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Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!

GUEST,Jim Knowledge 02 Dec 23 - 12:43 PM
Robert B. Waltz 27 Nov 23 - 01:49 PM
Bill D 27 Nov 23 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,RJM 27 Nov 23 - 12:40 PM
Robert B. Waltz 26 Nov 23 - 02:18 PM
Cool Beans 26 Nov 23 - 01:44 PM
Jack Campin 23 Nov 23 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,Julia L 23 Nov 23 - 07:39 PM
Jack Campin 23 Nov 23 - 07:11 PM
Felipa 23 Nov 23 - 03:26 PM
Robert B. Waltz 22 Oct 23 - 07:13 PM
MaJoC the Filk 06 Nov 23 - 11:13 AM
YorkshireYankee 22 Oct 23 - 05:45 PM
Robert B. Waltz 13 Oct 23 - 06:44 PM
Robert B. Waltz 09 Oct 23 - 01:00 PM
Robert B. Waltz 07 Oct 23 - 12:28 PM
Robert B. Waltz 05 Oct 23 - 04:06 PM
Robert B. Waltz 05 Oct 23 - 12:29 PM
Robert B. Waltz 05 Oct 23 - 07:12 AM
GerryM 14 Oct 23 - 01:32 AM
cnd 12 Oct 23 - 09:48 AM
cnd 09 Oct 23 - 01:39 PM
cnd 05 Oct 23 - 04:14 PM
FreddyHeadey 19 Oct 23 - 05:50 PM
BrooklynJay 07 Oct 23 - 03:05 AM
Steve Gardham 05 Oct 23 - 06:48 AM
Acorn4 14 Oct 23 - 04:54 AM
Acorn4 12 Oct 23 - 03:59 AM
Acorn4 06 Oct 23 - 03:47 AM
Paul Burke 09 Oct 23 - 08:33 AM
PHJim 12 Oct 23 - 04:04 AM
Thompson 11 Oct 23 - 04:03 PM
Reinhard 05 Oct 23 - 08:42 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 23 - 02:38 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Oct 23 - 01:24 PM
Felipa 19 Oct 23 - 06:14 PM
Felipa 06 Oct 23 - 12:43 PM
Roger the Skiffler 11 Oct 23 - 09:00 AM
Tattie Bogle 13 Oct 23 - 06:15 PM
Mrrzy 08 Oct 23 - 10:43 PM
Mrrzy 07 Oct 23 - 08:42 AM
gillymor 05 Oct 23 - 07:33 AM
mousethief 09 Oct 23 - 05:36 PM
mousethief 05 Oct 23 - 03:49 AM
Helen 05 Oct 23 - 04:00 AM
Bill D 09 Oct 23 - 06:24 PM
Bill D 08 Oct 23 - 09:54 AM
Bill D 05 Oct 23 - 05:16 PM
Bill D 05 Oct 23 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,CupofTea, no cookies 13 Oct 23 - 05:25 PM
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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 02 Dec 23 - 12:43 PM

I `ad that "Minstrel Mike" in my cab the other day. `e was on `is way to a BBC competition for `oo could sing the longest song. `e was doing all right, `e had got through to the semi-finals but things were getting serious now.
`e said, "ere Jim. You`ve been doing all sorts of songs with your lot for ages.`ave you got any suggestions? I`m up against people `oo `ave access to posh libraries and all.
I said, " Why not try that Mary Chapin Carpenter one? I reckon that might take some beating".
`e said. "Go on. What ones that then?"
I said, " 10,000 Miles!!!"


Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 27 Nov 23 - 01:49 PM

Bill D wrote:

Just in case anyone would like to hear all 456 verses...

A Gest

an hour and 10 minutes...

