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Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?

DigiTrad:
FATTY GROVES
LORD BANNER
MATTIE GROVES


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Paul Reade 10 Apr 18 - 06:09 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Apr 18 - 10:57 AM
Richard Mellish 09 Apr 18 - 05:37 PM
The Sandman 08 Apr 18 - 08:57 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Mar 18 - 07:07 PM
GUEST,Jerry 20 Mar 18 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Jerry 20 Mar 18 - 05:17 PM
The Sandman 20 Mar 18 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Pallando 20 Mar 18 - 12:16 AM
GUEST,Rev Bayes 15 Apr 16 - 03:37 PM
GUEST 12 Apr 16 - 06:46 AM
Jeri 07 Apr 16 - 01:45 PM
Thompson 07 Apr 16 - 01:00 PM
GUEST 07 Apr 16 - 11:39 AM
GUEST 04 Apr 16 - 09:53 AM
Phil Edwards 31 Jul 13 - 07:41 PM
Don Firth 31 Jul 13 - 05:28 PM
Phil Edwards 31 Jul 13 - 02:11 PM
Dave Hunt 31 Jul 13 - 01:57 PM
Don Firth 31 Jul 13 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Dicky boy 31 Jul 13 - 12:53 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Jul 13 - 01:17 PM
Musket 30 Jul 13 - 03:39 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Jul 13 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,leeneia 06 Sep 12 - 02:16 PM
Don Firth 06 Sep 12 - 01:47 PM
Elmore 06 Sep 12 - 01:09 PM
Owen Woodson 05 Sep 12 - 03:51 PM
Don Firth 05 Sep 12 - 02:16 PM
freddfish 05 Sep 12 - 01:05 PM
The Sandman 05 Sep 12 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,Charlie Horse 05 Sep 12 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,busy dizzy 13 Oct 10 - 07:39 PM
Joe_F 07 Oct 09 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,guest - anne neilson 07 Oct 09 - 05:21 PM
VirginiaTam 07 Oct 09 - 05:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Oct 09 - 04:01 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 07 Oct 09 - 03:47 PM
Lonesome EJ 07 Oct 09 - 03:36 PM
Goose Gander 25 Mar 09 - 12:48 PM
goatfell 25 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM
Goose Gander 24 Mar 09 - 03:34 PM
Goose Gander 24 Mar 09 - 12:58 PM
Rusty Dobro 31 Jul 08 - 12:58 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Jul 08 - 10:37 AM
kendall 31 Jul 08 - 05:54 AM
Phil Edwards 31 Jul 08 - 04:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Jul 08 - 04:36 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 Jul 08 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,MaW 30 Jul 08 - 09:06 AM
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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Paul Reade
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 06:09 PM

I blame the yearlings!

If they had stayed where they were or come home on their own then none of this would have happened.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 10:57 AM

Hi Richard
'That seems the most likely period for the story'. What is the evidence for that? Very few of the other ballads/stories come from the medieval period. The historical ones generally date from post 1550.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 05:37 PM

> What's all this medieval nonsense?

That seems the most likely period for the story, even if the ballad wasn't made until much later.

Whoever put (at least a version of) the ballad together chose to give the protagonists names of real families living in the same area, if only for verisimilitude.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Apr 18 - 08:57 AM

Could it be the vicar who gave a sermon that sexually aroused lord darnells wife?
when the gospel was over she searched around for a bedfellow


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 07:07 PM

What's all this medieval nonsense? The ballad was most likely written in the 17th century along with many other similar pieces. Also the Barnards and the Musgraves had many estates all over the country, mostly in northern England and southern Scotland, both wealthy landed gentry. As someone said Musgrave would have been sent out to work his way up in another household as a younger son (not the heir). This patchwork of properties throughout the land (and indeed in other lands) was largely due to arranged marriages between the landed gentry.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 05:25 PM

A grave, a grave, he then did cry, to put these lovers in
But bury my lady on the top, that’s how she loved bonking.
Jerry Crossley.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 05:17 PM

I know lots of you hate parodies, but here’s one of mine:

