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Origins: Bonnie George Campbell-other versions

DigiTrad:
BONNIE GEORGE CAMPBELL
JAMES CAMPBELL


Related threads:
Tune Req: Bonnie George Campbell (14)
Song from Lemony Snicket Movie (15)
Lyr Req: George Campbell (Gibb Todd) (2)
Lyr Req: Bonny George Campbell (Brian Peters) (17)
Lyr Req: Sir Gavin Grimbold (7)
Lyr Req: 'George Campbell': NOT Child #210 (10)


Leprechaun 29 Sep 97 - 02:55 PM
Frank Phillips 30 Sep 97 - 12:40 AM
Wolfgang 30 Sep 97 - 04:10 AM
John Nolan 30 Sep 97 - 09:26 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 30 Sep 97 - 09:33 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 01 Oct 97 - 08:32 PM
leprechaun 02 Oct 97 - 02:24 PM
Dale Rose 09 Nov 98 - 11:52 AM
leprechaun 04 Jul 00 - 12:01 PM
Sandy Paton 04 Jul 00 - 01:49 PM
Sandy Paton 04 Jul 00 - 01:53 PM
ciarili 11 Apr 02 - 03:19 PM
tharleman 23 Jan 21 - 10:28 PM
leeneia 24 Jan 21 - 03:53 PM
Tattie Bogle 28 Jan 21 - 07:41 PM
RTim 28 Jan 21 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,# 29 Jan 21 - 10:03 AM
leeneia 31 Jan 21 - 11:57 PM
GUEST,Mike Yates 01 Feb 21 - 04:17 AM
Richard Mellish 01 Feb 21 - 04:22 AM
leeneia 02 Feb 21 - 01:13 PM
The Sandman 02 Feb 21 - 04:50 PM
The Sandman 02 Feb 21 - 04:56 PM
The Sandman 02 Feb 21 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,Mike Yates 03 Feb 21 - 03:20 AM
The Sandman 03 Feb 21 - 03:23 AM
Lighter 03 Feb 21 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates. 04 Feb 21 - 01:43 AM
Lighter 04 Feb 21 - 06:48 AM
Allan Conn 04 Feb 21 - 10:41 AM
leeneia 05 Feb 21 - 11:51 AM
Lighter 05 Feb 21 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Guest 05 Feb 21 - 09:15 PM
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Subject: Bonnie George Campbell
From: Leprechaun
Date: 29 Sep 97 - 02:55 PM

Does anybody know of any versions of Bonnie George Campbell besides the one in the Database? I heard one on the radio that was slightly different from the one in the database.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie george Campbell
From: Frank Phillips
Date: 30 Sep 97 - 12:40 AM

My source says that the original did not have the verse that starts "saddled and booted and bridled ...." but this was added by Smith in the 2nd edition of The Scotish Minstrel. It also says Smith's version had "but bonnie George Campbell will never return" instead of "My barn is to build and my baby's unborn."

Seems like the folk process is continuing as usual.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Bonnie george Campbell
From: Wolfgang
Date: 30 Sep 97 - 04:10 AM

There is a very slightly different version here


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Subject: RE: Bonnie george Campbell
From: John Nolan
Date: 30 Sep 97 - 09:26 PM

Child 210 gives 4 slightly differing versions, and is listed under Bonnie James Campbell. The song I am most familiar with has "my barn is tae big (build) and my baby's unborn" but this carries the terrible risk of singing, under pressure, "my baby's too big" - so stick with "build" maybe.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie george Campbell
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 30 Sep 97 - 09:33 PM

Maybe, "My bairne's too big, and my baby's unborn?":)


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Subject: RE: Bonnie george Campbell
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 01 Oct 97 - 08:32 PM

"Bairns", that should be.

BTW, a local band Killiecrankie does this song on their CD "The Haggis Egg".


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Subject: RE: Bonnie george Campbell
From: leprechaun
Date: 02 Oct 97 - 02:24 PM

Thank you all. I'll look for those versions. The one I heard on the radio seemed to be several verses longer, and had a magnificent extended bagpipe instumental segment. I remember a verse like "He'd keep his good horse, but never keep me. Also, "My barn is to build" makes the most sense to me.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BONNY GEORGE CAMPBELL
From: Dale Rose
Date: 09 Nov 98 - 11:52 AM

Bascom Lamar Lunsford has a different version on Smithsonian Folkways CD 40082. The album features his commercial recordings from 1928, and a selection of recordings done for the Library of Congress in 1949. Here it is in his own words.

BONNY GEORGE CAMPBELL (Child 210)^^^

"This is a text of 'Bonny George Campbell' as sung in the southern Appalachian region. Very seldom you hear it except in terms of a fiddle tune called 'Cumberland Gap.' The slower tune 'Bonny George Campbell'..."

High upon highlands, low upon Tay,
Bonny George Campbell rode out on one day.
All saddled, all bridled, and booted rode he
And home came the saddle but never came he.
My barn is to build. My baby's unborn.
My Bonny George Campbell will never return.
Well high upon highlands, low upon Tay,
Bonny George Campbell rode out on one day.
All saddled, all bridled and booted rode he,
But home came the saddle and never came he.
Home came the saddle all bloody to see,
And home came the good horse, but never came he.