You're welcome... ;>)

It is nice to confirm that my 90 minute estimate for actual performance time is about right. :-)

Two warnings and a reminder:

First, that is not the Gest. It's a modernization. (No, I didn't listen to the whole thing. It took me less than a couplet to know that it was a modernization. Admittedly the notes say as much, but I didn't have to read them.) Of course, I edited the Gest, so I'm obsessive on that point. :-) I want the Middle English. :-) Or at least my modernization, since mine is better. :-p

Second, there is no tune for the Gest. In all likelihood, it used multiple tunes to prevent absolute boredom -- or perhaps no tune at all, being just a recitation. But if it used one tune, and that tune is preserved, and it's a Robin Hood tune (three very weak assumptions), the best bet for the tune is "Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar" (which is the tune I used for my length estimate).

Third, the Gest is not a ballad; it's a romance. There is no sharp dividing line, as I've said many times here, but you can tell the extremes, and the Gest is on the romance side.

Oh, and I strongly suggest that there are 457 stanzas, not 456. There is one corrupted stanza that cannot be fixed except by breaking it up into two. Sadly, there are also a few lines missing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Nov 23 - 01:01 PM

Just in case anyone would like to hear all 456 verses...

A Gest

an hour and 10 minutes...

You're welcome... ;>)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: GUEST,RJM
Date: 27 Nov 23 - 12:40 PM

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Felipa
Date: 23 Nov 23 - 03:26 PM

Jim Carroll posted the following on 22 Nov 20223 on a facebook group "The Ballad Tree: Traditional Folk Ballads":

"Martin Reidy of Tullochaboy, Connonlly, West Clare had the longest songs we ever recorded.
He once said 'A song isn't worth singing unless it has a few verses in it, I wouldn't give you tuppence for a short song' - his longest lasted over 15 minutes.
A shortened version: https://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/songs/cmc/the_true_lovers_discussion_mreidy.htm "

(there is more about Martin Reidy in Jim Carroll's fb post and at The Clare County Library website)
I would choose songs on the basis of an interesting story or interesting tune. Jim once described me on this forum as a talentless moron.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 26 Nov 23 - 02:18 PM

With reference to Gordon Bok's "Play of the Lady Odivere," Jack Campin asked, Isn't that one King Orfeo rather than the Great Silkie?

It's neither, but it's a lot closer to the Great Silkie. Same broad plot, but the Great Silkie doesn't have a Sir Odivere.

"King Orfeo," cut down from the romance of "Sir Orfeo," is the Orpheus legend with a happy ending. Euridice, called "Heurodis" in the romance and "Isabel" in surviving versions of the ballad (all of which are very fragmentary), is captured by the King of Faërie with his rout. Orfeo abandons his kingdom to his steward, taking only his harp, and sets out to find Heurodis/Isabel. He sees the Faërie hunt and follows them; he plays so well that the King of Faërie makes a rash promise to reward him. Orfeo claims Heurodis/Isabel and returns to his kingdom, which the steward has faithfully ruled.

Since "Sir Orfeo" is in the Auchinleck Manuscript of c. 1330, and it can be shown that "King Orfeo" derives from "Sir Orfeo" (this was the point of my book Romancing the Ballad), "King Orfeo" is, in its roots, one of the oldest of all ballads. But it has no silkies. :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Cool Beans
Date: 26 Nov 23 - 01:44 PM

At a music camp someone sang the French song "A La Claire Fountaine" (pardon my spelling). When I woke up he was still singing it.

And there's also the children's song The Song That Never Ends:

This is the song that never ends
It just goes on and on, my friends.
Somebody started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And we'll go right on singing it forever just because
This is the song that never ends
It just goes on and on, my friends...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Nov 23 - 08:09 PM

Isn't that one King Orfeo rather than the Great Silkie?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 23 Nov 23 - 07:39 PM

Just remembered Gordon Bok's "Play of the Lady Odivere" which is the more complete story of the Great Selchie translated from the ancient Norn language. It takes an hour, but is beautifully done


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Nov 23 - 07:11 PM

Scotland enters the contest with Greysteil.