A holiday, Bank Holiday, the fifteenth of the year
Young Matty Jones Tesco’s did go, to get some cut price beer.
And there he spied a fair lady, in the fruit and veggie aisle
Stood behind the melon display, with her come hither smile.
She asked him then to go with her, as she was weighing some plums
He tore her off a paper bag, but was all fingers and thumbs.
I cannot, I will not go, I dare not for my life
I fear you might sue for assault, plus you’re my boss’s wife.
My husband’s gone out on his own, to see the Rangers play
This week Rangers are not at home, so we can play away.
But pausing at the pharmacy, he rushed to Check Out Zone
And found in his bagging area, an item that’s unknown.
A Work colleague did overhear, behind them in the queue
He thought he’d go and call their boss, with Staff Appraisals due.
Fear not, the boss he then replied, once he had learnt the facts
We have a sort of open marriage, plus our pre-nup contract.
He commended him for using their Whistle Blowing Plan
But secretly condemned him, for being a Celtic fan.
He called his wife on her mobile, as she lay in a heap
But failed to arouse her from her post-coital sleep.
Young Matty Jones picked up the phone, and hence confessed to all
Besides it would be much cheaper than to return the call.
He asked about the football match, now looking like a draw
The boss replied: At least this night, there is someone who’s scored.
So how do you like my water bed, and how do you like my sheets?
We got a good deal at Dunelm, in their Spring Sale last week.
Now we’ll I like your water bed, and well I like your sheets
I thought I was on the damp patch, but no, it’s sprung a leak.
Then fearing some litigation, I’m sorry, his boss said
I’ve told my wife before about wearing high heels in bed.
The boss rang off in deep despair, he knew not what to do
The other team had scored a goal before the whistle blew.
He grabbed his coat and headed home, a lowdown sorry man
At least his wife was no longer dating a Celtic fan.
And when he entered their bedroom, he found them both face down
Rather than post-coital doze, the both of them had drowned.
He ran to get his insurance, to check he’d covered all
Then quickly wrote a disclaimer, and pinned it against the wall.
A grave, a grave


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 05:11 AM

All were guilty".Wha? They got to Norway? Tell me more!" SIMPLE THEY DIED OF BOREDOM DURING THE LONG WINTER NIGHTS AFTER GETTING FROSTBITE


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Pallando
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 12:16 AM

I have had the best hour and a half of my life reading through this... Thanks, guys!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 03:37 PM

> perhaps the song could be updated to the present day

That was done in 2008 (scroll on up). And it hasn't dated too badly ;)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 06:46 AM

"And then spoke up his own dear wife never heard to speak so free
I'd rather kiss one dead Mattie's lips than you and your finery."

Necrophilia, adultery, murder - what's not to like? (The only missing ingredient is incest - perhaps Mattie is actually Lord Arlen's wife's brother?).


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Apr 16 - 01:45 PM

Guest, while this might not translate outside the US:
Starting with:
And then spoke up his own dear wife never heard to speak so free
I'd rather kiss one dead Mattie's lips than you and your finery.


First 'twas shown on TMZ, now it's trending on the 'Net
Another 'Housewives' show on Bravo will soon start, that is my bet.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Thompson
Date: 07 Apr 16 - 01:00 PM

The baddie is clearly the one who does all the killing.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Apr 16 - 11:39 AM

Since we can all agree that either (a) All were guilty, or (b) None were, perhaps the song could be updated to the present day, where instead of people getting killed, the protagonists all go to a Relationship Counsellor (or whatever they are called nowadays) and end up in a multi-person "gender-fluid" (since we're not quite sure which sex the page was) civil partnership/group marriage?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Apr 16 - 09:53 AM

Lord Barnard has died! Many here might think he got away lightly after that double murder.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 07:41 PM

Hearing Peter Bellamy's version - in the Maritime England Suite - blew it open for me. I'd learnt it via Nic Jones, who has Sir P setting off for Norway and being drowned on the way. Bellamy has the King's letter sending them to Norway, then goes straight to
"They had not been in Norrowa'
Weeks but barely three..."

Wha? They got to Norway? Tell me more!

There's a terrific song in there somewhere, for someone who has the patience to trawl through the various different Child versions.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 05:28 PM

Ah! Sir Patrick Spens. I still have that one to work on.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 02:11 PM

Alcohol or no, I have much more trouble remembering the words of the kind of song where the verses could come in any order (contemporary songs especially, Dylan especially specially) than I ever do with long ballads. I've dried a couple of times at FCs and singarounds, but not because the song was too long. In one case it was between verses 1 and 2 of Nick Drake's "Which Will", a song with ten lines.

