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Origins: Sam Hall

DigiTrad:
AIKENDRUM
CAPTAIN KIDD
CAPTAIN ROBERT KIDD
NOBBY HALL
SAM HALL
SAMUEL SMALL (SAM HALL)
TALLOW CANDLES or SONG OF A DOOMED MAN
VAN GOGH
WONDROUS LOVE


Related threads:
Lyr/Tune Req: Ballad of Sam Hall (28)
(origins) Origins: Damn your eyes (41)
Lyr Req: Tom the Cat (9)
(origins) Origins: Sam Hall (37)
(origins) Origins/Info: Tallow Candles (34)
Lyr Req: Sam Hall / Chimney Sweep (Oh my name...) (12)
Lyr Req: Sam Hall (Dubliners, etc.) (27)
Lyr Req: Jack Hall (6)


steve t 20 Apr 98 - 04:46 PM
Barry Finn 20 Apr 98 - 05:18 PM
steve t 20 Apr 98 - 06:11 PM
Bill in Alabama 20 Apr 98 - 06:33 PM
Bruce O. 20 Apr 98 - 08:28 PM
steve t 21 Apr 98 - 09:08 AM
Bert 21 Apr 98 - 09:48 AM
Bert 21 Apr 98 - 09:49 AM
Bert 21 Apr 98 - 09:50 AM
Bruce O. 21 Apr 98 - 01:11 PM
Joe Offer 21 Apr 98 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,david@davidkidd.net 23 Oct 03 - 07:19 PM
InOBU 23 Oct 03 - 07:49 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Oct 03 - 07:52 PM
LadyJean 24 Oct 03 - 12:29 AM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Oct 03 - 12:57 AM
Nerd 24 Oct 03 - 12:07 PM
Joe_F 24 Oct 03 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,Big Jim from Jackson 25 Oct 03 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,Jimmy 02 Jan 04 - 07:56 PM
Mark Clark 02 Jan 04 - 08:14 PM
LadyJean 02 Jan 04 - 11:45 PM
IanC 03 Jan 04 - 03:29 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 03 Jan 04 - 05:23 PM
Joybell 03 Jan 04 - 05:41 PM
Gareth 03 Jan 04 - 07:03 PM
Don Firth 03 Jan 04 - 07:28 PM
Joybell 03 Jan 04 - 07:35 PM
masato sakurai 03 Jan 04 - 10:53 PM
Fiolar 04 Jan 04 - 07:59 AM
Abby Sale 04 Jan 04 - 11:57 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Jan 04 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Lighter 06 Jan 04 - 03:10 PM
Joybell 06 Jan 04 - 11:24 PM
Joybell 06 Jan 04 - 11:38 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Jan 04 - 11:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Jan 04 - 01:00 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 07 Jan 04 - 02:31 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Jan 04 - 05:31 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Jan 04 - 03:33 PM
Joybell 07 Jan 04 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,katie 14 Jul 04 - 01:31 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Jul 04 - 01:57 PM
Billy Weeks 14 Jul 04 - 05:08 PM
GEST 14 Jul 04 - 05:17 PM
sian, west wales 14 Jul 04 - 05:49 PM
Billy Weeks 15 Jul 04 - 05:20 AM
Dave Bryant 15 Jul 04 - 05:59 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Jul 04 - 07:19 AM
GUEST,zweig@earthlink.net 28 Jul 04 - 03:11 AM
IanC 01 Dec 04 - 08:26 AM
EBarnacle 01 Dec 04 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,John Adcock 31 Dec 09 - 06:10 PM
Acorn4 31 Dec 09 - 09:05 PM
The Doctor 01 Jan 10 - 07:41 AM
Don Firth 01 Jan 10 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Lighter 03 Jul 10 - 06:53 PM
maple_leaf_boy 03 Jul 10 - 07:10 PM
Lighter 03 Jul 10 - 07:13 PM
Lighter 03 Jul 10 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 Jul 10 - 05:07 AM
Phil Edwards 04 Jul 10 - 11:44 AM
Max 23 Jun 17 - 12:26 PM
Joe Offer 24 Jun 17 - 02:36 AM
Jim Dixon 13 Feb 18 - 02:20 PM
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Subject: Sam Hall
From: steve t
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 04:46 PM

In the "objectionable material" thread, someone afraid to identify themselves to our extremely gestapo-like community of mudcateers said:

...In fact watering down a gritty song like the ballad of Sam Hall so it is acceptable to all goes against my grain...

And I got to wondering: that fantastic song is watered down? So I checked the DT. I found a grittier song called Samuel Small. It doesn't look any better or worse to me, just different -- better if you're in an angry mood. Could this be the lyric that the nameless one was referring? What lyrics came first?


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 05:18 PM

Go to the forum search & enter Jack Hall, there's a bit in there that may interest you. Barry


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: steve t
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 06:11 PM

Interesting stuff.

Just wondering why it might be called a "goodnight" tune now.


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 06:33 PM

I'm in the midst of something else and am just stealing a minute to visit mudcat, so that I haven't checked the song in the DT. Songs supposedly composed by criminals facing execution are generally known as "Criminals' Goodnight" songs, and folklorists define a whole genre as goodnight songs. Another good example is "the Willow Garden," sometimes known as "Rose Conally."


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: Bruce O.
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 08:28 PM

I guess I fouled up agin. I though I had added something right after Barry's note, but it's not there.