I have heard a performance of part of it. One of the dullest things I've ever sat through.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Felipa
Date: 23 Nov 23 - 03:26 PM

Jim Carroll posted the following on 22 Nov 20223 on a facebook group "The Ballad Tree: Traditional Folk Ballads":

"Martin Reidy of Tullochaboy, Connonlly, West Clare had the longest songs we ever recorded.
He once said 'A song isn't worth singing unless it has a few verses in it, I wouldn't give you tuppence for a short song' - his longest lasted over 15 minutes.
A shortened version: https://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/songs/cmc/the_true_lovers_discussion_mreidy.htm "

(there is more about Martin Reidy in Jim Carroll's fb post and at The Clare County Library website)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 22 Oct 23 - 07:13 PM

YorkshireYankee wrote: Child Ballad 31, "The Marriage of Sir Gawain", in which King Arthur is required to find out "what women most desire": Text of the original ballad
It has hundreds of verses (though not all have survived) and unfortunately, there is no known tune.


It's worth noting that "The Marriage of Sir Gawain" is from the Percy Folio, and it is never safe to assume that an item in the Percy Folio is a traditional song. Some of the contents are traditional songs -- but a great many items in the Folio are metrical romances that have been chopped down. I already cited (October 5) the instance of "The Squire of Low Degree," where the Percy Folio version has chopped out about five-sixths of the original romance.

In the case of "Sir Gawain," we even have the original romance, or something very like it: "The Marriage of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnall." The generic "Loathly Lady" tale is even older, since we have two other English versions (Gower's "Tale of Florent" in the Confession Amantis, which is far inferior to "Ragnall," and Chaucer's "Wife of Bath's Tale," which perhaps slightly superior in plot and of course vastly superior in language).

There is a whole book about the Loathly Lady, S. Elizabeth Passmore, The English Loathly Lady Tales: Boundaries, Traditions, Motifs (Studies in Medieval Culture XLVIII), which I have to get around to reading one of these days. On "Sir Gawain" and the relationship between the English Loathly Lady tales, you can find a lot more on the Ballad Index entry on "Sir Gawain," http://balladindex.org/Ballads/C031.html.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 06 Nov 23 - 11:13 AM

In Sir Patrick Spens I clean forgot the forty-second verse
So I sang the twenty-seventh, twice as loud and in reverse
   And no-one noticed ....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 22 Oct 23 - 05:45 PM

Child Ballad 31, "The Marriage of Sir Gawain", in which King Arthur is required to find out "what women most desire": Text of the original ballad
It has hundreds of verses (though not all have survived) and unfortunately, there is no known tune.

This won't be old enough for you, but I did a humourous, "modernised" 11-verse reworking of it: Sir Gav Gets Hitched that lasts 7 min 20 sec.
As it happens, the above-mentioned and brilliant Jon Loomes did the sound engineering and added lots of medieval-sounding accompaniment, and made it sound truly awesome...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 13 Oct 23 - 06:44 PM

Tattie Bogle wrote: And, on a personal note, I'm afraid long songs have the same effect on me as long story-telling - deep slumber!

And yet, the Iliad and the Odyssey are still around, and were the basic texts of Greek culture, and for a long time survived orally. And, to take something more recent and English, the romance of Sir Orfeo -- which is the equivalent of 151 verses long -- exists in three versions that are sufficiently different to prove oral transmission but that are sufficiently similar to prove that people were trying to maintain the text.

That's not to disagree with you entirely; I too have a tendency to get lost in a long song if I don't know what I'm supposed to listen for. But there is, I think, an art to this: A really good performer can catch you up in a long song. My guess is that we aren't teaching that "art" any more, because people have becomes used to short songs.

