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Origin: April Come She Will (Paul Simon)

DigiTrad:
AMERICAN TUNE
APRIL, COME SHE WILL
AT THE ZOO
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS
CLOUDY
FEELING GROOVY (59th STREET BRIDGE SONG)
FIFTY WAYS TO HOSE YOUR CODE
HOMEWARD BOUND
LEAVES THAT ARE GREEN
LINCOLN DUNCAN by Paul Simon
SOUND OF SILENCE


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Garry Gillard 09 Feb 02 - 10:57 PM
Little Hawk 10 Feb 02 - 01:10 AM
Mark Cohen 10 Feb 02 - 04:39 AM
IanC 10 Feb 02 - 04:53 AM
GUEST,ulli 10 Feb 02 - 05:18 AM
Mark Cohen 10 Feb 02 - 06:31 PM
Desdemona 10 Feb 02 - 07:38 PM
Benjamin 10 Feb 02 - 08:09 PM
masato sakurai 10 Feb 02 - 09:18 PM
Mark Cohen 11 Feb 02 - 02:03 AM
masato sakurai 11 Feb 02 - 02:33 AM
Garry Gillard 17 Feb 02 - 05:10 AM
Jim Dixon 25 Sep 10 - 08:54 AM
open mike 25 Sep 10 - 11:29 AM
olddude 25 Sep 10 - 11:38 AM
MikeL2 25 Sep 10 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,aliruadh 02 May 11 - 04:49 AM
Silas 02 May 11 - 05:21 AM
Rusty Dobro 03 May 11 - 03:16 AM
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Subject: April Come She Will
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 09 Feb 02 - 10:57 PM

Paul Simon's "April Come She Will" obviously has a debt to tradition. Is there any specific borrowing?

cheers, Garry


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Subject: RE: Help: April Come She Will
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Feb 02 - 01:10 AM

I don't know, but it's got beautiful words, and does sound like a trad song all right. I used to play it quite a bit back in the 70's.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Help: April Come She Will
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 10 Feb 02 - 04:39 AM

He did quite a bit of borrowing from trad sources in their early stuff, but my sense it that this one's an original. I don't have any facts to back that up, though. Good question; it'll be interesting to see if someone can give a definitive answer.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: April Come She Will
From: IanC
Date: 10 Feb 02 - 04:53 AM

This is the cuckoo rhyme, known in various forms to most country folk across England as far as I know.

The Cuckoo comes in April
She sings her song in May
In June she starts to stutter
and July she flies away

I had never before come across her dying in August but perhaps S&G added that as mystification.

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Help: April Come She Will
From: GUEST,ulli
Date: 10 Feb 02 - 05:18 AM

The song is - as mentioned by IanC - based on an old English proverb/poem/rhyme (whatever you might call it) and I also think that S&G made a beautiful song of it

APRIL COME SHE WILL

April,
come she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain;
May,
She will stay,
Resting in my arms again.

June,
she'll change her tune,
In restless walks she'll prowl the night;
July,
She will fly
And give no warning of her flight.

August,
die she must,
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold;
September
I'll remember,
A love once new has now grown old.

THE CUCKOO
In April come he will
In May he sings all day
In June he'll change his tune
In July he'll fly
In August go he must


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Subject: RE: Help: April Come She Will
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 10 Feb 02 - 06:31 PM

Thanks, ulli, now I see the connection. It enhances my enjoyment of the song.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: April Come She Will
From: Desdemona
Date: 10 Feb 02 - 07:38 PM

Oh, that's a beautiful song---I literally hadn't thought of it in years; thanks for the nudge!


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Subject: RE: Help: April Come She Will
From: Benjamin
Date: 10 Feb 02 - 08:09 PM

The story (pretty much the same) in Paul Simon's words-
Paul - 'When I was living in England, about three years ago, four years ago, I worked in a club in a town called Swindon. It's about 100 miles north of London. I spent the night with a friend of mine in a smaller village called Great Coxswell, not that it means anything, no pun intended. We'd stayed up all night and talked and I said to her 'Let's go out in the morning and do it' (Laughs from audience) 'You too huh?'. We went out at dawn and she recited an English nursery rhyme, it was a children's rhyme and it was about a cuckoo, a bird. It went 'April come she will. May she will stay, June she'll change her tune. July she will fly. August die she must'.Hollywood Bowl 1968


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Subject: RE: Help: April Come She Will
From: masato sakurai
Date: 10 Feb 02 - 09:18 PM

A version ("The cuckoo is a merry bird") in Opie's Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (new ed., no. 121) has this verse:

The cukcoo comes in April,
She sings a song in May,
In June she beats upon the drum,
And then she'll fly away.