The song iS descended from a ballad about Jach Hall, a London Chimney sweep. The original broadside version is lost, and the best text we have is a traditional one in Cecil Sharp's 'One Hundred English Folksongs' (still available). The burden of it is "Coming down" and that the tune direction on the original braodside ballad on "Cptain Kidd", and they are in the same "Digger's Carol meter (see that thread for some others in the same meter and some ABC'). J. W. Ebsworth, someplace in Roxburghe Ballads, said that the "Sam Hall" version came from a singer named Sam Cowell. I don't know the exact date, a little after the middle of the 19th century, as best I can remember, and I don't think I have a copy of Cowell's version. The curses may or may not be in that version; I don't know and won't speculate.


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: steve t
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 09:08 AM

So I checked the forum under "Digger" and found Bruce's article: ... 'The Diggers' Song' is the title of a short article by E. A. White in JEFDSS, IV, 1940, where the song (Gerard Winstanley's?) is given along with a long list of other songs with the same meter. White gives only the 'Pills' version of "Put in all" for a tune...

But still I wonder -- what a wonderful cadence Sam Hall would have for grave-digging.


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: Bert
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 09:48 AM

Here is a watered down version that I think is quite good. A watered down version


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: Bert
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 09:49 AM

Where did it go???


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: Bert
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 09:50 AM

Uh Oh! it's gone again. You'll just have to cut and paste this one.

http://www.mudcat.org/Detail.CFM?messages__Message_ID=3826


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: Bruce O.
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 01:11 PM

'Alas poor Yorick' was obviously a last minute subsititute in the play when Shakepeare couldn't get a singer who would act the part of a grave-digger.


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 04:02 PM

You writing in invisible ink, Bert? You left out the second angle bracket (>) at the end of the URL. I fixed the first one for you, but left the second mistake so you could see the difference. Right-click and choose "view source." Does it make sense to you now?
Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: GUEST,david@davidkidd.net
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 07:19 PM

I read that Sam Hall was written by an English music hall comedian C.W. Ross in 1850. He added the cursing and swearing to the "Jack Hall" of 1700. He also made the tune more boring. The words may seem mild to you young folk, but on http://www.smsu.edu/folksong/maxhunter/0552/index.html
you can hear a live performance in 1960 by a lady who was so embarrased that "May told Halpert to do the cussing for her".


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: InOBU
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 07:49 PM

I remember a version in Dublin in the sevnties, maybe from Johnny Keenan, which was more modern vile language, and great, I remember I verse
They say I kilt a man, says sammy hall, sammy hall
they say I kilt a man... and I did
I koshed him on the head with a lump of poxied lead
now the buggers dead, says sammy hall says sammy hall
now the buggers dead says sammy hall

now they say I'm going to swing says sammy hall sammy hall
from a lenght of poxied string says sammy hall


the first verse was,
Me name is sammy hall, f* youse all F* youse all...
me name is sammy hall F* youse all
me name is sammy hall and I've robbed from great an small

I wished I'd recorded it. It was great, a line about the hanging where the line was,
the judge will be there too, for he's f* all else to do...

Cheersm'dears Larry


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 07:52 PM

It may be that this has been dealt with in more recent discussions than this resurrected one, but I'll just mention that the most comprehensive examination of this song and tune family is Bertrand Bronson's Samuel Hall's Family Tree (California Folklore Quarterly, I (1) 1942, and The Ballad as Song, University of California Press, 1969 18-36). G. W. Ross certainly popularised the song between 1845 and 1850, but whether he himself re-wrote it is not, I think, known. Sam Cowell was also associated with it at around the same time.


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: LadyJean
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 12:29 AM

Now, I have this from the back of a Steeleye Span tape, but Sam Hall was a teenaged chimney sweep, who was hanged for stealing some silver and jewelry. It's horribly easy to picture a skinny kid standing on the gallows and cursing the crowd.


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 12:57 AM

As I thought, there are quite a few other threads on this. See the new links above, and also discussions on Jack Hall (the original, historical character). Casual visitors here seem to have a remarkable talent for unearthing very old, forgotten discussions; generally those which contain the least information. Note the gap of five-and-a-half years between Joe's post and David's. A little water has flowed under the bridge since then.


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: Nerd
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 12:07 PM

One weird version of this is Johnny Cash's Sam Hall. He made all the curses into "dad blame yer eyes" and such. He proceeds from the assumption that Sam Hall was rolling drunk because someone smuggled him a bottle of whiskey in his cell, and he chews the scenery pretty good.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SAM HALL
From: Joe_F
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 07:22 PM

Here is a version that I have accumulated from various live sources over the years, beginning about 1950. It contains some embellishments I not found here:

Oh my name it is Sam Hall, it is Sam Hall.
Yes, my name it is Sam Hall, it is Sam Hall.
Yes, my name it is Sam Hall, and I hate you, one and all,
You're a bunch of muckers all,
God damn your eyes.

Oh I killed a man, 'tis said, so 'tis said,...
I shot him in the head, just to fill his mind with lead,
And I left him there for dead,
God damn his eyes.

They put me in a cell, in a cell,...
They put me in a cell, and the jailer treats me well --
I'll be seeing him in hell,
God damn his eyes.

Oh, the parson he did come, he did come,...
And he looked so bloody glum, as he talked of Kingdom Come --
He can kiss my ruddy bum,
God damn his eyes.

Oh, the sheriff he came too, he came too,...
With his little boys in blue, Lord, they were a bloody crew --
Well, now, he can kiss it too,
God damn his eyes.

Saw my Nellie in the crowd, in the crowd,...
She was looking stooped and bowed, so I hollered, right out loud,
"Hey, Nellie, ain't you proud?
God damn your eyes."