With ballads, I find the length doesn't matter if you know which verse comes next, and that's just a matter of knowing where you are in the story. My Musgrave is 26 verses; I leave out a couple of verses ("She cast a look on the little Musgrave" at one end and "Slowly, slowly he rose up" at the other). Once you're on board it just rolls along.

That's not the longest thing I do, though; my Lord Bateman and Earl Richard (aka Young Hunting) are both 35 or 36. One of these days I'll work up a good long Patrick Spens.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 01:57 PM

Anyone got the version that Steve Benbow sang - I do have the record (45!) somewhere in Hunt Towers,but could be anywhere under all the other crap...

It starts: It's a holy holy holiday, and the very first day of the year, and the little Musgrave has been to church the holy word to hear.

I love the last verse!
He took her by the lily white hand and led her to the hall
He cut her head from her neck-bone and kicked it against the wall!

By the tune I'd think it was American..


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 01:08 PM

Some twenty-seven verses of blood, gore, and adultery (at least in the version that I [try to] sing).

Singing that while under the alfluence of incohol can get a bit dicey.

Been there, tried that. Oy!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Dicky boy
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 12:53 PM

Matthew grove is the police and crime commissioner for humberside is he a good guy or bad guy i dont know......maybe a good guy


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jul 13 - 01:17 PM

Shades of ray Winstone in Scum - Who's the Baddy!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Musket
Date: 30 Jul 13 - 03:39 AM

The baddie was me, the other night, trying to sing it whilst under affluence of incohol...

Sorry to all in Leeds that night. I do remember the words, honest.....


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jul 13 - 06:34 PM

Here's a new recording. Multi-tracked backing (concertina, drums, ukulele, rain); song sung straight through.

Little Musgrave


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 02:16 PM

To address the original question, there isn't any bad guy. They're all jerks - the adulterous wife, the disloyal servant, the tattling pageboy, the vengeful lord. That's the ongoing theme, the ever-present subtext of the old ballads - what jerks the self-styled upper classes are.

Whether they are knights ravishing maidens or lords killing their wives or princesses drowning their sisters, they are all jerks.

An interesting modern work on the same theme here: a photographer returned from the Olympics in London with a photograph of grafitti he saw there. The grafitti showed Queen Elizabeth II (the present queen) dressed as usual, in a fine dress and a hat. Surprisingly, she is holding a dripping paint brush, and on the wall next to her she has scrawled

"God Save the People."

From whom, we ask. And to me the answer was obvious - from her son and her grandsons. (Though to be fair, William doesn't sound as ballad-worthy as the other two.)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 01:47 PM

Never heard of Elizabeth Laprelle, so I just checked her out.

Good "mountain" sound! I sing pretty much the same version of Mattie Groves that she does. She does it well, but she takes it a bit fast for my taste.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Elmore
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 01:09 PM

Great thread. I enjoy a version of this wonderful old ballad by a young American singer, Elizabeth Laprelle.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 03:51 PM

Asking who the baddy is, with a ballad which goes back as far as Matty Groves does is asking for trouble, simply because cultural attitudes to love, marriage, property etc have change so much since.

As far as mediaeval England is concerned, I agree with Don Firth. Lady Barnard (sorry for the change of name) was his property. Little Musgrave, had violated his property - had become damaged goods in fact - and he dealt with Musgrave in the same manner in which he would have dealt with anyone else stealing from him.

Plus, in feudal times, with wars and rieving and God knows what, kinship alliances were vitally important. If Lady Barnard had been mucking about, and one or more of her sons were those of some oppenent, Lord Barnard could have ended up in a very sticky predicament.

Therefore, Lord Barnard despatched his cuckold in full accordance with the harshness of the times. And if you think that Little Musgrave suffered harshly, I recently read a footnote in a book about manorial life in England in feudal times. The footnote said that the Bishop of Chester (I think) borrowed a gallows from the appropriate authorities and unceremoniously hung one of his parishoners for stealing a dozen eggs.

But what happens when the ballad surfaces in the Southern Appalachians, where social mores regarding marriage are entirely different?

It seems to me that the murder then becomes a genuine crime of passion and the villain of the piece is not Lord Barnard but the foot page for not having the sense to keep his mouth shut. Note how Dillard Chandler's version christens him "little Robert Ford" - a nineteenth century traitor if ever there was one.

