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Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)

DigiTrad:
BRYAN O'LYNN
JOHN BOLYN
TAM O THE LINN
TOM BOLYN
TOM BOLYNN (2)
TOM BOWLING


Related threads:
(origins) Lyr Req/Add: Brian O'Lynn & Tam o' the Linn (71)
(origins) Origins: Brian O'Linn (6)
Lyr Add: brian o Lynn was a bold Brexiteer (3)
Lyr Req: Brian O'Lynne (from Dave Van Ronk) (7)
Lyr Req: Brian O'Linn / Bryan O'Lynn (2)
Lyr Req: Johnny Macree (5)
Lyr Add: Tommy Linn (8)


Gerard 16 Jul 03 - 10:20 PM
GUEST,Q 16 Jul 03 - 11:08 PM
GUEST,Q 16 Jul 03 - 11:20 PM
GUEST,Lighter 23 Jul 03 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Malcolm Douglas 23 Jul 03 - 05:33 PM
Joe Offer 04 Aug 03 - 03:51 AM
Schantieman 04 Aug 03 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Paul W. 13 Jul 08 - 06:15 AM
Joe_F 13 Jul 08 - 09:46 PM
GUEST,Lighter 14 Jul 08 - 09:00 AM
Joe_F 14 Jul 08 - 08:45 PM
Jim Dixon 16 Jul 08 - 04:57 AM
Jim Dixon 16 Jul 08 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,Lighter 30 Jul 08 - 12:27 AM
PoppaGator 30 Jul 08 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,Nicola Bramwell 25 Sep 16 - 08:14 AM
Lighter 25 Sep 16 - 10:27 AM
Lighter 06 Jan 19 - 10:54 AM
Lighter 06 Jan 19 - 03:49 PM
Brian Peters 09 Jan 19 - 09:33 AM
Lighter 09 Jan 19 - 10:16 AM
Lighter 09 Jan 19 - 10:23 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Jan 19 - 02:42 PM
Lighter 09 Jan 19 - 04:31 PM
Lighter 09 Jan 19 - 04:38 PM
Brian Peters 09 Jan 19 - 07:51 PM
Lighter 09 Jan 19 - 09:20 PM
Lighter 10 Jan 19 - 05:55 PM
Brian Peters 11 Jan 19 - 05:29 PM
Lighter 11 Jan 19 - 06:22 PM
Brian Peters 15 Jan 19 - 10:58 AM
Lighter 15 Jan 19 - 12:15 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Jan 19 - 02:06 PM
GUEST 15 Jan 19 - 05:11 PM
Lighter 15 Jan 19 - 05:59 PM
Lighter 16 Jan 19 - 11:42 AM
Lighter 16 Jan 19 - 11:44 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 19 - 04:47 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 19 - 05:21 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 19 - 05:23 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 19 - 05:36 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 19 - 05:49 PM
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Subject: Add Lyr. Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Gerard
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 10:20 PM

TOM BOLYNN

Tom Bolynn was a Scotchman born,
His shoes worn out, his stockings torn,
His shirt was ragged, his Spencer thin,
"This is my best suit," said Tom Bolynn.

Chorus (repeat optional)
Tom Bolynn, Tom Bolynn, Tom Bolynn, Hi-ho!

Tom Bolynn had no breeches to wear,
He bought a sheepskin to make him a pair,
The flesh side out, the fur side in,
"They are charming and cool," said Tom Bolynn.
Chorus

Tom and his wife and his wife's mother
Got into one bed together;
The weather was cold, the sheets were thin,
I'll sleep in the middle," said Tom Bolynn.
Chorus

But his wife's mother said the very next day,
"You'll have to get another place to stay.
I can't lie awake and hear you snore.
You can't stay in my house any more."
Chorus

Tom got into a hollow tree,
And very contented seemed to be,
The wind did blow and the rain beat in,
"This is better than home," said Tom Bolynn.
Chorus

From "A Treasury of American Song" Downes and Seigmeister, 1940, 1943
pp. 36-37


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Subject: Lyr Add: BRINZI O'FLYNN and JOHN BRINEY LINN
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 11:08 PM

Tom Bolynn or Brian O'Lynn" is not American, but comes from a song sung by the fool in William Wager's play, "The Longer Thou Livest, the More Fool Thou Art," dated about 1565.
Randolph-Legman discuss the song in "Roll Me In Your Arms," vol. 1 of "Unprintable Ozark Folksongs and Folklore," pp. 155-157. William Allen White heard it in Kansas as "Barney O'Flynn."
Early versions appear in volumes by Peter Kennedy, "Folksongs of britain and Ireland," and Opie, "Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes."
I am sure Malcolm Douglas can give better information.