("The cuckoo is said to 'beat the drum' when he often falters and cries 'Cuck-cuck-cuck,' without the final syllable. This is said to be a sign of his impending departure."--Williams)

This (from Alfred Williams, Folk Songs of the Upper Thames, 1923, p. 165; no music) is a related song to CUCKOO'S A BONNY BIRD and CUCKOO SHE'S A PRETTY BIRD.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Help: April Come She Will
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 11 Feb 02 - 02:03 AM

It would seem to me, Masato, that these are two different songs or verses that are only "related" by being about the same bird. I first heard "The cuckoo she's a pretty bird" on the album "Troubadour" by hammered dulcimer player Dorothy Carter. It's an "Americanized" version in that the line is "And the more she hollers cuckoo...", but otherwise it's similar to the ones you cited. But I don't see a relation to the April-May-June verse...unless I'm missing something.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: April Come She Will
From: masato sakurai
Date: 11 Feb 02 - 02:33 AM

The text as a whole seems to me to be related.

THE CUCKOO
(Once very popular. This is the only version I have heard; it was sung by Elijah Iles, Inglesham, Wilts.--Williams)

The cuckoo is a merry bird,
He sings as he flies,
He brings us glad tidings,
And tells us no lies.

He sucks the birds' eggs
To make his voice clear,
And the more he cries "Cuckoo!"
The summer draws near.

The cuckoo is a lazy bird,
She never builds a nest,
She makes herself busy
By singing to the rest;

She never hatches her own young,
And that we all know,
But leaves it for some other bird While she cries "Cuckoo!"

And when her time is come
Her voice we no longer hear,
And where she goes we do not know
Until another year.

The cukcoo comes in April,
She sings a song in May,
In June she beats upon the drum,
And then she'll fly away.

(Alfred Williams, Folk Songs of the Upper Thames, 1923, p. 165; no music)

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Help: April Come She Will
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 05:10 AM

I'm very grateful to you all, especially Benjamin. I take it you've actually taken the trouble, B, to transcribe what Paul said to the audience on that occasion in 1968.

many thanks, Garry


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Subject: RE: Origin: April Come She Will (Paul Simon)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 08:54 AM

From Pictorial Calendar of the Seasons By John Aikin (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854), page 148:


For the following curious and elaborate paper on the Cuckoo we are indebted to the pen of a clever lady.

THE CUCKOO.

The cuckoo comes in April,
Sings a song in May;
Then in June another tune,
And then she flies away;

says the Gloucestershire peasant, and this—like all our quaint old popular sayings—is a correct, if not an elegant, account of that of which it treats. It alludes, however, only to the old birds, which leave as at the end of June or in the beginning of July; but there is another version, which, with various verbal alterations carries on the story to the end of the scene, to the flight of the young birds, thus:—

In April
Come she will,
In flowery May
She doth sing all day,
In leafy June
She doth change her tune
In bright July
She doth begin to fly,
In August
Go she must.


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Subject: RE: Origin: April Come She Will (Paul Simon)
From: open mike
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 11:29 AM

ahh--give a listen (and look) here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lO9Ild2cvdg


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Subject: RE: Origin: April Come She Will (Paul Simon)
From: olddude
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 11:38 AM

It seems Paul Simon did this a lot didn't he. I was listening to an interview on TV and he said he was "embarrassed" of the songs he did back in the 60's and early 70's. OMG I wish I could be so "embarrassed" huh ... great song even if he borrowed part. Everyone thought that "Scarbough Fair" was original also. Interesting there isn't even a comment that I read its original origins .. Still .. I love the song.


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Subject: RE: Origin: April Come She Will (Paul Simon)
From: MikeL2
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 11:54 AM

hi Dan

<" Everyone thought that "Scarbough Fair" was original also. Interesting there isn't even a comment that I read its original origins .. Still .. I love the song. ">

It could have been that this song did not cross the Atlantic until the Simon & Garfuncle version but over here in the UK it has long been known as a traditional folk song....whatever that means !!

I actually learned it at primary school some 50 or more years ago.

The " new version" may have updated it somewhat but it certainly wasn't new.

Like you I think the S&G version a good one....though there are many here who would not agree with us.

Regards

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Origin: April Come She Will (Paul Simon)
From: GUEST,aliruadh
Date: 02 May 11 - 04:49 AM

The cuckoo comes in April
Sings his song in May
Then in June he'll change his tune
And in July he'll fly away


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Subject: RE: Origin: April Come She Will (Paul Simon)
From: Silas
Date: 02 May 11 - 05:21 AM

The Cuckoo is a funny bird
It sits upon the grass
His head tucked up his wing and his beak stuck up his ass
And in this strange position, it whistles "tweet, twit"
Cos its hard to say "Cuckoo" when your beak is full of shit.

Is that the one do you think?


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Subject: RE: Origin: April Come She Will (Paul Simon)
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 03 May 11 - 03:16 AM

Not the least of Paul Simon's many achievements is the relocation of Swindon to north of London.

Maybe, like an infectious disease, Swindon can suddenly appear in different places. Not a nice thought for anyone who's ever been there.


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