Also note how Hedy west's version ends:

"Hark, hark, the dogs do bark,
and the sparrows they do cry.
Today I killed two true loves
And tomorrow I must die."

A fate which certainly would not have befallen the original Lord Barnard.

BTW. I always thought "the man with the horn" was Little Musgrave and that's how he ended up in bed with Lady Barnard in the first place. -:)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 02:16 PM

I think that what Lord Arlen felt for his wife was not so much love, but ownership, according to the mores of the times. Mattie Groves was poaching on Arlen's property. And his wife not only let him, but talked Mattie Groves into it.

Nobody emerges neat and tidy from this fracas, save, possibly, the man with the horn, who was "a man who wished no ill."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: freddfish
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 01:05 PM

Slightly off topic, but I have always been somewhat amused by Dr Ralph Stanleys version, in which he depicts their actual act of coitus with, I think, admirable delicacy:

"Well they tossed and they turned in the bed all night,
'til they lay fast asleep.
And in the light of the cold morning dawn,
Lord Arnold stood at their feet"

One could almost infer that, rather than banging the bedposts, they had instead hit the espresso machine many times more than prudence would dictate, and had been cursed with a horrific case of insomnia...


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 12:47 PM

lord darnald, if he had insisted on his wife wearing a chastity belt and taken away the key after locking it , we would not have the song


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Charlie Horse
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 06:02 AM

I would like to clarify one thing about the times that this song was written in. It was socially acceptable for both males and females of the time to take lovers on the side. At the time it had the signifigance of belching in public. In poor taste, but hardly a crime.

It seems to me that this is a tragedy of estimations. Lady Arlen underestimated what Arlen felt for her. Matty underestimated what Arlens reaction would be (that is why he risked staying. The Servant underestimated the consequences of letting Arlen know what was going on. Arlen overestimated his wife's love for him. And the only person who had any idea what was going to go down was the hornblower who was riding with Arlen because he was able to see its affect on Arlen.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,busy dizzy
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 07:39 PM

I have great sympathy for Lady Donald. Clearly this God fearing woman had listened to the vicar preaching on the text "love thy neighbour" and decided that Matty was her neighbour. Quite possibly Matty misinterpreted the commandment "though shalt not covet thy neighbours wife or his ass" .and covetted his neighbours wifes ass. The resulting union of these interpretations clearly could have been exacerbated by the excitement of it being the first holiday of the year where the depths of winter were cast off and the qualities of new life, calving lambing and the joys of spring were celebrated. Add to this the actions of Lord Donald who clearly was not carrying out his duties toward his wife .. being away for a considerable time and we do not know who he was with

Bloody servants .. u can't trust anybody these days


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Joe_F
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 06:25 PM

I find Lonesome's speculations stimulating & plausible.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,guest - anne neilson
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 05:21 PM

Thought you might like to know of the first time I heard this song, possibly 1961/62, sung by the great Aberdeen ballad singer Jeannie Robertson in the front room of my teacher Norman Buchan. The room was packed and Jeannie stood with her back to the fireplace, commanding the whole space. She sang Matty Groves in a full version, holding individual listeners with a very direct gaze as she shared two or three verses with them -- and you dared not disengage!
When she reached the part of the story where Lord Donald challenged Matty and offered the naked man his better sword, she paused and looked round the room until she saw Norman standing by the door. Then she said, "Well, you see, Norman -- he wis aye a fair man.". And then she picked up the song again and sang it through to the end.
By the way, I was also told around that time (probably by Norman) that Jeannie knew the ballad to another tune but had heard Jean Ritchie at an Aberdeen folk festival and made her own version of Jean's tune!
Love this ballad, and have thoroughly enjoyed this thread.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 05:12 PM

Who's the baddie?

Is it my partner when he starts to sing it.