Saw my Nellie dressed in blue, dressed in blue,...
Says my Nellie, dressed in blue, "Your trifling days are through;
Now I know that you'll be true,
God damn your eyes."

Now up the rope I go, up I go,...
And those bastards down below, thinking it's a bloody show,
They'll say, "Sam, we told you so!"
God damn their eyes.

And now in heaven I dwell, in heaven I dwell,...
And the truth it is to tell, that it is a bloody sell --
All the whores are down in hell,
God damn their eyes.


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Subject: RE: Sam Hall
From: GUEST,Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 10:05 AM

The Vipers had a nice version of "Sam Hall" on one of their albums. The album that was released in the USA was titled "Soho Skiffle Group" and didn't mention the Vipers' name. In the liner notes it says that Sam Hall goes back to a hanging that occured in 1702.


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Subject: Origins: Sam Hall
From: GUEST,Jimmy
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 07:56 PM

Can someone tell me the propper story behind he song Sam Hall


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Mark Clark
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 08:14 PM

Jimmy, If you'll just type the words "Sam Hall" in the little search box at the top of the page, you'll be greatly rewarded.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: LadyJean
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 11:45 PM

Sam Hall was a teenage chimney sweep, who was hanged for stealing some small items, (I think it was some silverware) from one of the houses where he was working. Steeleye Span said, "He was probably like one of the old time rock and rollers, looked dangerous, but not an ounce of harm in him."
I keep picturing a skinny kid on his way to a nasty end cursing the crowd with all the force he can muster. It isn't a happy picture.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: IanC
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 03:29 PM

Not quite so easy, LadyJean. He was clearly an inveterate rogue, which is what he was hung for. Here's his entry in the online version of The Newgate Calendar.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 05:23 PM

At Lesley Nelson-Burns, Contemplator Site:

Jack Hall


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Joybell
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 05:41 PM

Of course the reason this song was so well remembered was because of W G Ross who performed it for years at the "Coal Hole". He terrified grown men with his eye-rolling and his aggressive manner. There is a wonderful account of his performance told by an eye witness on the 10th of March 1848. I found it at the "The Voice of the People" site but my attempts at adding links have so far been depressingly unsucessful. Easily found though. "Sam Hall" + "voice of the people" will find it. Cheers Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Gareth
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 07:03 PM

Hmmm ! Was not the 'fore runner' of Sam Hall the ballad of William Kidd ?

Was Wm Kidd adapted as a broadside for 'Sam Hall' ?

I ignore the "rugby Club" version.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 07:28 PM

I posted the following on a previous thread some time back, but any time Sam Hall is mentioned, I can't help but think of a story I heard about him. Authentic? Who knows? But anyway, here it is:--

Sam Hall and his parting oration have gone down in history, at least in song form. But he might have swung unremembered had it not been for the large crowd that had gathered to see hanged, not Sam Hall, but a handsome, dashing highwayman whose exploits had made him something of a popular hero.

Sam, a chimney-sweep by trade before he ran a-foul of the law, cowered in the corner of the cart that was hauling him and the highwayman to the gallows. As the crowd lining the streets cheered the highwayman on to his doom, the highwayman stood tall and proud, acknowledging the cheers and blowing kisses to the ladies. At one point, a wheel of the cart hit a loose cobblestone and the cart lurched, throwing Sam against the highwayman. The highwayman shoved him back into the corner and, ostentatiously brushing the soot off the sleeve of his doublet, he said, "Stand off, varlet, stand off!"

Sam crouched in the corner and snarled, "Stand off yerself! I've as much right to be here as you 'ave!"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Joybell
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 07:35 PM

Thanks Don. What a great story. Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: masato sakurai
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 10:53 PM

SAM HALL is in the DT. And there have been two threads on the same subject:

Origins: Sam Hall

Origins: Sam Hall


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Fiolar
Date: 04 Jan 04 - 07:59 AM

Try listening to the Oscar Brand recording of the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Abby Sale
Date: 04 Jan 04 - 11:57 AM

One of the old (mostly gone) courtesies of the news groups was that the original asker of something complex like this was "required," and generally did, summarize the various posts to make a coherent essay on what it was all about. S/he was pleased to do this in thanks for all the trouble All had gone to answer the question.

0h well, Times have changed. So now we have 5 posts on this unless a Joe Offer is willing to go to the considerable trouble of concatenating them.

So without looking up even my own prior posts (the citations are in there somewhere), the Happy File notes that the historical Sam/Jack Hall and Robert/William Kidd were hanged about the same time and their respective songs appeared about the same time a few years later. It thus becomes impossible to say which was the chicken or if they were both eggs of some other unknown chicken.

I believe the "stronger" the version of Sam Hall, the better. The character portrayed was certainly objecting to the festivities - deeply scornful, if fact. It "should" be clear he resents it.

I sing a nice version from Tommy Macem with the refrain:

Oh my Name is Sam Hall, and I hate you one and all,
You're a bunch of buggers all.
God Damn your eyes... (pause)
        Blast your souls... (pause)
        Bloody hell.......... (long pause)
        Shit!


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Subject: Lyr Add: SAM HALL, CHIMNEY SWEEP (Bodleian)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 03:32 PM

I woild appreciate it if someone could fill in the missing two words in this poorly printed version of "Sam Hall, Chimney Sweep," from the Bodleian Collection. It is short, sharp and to the point.