Which perhaps is a lesson in technology: Everyone got used to listening to music on 78s, and when the length restriction was lifted, people didn't go back.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 09 Oct 23 - 01:00 PM

Paul Burke wrote, Do {...} while (1);

Actually, I think the condition is "while (anyone is still willing to listen);" :-)

And there also needs to be a chalet somewhere capable of supplying bear-sized snacks.

Incidentally, I always heard it as "The bear went over the mountain" and the second verse as "He climbed the other mountain." Not saying my version is better (in fact, yours probably is better, because, in the way I learned it, the bear might run out of mountains) -- just that there is oral tradition operating here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 07 Oct 23 - 12:28 PM

BrooklynJay wrote: Good Heavens! And here I was thinking that Tam Lin [Child 39] with its seemingly interminable 42 verses was the ultimate test of any audience's endurance.

Tam Lin is at least an interesting ballad with a good tune. :-) I can think of a lot worse 42-verse songs.

But, FWIW, I did a ten-verse sample of "The Gest of Robyn Hode," to the tune of "Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar," and based on that, it would take about ninety minutes to sing the whole thing (more, if you took a break between some of the Fits -- and, yes, it's in fits). Estimate two hours actual performance time counting the breaks.

The "Gest" is roughly 1800 lines. I invite you to consider the romance complex of "Guy of Warwick," which exceeds 10,000 lines....

The good news is, "Guy of Warwick" is dreadful. They'd throw the minstrel out before he finished. I can't imagine why someone actually transcribed the thing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 05 Oct 23 - 04:06 PM

Bill D wrote: "World's Longest Song...."

Of course, there are many World's Longest Songs. For example, there is "Yon Yonson" (which I think we can safely declare "The World's Longest Scandihoovian Song"):

My name is Yon Yonson,
I come from Visconsin,
I work in the lumber mills there,
Ven I valk down the street,
Qll the people I meet, say,
"Hello, vot's your name?" and I say
My name is Yon Yonson....

Or, "You Remind Me of a Man":
"You remind me of a man."
"What man?"
"The man with the power."
"What power?"
"The power of Hoodoo."
"Who do?
"You do."
"Do what?"
"You remind me of...."

Maggie Kerr Peirce had one,
'Twas a dark and stormy night,
And the rain came down in torrents.
The Bugler's Band sat round the fire,
And the captain said to Iona,
"Iona, tell us a tale...." (and the tale began)
'Twas a dark and stormy night...."

One could even include "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" here, although that's intended to be a closed loop, not an infinite loop.

J. R. R. Tolkien's "Errantry" was set to music, so I suppose we could throw it in, too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 05 Oct 23 - 12:29 PM

Reinhard wrote, Adam McNaughtan needs just 3:11 minutes to summarize a whole play, Hamlet. Why should any other song waste more time? ;-)

Because some of us can't enunciate quite as fast as he did and need 3:14 or so to sing the song? :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 05 Oct 23 - 07:12 AM

mousethief wrote: For a series I am writing on folklore, I would like to know a few old songs, preferrably Child, that go on interminably.

This obviously points us to the longest of the Child Ballads, "The Gest of Robyn Hode" [Child 117], which Child prints as 456 stanzas although I am firmly of the opinion that it should be 457. No tune has been preserved, but Bronson hints that all the Robin Hood ballads were sung to just a handful of tunes. The "Gest" can be sung to the one known tune of "Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar."

The other three early Robin Hood ballads, the "Monk" [Child 119], the "Potter" [Child 121], and "Guy of Gisborne" [Child 118], are also quite substantial.

Of course, those four ballads are actually romances, not ballads. But that's almost distinction without a way of distinguishing -- as witness the many pieces in the Percy Folio which appear to have originally have been short romances that were chopped down by someone to be the length of long ballads. There are a lot of those in the Folio. An example where we can prove that this happened is "The Squire of Low Degree," which exists basically in two versions, one printed by William Copeland (who, coincidentally, is the likely printer of the "f" version of the "Gest") and one in the Percy Folio. Copeland's version is 1132 lines long (according to the text edited by William Edward Mead); that of the Percy Folio is about 170.