Or me for making this complaint.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 04:01 PM

The assumed ethic is one of "A man does what a man's got to do" - both Mattie and the Lord. In fact everyone is doing what they are expected to do in the convention of the ballad.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 03:47 PM

Apologies for failing to read this thread, but I see the "baddy" quite clearly as the err "Lady" for seducing the wee lad in the first place. She knows what she's doing AND how dangerous it is for him.
The Lord is indeed a calculated sadist too though (meaning in other words no other servant will ever shag her again whilst he's away!), but it's nevertheless quite probably in keeping with social behaviors of the time. For him it's purely a matter of 'honour'.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 03:36 PM

I brought this old thread back up, because I had a similar discussion about Matty Groves with Mr Finn and the Laprelles at the Getaway. Anyway, here's my theory on the whole thing:

Yes, Lord Arnel was a wealthy man who was much older than his Lady. She was attractive, unsatisfied, and bored. The Lord was a big brawling lug, fond of hunting, fighting, feasting, and used to having his way with the girls of the village. She was kept safely within the castle walls. The other lords who saw her would be smitten, but too afraid of Lord Arnel to attempt any hanky panky. Even the male servants were aware of the Lady, her beauty, and he warm temperament.
This feeling extended to none other than Lord Arnel's page, who would have had as much intimacy with her as any other male would have been allowed, he having Arnel's full trust. Could it be that the two traded longing looks, that she extended subtle invitations which the page was far too cautious to follow up? Or was he a homely weasel who only pined for a woman who was unattainable to him?
For whatever reason, her eye fixed on Matty, a fellow below her station, but perhaps a village romeo. At any rate, it seems certain that the seduction at Church was the end result of a long mutual admiration. Unlike the page, Matty had the boldness of love and passion to overcome his fear of Lord Arnel. He was not a shy and weak fellow, in my opinion, but a youth of the Lady's age bold, and perhaps dumb enough to make love to her in the Lord's own bed.
And who would be most likely to be aware of such an assignation? Whose stewing unrequited love would be most likely to turn to vengeance when he learned of it? Why, the page.
This was his motivation in going to Lord Arnel, not any sense of loyalty. He wanted Matty killed for doing what he had not the courage to do. Did he bargain for the Lord 's killing his Lady as well? Probably not. For he could not envision that she would have the boldness to tell Arnel that she would rather have Mattie than her husband. This would be a courageous stand that the weaselly page could not predict.
And so, Lord Arnel, cruel but fair, offers Mattie the better sword and slays him in an exchange of blows. Her statement provokes him to kill her in a tempest of anger, an action which I am sure he would later regret.

Anyway, that's my theory, and I'm sticking to it.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 25 Mar 09 - 12:48 PM

Unless it was Mathie who started it. Workman's version is rather abreviated, and much of the narrative and dialogue has been compressed. Are there any other versions in which Mathie seduces the wife?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: goatfell
Date: 25 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM

the baddy isn't the page he was only doing his jib if he didn't then he would of got killed and neither Matty Groves but the baddy is the Lady becuse she was the one that started it.


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Subject: Lord Daniel - Nimrod Workman
From: Goose Gander
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 03:34 PM

LORD DANIEL

Well, the first come down was dressed in red
The next come down in green
The next come down Lord Daniel's wife
Fair as any queen, queen
Fair as any queen

Can I go home with you, little love?
Home with you this night?
I can tell by the rings you wear
You are Lord Daniel's wife, wife
You are Lord Daniel's wife

Well, a little footpath was standing by
And he heard every word was said
"If I don't die by the break of day
Lord Daniel will hear of that, that
Lord Daniel will hear of that."

Well, he had about sixteen miles to go
Eight of them he run
Run till he came to a broken down bridge
Fell to his breast and he swum, swum
Rattle at the door and he run

"What is it, my little footpath?
What is the matter now?"
"Another man's in bed with your wife
Both of their hearts as one, one
Both of their hearts as one"

Well, he called his army to his side
Told them for to go
Threw them bugles to their mouths
They began to blow, blow
They began to blow

"You better get up, my own true love
You better get up and go
Lord Daniel's coming home this night
I hear them bugles blow, blow
I hear them bugles blow"



"Lay down, lay down, my little true love
Lay down and go to sleep
That is your father's shepards
Blowing to the sheep, sheep
Blowing to the sheep"

Well, they began to hugging and kissing
They both fell off to sleep
And when they woke their hearts was broke
Lord Daniel was at their feet, feet
Lord Daniel was at their feet

"Get up, get up little Mathie Grove
And fight me for your life"
"How can I fight you for my life
You, two brand new swords
Me, no much as a pocket knife, knife
Not much as a pocket knife"

"Yes, I have these two brand new swords
The best I'll give to thee
And the very first lick Lord Daniel struck
Brought Mathie Grove to his knees, knees,
Brought Mathie Grove to his knees.

Source:
Nimrod Workman, from 'I Want to Go Where Things Are Beautiful' (June Appal CD); learned from his uncle.