It survives in North America as a comic song, with many examples. Here is one from Randolph-Legman, 34B, with music, coll. in San Francisco from a British seaman:

BRINZI O'FLYNN

Oh Brinzi O'Flynn has the pox and the gleet,
And he stinks like a brothel down old Sackville Street,
With globules of mercury 'round his foreskin,
By God! I am dyin' says Brinzi O'Flynn.
Music given, "one of the finest airs in British balladry."
(Sackville Street is in Dublin, gleet = gonorrhea)

An American version from Joplin, MO, sung by Miss L. B.

JOHN BRINEY LINN

John Briney Linn, his wife an' her mother,
They all went out a-shittin' together;
Some of 'em shit needles an' others shit pins--
It's pretty sharp shittin', says John Briney Linn.

Variant sung by F. H., Berryville, Arkansas.

Bryan O'Linn and his wife and her mother,
They all went out a-shittin' together;
Some shit thick and some shit thin--
Wipe it up with a spoon, says Bryan O'Linn.

Music is given.
Randolph-Legman mention "Tumble O'Lynn's Farewell," which appeared in the Jour. American Folklore, 1990.
Versions have been played at the funerals of AIDS victims.

Stan Hugill has a shanty version in his "Sailing Ship Shanties" MS, according to Randolph-Legman. Has this been published yet?


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Subject: RE: Add Lyr. Tom Bolynn (3)
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 11:20 PM

Bruce O posted an excellent version in thread 10028, from Ritson's "The North Country Chorister, 1802, "Tommy Linn." Not yet harvested, unfortunately.
TOMMY LINN

Lyr. Add: TOMMY LINN thread 10028


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Subject: RE: Add Lyr. Tom Bolynn (3)
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 04:06 PM

May as well mention that Oscar Brand recorded his yes modernized version of "Tom Bolynn" back in the '50s, so long ago that I guess it ain't "modern" any more! The melody is great: based on (or a variant of) that given by Downes & Siegmeister (whose version seems to come from an earlier Vermont collection).

Hugill's MS. has not yet been published. Will it ever be? I once wrote to ask Legman if he could make me a photocopy, which I swore on the grave of Bishop Percy never to publish. He declined. Presumably Hugill's "Brian O'Lynn" lyrics went to the tune of "Blow the Man Down." At least there are one or two harmless "Brian" stanzas given to that tune in Lomax & Lomax, ABFS.


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Subject: RE: Add Lyr. Tom Bolynn (3)
From: GUEST,Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 05:33 PM

I'm from home just now and can't look things up, but I don't expect I could add much to what Bruce has said on the subject. What we need now is a tune for the American set; words are of limited value on their own and thus out of context.


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Subject: RE: Add Lyr. Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 03:51 AM

Note that the Digital Tradition has three tunes for "Tom Bolynn." I think there's one from Lomax and one from Sharp, and then a third one I can't place. Is there another you're looking for, Malcolm? If our MIDIs aren't working, check at Yet Another Digital Tradition.
This verse was buried in another thread, and it's too good to pass up. -Joe Offer-
Thread #30068   Message #384759
Posted By: Joe_F
29-Jan-01 - 10:21 AM
Thread Name: BS: What side of the bed do you sleep on?
Subject: RE: BS: What side of the bed do you sleep on?

Tom came home at his journey's end To find his wife in bed with a friend. The night was cold, and the blankets thin: "I'll sleep in the middle" says Tom Bolynn.

Short of that, I sleep on the left side, which is where the bed table is.


Thread #61309   Message #996612
Posted By: Joe_F
04-Aug-03 - 02:59 PM
Thread Name: Add Lyr. Tom Bolynn (3)
Subject: RE: Add Lyr. Tom Bolynn (3)

Joe Offer:

The quotation by me that you have inserted is from Oscar Brand's version.


Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Brian O'Lynn (Tom Boleyn)

DESCRIPTION: Vignettes about Brian/Tom. Each describes a situation he finds himself in and ends with his comment, e.g., "Tom Bolyn found a hollow tree / And very contented seemed to be / The wind did blow and the rain beat in / 'Better than no house,' said Tom Bolyn."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1849 (Halliwell, citing a book printed c. 1560; reputedly mentioned in The Complaynt of Scotland, 1548)
KEYWORDS: poverty talltale humorous clothes
FOUND IN: Ireland Britain(England(All),Scotland) US(Ap,NE,So) Canada(Newf) Australia
REFERENCES (12 citations):
Randolph 471, "Bryan O'Lynn" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph-Legman I, pp. 155-157, "Brian O'Lynn" (2 fragmentary bawdy texts, 2 tunes)
Belden, pp. 501-502, "Tom Bo-lin" (1 text)
Flanders/Brown, pp. 178-179, "Old Tombolin" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy 290, "Brian-O-Linn" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H480a+b, pp. 52-53, "Bryan O'Lynn" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Hodgart, p. 199, "Brian O Linn" (1 text)
BrownII 189, "Bryan O'Lynn" (1 text)
O'Conor, p. 64, "Bryan O'Lynn" (1 text)
Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 35, "O'Brien O'Lin" (1 text)
DSB2, p. 27, "Bryan O'Lynn" (1 text)
DT, TOMBOLYN* TOMBOLY2* JONBOLYN

Roud #294
RECORDINGS:
Thomas Moran, "Brian-O-Linn" (on FSB10)
Tony Wales, "Bryan O'Lynn" (on TWales1)
Notes: Sam Henry claims that Bryan O'Lynn (fl. 1770-1793) was an "apprizer" and grand juror in Cashel during the years specified. - RBW
Randolph-Legman offers good notes on sources to this ballad. - EC
A variant of the melody to this song is a popular fiddle tune in Ireland.
I'm wary of the "Complaynt of Scotland" (1549) citation until I see it. The title given, "Thom of Lyn," and the title "Ballet of Thomalyn," licensed 1558, are both perilously close to "Tam Lin," which is not only the name of a ballad (Child 39) but also a fiddle tune. And in our indexing of "Tam Lin", we note a reference from 1549 -- is that "Complaynt of Scotland"? The plot's getting thicker, says Brian O'Lynn. - PJS
Plus there is the report that Charles Dibdin wrote a piece, "[Poor] Tom Bowling." Could this have given rise to the "Tom Boleyn" version? - RBW
Two of nine broadsides for this ballad as "Bryan O'Lynn" at Bodleian Library site Ballads Catalogue is printed in Gatesheadn between 1821 and 1850, shelfmarks Harding B.11(480), Harding B.25(307). - BS
File: R471

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Add Lyr. Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Schantieman
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 09:05 AM

No relation to Tom Bowling then?

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: GUEST,Paul W.
Date: 13 Jul 08 - 06:15 AM

I remember reading this song from a songbook and singing it with my mother back in the 1950s. The melody and chording were practically identical to "Greensleeves", with the refrain's melody/chords condenses to the first and last "phrases" of the verse melody of Greensleeves.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Joe_F
Date: 13 Jul 08 - 09:46 PM

I suppose the stanza that Joe Offer liked is actually due to Oscar Brand, but I would like to believe it is actually traditional. Sexual behavior in folk songs, tho often depraved, is for the most part relentlessly heterosexual, and I appreciate the occasional excursion into polymorphous perversity. Here are two more:

He fucked them in the parlor, he fucked them in the hall,
But the time he fucked the butler was the finest fuck of all. (The Tinker)

Great joy they reap from tupping sheep
In sundry bogs and ditches,
Nor care a damn if it's a ram --
Those hardy sons of bitches! (The Pioneers)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 14 Jul 08 - 09:00 AM

From "Marsh's Selection, Or Singing for the Million," Vol. II, (N.Y.: Richard marsh, 1854), pp. 53-54:

^^
TOM BOLIN.
Tom Bolin was a Scotchman born,
His shoes worn out, and his stockings were torn,
His jacket was short, his shirt was thin.
This is my summer dress, says Tom Bolin.

Tom Bolin had no stockings to wear,
Ho got his mother to foot him a pair;
The calf of his leg came down to his shin,
I'm a delicate fellow, says Tom Bolin.

Tom Bolin had no breeches to wear,
He bought him a sheepskin and made him a pair;
The flesh side out, and the wool side in,
They are charming and cool, says Tom Bolin.

Tom Bolin had no boots to wear,
He bought him a goatskin to make him a pair;
The hair side out, and the flesh side in,
Look at my now boots, says Tom Bolin.