Lyr. Add: SAM HALL, CHIMNEY SWEEP

Oh, my name it is Sam Hall,
Chimney sweep!
Oh, my name it is Sam Hall,
Chimney sweep!
My name it is Sam Hall
I have robbed both great and small,
And now I pay for all,
Damn my eyes.

My master taught me flam-
Taught me flam.
My master taught me flam-
Taught me flam.
My master taught me flam,
Though he know'd it for b-----(bram??)
And now I must go hang,
Damn my eyes.

I goes up Holborn Hill in a cart,
In a cart.
I goes up Holborn Hill in a cart,
In a cart.
I goes up Holborn Hill,
At St. Giles I take my gill*,
And at Tyburn makes my will,
Damn my eyes.

Then the sheriff he will come,
He will come.
Then the sheriff he will come,
He will come.
Then the sheriff he will come
And he'll look so gallows glum,
And he'll talk of kingdom come,
Blast his eyes.

Then the hangman will come too,
Will come too.
Then the hangman will come too,
Will come too,
Then the hangman will come too,
With all his bloody crew,
And he'll tell me what to do,
Blast his eyes.

And now I goes up stairs,
Goes up stairs.
And now I goes up stairs,
Goes up stairs,
And now I goes up stairs,
Here's an end to all my cares,
So ---- (say? send?) up all your prayers,
Blast your eyes.

* gill- Four fluid ounces.
Harding B15 (274b)
Hodges, printer, London, c. 1846-1854, Bodleian Collection.
Browse-Search insert Sam Hall.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 03:10 PM

Q:
The irst queried line appears to run "Though he know'd it all for bam," meaning "sham" (which, conveniently, rhymes).

The missing word in the final stanza should, I think, be "tip," meaning "offer" (as in "The Wild Missouri," "He winked his eye and tipped his flipper"): "Offer up your prayers."

This broadside should be very close to what Ross was singing in the 1850s: the date is right. I don't believe it has ever been alluded to or reprinted. Bully for you!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 11:24 PM

That's W G Ross! The performer who popularised Sam Hall. His full name is never given as far as I can find out, but it's W G Ross! Amazing performer. We should get his name right. Cheers Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 11:38 PM

There is a wonderful eye witness account of Ross as Sam Hall, NB. that's W G Ross, here
Oh dear the link tells me I can't "access it from this server" I can from Google though. It's at
http://www.mustard.org.uk/vop/notes178htm
Worth the trouble trust me. Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 11:58 PM

The link is only forbidden because you have inadvertently spelled it wrong. "mustard.org.uk" is anoher animal entirely. You want http://www.mustrad.org.uk/vop/notes178.htm


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Subject: Lyr Add: JACK HALL (variant of SAM HALL, Bodleian)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 01:00 AM

Thanks, Lighter. I should have checked Francis Grose and his Dictionary. Bam- humbug, etc. I agree with your suggestion of tip up; now that I look at the broadside again, I see the letter p at the end of the word.

The Bodleian has another broadside on the chimney sweep, same time period- might as well fill it in here as well.

JACK HALL

My name it is Jack Hall, chimney sweep, chimney sweep,
My name it is Jack Hall, chimney sweep,
My name it is Jack Hall,
And I rob both great and small,
But my life must pay for all,
When I die, when I die.
But my life must pay for all,
When I die.

I've furnished all my room, that's no joke, that's no joke.
I've furnished all my room, that's no joke.
I've furnished all my room,
Both with shovels and birch brooms
Besides a chimney pot that I stole,
That I stole, that I stole,
Besides a chimney pot that I stole.

I sold candles in the Jail short of weight, short of weight,
I sold candles in the Jail short of weight.
But the candles that I sold,
They would light me to the hold,
They would light me to the hold,
Where I lay, where I lay,
They would light me to the hold
Where I lay.

They told me in the Jail, I should die, I should die
They told me in the Jail I should die,
Oh! they told me in the Jail
I should drink no more brown ale,
But the ale will never fail
More shall I, more shall I,
But the ale will never fail,
More shall I.

As we goes up Holborn Hill in a cart, in a cart,
As we goes up Holborn hill in a cart;
As we goes up Holborn Hill,
At St. Giles we did fill,
Then for old Tyburn
We depart, we depart,
Then for old Tyburn,
We depart.

The ladder and the rope went up and down, up and down.
The ladder and the rope went up and down,
Oh! the ladder and the rope,
My collar bone they broke.
And a devil a word I spoke come down,
Coming down, coming down,
And a devil a word I spoke
Coming down.

Bodleian Ballads, Harding B 15(145a), printed by Birt, London, c. 1833-1851.
Although this was the time of W. G. Ross, I wouldn't swear that either ballad is the one used by Ross; undoubtedly, however, his performance inspired these broadsides.
Note on Jail- The Oxford English Dictionary places its entry under J, jail, gaol, and proceeds to show that both are equally old in English (ME, one Old Norman French (g), the other Old French (j). "Though both forms gaol, jail, are both written, only the latter is spoken." In the U. S., jail is the official (and legal) spelling.
In the brief OED entry under gaol, note is made that "in British official use forms with G are still current..."
I put this note here because the spelling of the word always seems to raise uninformed comment.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 02:31 AM

Interesting to note, the word Gaol in Scottish Gaelic means Love.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 05:31 AM

Note of potential historical interest. The period when Jack received his 'suspended sentence' was one of the busiest for the hangmen of England and Wales. Scotlands laws were different and the death sentence not used anything like as much. It is also unlikely that the 'Tyburn tree' was used as the hangings had been moved from Tyburn to Newgate late in 1783.