And if you're going to look at romances, you might want to look at "Sir Orfeo," which, other than Chaucer's romances and perhaps Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, is the best of all Middle English romances, and is fairly short (600+ lines). There is no tune, but a tune survives for the ballad "King Orfeo" [Child 19], which is too damaged to really be sung but which (as I demonstrated in Romancing the Ballad) is descended from the "Sir Orfeo" family.

If you want something that survived into modern times, as opposed to a piece in Middle English, an obvious candidate is "Chevy Chase" ("The Hunting of the Cheviot," Child 162). The Child texts are 60+ verses. Also "King Edward the Fourth and a Tanner of Tamworth" [Child 273], which has multiple tunes and appears to go back to multiple early romances, "King Edward and the Hermit," "King Edward and the Shepherd," "John the Reeve," "The King and the Barker," "King Henry the Second and the Miller of Mansfield."

If you want more, look at the items in the Percy Folio. There were 68 of them that I concluded belonged in the Ballad Index, of which 47 were included in the Child corpus.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: GerryM
Date: 14 Oct 23 - 01:32 AM

From: GUEST,CupofTea, no cookies - PM
Date: 13 Oct 23 - 05:25 PM

"It's driving me NUTS that I can't remember name of the most impressive one I can think of: Deb Cowan did it at the last Chicago Maritime music festival - lasted about 7 minutes acapella, of the tale of a ship sinking, and a gallant captain singing a hymn during the disaster. There were breaks where the verses of the hymn went in between the recounting of the disaster, though I assume these are parts of the song as a whole. Not a Child ballad, but impressive as a song."

Could be you're thinking of "The Rose in June". The recording by Jiig, a band organized by Ian Robb, comes in at nine minutes, 29 seconds. The story line is as you recall it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: cnd
Date: 12 Oct 23 - 09:48 AM

Jim and Big Al's comments reminded me of this -- recently, a Mudcat thread came up (link) looking for info on an obscure old Pete Seeger song. Looking for leads, I listened to a few radio shows of his archived from the late 1960s. During one radiothon, he was playing to raise money for a local station when a listener called in and asked him to play Here's to Cheese. The song is long to begin with (the linked version is 6-1/2 minutes), but he went on with it for probably 15 minutes on the show. I could not wait for it to be over with, mostly because 80% of the song is a repetitive chorus. He says it's a variation of Froggy Went A-Courtin written by an English farmer friend.

Pete Seeger Marathon II WBAI 1969-05-10 -- for the curious, that's the radio show I mentioned, and his story and singing of it is buried somewhere in that show (both the original request, when he demurs because he can't remember how it starts, and the eventual elongated performance of the song).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: cnd
Date: 09 Oct 23 - 01:39 PM

Not a song, but while we're drifting in the waters of vaguely related things, this reminds me about the long prom joke:

There's a young boy, who's getting ready to take his date to prom. He gets in his car and hits a busy stop sign, where he waits for the line cars to pass, until he can turn and pull into her driveway. His prospective date was quite the looker, so there was a long line of potential suiters waiting at her door. Nervously, the boy waits his turn until finally, he asks, and she accepts his request! She will go to prom with him. Now that he had a date, he had to get a suit to wear; he drives to the department store to get one. Being the day before prom, the store is busy with young men and women shopping for last minute gifts; there is a line of cars waiting to turn into the store. The boy finally parks and makes it to the nicest tailor in the place; naturally, there is again a line.