In Workman's version, it looks like Mathie is the one who instigates the affair. But really no one would have been the wiser if that damn little 'footpath' could have just have minded his own business. Even Lord Daniel seems annoyed- "What is it, my little footpath? What is the matter now?" No one likes a tattle-tell.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 12:58 PM

LORD DANIEL

The first come down was dressed in red
The next come down in blue
The next come down Lord Daniel's wife
The fairest of the two (2x)

She cast her eyes around and about
Little Mathie she did see
She said, "Come along little Mathie Grove
And lie this night with me" (2x)

"O, this I can't," little Mathie said
"I dare not for my life
I can see by the gold ring that you wear
You are Lord Daniel's wife." (2x)

"If I am Lord Daniel's wife
I'm sure you take me to be
He has gone to London Town
King Harry for to see" (2x)

A little foot page was standing by
To see what he could hear
Straight way went down to London town
Lord Daniel the news to bear (2x)

"What news, what news, my little foot page?
What news do bring to me?
"Your wife's in bed with little Mathie Groves
Bad news, bad news," said he (2x)

"If this be the truth that you tell unto me
O, this that you tell unto me
I have one daughter of my own
Your wedded wife shall be" (2x)

"But if this be a lie that you tell
One this that you tell unto me
I'll bring some gallows strong and high
And hanged you shall be" (2x)

He called his soldiers round to him
And marched them in a row
And gave them orders then and there
Not a sound from bugles to blow (2x)

But just as they were almost there
One who wished little Mathie well
He put his bugle to his mouth
And blew it loud and shrill (2x)

"What's that, what's that," little Mathie said
"Isn't that Lord Daniel's horn?"
"It's nothing but my father's horn
Just a-blowing his sheep to corn" (2x)

They hugged and kissed as lovers do
Then fell off to sleep
And the next thing either of them knew
Lord Daniel was at their feet (2x)

"How do you like my well made bed?
How do like my sheet?
How do you like my darling wife
That lies in your arms asleep?" (2x)

"Very well I like your well made bed
Much better I like your sheet
Much better I like this fair, gay lady
That lies in my arms asleep" (2x)

"Put on your clothes little Mathie Grove
And fight me while you can
No man shall say when I am gone
That I slew a naked man" (2x)

"I must get up at your request
And fight you for my life
And you shall use your two broadswords
But I will take a knife" (2x)

"These swords are made by finest steel
And cost me deep in purse
But you may have the sharpest sword
And I will take the worst" (2x)

The very first lick little Mathie struck
He wounded Lord Daniel sore
The very first blow Lord Daniel struck
Little Mathie could fight no more (2x)

He took his darling by the hand
And he sat her on his knee
And said, "Which one do you love the best
Little Mathie Grove or me?" (2x)

"Very well I like your rosy cheek
Much better I like your chin
Much better I love little Mathie Grove
Than you or any of your kin" (2x)

He took his darling by the hand
And led her across the plain
He took those two broad swords of his
And split her head in twain (2x)

So sweet then sang the nightingale
So sad the sparrow's cry
"There's been two lives I've taken today
And tomorrow I must die" (2x)

Source:
Mary Lomax, GA (2007); Art of Field Recording vol.1, recorded by Art Rosenbaum. Mary (no relation to Alan or John) learned this from her father.

Well, I'm not sure whether there's any point is getting angry at fictional characters in ballads, but OK I'll play along and give my two cents on who's to blame . . .

Lord Daniel's wife clearly enjoys toying with little Mathie Groves (I see him in my mind as meek and unassuming) and has no qualms at all about cheating on her husband. Mathie should have known better, but heck a chance like this doesn't come along every day. Yeah, the footpage was a fink, a traitor to his own class, presumably. Lord Daniel was more concerned with his own reputation when he told Mathie to get dressed and fight him (this scene gets more ridiculous the more I think of it), but his offer of a sword probably wasn't as noble as it seems. Think about it, Mathie was accustomed to fighting with a knife. Wielding a broadsword was likely cumbersome, and put him at a disadvantage. But isn't it funny, Lord Daniel doesn't get away with murder in the end. He clearly expects to executed for his crimes. So they're all to blame, and they all pay with their lives. Except for that little rat footpage. I wonder if he ever got to marry the Lord's daughter? Maybe he in turn got murdered by one of his fellow servants. One can only speculate . . .


