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Lyr/Chords Add: Pretty Polly

DigiTrad:
PRETTY POLLY (2)
THE CRUEL SHIP'S CARPENTER
THE GHOST SONG
THE SHIP'S CARPENTER


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Gosport Tragedy/ Cruel Ship's Carpenter (183)
Lyr Req:Pretty Polly (from The Dillards) (8)
pretty polly - Cruel Ship's Carpenter? (14)
Lyr Req: Pretty Polly? (26)
Lyr/Chords Req: Pretty Polly (Stanley Brothers) (14)
Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse (19)
Lyr Add: Pretty Polly (#311) (2)
Lyr Req: Little Molly / Pretty Polly / etc. (5)
Info Req: Polly's Love (Waterson-Carthy) (6)


banjoWV 18 Aug 02 - 02:09 AM
masato sakurai 18 Aug 02 - 03:06 AM
Stewie 18 Aug 02 - 09:15 PM
Stewie 18 Aug 02 - 10:12 PM
masato sakurai 18 Aug 02 - 10:23 PM
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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: PRETTY POLLY
From: banjoWV
Date: 18 Aug 02 - 02:09 AM

PRETTY POLLY
(Traditional)
 C                 F
Oh, pretty Polly, come 'long with me.
C G
Polly, pretty Polly, come along with me,
C F G
Before we get married some pleasures to see.
He led her over hills, and valleys so deep,
Led her over hills, and valleys so deep.
Pretty Polly mistrusted and then began to weep.

Oh, little Willie, I'm afraid of your ways.
Willie, little Willie, I'm afraid of your ways.
The way you've been ramblin', you'll lead me astray.

They went a little farther, and what did they spy?
Went up a little farther, and what did they spy?
A newly dug grave with a spade lying by.

Oh, pretty Polly, your guess is 'bout right.
Polly, pretty Polly, your guess is 'bout right.
I dug on your grave the best part of last night.

He stabbed her in her heart, and her heart's blood did flow.
Stabbed her in her heart, and her heart's blood did flow.
And into the grave pretty Polly did go.

It's a debt to the devil, Willie must pay.
A debt to the devil, Willie must pay
For killing pretty Polly and running away.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Add: PRETTY POLLY
From: masato sakurai
Date: 18 Aug 02 - 03:06 AM

PRETTY POLLY (2) in the DT.

Some previous threads are:

Lyr/Chords Req: Pretty Polly, Stanley Brothers

Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse

Lyr Add: Pretty Polly (#311) (With many links)

~Masato


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Subject: Lyr Add: PRETTY POLLY (Dock Boggs)
From: Stewie
Date: 18 Aug 02 - 09:15 PM

The note to the 'Pretty Polly (2)' in the DT, linked above by Masato, suggests it is essentially Dock Boggs' version. I disagree - it differs significantly from both of Boggs' recorded versions. In particular, Boggs' 1927 recording has no stabbing. It seems to me that we can conclude only that the unfortunate lass was buried alive.

Here is the text of Boggs' 1927 version:

PRETTY POLLY [Dock Boggs 1927 version]

I used to be a rambler, I stayed around in town
I used to be a rambler, I stayed around in the town
I courted Pretty Polly, and her beauty has never been found

Oh where is Pretty Polly, oh yonder she stands
Oh where is Pretty Polly, oh yonder she stands
With rings on her fingers, her lily-white hands

"Pretty Polly, Pretty Polly, come take a walk with me
Pretty Polly, Pretty Polly, come take a walk with me
When we get married, some pleasure to see"

He led her over hills and valleys so deep
He led her over hills and valleys so deep
At length, Pretty Polly, she began to weep

"Oh Willy, oh Willy, I'm 'fraid of your way
Oh Willy, oh Willy, I'm 'fraid of your way
Your mind is to ramble and lead me astray"

"Pretty Polly, Pretty Polly, you're guessing about right
Pretty Polly, Pretty Polly, you're guessing about right
I dug on your grave, two-thirds of last night"

They went on a piece farther and what did they spy?
Went on a piece farther and what did she spy?
A new dug grave and a spade lying by

She threw her arms around him and began for to weep
She threw her arms around him and began for to weep
At length, Pretty Polly soon fell asleep

He threw the dirt over her and turned away to go
Threw the dirt over her and turned away to go
Down to the river where the deep waters flow

That transcription is from Barry O'Connell and I got it from Here. O'Connell notes that Brown ['North Carolina Folklore II] has several variants of 'Pretty Polly' from which Boggs' version comes. He refers also to an interesting, but different, version in Leonard Roberts 'Sang Branch Settlers'.

In Boggs' later version [June 1963 for Folkways], there is no murder at all. Boggs finishes with the penultimate verse of his 1927 version, with Polly falling asleep. Mike Seeger noted, however, in 'Dock Boggs: His Folkways Years' [2CD reissue - Smithsonian/Folkways] that Boggs sometimes sang the last line as 'He threw her in the river where the water's twenty foot deep'.

Another superb old-timey performance of this ballad is B.F. Shelton's 1927 recording which has been reissued on 'Music of Kentucky Vol I' Yazoo 2013. The first commercial recording was by John Hammond (vcl/bjo) in 1925, but not issued until 1926.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Add: PRETTY POLLY
From: Stewie
Date: 18 Aug 02 - 10:12 PM

I meant to mention that Hammond's recording, titled 'Purty Polly', has been reissued on vol II of 'Music of Kentucky', Yazoo 2014. Almost nothing is known about Hammond apart from the fact that he recorded 6 sides. Judging from his style and repertoire, Charles Wolfe suggests it is a good bet that he came from north/central Kentucky. In his version, Polly is dispatched with 'a deadly weapon all in his right hand':

He stabbed her to the heart and the blood it did flow (x2)
And down in the grave Purty Polly sure did go

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Add: PRETTY POLLY
From: masato sakurai
Date: 18 Aug 02 - 10:23 PM

Dock Boggs' prewar recordings are collected on Country Blues: Complete Early Recordings (1927-1929), which contains "Pretty Polly." His 1927 recording (Realaudio) can be heard at Honkingduck.

~Masato


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