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Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest

Related threads:
(origins) Origins: The Snows They Melt the Soonest (98)
Lyr Req: The Snows They Melt the Soonest (20)
Benny Graham - The Snows They Melt.... (12)
(origins) Origins: Snows They Melt - maidmusic.com (5)


acormack@opera.iinet.net.au 21 Sep 97 - 07:49 AM
Shula 21 Sep 97 - 02:00 PM
alison 23 Sep 97 - 02:06 AM
Alan of Australia 23 Sep 97 - 09:06 AM
Wolfgang (Hell) 24 Sep 97 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,Tradmusic427@cs.com 22 Jan 01 - 10:18 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Jan 01 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Les Brown 23 Jan 01 - 05:12 PM
Paul Mitchell 24 Jan 01 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Alison Butler 18 Mar 04 - 06:27 AM
Spot 18 Mar 04 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,KB 18 Mar 04 - 08:30 AM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Mar 04 - 12:20 PM
LesB 18 Mar 04 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,scouse git 30 May 04 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Phil. 02 Jun 04 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,Duncan McFarlane 02 Jun 04 - 06:59 AM
JulieF 04 Jun 04 - 04:44 PM
LesB 04 Jun 04 - 05:46 PM
gnomad 04 Jun 04 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,John Wilson 04 Dec 06 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,kenny 04 Dec 06 - 10:04 AM
leeneia 04 Dec 06 - 10:17 AM
Liz the Squeak 04 Dec 06 - 10:24 AM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Dec 06 - 10:31 AM
MuddleC 04 Dec 06 - 11:03 AM
MuddleC 04 Dec 06 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Keith (Pegleg Ferret) 04 Dec 06 - 11:55 AM
MuddleC 04 Dec 06 - 12:21 PM
Herga Kitty 04 Dec 06 - 03:18 PM
Cluin 05 Dec 06 - 02:31 AM
VIN 05 Dec 06 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Paul Denton 12 Oct 08 - 02:22 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Oct 08 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,Pip Barnes 24 Oct 08 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,Ed Merrigan 05 Jan 09 - 11:12 PM
GUEST,Ian cookieless 06 Jan 09 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,finnegansword 19 Nov 11 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 06 Aug 13 - 10:07 AM
pavane 06 Aug 13 - 03:25 PM
My guru always said 07 Aug 13 - 10:33 AM
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Subject: Snows they melt the soonest
From: acormack@opera.iinet.net.au
Date: 21 Sep 97 - 07:49 AM

Does anyone know who wrote this song?? I got the words that I sing from an Archie Fisher album and he says it's traditional, but maybe someone knows different.


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: Shula
Date: 21 Sep 97 - 02:00 PM

Dear acormack,

Would you mind sharing the lyrics, since you have them?

Thanks,

Shula


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Subject: Lyr Add: SNOW THAT MELTS THE SOONEST (Horslips)^^
From: alison
Date: 23 Sep 97 - 02:06 AM

Hi

Here are the lyrics as taken from a Horslips LP. I think you're right it is Trad.

THese lyrics look a bit suspect, it's a long time since I transcribed them, feel free to correct.


THE SNOW THAT MELTS THE SOONEST
Horslips

Oh the snow it melts the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the corn it ripens fastest when the frosts are setting in,
And when a woman tells me that my face she'll soon forget,
Before we part I want to croon, she's fain to follow yet.

Oh the snow it melts the soonest when the wind begins to sing,
And the swallow skims without a thought as long as it is Spring,
But when Spring goes and Winter grows, my loss and you'll be fain,
For all your pride you'll follow my across the stormy main.

Oh the snow it melts the soonest when the winds begin to sing,
The bee that flew when Summer shone, in Winter cannot sting,
I've seen a woman's anger melt between the night and morn
And it's surely not a harder thing to tame a woman's scorn.

Oh never say me farewell here, no farewell I'll receive,
For you shall take me to the stile, I'll kiss and take your leave,
But I'll stay here 'til the woodcock comes and the matler takes his wing
Since the snow it melts the soonest when the winds begin to sing.