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 12:58 PM

I think this is what actually happened.....

A holiday, a holiday, so the rain was falling hard,
Lord Arlen's wife went into the town with her husband's credit card
And when the shopping it was done, she went back to where her car was parked.
And there she saw little Matty Groves, nicking sat-navs in the dark.

Come home with me, little Matty Groves, come home with me today,
And I will do such things to you as will take your breath away.

I can't come home, I won't come home, I can't come home for my life,
For I see by your personal number plate you are Lord Arlen's wife.
What if I am Lord Arlen's wife, Lord Arlen he has gone,
Down to the pub at Eastbridge, to play his melodeon.

I can't come home, I won't come home, I can't come home, I fear,
For I'm due in court in half an hour for nicking a Cavalier.
You can come home, little Matty Groves, you can come home today,
For I'm the very close friend of a magistrate, he'll see that you're OK.

I can't come home 'cos if I did I'd be no use to you,
I've had a quart of Bacardi Breezer and six tins of Special Brew.
You must come home, little Matty Groves, I know we'll be all right,
For I can start without you, and you can take all night.

At this a servant standing by began to grow quite vexed,
He swore Lord Arlen he would know, so he sent him off a text.
And when Lord Arlen read the news, he began to swear and cuss,
He chucked his melodeon back in its box and jumped on the very next bus.

When he got back to his own bedroom, he peered around the door,
His lady fair and Matty Groves still at it on the floor.
Then Lord Arlen turned around and hurried from the room,
He came back with his camcorder, with its twenty times optical zoom.

And when the filming it was done, it was sold to Channel 4,
The three of them got stinking rich, so they made a dozen more.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:37 AM

I've never liked this song.

I admire anyone with the committment to tackle a piece like this and give it its due, but it leaves a nasty taste to my mind.

I think theres a gleam of admiration in the songwriters eye for the murderer. All that bravado about bury her on top because she's from a higher class. Its sort of reminiscent of Lucky Lucan and the way the poshocracy spirited him away. Oh he's from this class - he shouldn't be accountable like every other Tom, Dick and Harry.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: kendall
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 05:54 AM

The rule is, "An eye for an eye..etc" NOT a life for a piece of ass.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 04:52 AM

What makes the song for me is this verse (verse 17 of Child's version A):

'Is not thy hawke upon a perch?
Thy steed eats oats and hay;
And thou a fair lady in thine armes,
And wouldst thou bee away?'

She's right - in that moment everything's right with the world for Musgrave, he couldn't be in a better place. But at the same time she's horribly wrong, and he's in the worst place possible (for both of them). That contradiction between contentedly being in the moment & anxious foresight - and between doing what you want & thinking about what's going to keep you alive - really resonates with me.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 04:36 AM

Cutting someones head off makes you a baddy in my book.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 09:36 AM

It is my contention that there are no baddies in balladry, just hapless protagonists - victims and perpetrators - pitched into the maelstrom of a narrative derived, to whatever extent, from experience, or else life, by way of an entertainment made more effective by the sheer lack of any sort of moral preaching or two-dimensional moralising. The tragedy is thus made more real and at least allows for a more rounded view of the characterisations which would otherwise be too wooden to be in any way believable. The effectiveness lies with the portrayal of circumstance as believable, and the capacity for humans to fuck up at any level, otherwise there'd be no ballads, or soaps, without allowing for the possibility of redemption.

In life there are no baddies, and certainly no goodies, just circumstance, with context and causality. In the news we always get the details of the crime, but never the full story behind it. There are no random acts of violence; each has a story, a narrative, and a context, and only by knowing this can we effectively deal with the wider trauma of the crime. Ballads do this, soaps likewise, I'm thinking it's about time the news media did it too.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,MaW
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 09:06 AM

One does wonder if perhaps Matty had heard about what happened to Child Owlet when he refused the proposition of a noblewoman. It could easily have influenced his choice as to whether or not to sleep with her if she was in a position to make trouble for him (and it doesn't get much worse than what happened to Child Owlet after he refused Lady Erskine).

It is a fascinating song, this. Even just within Fairport Convention's version there are many arguments to be made for who's to blame, and mixing in the others just adds mud to the waters. This question will likely never be resolved. Any one of them could have stopped it, they all had the opportunity.

And as Ivan said back in January 2004, if they hadn't all made the wrong choices it would be an extremely boring song.


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