You can set it up ad infinetum (once while camping I engineered a version going on probably 20-30 minutes, complete with stops at the drive-through [the kids got hungry], a fancy restaurant, a cake shop, ties, corsages, his dates' lipstick, and even antecedent info, such as recalling his wait in line to buy supplies to make a "promposal" sign, etc) until they finally make it into the prom (the place was busy, so there is again a line to enter the door). His date says she is hungry, so he waits through the buffet line to get her some horderves. He comes back with the plate, at which time she informs him she is also thirsty. He walks over to the drink station and -- what shock! -- there is no punch line. And, cue the groans. For best effect, constantly ham up how worth it the pay out is, and make sure to also introduce it as a long, but worthwhile, joke.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: cnd
Date: 05 Oct 23 - 04:14 PM

Not a Child ballad, but I wrote a while ago about I Can Whip the Scoundrel, a Civil War (Confederate) song. If you're writing towards that era, it could prove useful. A relevant quote:

"Perhaps you think it is about time to stop with this, and I assure you it is. It doesn't get a bit better, but quite the contrary for a verse or two further. This song, by the way, has proved a nucleus around which have agglomerated verses by uncertain authors, the number of which is already past reckoning. I have heard it sung for half an hour, when it seemed to me to be a chronicle of all the battles from Manassas to Shiloh, and I have no doubt that by this time Fredericksburg and Murfreesboro' are added to it."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 19 Oct 23 - 05:50 PM

Here a tentative sing of a 7½ minuter Jon Loomes is working on currently.
He describes it :
"Starts with a football match and ends with a magical duel featuring a talking horse."

;)
https://facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=863146295394727&id=694105445


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 07 Oct 23 - 03:05 AM

Good Heavens! And here I was thinking that Tam Lin [Child 39] with its seemingly interminable 42 verses was the ultimate test of any audience's endurance.

I remember several years ago I attended a singaround and it was getting late. We were down to the last couple of singers when one fella decided he would regale us with every verse of Tam Lin known to humankind - or so it seemed. I'll bet he even made up an additional dozen or so.

It just seemed to go forever. I wanted to kill that guy.

Would've made for one helluva Murder Ballad.


Jay


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Oct 23 - 06:48 AM

The longest in English is The Geste in Child 117. Are 456 verses any use?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Acorn4
Date: 14 Oct 23 - 04:54 AM

Did show Pete Morton the lyrics to this and he was fine with it:-

Another Verse - there always is


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Acorn4
Date: 12 Oct 23 - 03:59 AM

"Hangman oh Hangman" -"Ugghh!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Acorn4
Date: 06 Oct 23 - 03:47 AM

The Ballad of Norman Thorne


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Paul Burke
Date: 09 Oct 23 - 08:33 AM

Infinity, though a bit repetitive:

The bear climbed over the mountain
The bear climbed over the mountain
The bear climbed over the mountain
To see what he could see

Do {
      And what do you think he saw?
      And what do you think he saw?

      The other side of the mountain
      The other side of the mountain
      The other side of the mountain
      Was all that he could see

      So what do you think he did?
      So what do you think he did?

      He climbed back over the mountain
      He climbed back over the mountain
      He climbed back over the mountain
      To see what he could see
} while (1);


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: PHJim
Date: 12 Oct 23 - 04:04 AM

Woody Guthrie wrote the "Ballad Of Tom Joad" to the tune of John Hardy. His recording had to be flipped half way through becaouse it wouldn't fit on one side ofa 78rpm shellac record. It condenses the story of John Steinbeck's "Grapes Of Wrath" into 17 verses.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Thompson
Date: 11 Oct 23 - 04:03 PM

"…it's only forty verses, so I won't detain ye long"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Reinhard
Date: 05 Oct 23 - 08:42 AM

Adam McNaughtan needs just 3:11 minutes to summarize a whole play, Hamlet. Why should any other song waste more time? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 23 - 02:38 AM

Its funny how some songs seem longer when certain people sing them. There used to be this bloke who turned up to obe folk club I ran - he had a twelve string guitar that was out of rune.