Nice song

slainte

Alison^^


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SNOWS (they melt...from Pentangle)^^
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 23 Sep 97 - 09:06 AM

Another version:

THE SNOWS

The snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the corn it ripens faster when the frosts are settling in,
And when a woman tells me that my face she'll soon forget,
Before we part I'll wage a croon (wager a crown), she's fain to follow yet.

For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the swallow flies without a thought as long as it is Spring,
But when Spring goes and Winter blows my love she will be fain,
For all her pride to follow me across the stormy main.

For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the bee that flew when Summer shone, in Winter cannot sting,
And I've seen a woman's anger melt between the night and morn
So it's surely not a harder thing to melt a woman's scorn.

Oh don't you bid me farewell now no farewell I'll receive,
For you must lie with me my lass then kiss and take your leave,
And I'll wait here 'til the woodcock calls and the martin takes the wing
For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing.

From the album Solomon's Seal by The Pentangle.
Traditional is implied but not explicitly stated.

Cheers,
Alan^^


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: Wolfgang (Hell)
Date: 24 Sep 97 - 05:43 AM

Dick Gaughan has this song on "Handful of earth" and explicitely calls it traditional


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: GUEST,Tradmusic427@cs.com
Date: 22 Jan 01 - 10:18 PM

Slightly different words on the Susan McKeown album also:\ "So bid me not farewell, nighean, nor farewell I'll receive,

For you will be with me my love, then you'll kiss and take your leave."

Nighean, I believe, is Irish for "girl", as in

an nighean dubh, the dark-haired girl.

Doug


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Jan 01 - 01:47 PM

Are you sure that's what she sings?  The word certainly doesn't belong to the song, which is from the North of England.  See  Snows They Melt the Soonest...Author?

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: GUEST,Les Brown
Date: 23 Jan 01 - 05:12 PM

Check out the definitive version by Ann Briggs!


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: Paul Mitchell
Date: 24 Jan 01 - 03:22 PM

Anyone got the chords? Just to save me working them out, you understand. Paul


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: GUEST,Alison Butler
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 06:27 AM

I'd like to know the chords too, especially that Dick Gaughan plays - nicer than the very simple Am, Em, D that I've found on the internet so far.


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: Spot
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 08:09 AM

Hello everybody....lookout for Bob Fox's version...delightful....I think on a currently available CD..

    Regards to all.... Spoy


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Subject: Chords Add: THE SNOWS THEY MELT THE SOONEST
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 08:30 AM

I sing it with the following chords:

(Am)The snow it melts the (C)soonest (C7)when the (G)wind begins to (D)sing
(Am)The corn it ripens (C)fastest (C7)when the (D)frost is setting (Am)in
(Am)When a woman (G)tells me my (D)face she'll soon (C)forget
(Am)Before I go I (C)wad a (C7)crown she'll (G)fain to follow me (Am)yet

At least I think that's it..(its amazing how much memory is in the fingers & not the head - so I need to check later when I've got my guitar)

I think I remember from somewhere that it is a very old song.


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 12:20 PM

For full details, see the other thread on the song indicated above.


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: LesB
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 01:41 PM

All the best versions I have heard have been unaccompanied!

Les


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: GUEST,scouse git
Date: 30 May 04 - 12:49 PM

the furey's do a superb version,as does john renbourne (they are the only versions i have heard)


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: GUEST,Phil.
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 04:41 AM

Was the first thread from singer Alyth Cormack/McCormack, do you think?


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: GUEST,Duncan McFarlane
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 06:59 AM

Hi LesB!
You say ....'All the best versions I have heard have been unaccompanied!'....
Have a listen to Eliza Carthy's version on Red Rice - beautiful!
Stark accompaniment and voice - I melt!
Made me learn it (though I seem to have slightly more chords than those in the thread above).


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: JulieF
Date: 04 Jun 04 - 04:44 PM

I can recommend Karan Casey's version on 'The winds begin to sing'

Julie


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: LesB
Date: 04 Jun 04 - 05:46 PM

Yes Duncan I had forgotten that one. Thanks for reminding me.

Les


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Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: gnomad
Date: 04 Jun 04 - 07:42 PM

Graham Pirt (Cockersdale & father of SamP) did a fine recording some years ago too.