In the mid 1800s the number of captal crimes on the statute books exceeded 200. Oddly enough though, although there were literaly thousands of death sentences handed out it appears that only (!) about 10% of these were carried out. If the convicted felon had any money or the slightest influence there was usuauly a petetion to the home office to commute the crime to transportation or gaol, depending on its nature.

Poor old Jack must have had very little of either to end up dancing the Newgate jig:-(

An interesting study of the prison and it's executions can be found here. During the period in question, btw, the punisment for high treason was to hung drawn and quartered (men) or burned at the stake (women). Although H,D&Q was usualy symbolised by beheading the body already dead from hanging, three women were actualy burnt at the stake in Old Bailey!

Eeeeeh, them were the good old days...

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 03:33 PM

Gaol= love- not in the Mudcat Glossary of Scottish words.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 05:08 PM

Thanks Malcolm. I'm always good at anagrams. I wonder what's on the forbidden tise no! esti no! seti no! site!? Why can't we see? Joy


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Subject: Lyr Add: SAM HALL (trad. Newfoundland)
From: GUEST,katie
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 01:31 PM

In Newfoundland, a province of Canada, there's a version of Sam Hall accepted as a traditional Folk song.

Oh me name it is Sam Hall, chimney sweep, chimney sweep
Oh me name it is Sam Hall, chimney sweep,
Oh me name it is Sam Hall, and I've robbed both great and small
And me neck will pay for all when I die, when I die
And me neck will pay for all when I die.

I have twenty pounds in store, that's not all, that's not all,
I have twenty pounds in store, that's not all
I have twenty pounds in store, and I'll rob for twenty more,
For the rich must help the poor, so must I, so must I
For the rich must help the poor, so must I.

Oh they brought me to Coote Hill, in a cart, in a cart,
Oh they brought me to Coote Hill, in a cart
Oh they brought me to Coote Hill, there I Stopped to make my will,
For the best of friends must part, so must I, so must I
For the best of friends must part, so must I

Up the ladder I did grope, that's no joke, that's no joke,
Up the ladder I did grope, that's no joke,
Up the ladder I did grope, and the hangman pulled the rope
Oh and ne'er a word I spoke, tumblin' down, tumblin' down
Oh and ne'er a word I spoke, tumblin' down

Oh me name it is Sam Hall, chimney sweep, chimney sweep
Oh me name it is Sam Hall, chimney sweep
Oh me name it is Sam Hall, and I hate you one and all
You're a bunch of muggers all, damn your eyes, damn your eyes
You're a bunch of muggers all, damn your eyes


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 01:57 PM

Guest Katie, thanks for posting the Newfoundland "Sam Hall." Where did you get it? Information would be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 05:08 PM

Mentions of Sam Cowell in this thread are misleading.   I have never seen any evidence that Cowell sang 'Sam Hall' and it is utterly unlike the rest of his quite seemly repertoire. The singer who made it famous was W G or G W (it is seen both ways) Ross who achieved a tremendous reputation, singing it late at night at the Cyder Cellars. There are many accounts (including in 'Punch') of his highly dramatic performance in and around 1849.

Ross's version was almost certainly rewritten by him from an older song existing under various names, including 'Jack Hall'. It was fairly closely related to 'Captain Kidd'. His performance was said to have been sprinkled with obscenities, but none of the moreor less contemporary printed versions (including in 'The Ross Song Book' itself) contain any trace of anything much rougher than a 'damn'.

Sensitivities at the time made it unlikely that Ross's performance would be noted down word for word but a parliamentary select committee in the 1860s, taking evidence concerning music hall licensing, questioned Paddy Green, the Cyder Cellars manager in Ross's time. He said that the song was not as bad as it had been painted, but some wicked person had added a verse about a parson. He didn't say that Ross sang this verse (I bet he did!) neither did he say what was so bad about it, but this thread has already contained one variant of the fearful words, namely: 'He can kiss my bloody bum'.

I suspect that the verses still current in oral tradition are closer to the Ross performance than any known printed version, but we'll never be sure.

Ross was so indelibly associated with this song that it ruined his chances of ever making the dramatic career that his talents probably merited. When the noise died down after 1850 he slipped out of sight and finished up unnoticed in the chorus line in opera boufffe. Sam Cowell, by contrast, became the first great star of the music halls. His career, too, was destroyed by popularity. In his case alcoholism.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: GEST
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 05:17 PM

The Fables apparenty arranged the Newfoundland version on their 1998 album, "Tear The House Down" except they used the word muckers vs. muggers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: sian, west wales
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 05:49 PM


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 05:20 AM

Sian. Don't leave us in suspense.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 05:59 AM

Just nitpicking Q, but a Gill is a quarter pint and there are 20 fluid ounces to a pint - so a Gill is 5 fluid ounces not 4.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 07:19 AM

To be precise- In the USA
gill= 4 fluid ounces (7.219 cubic inches)= 118.294 millimeters.
pint= 4 gills (28.875 cubic inches)=473.176 millimeters.

In the UK
gill also = one-fourth of a standard pint, but this has been Imperial measure since 1826, so = 34.66 cubic inches, which is a smidgeon larger than 1.200 of an American pint,
so there are 4.8012 and a smidgeon American gills to an Imperial pint-
which only goes to prove that people are heavier drinkers in the UK than they are in the United States providing that the drinkers in each area drink equal numbers of their respective pint measures (I think).
Dave, all this was appropos of what? Now I have a headache.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: GUEST,zweig@earthlink.net
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 03:11 AM

Look for "Sam Hall's Family Tree" in a back issue of the California Quarterly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: IanC
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 08:26 AM

Given the new interest in Sam Hall / Jack Hall (see the "Damn Your Eyes" thread) I've noticed that the link to Jack Hall in the Newgate Calendar has passed away.