Tom Bolin bought him an old grey mare,
Her back hump'd up, her bones were bare;
Her legs they were long, her belly was thin.
She's a villainsome jade, says Tom Bolin.

His saddle was made of an ox's tripe,
His bridle was made of a bull's windpipe;
His cap was made of a woodchuck's skin,
I'm a terrible fellow, says Tom Bolin.

Tom Bolin mounted his old mare to ride,
With his sword and buckler by his side;
Away he rode, through thick and thin,
I'm going a courting, says Tom Bolin.

Tom Bolin came to a Dutchman's hall,
And in he went among them all;
You impudent follow, how dare you come in,
I'm come here a courting, says Tom Bolin.

Sit down, sit down, you're a welcome guest,-
Which of my daughters do you like best?
One for beauty, the other for kin,
I'll marry them both, says Tom Bolin.

Tom Bolin's wife, and wife's mother,
All went over to the priest's together;
The door it was shut, and the string pull'd in,
A devil of no priest, says Tom Bolin.

The priest then look'd out of the door.
He saw three people, but saw no more;
Good morning, fair people, won't you come in,
I'm come to be married, says Tom Bolin.

After wedding, they must needs have a dinner,
Though nothing provided that's fit for a sinner;
Neither fish, flesh, nor any such thing,
But be of good cheer, says Tom Bolin.

Tom Bolin and his wife, and his wife's mother.
All went over the bridge together;
Tho bridge it broke, and they all fell in,
The devil go with you says Tom Bolin.

Tom Bolin's wife being a very thick squat.
Out of the water soon she got:
Away she went through thick and thin.
Inquiring for delicate Tom Bolin.

Tom Bolin crept into an old hollow tree.
And very contented he seem'd for to be;
The wind did blow, the rain beat in.
The devil of no house, says Tom Bolin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Joe_F
Date: 14 Jul 08 - 08:45 PM

A woodchuck! Welcome to America, Tom!


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Subject: Lyr Add: BRYAN O'LYNN (from Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Jul 08 - 04:57 AM

From The Bodleian Library broadside collection, Firth c.26(41). I have added punctuation.

NEW VERSION OF
BRYAN O'LYNN.
John Bebbington, Printer 31, Oldham Road, Manchester. Sold by J. Beaumont, 176, York Street, Leeds. [between 1858 and 1861]

1. Bryan O'Lynn was a Scotchman born.
His hair it was long, and his beard unshorn.
His teeth was out and his eyes far in.
"I'm a wonderful beauty," says Bryan O'Lynn.

CHORUS: For he was a regular ranting, roaring,
Hoaring, boring, screwing, auguring, riveting,
Crevicing, hammering, malleting stone,
And plastering, combering, weavering,
Butchering, bankering, tinkering, tailoring,
Soldiering, sailoring, ledging, wedging, guggling,
Auguring three-handled iron-gouging pin.
"I'd wallop the d——l," says Bryan O'Lynn.

2. Bryan O'Lynn had no breeches to wear.
He bought a sheep skin to make him a pair.
With the fleshy side out, and the wooly side in,
"It's pleasant and cool," says Bryan O'Lynn.

3. Bryan O'Lynn had no hat to his head.
He stuck on a pot that was under the bed.
He murdered a cod for the sake of its fin.
"'Twill pass for a feather," says Bryan O'Lynn.

4. Bryan O'Lynn had no shirt to his back.
He went to a miller and borrowed a sack.
He puckered the meal-bag under his chin.
"They'll think it's a dickey," says Bryan O'Lynn.

5. Bryan O'Lynn was in want of a brooch.
He stuck a brass pin in a great cockroach
And into his shirt he stuck it right in.
"They'll think it's a diamond," says Bryan O'Lynn.

6. Bryan O'Lynn was hard up for a coat.
He borrowed the skin of a neighbouring goat.
He buckled the horns right under his chin.
"They'll do me for pistols," says Bryan O'Lynn.

7. Bryan O'Lynn had no watch for to wear.
He got a big turnip and scouped it fair.
He [then] put a cricket inside the skin.
"They'll think it is ticking," says Bryan O'Lynn.

8. Bryan O'Lynn had no shoes at all.
He bought an old pair at a cobbler's stall.
The uppers were broke and the soles were thin.
"They'll do me for dancing," says Bryan O'Lynn.