A lovely song IMO


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Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: GUEST,John Wilson
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 07:51 AM

You could always try my version on LEAP YEAR WHFF001 from roots2music.co.uk Idiosyncratic you night say but you might like it!


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Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 10:04 AM

Good version by Tony Wilson on the "Iona" album.
"Bothy Band " used to play it as an instrumental with flute & low whistle, but I don't think ever recorded it. A good song with a lovely melody.


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Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: leeneia
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 10:17 AM

I'm not the least suprised that the author of these lines decided to fade into obscurity. After penning this:

"For you must lie with me my lass then kiss and take your leave",

he no doubt found that his love life had gone right down the tubes. Every lass he met after that greeted his overtures with "Oh, you're the cocksure jerk that wrote 'The Snows they Melt the Soonest,' aren't you? Have a nice day."

How much do you wanna bet this song originated as a song in a play sung by an unsympathetic character?


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Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 10:24 AM

This is of course, one of the most famous Mondegreens, being known across the world as 'The Snows of Mount Vesuvius'...

LTS


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Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 10:31 AM

Whoever wrote the lyric (it may have been Thomas Doubleday, but that isn't certain; see the other thread: link above) wasn't responsible for that line, which was introduced by somebody when the song was discovered by the Revival in the 1960s. The original (that is, first published, in 1821) had

For you shall set me to the stile, and kiss and take your leave.

(That's if I didn't mistype "set" for "see"; I shall have to check, if I can find the notes).


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SNOWS THEY MELT THE SOONEST (C Dillon
From: MuddleC
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 11:03 AM

Cara Dillon has a beautiful version on her CD 'After the Morning'.
'trad arr'!! -from the female point of view and with some small differences

The snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the corn it ripens fastest when the frosts are settling in,
And when a woman tells me that my face he'll soon forget,
Before we part I'll wage a crown he's fain to follow yet.

For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the swallow flies without a thought as long as it is Spring,
But when Spring goes and Winter blows my love then you'll be free,
For all your pride to follow me across the raging main.

For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the bee that flew when Summer shone, in Winter cannot sting,
And I've seen the young man's anger melt between the night and morn
So it's surely not a harder thing to melt a young man's scorn.

So don't you bid me farewell here, no farewell I receive,
For you will lie with me my love then kiss and take your leave,
And I'll wait here 'til the Moorcock calls and the martin takes the wind
For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing.


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Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: MuddleC
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 11:07 AM

oops missed it in line 3!

The snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the corn it ripens fastest when the frosts are settling in,
And when a man tells me that my face he'll soon forget,
Before we part I'll wage a crown he's fain to follow yet.


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Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: GUEST,Keith (Pegleg Ferret)
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 11:55 AM

The words are in "Songs Of Northern England" collected by John Stokoe and first published in 1893. In his notes Stokoe asserts:- "This melody was picked up from a street singer in Newcastle, by Mr Thomas Doubleday and inserted in a contribution to 'Blackwood's Magazine' in 1821. He presumably was the author of the ballad"


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SNOW IT MELTS THE SOONEST (1821)
From: MuddleC
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 12:21 PM

Mondegreen City it seams...

O, the snow it melts the soonest when the winds begin to sing;
And the corn it ripens fastest when the frosts are setting in;
And when a woman tells me that my face she'll soon forget,
Before we part, I wad a crown, she's fain to follow't yet.

The snow it melts the soonest when the wind begins to sing;
And the swallow skims without a thought as long as it is spring;
But when spring goes, and winter blows, my lass, an ye'll be fain,
For all your pride, to follow me, were't cross the stormy main.

O, the snow it melts the soonest when the wind begins to sing;
The bee that flew when summer shined, in winter cannot sting;—
I've seen a woman's anger melt between the night and morn,
And it's surely not a harder thing to tame a woman's scorn.

O, never say me farewell here—no farewell I'll receive,
For you shall set me to the stile, and kiss and take your leave;
But I'll stay here till the woodcock comes, and the martlet takes his wing,
Since the snow aye melts the soonest, lass, when the wind begins to sing.

