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Penguin: The Grey Cock

DigiTrad:
GREY COCK
GREY COCK (2)
NIGHT VISITING SONG
OH, ARE YOU SLEEPING MAGGIE
SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST
WESTRON WYND (3)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: A version of Sweet William's Ghost (5)
Lyr Req/Add: The Cocks Are Crowing (31)
Lyr Add: The Grey Cock (NOT Penguin version) (20)
Lyr Req: Sweet William's Ghost (Hughie Jones) (23)
Child's 'Grey Cock' (19)
Lyr Req: Lover's Ghost (30)
Lyr Req/Add: My Pretty Crowing Chickens (10)
Lyr Req: Willie-O (from Cathal McConnell) (11)
Lover's ghost (9)
Lyr Req: The Lover's Ghost (5)
Lyr Req: Lover's Ghost (request only) (3)
Lyr Req: Well Met, My Own True Love (14)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Grey Cock, or Lover's Ghost (from The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs)
The Lover's Ghost, or Grey Cock (from The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs)


Alan of Australia 19 Feb 00 - 09:00 PM
catspaw49 19 Feb 00 - 11:44 PM
Alan of Australia 20 Feb 00 - 12:04 AM
sophocleese 20 Feb 00 - 12:09 AM
Sandy Paton 20 Feb 00 - 12:14 AM
Abby Sale 20 Feb 00 - 12:43 AM
sophocleese 20 Feb 00 - 10:09 AM
Ed Pellow 20 Feb 00 - 11:34 AM
Uncle_DaveO 20 Feb 00 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 20 Feb 00 - 02:38 PM
sophocleese 20 Feb 00 - 02:40 PM
Joe Offer 22 Feb 00 - 02:28 AM
Abby Sale 22 Feb 00 - 07:35 AM
pastorpest 22 Feb 00 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Lollipop 23 Feb 00 - 06:18 AM
Bob Bolton 23 Feb 00 - 09:11 PM
Desert Dancer 02 Oct 02 - 04:52 PM
Desert Dancer 02 Oct 02 - 05:10 PM
Snuffy 02 Oct 02 - 05:44 PM
Desert Dancer 02 Oct 02 - 08:01 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Oct 02 - 08:55 PM
GUEST 02 Oct 02 - 09:52 PM
GUEST,wombbat@umich.edu 15 Dec 03 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Rose Red 15 Mar 09 - 07:54 PM
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Subject: Penguin: The Grey Cock ^^
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 19 Feb 00 - 09:00 PM

G'day,
From the Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs, Ed Pellow's rendition of the tune of The Grey Cock Or The Lover's Ghost (Child #248) can be found here.

THE GREY COCK or THE LOVER'S GHOST
Sung by Mrs Cecilia Costello, Birmingham (M.S. & P.S.-S. 1951)

'I must be going, no longer staying,
The burning Thames I have to cross.
Oh, I must be guided without a stumble
Into the arms of my dear lass.'

When he came to his true love's window,
He knelt down gently on a stone,
And it's through a pane he whispered slowly.
'My dear girl, are you alone?'

She rose her head from her down-soft pillow,
And snowy were her milk-white breasts,
Saying: 'Who's there, who's there at my bedroom window,
Disturbing me from my long night's rest?'

'Oh, I'm your love and don't discover,*
I pray you rise, love, and let me in,
For I am fatigued from my long night's journey.
Besides, I am wet into the skin.'

Now this young girl rose and put on her clothing.
She quickly let her own true love in.
Oh, they kissed, shook hands, and embraced together,
Till that long night was near an end.

'O Willie dear, O dearest Willie,
Where is that colour you'd some time ago?'
'O Mary dear, the clay has changed me.
I'm but the ghost of your Willie O.'

'Then O cock, O cock, O handsome cockerel,
I pray you not crow until it is day.
For your wings I'll make of the very first beaten gold,
And your comb I'll make of the silver grey.'

But the cock it crew, and it crew so fully.
It crew three hours before it was day.
And before it was day, my love had to go away.
Not by the light of the moon or the light of day.

Then it's 'Willie dear, O dearest Willie,
Whenever shall I see you again?'
'When the fish they fly, love, and the sea runs dry, love,
And the rocks they melt in the heat of the sun.'

*Perhaps the phrase should be: 'but I can't uncover' (can't reveal myself).

