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Origins of Lass From the Low Country

DigiTrad:
BLACK IS THE COLOR OF MY TRUE LOVE'S HAIR (1)
BONNY FARDAY
DOWN IN YON FORREST
I LEARNED ABOUT HORSES FROM HER
LASS FROM THE LOW COUNTRY
THE SMART SCHOOLBOY
VENEZUELA (PASS AWAY TIME IN)


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Charmion 05 Mar 23 - 08:59 PM
leeneia 02 Mar 23 - 12:19 PM
Lighter 27 Feb 23 - 03:23 PM
GUEST 27 Feb 23 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,a student 27 Feb 23 - 11:06 AM
leeneia 10 Apr 20 - 06:34 PM
GUEST 09 Apr 20 - 01:18 AM
GUEST 28 Jan 18 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,999 29 Dec 09 - 12:18 AM
GUEST 28 Dec 09 - 10:21 PM
GUEST,Chris Vening 28 Dec 09 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Richie 30 Oct 02 - 08:03 AM
GUEST,Richie 30 Oct 02 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,Richie 30 Oct 02 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,Richie 29 Oct 02 - 11:40 PM
Puffenkinty 29 Oct 02 - 10:11 AM
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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: Charmion
Date: 05 Mar 23 - 08:59 PM

I learned this song from an album called Duets with the Spanish Guitar, by Laurindo Almeida collaborating with mezzo-soprano Sally Terri and a flautist whose name I have clean forgot. Sally Terri sings it clean and straight, against Almeida’s tastefully sparse accompaniment.

Richard Dyer Bennet’s version makes my ears squint.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: leeneia
Date: 02 Mar 23 - 12:19 PM

Hi, student. Have you found the words? Go to the top of the page and find the words "Mudcat Cafe" in fancy script. Nine lines down from that is a link to "Lass from the Low Country" in the Mudcat's lyric & tune collection, a collection which is called The Digital Tradition.

If you read the words, you'll see there is nothing there about murder, execution, suicide, or pregnancy. There's not even anything hinted about such a think. She looked, she loved, and she languished, languished all the way to her grave.

This is a modern composition, but it imitates a style from the late middle ages. In the middle ages, life expectancy was much shorter than today because people died of love a lot. :-)

The song says she's a lass from the low country, and there are two low countries I know of. One is the Netherlands (Holland) and Belgium in Europe, and the other is in the Carolinas. Since she meets a lord, we conclude that's she's in the European one.

The Low Countries are one boat ride to the east of England, and there was a lot of trade between them. And unhappily for the low countries, they had no steep, cold, dangerous mountains, and other countries found them a great place to fight battles.
=====
I learned something interesting today because of your question. I looked up "mead" to see if it was a correct word, and it is. A mead is a meadow but the word is "mostly poetical." But what's a meadow? I've always thought a meadow was a field, probably with pretty flowers, but originally a meadow was a field which grew grass to cut and make feed for animals. And this is the part which will tickle your English teacher - the word "meadow" comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "to cut."

I got that info from my aged, heavyweight, unabridged dictionary.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Feb 23 - 03:23 PM

Niles was performing the song in concert as early as 1939 (Danville [Ky.] Daily Messenger, Apr. 21, 1939).

Richard Dyer-Bennet recorded it in 1947.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 23 - 01:54 PM

In JJN's head presumably.

The 'Low Country' in British ballads generally means the Netherlands and Belgium where many wars were staged.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: GUEST,a student
Date: 27 Feb 23 - 11:06 AM

where and when does the story TAKE PLACE, im not wondering when it was written i want to know if the story is about murder, suicide, or exicution or possibly even from childbirth?


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: leeneia
Date: 10 Apr 20 - 06:34 PM

The words in the DT say:

One day when the show (probably snow) was on the mead
He passed her by on a milk white steed
She spoke to him low but he paid no heed

So there is no question of pregnancy. No, she died of love, alas.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 20 - 01:18 AM

I believe she was pregnant by this rich man who discarded her, and as it was unacceptable to be a single mother, despite no fault of her ow, she killed herself. This is why t he chorus is "sing sorrow," that she would be forced to this extreme.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 02:08 PM

HELP!!! I am doing a solo Research for choir and I don’t know anything about the song except from what I gathered just reading the lyrics. The song is The lass from Low Countree. The gist I got is: There is a common woman who loves someone who is royalty, and she saw him one day and she tried to talk to him and he ignored her, and now she is depressed and she ‘sleeps in The Valley where the wildflowers nod.’ Other than that I don’t know anything about the song. Or the person that wrote it. Please Help!!