Josiah Shufflebotham
Gowk's-Hall, Oct. 27th, 1821
aka Mr Thomas Doubleday


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Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 03:18 PM

I've got a rotten cold, so I'm missing Webber and Fentiman at Herga this evening (sniff, sniff, but at least I saw them at Haddenham on Saturday). Anni (who does a lovely version) recorded it on Together Solo in 1993. The CD note says "The tune was collected in Newcastle by Thomas Doubleday and published in 1821. The words may have been written by him." The track listing on the back of the CD says "Trad".

Kitty


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Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: Cluin
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 02:31 AM

Hmmm. i'd always thought Archie Fisher wrote it. It is certainly in his style (and philosophy).


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Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: VIN
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 08:49 AM

I learnt the song initially from the great Anne Brigg's first (or was it second?) album on Topic many years ago. Brilliant natural traditional singer and two fab albums!


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Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: GUEST,Paul Denton
Date: 12 Oct 08 - 02:22 PM

If you want the song from tess go tothis link.

http://www.last.fm/music/Anne+Briggs/_/The+Snow+It+Melts+the+Soonest

took me days to find one that was the same as the TV version

Hope this helps you all


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Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 04:45 PM

A song that begins "O, the snow it melts the soonest" is printed (without a title) as part of an article called "Letter from Mr. Shufflebotham: On Cheese, Civilization, North Country Ballads, &c." in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. X., August—December, 1821.

The lyrics are on page 443 (Click the link.); the tune is on 446.

The text is identical to that posted by MuddleC above.


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: GUEST,Pip Barnes
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 09:46 AM

It was rather beautifully deployed,I thought,in the recent 'Tess....' on TV, though now you tell me it has its origins in the north of the country I suppose I should retrospectively find it inappropriate!


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: GUEST,Ed Merrigan
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:12 PM

In New York last night, watched Tess of the d'Urbervilles on public TV. Milk maidens sing it in a brief scene. I forgot how beautiful the song is and reserected - on my Ipod - the Dick Gaughan version on "Handful of Earth". Being from NY, I couldn't make out many of his words. Thanks to all above for the lyrics help. Now happen to like the Cara Dillion version the best. Will be learing it on the guitar and singing it by month end.


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: GUEST,Ian cookieless
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:06 PM

I started a thread on this song 9 years ago which had some interesting replies and can be read here.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: GUEST,finnegansword
Date: 19 Nov 11 - 07:08 PM

This folk song as sung by Anne Briggs "The snow it melts the fastest when the winds begin to sing," was played on the BBC Programme, Private Passions on Radio Three, Sunday, 19th. 2011. I am old enough to remember the folk song revival of the 1950/60's and this was a welcome reminder of that time. It is interesting to learn that this song was collected in Northumberland as early as 1821 and appeared in print in the Gentleman's Magazine of that year, so in all probability it is of even earlier derivation.

A whole new generation has since grown up with an interest in English and Irish folk music popularized on various threads such as http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=2857 as well as Wikipedia and http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/~zierke/anne.briggs/songs/thesnowitmeltsthesoonest.html. The BBC commentator, Gary Fabian Miller, noted that Briggs' rendering included "the twiddles" or grace notes that are found in Northumbrian Pipe Music so perhaps the singer, in her travels, was able to consciously include such touches when in that area?


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 10:07 AM

The song's origins are as stated earlier- the main question is how it got into the folk clubs. I know that my sister Kath gave the song to Archie Fisher in the mid 60s after he heard her sing it- probably at Edinburgh University folk club. Not sure where Kath got it, but I suspect it was from one of the regulars at the Bridge in Newcastle at that time- one of Ray Fisher, Laurie Charlton, Johnny Handle, Tom Gilfellon or Louis Killen (my money would be on Louis). That club and its members were early and assiduous researchers of anything from the area. Again, not sure where Annie Briggs got it nor what LP it was on, but she was often in the NorthEast and has an ear for a good song- even if it is extremely misogynistic! If you don't believe me about that aspect, just read the words- the 'original' version in the Northumbrian Minstrelsy'


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: pavane
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 03:25 PM

I recorded Tom Gilfellon singing it in 1973. But the words are totally devoid of sense or logic! Just poetic I suppose, I do like the song/


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: My guru always said
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 10:33 AM

I enjoy singing this song, and I also enjoy introducing it as a 'milking shanty' as seen in 'Tess' *grin*


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