9. Bryan O'Lynn went a-courting one night.
He set both the mother and daughter to light.
"Stop, stop!" says he. "If you have but the tin,
I'll marry you both," says Bryan O'Lynn.

10. Bryan O'Lynn he got wed in a crack.
He brought his wife home on top of his back.
They danced all night till the day broke in.
"I'll go to my hammock," says Bryan O'Lynn.

11. Bryan O'Lynn, his wife, and wife's mother,
They all tumbled into one bed together.
The blankets were broke & the sheets were thin.
"Let us [toss?] for the middle," says Bryan O'Lynn.

12. Bryan O'Lynn got the end of a straw
And with it he tickled his mother-in-law.
"What's that?" she cried with a terrible grin.
"It's a bite of a bug," says Bryan O'Lynn.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BRYAN O'LYNN (from Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Jul 08 - 05:14 AM

From The Bodleian Library broadside collection, Harding B 26(80). I have added punctuation.

BRYAN O'LYNN.
Moore Printer 40 Ann-Street Belfast. [Between 1852 and 1868]

1. Bryan O'Lynn was a Scotchman born.
His teeth they were long and his beard unshorn,
His temples far out and his eyes far in.
"I'm a wonderful beauty," says Bryan O'Lynn.

CHORUS: "With my rantin', roarin', hoarin,' borin',
Screwin', augurin', hammerin', malletin',
Stokerin', plasterin', sailorin', soldierin',
Butcherin', bakerin', three-handle iron,
Sledge and wedge and gouge and pen,
I'd wallop the devil," says Bryan O'Lynn.

2. Bryan O'Lynn had no coat to put on.
He got a bull's side to make him up one.
He buckled the horns up under his chin.
"They're a fine pair of pistols," says Bryan O'Lynn.

3. Bryan O'Lynn had a daughter to wed.
She had but one eye and a tooth in her head,
A hump on her back and a stout scabby skin.
"She's a wife for an earl," says Bryan O'Lynn.

4. Bryan O'Lynn, his wife and wife's mother,
They all went into one bed together.
The blankets were scarce and the sheets worn thin.
"Stick your head in my bosom," says Bryan O'Lynn.

5. Bryan O'Lynn, his wife and wife's mother,
They all went over the bridge together.
The bridge it broke and they all fell in.
"We're going to dry lodging," says Bryan O'Lynn.
The bridge it broke and they all fell in.
"Bad luck to the mason," says Bryan O'Lynn.

6. Bryan O'Lynn and his wife and wife's mother,
They all went into the church together.
The gates were locked so they couldn't get in.
"Just wait till I break them," says Bryan O'Lynn.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 12:27 AM

A text almost identical to that in Marsh's Selection (1854) appeared on p.1 of the (Montpelier) _Vermont Patriot and State Gazette_, Jan. 13, 1834.

Probably the biggest difference I see is that the very last line of the 1834 text is "Better than no house." It also has "knit" for "foot" in stanza 2.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: PoppaGator
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 11:51 AM

I'm not familiar with the song, and when I saw the thread title I assumed the song would have something to do with one of history's most notable sociual climbers, Thomas Bolynn, who pimped out his two daughters Mary and Anne to Henry VIII.

Thanks to Dad's greed and ambtion (among many other things), Anne eventually got her head chopped off. I'm not sure how Mary ended up.

Could there be any connection, satrirical or otherwise? Or is it nothing more than pure coincidence that the song title happens to be the name of an interesting historical figure?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: GUEST,Nicola Bramwell
Date: 25 Sep 16 - 08:14 AM

My dad sang a verse of a very similar song to me when I was small. It was:
Barney O'Flynn had no breeches to wear,
So they bought him a sheepskin to make him a pair.
With the woolly side in and the skinny side out,
It'll tickle my bottom, said Barney, no doubt.
The tune is:
DF# AA G E ED D D
DDD F# A D'D'D' C#' AAA
AA D'D'D' C#' A F# GABA
DEF# AAA G EE DDD
I think his mum sang it to him


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Sep 16 - 10:27 AM

Thanks for posting, Nicola, the tune especially the tune (called "Villikins and his Dinah" in England, "Sweet Betsey from Pike" in America).

When and whereabouts was this version sung?