I remember The Curragh of Kildare seemed interminable. I was amazed to find out how short it was,


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Oct 23 - 01:24 PM

May one ask why you want long songs?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Felipa
Date: 19 Oct 23 - 06:14 PM

Bill D - 'Twas a thousand-leg-ged worm and he began to squirm, "Has anybody seen a leg of mine? If it can't be found, I'll have to look around for the other nine hundred ninety nine ... " has ten times as many verses as Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer. It would make more sense maybe to say "crawl around" or "walk around" than "look around", but "look" is the way I learned to sing the song. No, we never got to the end of it ...

Paul Burke - An even more repetitive song than "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" is "The once was a man called Michael Finnegan, He had whiskers on his chin-igan, Pulled them out and they grew in again, Poor Michael Finnegan - Begin Again. There once was a man ... ..."
I don't believe anyone sings twenty to forty verses of that song the way one would in a story-telling ballad such as Tam Lin (Child 39) and Gil Morice (Child 83).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Felipa
Date: 06 Oct 23 - 12:43 PM

Gil Morice, Child #83


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 11 Oct 23 - 09:00 AM

There is a 15 minute version of Hesitation Blues by (I think) Miss. John Hurt, famous as he slightly alters the picking for each verse.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 13 Oct 23 - 06:15 PM

I also can't understand deliberately looking for long songs: one thing is for sure - you'll not be popular at a session of maybe 30 people all hoping to get at least 2 songs in over the course of an evening. Even worse if it's at that stage of the evening when time is running out, and still 4 or 5 people to go and you start up with one of those LOOOONNNNGGG songs and deprive others patiently waiting of a chance for their last song!
And, on a personal note, I'm afraid long songs have the same effect on me as long story-telling - deep slumber!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Oct 23 - 10:43 PM

Well, since I seem to circle back to the Poxy Boggards, they do a song called One More Ale! that has verses for 2, 4 and 6 pints, I think, but you could go to infinity if you could keep inventing rhymed...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Oct 23 - 08:42 AM

Tom Joad, by Country Joe?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: gillymor
Date: 05 Oct 23 - 07:33 AM

You can find a lot of long ballads at contemplator.com.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: mousethief
Date: 09 Oct 23 - 05:36 PM

I knew I would get a plethora of great answers here!

Big Al Whittle asks, "May one ask why you want long songs?"

Yes you may. I am creating (just in the writing stage right now) a podcast in which I read folklore and comment on it, provide historical background, etc. I'm trying to cover the world, and also the various kinds of folklore -- ghost stories, tall tales, fairy tales, and so on and so on. And folk ballads are a kind of folklore. And my goal is about 4000 words per episode, which works out to between 20 and 30 minutes. Rather than do several short ones I thought it would be more fun to do a couple of longer ones, and talk about the origins of folk ballads, Child's collection, collectors like Cecil Sharp, etc.


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Subject: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: mousethief
Date: 05 Oct 23 - 03:49 AM

Hello again old friends. For a series I am writing on folklore, I would like to know a few old songs, preferrably Child, that go on interminably. Twenty verses being on the short side. Fifty would not be too long. Maidens getting deflowered by scalliwags, foreign wars, boats sinking far from home, whatever you've got. Thanks so much for your help!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Helen
Date: 05 Oct 23 - 04:00 AM

mousethief, this song It Takes a Worried Man by Pete Seeger isn't long enough for your request, but when one of my music friends used to sing it in our music sessions many years ago I made up another verse:

The song that I sing is twenty-one verses long.
The song that I sing is twenty-one verses long.
The song that I sing is twenty-one verses long,
but I don't care, because I sing it all day long.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Oct 23 - 06:24 PM

I know a woman who told of being offered short gig a in a pub.

"Can you do 30-40 minutes?", the manager asked.

"Oh, sure," she replied, "Would you like one song, or more than one?"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Oct 23 - 09:54 AM

If one is into the realm of bawdy songs, the unexpurgated "Ballad of Eskimo Nell"1 goes on quite a long time...50 or so verses, depending on the version.