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: GUEST,999
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 12:18 AM

OOPS. They're in the DT. Found 'em.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 10:21 PM

"The Lass from the Low Country"

It's a bit late in the game to ask, but are the lyrics somewhere?


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: GUEST,Chris Vening
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 07:23 PM

Here is what Niles says about "The Lass from the Low Country" in his liner note to the Folkways album 'John Jacob Niles Sings Folk Songs', a 1964 reissue of Asch 78s:

'In the early summer of 1933 an old man named Hugh Stallcup, who lived near Murphy, N.C. sang me a garbled little love-song he called "The Ash from the Hill Country". Two lines of this sad love ditty formed the basis for the poem of the "Lass from the Low Country". They were:

A lass who lived at the bottom of the valley,
At the bottom where the low waters ran, ...etc...

Soon thereafter, I wrote a tune I could sing to dulcimer accompaniment. Contrary to popular belief, I wrote the text and tune of this love-song.'

See pdf of liner note at http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/liner_notes/folkways/FW02373.pdf. Niles placed the song in Cherokee County, N.C. and noted '(Copyright, G. Schirmer, Inc.)', as for all other songs on the compilation.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 08:03 AM

Here's some recording info from Folk Music Index:

The Lass from/of the Low Countrie

Alevizos, Ted. Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square, Veritas, LP (1960), cut#B.08
Beers Family. Golden Skein, Biograph BLP-12054, LP (1972), cut# 11
Beers Family. Introducing the Beers Family, Columbia MS-6705, LP (196?), cut#B.04
Gooding, Cynthia. O Love Is Teasin', Elektra BLP-12051, LP (1985), cut#1.12
Gooding, Cynthia. Faithful Lovers and Other Phenomena, Elektra EKL-107, LP (195?), cut#A.02
Limeliters. Slightly Fabulous Limeliters, RCA (Victor) LPM-2393, LP (1961), cut#A.03
Mayhan, Judy. Folk Songs of Old Eire, Tradition TR 2075, LP (196?), cut# 7
Okun, Milt; and Ellen Stekert. Traditional American Love Songs, Riverside RLP 12-634, LP (1956), cut# 5
Wayfarers. Wayfarers, RCA (Victor) LPM 1213, LP (1956), cut#A.05


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 07:47 AM

Here's the site again:

http://www.birchmore.info/html/british_song.html


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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 07:42 AM

Sorry about the last post, I was tired. The only similarity between Lover's Farewell and Lass of the Low Country is "Low Country".

Here's a British version with sheet music:

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Subject: RE: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 11:40 PM

Here's some info from Traditional Ballad Index:

Lass From the Low Country/Lovers' Farewell (I)
DESCRIPTION: The girl laments that her love came and bade her farewell, then went to war in the Low Country. He fought, and none knew where he fell. Now "he may sleep in an open grave, But I will wake on my pallet of grief...."
AUTHOR: unknown ("collected" by John Jacob Niles)
EARLIEST DATE: 1961
KEYWORDS: parting death separation grief war
FOUND IN: US(SE?)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Niles 17A, "Lover's Farewell" (1 text, 1 tune, dubiously labelled as Child 26)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Three Ravens [Child 26]" (lyrics)
cf. "The Highland Widow's Lament" (plot)
Notes: Niles lists this piece as a form of "The Three Ravens," on the basis of a few lyric similarities ("evensong"; "No man knows that he lies there / But his horse and his hound and his lady Mary"; "Oh, he may sleep in an open grave / Where raven fly and flutter"). The plot, however, is completely different, and reminds me more of "The Highland Widow's Lament," which tells of a soldier dying in the Low Country (on behalf of Bonnie Prince Charlie). The piece is quite beautiful, but one can only suspect John Jacob Niles's hand in it. - RBW

-Richie


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Subject: Origins of Lass From the Low Country
From: Puffenkinty
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 10:11 AM

Does anybody know where the song "Lass from the Low Country"
originated? I know John Jacob Niles claimed to have found it in Cherokee County, North Carolina, but has anyone else
found it or variants elsewhere?
Thanks.


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