Here's a new one that still works.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: EBarnacle
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 10:41 AM

Re: the content about this song following the form of Captain Kidd.

This format seems to be a standard format for hanging ballads. It could even be considered a "zipper" format in which the printer would fill in the name of the felon with a few details about the crime, be it great or small, about the felons remorse [or lack of it] and be hawking it on the hill as the felon went to his reward.

I believe that the attraction of "Sam Hall" is his lack of repentance, the fact that, unlike "Hangman, Hangman, slack your rope," there is no rescue at the end and the pseudo-commonness of its style.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: GUEST,John Adcock
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 06:10 PM

The following account of the song SAM HALL appeared in 'The Variety Stage, A History of the Music Halls from the Earliest Period to the Present Time,' by Charles Douglas Stuart and A. J. Park, London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1895 >

On the south side of Maiden Lane, at the western corner, or to be more precise at No. 20, stood that historic temple of Apollo -- the old CYDER CELLARS, which even in 1840 had been sacred to the muse of song for a century and a half at least. In his day it had been the favourite haunt of Professor Porson that learned pundit doubtless fully appreciating the devilled kidneys, immaculate oysters and Welsh rare-bits, not to mention the excellent cigars, old brandy, good brown stout, and cool cider for which the establishment enjoyed a wide-spread reputation. In   other   respects, the Cyder Cellars was a place of notoriously bad reputation, rivaling and excelling in their worst aspect the peculiar features of the Coal Hole and Judge-and-Jury Societies before alluded to. In the pages of Pendennis, Thackeray has immortalized it under the pseu¬donym of the 'Back Kitchen,' of which it bore unmistakable   evidence   of 'being   the original.' The entertainment to be found here was similar to that given at the Coal Hole, with its worst features perhaps rather more pronounced. The artistes specially associated with   the place were John Moody, with his admirable mimicry, who was   also   in   great   demand   at Vauxhall and public dinners; Tom Penniket, great in his song of the raw recruit 'Soldier Bill'; Labern, and W. G. Ross. The latter, a comic vocalist whose admirable delineations of a certain type of character, combined with power of dramatic ex¬pression, have never been excelled. Ross started his career as a compositor on one of the Glasgow papers, singing occasionally at local harmonic assemblies. His success as a vocalist induced him to come to England and try his luck as a professional singer, and he made his first appear¬ance in this character at a place known as Sharpie's in Bolton. He then came on to London, and opened at the Cyder Cellars, where his many excellent qualities as a character vocalist at once brought him into prominence. His first success was made in such ditties as 'The Lively Flea,' a parody on the 'Ivy Green,' 'Jack Rag,' 'Pat's Leather Breeches,' 'Mrs. John¬son,' and 'Going Home with the Milk in the Morning.' But Ross's name will ever be associ¬ated with his most successful essay, a song entitled 'Sam Hall,' which at one time was the rage of London, and drew dense crowds to the Cyder Cellars nightly to hear him in this particu¬lar ditty. The sale of his portrait in character, which was sold for a shilling at the bars, had an enormous sale at the time, which may be taken as a further proof of the singer's popularity. The subject of this remarkable song was a chimney sweep, who is condemned to death for murder, and who is represented as philosophizing on the situation the night before his execution. The song was startlingly realistic in tone, and it's rendering by Ross as powerful, as it was artistic. The preliminary acting and 'business' adopted by the singer, such as the lighting up of his cutty pipe by the condemned criminal, his fitful sighs, and the air of swaggering despair with which he flings himself into his .chair before breaking forth into his horrible ditty was strik¬ingly sensational and effective. The opening lines of the song, which may be taken as a fair specimen of the rest, run as follows: -

'My name it is Sam Hall, chimney sweep.
My name it is Sam Hall,
I robs both great and small,
But they makes me pay for all,
D--n their eyes!'

The amount of brutal ferocity and pent-up fury which Ross managed to infuse into these lines was remarkable, and in this respect he was un¬equalled by any other singer. Ross made such a name over this performance that Buckstone, then the manager of the Haymarket Theatre, engaged him for that house, where he opened in a small Irish farce. He does not appear, however, to have made a hit on the legitimate stage, and speedily returned to his old love the   concert platform, where in his own peculiar line he was, probably without a rival. Ross appears to have belonged to a school of which Mr. Charles Godfrey, Mr. Charles Coborn and Mr. Gus Elen are among the best modern exponents. Ross, unfortunately, was unable to maintain his early reputation, and though long after the days of the Cyder Cellars had become numbered he continued to appear with varying success at the different Metropolitan halls, he gradually fell behind in the race for popularity, and died some few years back in the obscure capacity of a humble chorus singer.


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Subject: Lyr Add: NOBBY HALL (version of SAM HALL)
From: Acorn4
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 09:05 PM

There's a bloke called Nobby Hall, Nobby Hall
There's a bloke called Nobby Hall, Nobby Hall
There's a bloke called Nobby Hall
And he only had one arm
And the other one's hanging on the wall!

They say he killed his wife, killed his wife,
They say he killed his wife killed his wife
They say he killed his wife and it wasn't with a knife
And the other one's hanging on the wall

The judge's name was Hunt, name was Hunt
The judge's name was Hunt, name was Hunt
Oh the judge's name was Hunt
And he was a silly fool
And the other one's hanging on the wall

The jury were all crackers, were all crackers
Oh, the jury were all crackers, were all crackers
Oh, the jury were all crackers, they said
Hang him by his neck
And the other one's hanging on the wall.