There is another version in the DT: Grey Cock and Grey Cock 2.

Previous song: The Greenland Whale Fishery.
Next Song: I Wish, I Wish.


Cheers,
Alan ^^


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Feb 00 - 11:44 PM

Well I must say that if its turned grey, that would be a little ghostly.......a little Viagra might help.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 12:04 AM

Might help. Probably stiffen up his tail feathers.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: sophocleese
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 12:09 AM

Just how cocky do you want him to be?


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 12:14 AM

I collected a version of this ballad from Hattie Presnell of Beech Mountain, North Carolina. It's on The Traditional Music of Beech Mountain, NC, Volume 1, Folk-Legacy C-22. Hattie called it "Pretty Crowing Chicken," and it's very clearly a revenant ballad. The final verse reads:

My old true love, my sweet turtle dove,
When will I see you again?
When the sun and the moon meet in yonder glen,
And the sky it shall shed no more rain, rain, rain,
And the sky it shall shed no more rain.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Abby Sale
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 12:43 AM

Sandy, well, I'm sure you're right & it usually does mean that. On the other hand such as "False Lover Won Back" & "Trooper & the Maid" both have similar lines and those are clearly meant simply to be ironic for 'never.' Without some sleeping-with-the-fishes lines, I'm not sure what the singer may mean by it. It's a reason, I think why "Grey Cock" can work well as a ghost or night-visiting or comic or love song. Does a lot of duty.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: sophocleese
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 10:09 AM

What I also wanted to say was that I like this tune. Alan, are you posting the tunes because the book is out of print or is it still available? I would definitely like a copy.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Ed Pellow
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 11:34 AM

Sophocleese,

I transcribed the tunes into midi a while back and sent Alan a copy of them all - that's the main reason I guess.

As far as the book is concerned, it's been out of print for ages but can still be found in specialist second hand book shops if you're prepared to ring round a bit (at least in the UK)

The Grey Cock is a lovely tune - the only recorded version I know is on the first Waterson : Carthy album, Eliza singing it unaccompanied. In fact I'm going to listen to it now...

Ed


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 11:43 AM

I sang this on our HearMe session about a week ago, having learned it from the McColl/Lloyd Folkways set of LPs many, many (43?) years ago. ALMOST the same words...... As to "and don't discover", that's the way A.L. Lloyd sang it, meaning "and don't let anybody know that I'm here", or maybe "and don't give me away", as I recall the explanation from the liner notes.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 02:38 PM

Mrs. Cecilia Costello sang it on Leader LEE 4054.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: sophocleese
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 02:40 PM

Thank you Ed Pellow for letting me know and thank you for sending them to Alan so that he can post them here and I can hear them. I'll start checking second hand bookstores, there are a couple of sites I've bookmarked on the net for such searches. Meanwhile I'll just keep listening to it and learn the tune from the midi. Again thank you.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Feb 00 - 02:28 AM

A search at www.bookfinder.com (click) brings up reasonably-priced copies of The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, edited by Ralph Vaughan Williams and A.L. Lloyd (1959); and The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs, compiled by Edith Fowke (1973). These books are treasures.
I didn't find either of the Australian Penguin books listed. I'm likely to get pretty miffed at the next person who gloats about having that second Australian book. I've been looking it for years.
-Joe Offer-
Aha! I DID find the second Australian book. Hooray!


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Abby Sale
Date: 22 Feb 00 - 07:35 AM

You mean Folksongs of Australia, Meredith/Anderson? I've had both for years. If so, does that Penguin edition have all of the original? :-)


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: pastorpest
Date: 22 Feb 00 - 05:57 PM

The Grey Cock appears in Sing Out magazine, vol. 42#1 on page 49.

Also I think that in the pre-Christian British Isles, the eve of winter, October 31, was a night when the veil between the dead and the living was thin and the dead could return to visit lovers in the realm of the living. The visits had to end before day returned and the cock crowed.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: GUEST,Lollipop
Date: 23 Feb 00 - 06:18 AM

Alan, the only thing that is Grey is your hair, at 53 he still has a full head of hair


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 23 Feb 00 - 09:11 PM

G'day all,

Abby Sale: No (I can speak for Joe O in this respect as I am chasing some Australian books for him presently).