"Now, of course, the mountain boys speed it up, play it on a higher pitch, and use it for a country dance tune 'Cumberland Gap.'"


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Subject: RE: Bonnie george Campbell
From: leprechaun
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 12:01 PM

I thought I'd refresh this because I still don't know where to get the recording.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie george Campbell
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 01:49 PM

The DT version titled "James Campbell" is from Frank Proffitt, traditional singer from Reese, North Carolina, accompanied with his home-made fretless banjo. I have included this field recording on my recently released Ballads and Songs of Tradition from the Folk-Legacy Archives CD-1005. I think it's the most complete text ever reported in the Appalachian tradition. CHECK IT OUT HERE. I hope the blicky works, I don't have my "Joe Offer guide to HTML" handy.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Bonnie george Campbell
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 01:53 PM

Once you get there, scroll down a tad and you'll see that a brief sampling of the ballad in Real Audio is available.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BONNIE JAMES CAMPBELL (Child #210)
From: ciarili
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 03:19 PM

I heard it as James Campbell, but you can always sing George....

Bonnie James Campbell
Child #210. A lament for one James Campbell, who died in the battle of Glenlivet on October 3, 1594.

High upon Hielands and low upon Tay
Bonnie James Campbell rode oot on a day
Saddled and bridled, sae gallant rode he
On cam' his guid horse, but never came he

Saddled and bridled and booted rode he,
A plume tae his helmet, a sword at his knee
But toom came his saddle and bluidy tae see
Hame cam' his guid horse, but never came he

Doon cam' his auld mither greetin' fu' sair
Oot cam' his bonnie wife rivin' her hair

The meadow lies green the corn is unshorn
And bonnie James Campbell will never return
Sadder and sadder, the heart o' mine breakin'
Over and over I hear the wind keenin'


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: tharleman
Date: 23 Jan 21 - 10:28 PM

I was listening to the CD "The Best of Fiddle Fever". In the medley, "Daybreak in the Mountains", I heard a familiar tune I had learned from Don Pedi and Bruce Greene they called, "Old Black Cat Couldn’t Catch A Rat". The song was listed on the CD as "Bonnie James Campbell". I began researching the tune by both names. Frank Proffitt was the only one I found who used that tune. Bascom Lamar Lunsford used the tune "Cumberland Gap". Nearly all other versions use an English or Scottish tune.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: leeneia
Date: 24 Jan 21 - 03:53 PM

I just checked for tunes called Cumberland Gap on abcnotation.com There are about nine different tunes by that name on that site.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 28 Jan 21 - 07:41 PM

I once did a songwriting workshop based on this song. Our challenge was to write another couple of verses explaining what actually happened to Bonnie George after he rode away (I don’t think the tutor or anyone else knew the bit about his death at the battle of Glenlivet!)
The creations were very inventive, but sadly the tutor went off with all of our scribblings, never to be seen again , just like Bonnie George!


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: RTim
Date: 28 Jan 21 - 08:12 PM

As the song version called - James Campbell - this was also recorded from the North Carolina singer and guitarist - Frank Proffitt - first by Anne & Frank Warner in 1960 (Traditional American Folk Songs publish 184) and then later by Evelyn K. Wells in 1961 - at of all places - Pinewoods Camp, Massachusetts (see Bronson - The singing tradition of Child Popular Ballads).

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: GUEST,#
Date: 29 Jan 21 - 10:03 AM

http://www.lizlyle.lofgrens.org/RmOlSngs/RTOS-GeorgeCampbell.html

Some commentary from Bob Waltz.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: leeneia
Date: 31 Jan 21 - 11:57 PM

Let me get this out of the way. Mudcatters have decreed that the feminine name shall be spelled Bonnie and the adjective shall be spelled bonny. Seems like a good idea.

I looked at several versions of Bonny George Campbell at various sites, and the big difference is that some put in the warlike elements (helmet, plume, sword) and some do not. I prefer the song without them. One of the worst things that can happen to a family is that a loved one disappears with never an explanation. The fear and faint hope never end.
Bonny George Campbell is the only song I have ever encountered that acknowledges this terrible human experience.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 01 Feb 21 - 04:17 AM

I recorded a beautiful version of this ballad on 14.8.01 from Duncan Williamson at his home in Ladybank, Fyfe. I included this recording on the CD 'Travelers' Tales - Volume 1' (Kyloe 100) and, as well as hearing Duncan sing the ballad, you can also hear him describe how he learnt it and how the tune fitted the words like water flowing in a stream. I well remember that, as he said this, his hand was slowly moving to and fro, showing how the water was moving in time to the words. Duncan's version also mentions the MacDonalds involvement in the murder, a fact missing from Professor Child's four texts.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Feb 21 - 04:22 AM

> Mudcatters have decreed that the feminine name shall be spelled Bonnie and the adjective shall be spelled bonny

For the adjective, "bonnie" is the usual spelling both in Scots and in Scottish English.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: leeneia
Date: 02 Feb 21 - 01:13 PM

Quite possibly.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Feb 21 - 04:50 PM

thankyou Mike that is intersting, KARMA exists the Mcdonalds later got slaughterd in droves by the Campbells, all of which probably suited the English
Bonnie[not bonny] also occurs in The Bonnie Banks of Fordie / Babylon

[ Roud 27 ; Child 14 ; G/D 2:199 ; Ballad Index C014 ; trad.]