The parson came at last, came at last
Oh, the parson came at last, came at last,
Oh, the parson came at last
With his prayer book up his sleeve
And the other one's hanging on the wall.

They put him in a pit, in a pit
They out him in a pit, in a pit
They put him in a pit, and they shovelled in the earth
And the other one's hanging on the wall.

So they hung poor Nobby Hall, Nobby Hall
Yes, they hung poor Nobby Hall, Nobby Hall,
They hung poor Nobby Hall with his solitary arm
And the other one's hanging on the wall.

No idea where this came from but I heard it at a CCF camp sometime in the mid sixties.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: The Doctor
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 07:41 AM

Sam Hall's real name, as already noted, was Jack, or John, Hall. He was sold by his parents for a guinea to a chimney sweep as an apprentice, but discovered crime was more to his liking, and probably had a better life-expectancy. He became a particularly vicious and notorious criminal, though not too successful, and was sentenced to hang in 1701. He managed to get a pardon on condition that he emigrasted to America, but he jumped ship and returned, being finally hanged at Tyburn on 12 December 1707, as recorded in the Newgate Chronicle. He also gets a mention in the Dictionary of National Biography, as while languishing in Newgate he composed his memoirs, complete with a glossary of thieves' terms.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 02:29 PM

I've glanced through the thread, but I haven't had a chance to really read it yet, but I will when I have some time.

Anyway, the way it was told to me was that Sam Hall was a chimney sweep who used his job skills to get into houses and burglarize them. Then things went sour. He got caught and brained the person who caught him. Bad night for Sam. He also got caught again as he was trying to exit the house, and was convicted of the crime.

His hanging would have passed pretty much unnoticed save for two things:   his monumental "funeral oration" in which he expresses his general unhappiness with everybody—and the fact that there was a very large crowd at the hanging.

The reason for the size of the crowd was that Sam Hall was a mere "also ran," a preliminary to what was expected to be the main event. It seems that a handsome and dashing young highwayman and a sort of local hero to a lot of people was also to be hanged, and everybody had come to see him on his way. But Sam's exit speech stole the highwayman's thunder.

As the highwayman and Sam Hall were riding in the cart to where they were going to be hanged, the highway, resplendently dressed in doublet, hose, and all the accouterments (save for his pistols and rapier) was blowing kisses and tossing what remained of the contents of his purse to the crowd that was cheering him on when the cart hit a loose cobblestone and lurched, throwing Sam Hall, who had been cowering in a corner of the cart, against the highwayman.

The highwayman shoved him back in the corner, brushed off the sleeve of his doublet, and said, "Stand off, varlet!! Stand off!!"

To which, Sam Hall snarled:   "Stand off yerself!! I've as much right to be 'ere as you 'ave!!"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 06:53 PM

A description of a private performance of the song, perhaps surprisingly, by the noted German composer Stephen Heller, in London, apparently in 1862. Heller made a big hit with it that evening. From Joseph Hatton's "To-Day in America," Vol. II (1881), pp. 16-18:


"'Hush!" says [the English comedian E. A.] Sothern. 'Gentlemen, Mr. Heller has consented to sing us 'Sam Hall.' When first I heard this song I thought it was funny; the second time I thought it was sad and tragic.'

"And so it is. 'Sam Hall' is one of the most dramatic of songs. In the time of the London night-houses a famous free-and-easy vocalist used to sing it in the early hours of morning at Evans's. It delineates the fears, passions, and depravity of a wretched man condemned to be hanged, and going through the last sad minutes of the fatal hour. He is supposed to be looking through the grating of his prison and apostrophising the crowd that is waiting to see him 'turned off.' Sothern himself could sing the ditty with wonderful effect; but Heller at the piano gave it with a grim dramatic humour that was strangely impressive. In his hands it was a sort of wild recitative, accompanied with musical language that teemed to repeat the doleful story. Sam Hall is a degraded, uneducated, miserable ruffian; and the objection to the song for a mixed audience is, after all, only in the realistic imprecation that closes each verse. In Charles Reade's version of " Foul Play," at the Olympic, the audience was at first shocked and then impressed at a dying sailor urged by the heroine to forgive a comrade -who had wronged him, exclaiming, "Yes, I forgive him; ---- his eyes!" This was repeated every night as long as the piece was played; it was a bit of realism upon which Mr. Reade insisted. It is this same imprecation that makes 'Sam Hall' difficult in general society, but Heller had a way of slurring over the words so as to make them comparatively unobtrusive. The song begins something in this way:

             "My name it is Sam Hall,
             I've murdered great and small;
             But now I pay for all."
[Here occurs the 'optical imprecation' referred to above.]

    "A doleful strain the music, a weird melody, full of wailing that grips you. The crowd repeats some of the lines in an awe-inspiring chorus. 'But now he pays for all.' You can hear them chant it in a hushed way, anticipating the show. Heller's moaning chords in minor keys, and his hushed hoarse voice, realised the whispering of the surging crowd collected to see Sam Hall die. At last come the closing lines:

             But now I go upstairs,   
             And there ends all my cares;
             Kind friends, give me your prayers—   
             All your cursed prayers.
             [Closing line as before.]