The Second Penguin Australian Song Book is a completely new book by Bill Scott (lovely feller, up north [of me] in Brisbane). This is a more personal selection than the John Manifold lot in the first book, which set out (reasonably successfully) to be a "Standard" collection.

The two Meredith books: Folk Songs of Australia and the men and women who sang them - Volume 1, John Meredith and Hugh Anderson and ~, Volume 2, John Meredith, Roger Covell and Patricia Brown, were last published by the NSW University Press ... and are out of print. The Bush Music Club still has a few copies in stock (along with a few other rare and out of print Australian small print run books). We stocked up for members ... but if they haven't bought them now, I reckon any interested folkie should be able to buy them (he says, having safely made sure he has 2 at least copies of everything!).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 04:52 PM

I see that Malcolm didn't get to transcribing the notes for this one (perhaps because of his distaste for A.L. Lloyd's fondness for the supernatural? ;-) ), so I'll add them (from The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs):

The Grey Cock or The Lover's Ghost (JEFDSS VII 97)
    A number of lyrical folk songs resent the situation of two lovers disturbed by the early crowing of a cock. Perhaps the origin of these songs is found in this supernatural ballad of the lover returned from the dead. The idea that such revenants must go again 'from the world of pity to the world without pity' when the birds cry at tdawn is an ancient folklore notion tha thas spread from the Orient, through the Balkans, as far west as Ireland. Perhaps it is surprising to find such a rare ballad surviving as late as 1951 in the city of Birmingham, where it was recorded from an English-born singer of Irish descent. The Grey Cock appears as No. 248 in Child's collection, but not in such good shape as here.

From the Ballad Index:

NAME: Grey Cock, The, or, Saw You My Father [Child 248]
DESCRIPTION: Man bids his love to let him in. After some hours of lovemaking, he tells her he must depart when the cock crows (or before). She hopes the cock will not crow soon, but it crows early. She learns that her lover is a ghost, and may never return
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1769 (Herd)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Man comes to his lover's window, bidding her open and let him in. They spend the night in lovemaking; toward dawn, he tells her he must leave when the cock crows for day. She prays the cock not to crow too soon, but the cock in fact crows early. She remarks her lover's cold lips and skin, realizing he has returned to her dead. As he leaves, she asks when she will see him again; he replies with impossibilities ("When the fish they fly, love, and the sea runs dry, love/And the rocks they melt in the heat of the sun") -- i.e., at the Judgment Day.
KEYWORDS: love sex farewell death dialog nightvisit paradox supernatural lover ghost
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South,West),Scotland) US(Ap,SE) Canada(Mar,Newf) Ireland
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Child 248, "The Grey Cock, or, Saw You My Father" (1 text)
Bronson 248, "The Grey Cock, or, Saw You My Father" (16 texts)
Leach, pp. 611-612, "The Grey Cock" (2 texts)
Warner 90, "Pretty Crowin' Chicken" (1 text, 1 tune)
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, pp. 52-53, "The Grey Cock, or The Lover's Ghost" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hodgart, p. 148, "The Grey Cock" (1 text)
SHenry H699, pp. 383-384, "The Bonny Bushes Bright" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 248, GREYCOCK*

RECORDINGS:
Cecilia Costello, "The Grey Ghost" (on FSB5 [as "The Grey Cock"], FSBBAL2)
A. L. Lloyd, "The Lover's Ghost" (on Lloyd1) (Lloyd2, Lloyd3)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Night Visiting Song" (motif)
Notes: [Of Bronson's sixteen versions,] only one is of the Night Visiting Song type and one of the I Once Loved a Lass type. - AS
File: C248
The Ballad Index Copyright 2002 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

The 1951 recording of Cecilia Costello by Peter Kennedy is currently available on "Classic Ballads of Britain and Ireland" Vol. Two, in the Alan Lomax Collection from Rounder Records (Rounder 1161-1775-2, (c)2000 Rounder Records Corp.)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 05:10 PM

From the notes for the song for the CD Classic Ballads of Britain and Ireland Vol. Two, (Rounder 11991-1776-2), compiled and edited by Alan Lomax and Peter Kennedy:

Child has two texts and Bronson 16, including a transcription from Ewan McColl as well as Mrs. Costello's version, transcribed by Patrick Shuldham-Shaw from a BBC recording by Marie Slocombe for the English Folk Song and Folk Dance Society Journal in 1953.