In spite of the innocent title, The Bonnie Banks of Fordie is a cruel ballad of senseless murder
please, mudcatters it is Bonnie.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Feb 21 - 04:56 PM

As far as i know he did not start a soup factory either, that was his identical twin and Andy Warhol commemorated that identical twin in his famous picture of a tin of Campbells Soup


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Feb 21 - 05:28 PM

mike yates could you be kind enough to e mail me the extra verse i am dickmilesat gmail.com, thanks


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Subject: ADD Version: Bonnie George Campbell
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 03 Feb 21 - 03:20 AM

This is the transcription of Duncan's words which I included in the book 'Traveller's Joy' (EFDSS 2006). You can find the tune there, as well.

BONNIE GEORGE CAMPBELL

High in the Highlands, oh, laich by the Tay;
Bonny George Campbell went riding one day,
He saddled and he bridled, so gallant and so free,
But hame came his good horse but never came he.

Out comes his mother, a-tearing her hair.
Then out comes his young wife so lovely and fair.
Oh the valleys they lie so green and the corn lies unshorn,
But for bonny George Campbell, he will never return.

For a band of MacDonalds he met on his way.
For they took him and they hung him,
And they strung him to a tree.
So hame came his good horse but never came he.

Now the valleys they lie so green and the corn lies unshorn,
But for bonny George Campbell, he will never return.


I included the following sentence among the book's notes: 'None of Child's four versions makes mention of the MacDonalds...and it seems impossible to tell whether or not this is an original stanza to the ballad or one added at a later time, possibly following the well-known massacre at Glencoe.'


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Feb 21 - 03:23 AM

thanks,


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: Lighter
Date: 03 Feb 21 - 08:00 AM

Most versions say his saddle was "all bloody to see."

That doesn't seem to square with a lynching.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: GUEST,Mike Yates.
Date: 04 Feb 21 - 01:43 AM

Precisely. Which is why I said that the verse about the MacDonalds could be a later addition, and not a part of the original ballad text.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Feb 21 - 06:48 AM

Most likely.


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Subject: RE: Bonnie George Campbell
From: Allan Conn
Date: 04 Feb 21 - 10:41 AM

The MacDonald bit as is said could well be a later addition but not necessarily because of Glencoe. The two clans were committing atrocities on each other through the 1600s and before. In fact Glencoe gets remembered but it wasn't by any measure the worst atrocity - and wasn't even really a clan action at all. It was planned and ordered by the Scottish gvt in Edinburgh with the agreement of King William in London. The Argyll Regiment may have been used by the gvt and the commander was a Campbell but only about 10% or so of the troops were.

The two clans did much butchering of each other and writing about it though. During the civil war period in the 1640s and the devastation of Argyll the MacDonald bards boasted about killing 900 Campbells without a sword being lifted in defense. Maybe an exaggeration as bards were apt to do but it suggests many non combatants were slain. Here is a translation from the Gaelic by Florence MacLean of Coll who was a Campbell by birth but wrote about wishing to fight her husband's clan and the MacDonalds.

"Were I at Inverlochy,
with a two edged sword in my hand,
all the strength and skill I could desire,
I would draw blood there, and I would tear asunder
the MacLeans and Clan Donald.
The Irish would be without life,
and I would bring the Campbells back to life"

There were literally many hundreds, probably thousands, of Campbells who died in battle or were massacred prior to Glencoe. As there were MacDonalds on the other side. From the small lyric in Bonnie George Campbell which doesn't really give any detail it is surely impossible to pin the story down to a certain individual. Unless there is some actual evidence for it other than someone suggested it might be so and so!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie George Campbell-other versions
From: leeneia
Date: 05 Feb 21 - 11:51 AM

Some reasons a man (especially a younger son) might ride off on a horse and not come back:

He got thrown and was lying injured somewhere.
Waylaid by robbers.
Hated his family, met with a pal, headed south to become a businessman.
He's off wi' the gypsy laddie oh.
Being truly bonny, he was lured by a rich woman to become her paramour, and they moved France.

By the way, if the MacDonalds lynched him, why didn't they steal the valuable horse, saddle and bridle?

In the end, the song is much more moving and memorable when George simply goes missing and nobody knows why. Someday, perhaps, nations will build The Tomb of the Unknown Civilian for people like George.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie George Campbell-other versions
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Feb 21 - 12:30 PM

I agree.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie George Campbell-other versions
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 05 Feb 21 - 09:15 PM

Dave Burland was the first person I heard sing this.
Would be good to hear again.


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