   "The admiring, half-stricken wonder and horror of the crowd breaks out, following Heller's eloquent fmgers on the piano. 'All youi cursed prayers!' he repeated in a low voice, and there was a sobbing cry of a savage agony in those last words that haunted one long after they were drowned by the applause of Heller's appreciative audience. I fear I shall fail to convey to the reader a complete idea of the weird dramatic force of this strange song; if I succeed, then the realism of it will be forgiven in the awful picture of the murderer's last moments, when thousands of degraded men and women found a savage delight at the foot of the gallows. 'The Ingoldsby Legends' and the works of Jerrold and Dickens did a great deal towards the abolition of public executions. The ballad of 'Sam Hall' is a reminiscence of the days of 'Tom and Jerry,' the Fleet Prison, oil-lamps, and ancient watchmen."


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Subject: Lyr Add: SAM HALL (Johnny Cash)
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 07:10 PM

Here's a version I used to sing: Arranged by Johnny Cash. On his
American 4: The Man Comes Around - album.
I'm doing this from memory. It's somewhat similar to versions here.

Well, my name it is Sam Hall, Sam Hall.
Yes, my name it is Sam Hall, it is Sam Hall.
my name it is Sam Hall,
And I hate you one and all;
And I hate you one and all, damn your eyes.

I killed a man they said, so they said.
I killed a man they said, so they said.
I killed a man they said,
And I smashed in his head;
And I left him laying dead, damn his eyes.

But a swinging I must go, I must go.
a swinging I must go, I must go.
a swinging I must go,
While you critters down below;
Yell out "Sam, I told you so". Well, damn your eyes.

I saw Molly in the crowd, in the crowd.
I saw Molly in the crowd, in the crowd.
I saw Molly in the crowd,
And I hollered right out loud;
"Hey there, Molly, ain't you proud?" damn your eyes.

Then the sheriff he came too, he came too.
Aw, yeah, the sheriff he came too, he came too.
The sheriff he come too,
And he said "Sam, how are you?"
And I said: "Well sheriff how are you?" Damn your eyes.

My name is Samuel, Samuel.
My name is Samuel, Samuel.
My name is Samuel,
And I'll see you all in Hell;
And I'll see you all in Hell, damn your eyes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Lighter
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 07:13 PM

Pretty close to Tex Ritter's earlier recording.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Lighter
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 07:14 PM

Joe, I see there are two of these threads with the same title! Time to combine?
    Done. -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 05:07 AM

Martin Graebe sings an interesting and unusual version of this song, on his CD with Shan Cowan, 'Parallel Strands' (Wild Goose Records, WGS 323 CD, 2005). The song is called 'Tyburn Hill' and in his notes Mr Graebe writes: "Baring-Gould heard this song from Sam Fone of Mary Tavy [Devon]. It is a version of Jack Hall, a song about a burglar executed in 1701." To my ear this version has a gritty and 'authentic' Georgian feel to it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 11:44 AM

I've heard someone sing a version called "Lank Hall"; according to someone on another thread, this is also known as "Tyburn Hill". Can anyone confirm/deny that these are the same song?

I'd also like to put in a word for John Kelly's "Sam Hall", which (as he says in the sleevenotes) features less "ocular damnation" than some versions; it's a quiet, mournful reading, & quite effective.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Max
Date: 23 Jun 17 - 12:26 PM

Another Google alert on this thread. They won't serve ads on this page, I guess because the Johnny Cash version of the lyrics were posted. Took them 7 years to care...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sam Hall
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Jun 17 - 02:36 AM

Sure glad you're not squeamish about "damn your eyes," Max. That line always makes me laugh, although I'm not quite sure what it means.
-Joe-


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Subject: Lyr Add: SAM HALL (Tex Ritter, 1935)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 02:20 PM

This is the only recording of this song that I can find from the era of 78rpm records:

SAM HALL
As recorded by Tex Ritter, 1935.

Oh, my name is Samu-el, Samu-el.
Oh, my name is Samuel Hall, I said, Sam Hall.
Oh, my name it is Sam Hall,
And I hate you one and all,
And I hate you one and all,
Blast your eyes!

Oh, I killed a man, they said, so they said.
Oh, I killed a man, they said, so they said.
I killed a man, they said,
And I smashed in his head,
And I left him a-layin' dead.
[Whoop!] Blast his eyes!

To the gallows I must go, Lawd, Lawd.
To the gallows I must go-oh-oh.
To the gallows I must go,
Because he loved us so,
Because he loved us so,
Blast his eyes!

I must hang by the neck till I'm dead.
I must hang until I'm dead, dead, dead.
I must hang until I'm dead,
For I killed a man, they said,
And I left him a-layin' dead.
[Whoop!] Blast his eyes!

Oh, the preacher he did come, he did come.
Oh, the preacher he did come, he did come.
Oh, the preacher he did come,
And he looked so dad-burned glum
As he talked of a Kingdom Come.
[Whoop!] Blast his eyes!

Oh, the sheriff he come too, he come too.
Oh, the sheriff he come too, he come too.
Oh, the sheriff he come too,
With his little boys in blue,
Sayin': "Sam, we'll see you through."
Blast his eyes!

I saw Molly in the crowd, in the crowd.
I saw Molly in the crowd, in the crowd.
I saw Molly in the crowd,
And I hollered 'er right out loud:
"Hey, Molly, ain't you proud?
[Whoop!] Blast your eyes!"

Oh, a-hangin' I must go, Lawd, Lawd.
Oh, a-hangin' I must go-oh-oh.
Oh, a-hangin' I must go,
While you critters down below
Holler: "Sam, we told you so."
[Whoop!] Blast your eyes!


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