When Cecilia Costello first sang her version of the ballad to Peter Kennedy in 1950, she ended with the notes F, F, D, making it a pure Aeolian tune, instead of ending on the tonic, as she does here.

---

The Penguin gives a 1951 date for "M.S. and P.S.-S." -- maybe that's the actual recording date and 1953 was the date of publication in the JEFDSS?

At any rate, she was recorded/heard by collectors several times.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Snuffy
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 05:44 PM

Verses 2-5 are very similar to "I'm a rover, seldom sober".

And the last verse reminds me of the only words I've ever found to the Morris tune Constant Billy:

Billy, Billy, [Oh/my] constant Billy
Oh When shall I see my Billy again?'
When the fish fly over the mountains
That's when you'll see your Billy again

Does anybody know any verse to Constant Billy?

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 08:01 PM

Best to do a search, and if nothing's there start a separate thread, Snuffy.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 08:55 PM

There were a number of reasons why I stopped adding material from the Penguin Book at this point. Partly, I discovered who holds the copyright to the bulk of the material (and before anyone starts objecting that "traditional" material shouldn't be copyrighted, I'll just mention that around half of the texts in the Penguin book were re-written by Lloyd and Vaughan Williams from various sources, not always acknowledged, and therefore aren't , strictly speaking, traditional at all) and that, if they were nagged for long enough, there was a good chance the book would be re-published; this has now been agreed, though I don't know how soon it will happen.

The other reason was that I knew that the Irish collector and scholar Hugh Shields had published a study of this particular song, and that he took a very different view of it from the rather romantic one that so many people assumed in the wake of the recording (in 1951; more than once) and publishing of Mrs. Costello's set; I didn't want to comment until I had the full background.

It was some time before I had a chance to read Shield's paper, The Grey Cock: Dawn Song or Revenant Ballad?, which appeared in Ballad Studies, ed. Emily B. Lyle, 1976. Essentially, he makes the point that The Grey Cock is not traditionally a supernatural ballad at all, and that the supernatural elements in Mrs. Costello's set (including a verse omitted from the Penguin book) were borrowed from a broadside song popular in Ireland during the 19th century, Willy O; examples of which Shields has himself recorded from traditional singers in the North of Ireland. Her song, however, appeared to supply a "missing link" that a great many people had been earnestly hoping for; as a result, like Piltdown Man, it was instantly accepted into the canon without too much thought; it took time before someone was prepared to step back and re-assess it objectively.

Of course, that won't stop people making sweeping assumptions that all night-visiting songs are ghost stories (I've seen it happen here all too often), but such folk rarely allow facts to get in the way of cherished romantic fantasies. They also insist that She Moved Through the Fair is a traditional ghost story, though no traditional version of it is any such thing; so far as can be told, my dead love was introduced to that song in the 1920s by the popular recording artist John McCormack; quite possibly by accident in reading from sheet-music.

I don't have any distaste for anybody's fondness for the supernatural; you should see my bookshelves! What I want for traditional music, though, is accuracy and proper information, not romantic (and all too often, ill-informed) assumptions. Lloyd was far from being ill-informed, but he was a man of his time (and not always as scrupulous as he might have been) and promulgated quite a bit of misinformation in the course of an illustrious, if confusing, career.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 09:52 PM

Malcolm, please expand on the above either here or at my site (although in either case, I think it would warrant a thread of its own).

Certainly from my viewpoint, at folkinfo, I would prefer fact to fantasy and I can only imagine that Mudcat would be the same - I think most of us have more interest in truth than stories, no matter how fantastic they may be.

I make no secret of the fact that I am very ignorant about folk songs but aim to do well and find your comments disturbing (in the sense of giving out miss-information)

Jon


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: GUEST,wombbat@umich.edu
Date: 15 Dec 03 - 02:05 PM

Just wanted to add that Fernhill has included a wonderful Welsh/English version of this ballad on their newest 2003 release "Hynt." Julie Murphy sings three versions, 2 in English, one in Welsh. Outstanding.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Grey Cock
From: GUEST,Rose Red
Date: 15 Mar 09 - 07:54 PM

There is an excellent version of Ewan McColl singing this song acapella which I came across on the album The Real McColl...


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