„Deine großen Hunde. - die fürcht ich nicht, ...
Sie kennen meine hohen, - weiten Sprünge nicht. ...

„Deine hohen weiten Sprünge, - die kennen sie wohl, ...
Sie wissen, daß du heute - noch sterben sollst. ...

„Und sterbe ich heute, - so bin ich tot, ...
Begräbt man mich - unter Rosen rot. ...

„Wohl unter die Rosen, - wohl unter den Klee, ...
Darunter vergeh’ - ich nimmermeh’. ...

Er warf ihr das Netz - wohl über’n Leib, ...
Da ward sie des jungfrischen - Jägers Weib.

[Literal translation:]

A hunter blew his horn, his horn,
And everything he blew was lost, it was lost
Hallia hussassa! Tirallala!
And everything he blew was lost.

Should my blowing be lost? ...
I would much rather not be a hunter. ...

He threw his net – however, over a bush...
Then a dark brown girl jumped out...

“Oh, dark brown girl, don’t run from me! ...
I have big dogs - they'll come for you. ...

“Your big dogs. - I'm not afraid of them...
You don't know my high, long jumps. ...

“Your high, long jumps - they know them well...
They know that you are supposed to die today. ...

“And if I die today, I am dead...
Bury me - under red roses. ...

“Well among the roses, - well among the clover, ...
Underneath it disappearing - I never go. ...[*]

He threw the net over her body ...
Then she became the young hunter's wife. ...


* I think this line could use a better translation, but I am not fluent in German, and Google wasn’t much help.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WILLIE'S FATAL VISIT (from Ray Fisher)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 03 Nov 23 - 02:38 PM

This was mentioned by Georgina Boyes on 10 Oct 23. I found the lyrics at 3 places online, but I listened to the recording named below, and tweaked them to agree with what Ray Fisher sings. Several other singers have recorded the song also. You can hear Ray Fisher’s recording at Spotify or YouTube.


WILLIE’S FATAL VISIT
As recorded by Ray Fisher on “Traditional Songs of Scotland,” 1991.

Does my love ride, or does he rin,
Or does he walk the woods amang?
He vow’d this nicht tae come tae me.
Alas! but my love tarries lang.

He disnae ride nor does he rin,
But fast walks he along his way.
He has mair mind on his fair new love
Than he has o’ the licht o’ day.

He saw a hound draw near a hare,
And aye that hare draw near a toun,
And that same hound has won the hare,
But Willie’s won tae ne’er a toun.

For as he gaed up yon high, high hill,
And on and doon yon dowie den,
’Twas there he met wi’ a greivious ghost
That would fear ten thousand men.

He’s hurried on thro’ Mary’s Kirk,
And on and doon by Mary’s Stile,
And wan and weary was the ghost
That upon him grimly smiled.

“Aft hae ye traivell’d this road, Willie,
Aft hae ye traivell’d it in sin,
But ye’ll never traivel this road again,
For yer days on Earth are deen.

“Aft hae ye traivell’d this road, Willie,
Wi’ ne’er a thocht o’ charity,
But ye’ll never traivel this road again,
For the slightin’ o’ the bairn an’ me.

“Aft hae ye traivell’d this road, Willie,
Yer fair and new love for to see.
But ye’ll never traivel this road again,
For this nicht aveng’d I’ll be.”

Then she has ta’en her perjur’d love,
An’ she has torn him fae gair tae gair,
And on ilka side o’ Mary’s Stile
O’ Willie she has hung a share.

His faither and mither both mak moan.
His bonnie new love she grat sair.
His faither and mither both mak moan,
And his new love tears her hair.


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Reinhard
Date: 02 Nov 23 - 12:32 AM

I would translate the second-to-last verse as

“Well below the roses, - well below the clover,
Below them I'll decay - nevermore.

And I copied Fay Hield's verses from her album's booklet to the Mainly Norfolk page so I trusted that the transcription is accurate ;-)


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Senoufou
Date: 01 Nov 23 - 04:31 AM

When in the Girl Guides (1950's) we sang:-

Whenever you see a hearse go by
Remember that you are going to die.
Ha ha ha, hee hee hee,
How happy we shall be.
They put you in a deep dark hole,
Then go away to pray for your soul,
Ha ha ha, hee hee hee
How happy we shall be.
The worms crawl in and the worms crawl out.
They crawl in thin and they crawl out stout
(chorus).
Your eyes fall in and your teeth fall out.
Your brain comes trickling down your snout.
etc etc.
I don't think this would go down well with today's 'snowflakes' eh?


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Subject: RE: British supernatural folk-songs...?
From: Senoufou
Date: 01 Nov 23 - 04:53 AM

Just to add, this macabre song was sung to the tune of The Teddy Bears' Picnic!


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