1)Of course, an expurgated version would hardly make sense.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Oct 23 - 05:16 PM

"Ninety nine bottles of beer on a wall. Ninety nine bottles of beer.
Take one down...put it back up.. there's Ninety nine bottles of beer."

ad infinitum, or until the bus driver stops and refuses to continue...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Oct 23 - 03:47 PM

And just for fun...
(generally to "Sweet Betsy from Pike)
World's Longest Song
   (Tim Wallace, Lorain, Ohio)
    (passed away 2015)

There are some recording of him on YouTube, but not this one)



This is the ballad of the world's longest song
Nobody can sing it because it's so long.
No one can remember how all of it goes,
So I'll just sing the first hundred verses or so.

The context is boring- it's not very deep,
And all those who hear it may soon fall asleep.
And all those who stay conscious are sure to be bored,
And all those who don't will be poked if they snore.

The melody starts here, and then it goes low.
The next line is higher, and winds up like so.
The third line is similar, but not quite the same,
And the 4th line is just like the third line again.

It's dull and redundant, and it repeats itself,
And it's dull and redundant and it repeats itself.
It just says the same thing all over, and then
It just says the same thing all over again.

It was handed down from my great-grandfather's time.
My grandfather sang it, but he couldn't get it to rhyme....right.
My father added more words, but he couldn't quite get them all to fit....
Then he gave it to me, and now I'm stuck with it.

Now I'm working on it, but I'm pretty dense.
I just haven't got any rhythmical sense,
And when I pass away, it will go to my son,
Which may prove to be hard, since I haven't got one.

Nobody can sing it, though many have tried.
One fellow swore that he could, but he lied.
When four hundred eighty-ninth verse came around,
He got queasy and shaky and had to lie down.

But the once was a fellow who really could sing.
He quite nearly finished the whole bloody thing.
When he came to the last verse, he swelled up with pride,
Stammered and choked and exploded and died.

There's one verse in here that I can't quite recall.
There's one line I just can't remember at all
-----------------------------------------------------------
And part of another that I ---------------------

Now somebody said that this song is all fluff-
I should put in some socially redeeming stuff....
Some truth and high consciousness. I said,"Gee whiz
That'll make it more boring than it already is!"

Now just to be fair and put everything right,
I hummed the one verse that wasn't polite.
It was crude and profane and contained dirty words.
It was the ------ that I ever heard!

Well, the time has now come as in every dumb song,
When we all are cajoled into singing along.
But learning the chorus should not prove a chore,
'Cause it's all parts of song you've all heard before:

REPEAT AFTER ME

Toori-li, oori-li, oori-li-aye
Toori-li, oori-li, oori-li-aye
Hey diddle diddle the dilly dally day
Hey diddle diddle the dilly dally day
Hickory, dickory fiddle lee aye oh
   Hickory, dickory fiddle lee aye oh
Chug chug, toot toot, clank clnk clank e-i-o
   Chug chug, toot toot, clank clnk clank e-i-o


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looking for looooong songs please!
From: GUEST,CupofTea, no cookies
Date: 13 Oct 23 - 05:25 PM

I love me a long song, I do.
It's driving me NUTS that I can't remember name of the most impressive one I can think of: Deb Cowan did it at the last Chicago Maritime music festival - lasted about 7 minutes acapella, of the tale of a ship sinking, and a gallant captain singing a hymn during the disaster. There were breaks where the verses of the hymn went in between the recounting of the disaster, though I assume these are parts of the song as a whole. Not a Child ballad, but impressive as a song.

Death of Young Andrew has a considerable number of verses (as sung by Margaret Nelson with Phil Cooper's tasty guitar) qualifies as a Child ballad, and can be extended by adding in every trivial bit of lady's clothing that the victim has to remove. (I like the edited version)

I also like Prospect, Providence as a longish song, particularly with such a long chorus.

Joanne in Cleveland


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