There's a lot on "Brian O'Linn/ O'Flynn" elsewhere on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 10:54 AM

All traditionally collected texts ultimately descend from a broadside published by Nathaniel Coverley of Boston, about 1810-1814:

http://thomasballads.org/items/show/241

U.S. newspapers of the nineteenth century (and later) mention many real-life people with names "Tom Bolin," "Tom Boleyn," "Tommy Linn," etc.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 03:49 PM

That is, "All traditionally collected * U.S. texts" come from the broadside.

Haste makes waste.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Jan 19 - 09:33 AM

"All traditionally collected * U.S. texts" come from the broadside

Lighter, thanks for this - I didn't know about that broadside (does it predate the earliest English BS?), BUT:
Cecil Sharp collected a eleven-stanza text from Eliza Pace in Hyden, KY, which is generally very similar, but includes two verses that are not in the broadside:

After the dinner they must have a dance
There's none of us knows how to lead out a prance
There's none of us knows how to begin
Let's aim at a jig, says Tom Boleyn

After the dinner they must have a bed
The sheets they were spread and the straw it was spread
The sheets they were short, the sides were thin
Stick close to my back, says Tom Boleyn

Another singer in the same town had the second of those. They look to me quite old, and it's interesting that the English broadsides have lines resembling those about the inadequacy of the sheets.

Has anyone seen the text of the version in William Wager's play, "The Longer Thou Livest, the More Fool Thou Art," dated about 1565, mentioned by 'Q' 16 years ago? Is it indeed the same song?

The play would be about the correct period for a squib about Anne Boleyn's father, as suggested above by Poppa Gator.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Jan 19 - 10:16 AM

Hi, Brian. I have a great deal of material on both "Tom Boleyn" and "Brian O'Linn." Too much to manage. I'll post bits of it here and on other threads now and then.

The title page of Wager's play reads, "A very mery and Pythie Commedie, called The longer thou liuest, the more foole thou art." No date is given. Libraries date it to 1568 or '69, but it may have been written a decade earlier.

Nothing seems to be known about "W. Wager" beyond his works.

There's only one stanza of "Tom a Lin." It is part of a medley of foolish songs sung in the opening scene of the play by the character Moro. The stage directions read,

"Here entereth Moros, counterfaiting a vaine gesture and a foolish countenance, Synging the foote of many Songes, as fooles were wont."

He sings (no tune is given):

Tom a Lin and his wife, and his wives mother
They went over a bridge all three together,
The bridge was broken and they all fell in,
The Deuill go with all quoth Tom a Lin.


So it's the same song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Jan 19 - 10:23 AM

It's curious that Wager's stanza is so much closer to modern versions than is that in the much later, anonymous "The Pinder of Wakefield" (1632):

Tom a Lin riding over a bridge,
The bridge was narrow and he fell in,
His foot it slipt, his heeles vp tript,
This is ill lucke quoth Tom a Lin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jan 19 - 02:42 PM

The first thing to note here is that very nature of such songs easily lends itself to new material being added, so that the big surprise with this song is that many versions utilise a solid core of regular stanzas.
I presume you have the reference to what must surely be the same song mentioned in The Complaynt of Scotland' of about the same period. Some have tried to claim that this actually refers to 'Tamlin' which is highly unlikely.

Looking at the 'Longer thou Livest' stanza where it states 'Synging the foote of many Songes' does this actually mean singing song endings or choruses perhaps? That particular stanza is very often the last stanza for obvious reasons.

>>>>>It's curious that Wager's stanza is so much closer to modern versions<<<<< Not so curious when we see that the song has been continuously in print for four and half centuries and obviously extremely popular in all corners of the English-speaking world. An old version gets printed and becomes very popular again. Several variants running side by side for long periods.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Jan 19 - 04:31 PM

Hi, Steve,

>the song has been continuously in print

Not exactly. There's the stanza in Wager, nine stanzas in "The Pinder," and little more than fragments (or very brief versions) before the Massachusetts broadside. It would be more correct to say that "versions of the song occur very rarely before ca1815." And even then, "Tom Boleyn" seems to have been an uncommon song in extended form.

The oldest surviving text of the related, far more frequent "Bryan O'Lynn" seems to have appeared about 1783-83. The format is the same ("...said Bryan O'Lynn"), but it doesn't have much in common with the 1632 "Tom Boleyn" or with 19th century broadsides of "Bryan."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Jan 19 - 04:38 PM

Apologies. There's a nine-stanza printing of "Tommy Linn" [sic] in "The Distracted Sailor's Garland" of ca1770. Will post shortly.

Nineteenth century British quotations of the song seem to hark back to this version.

I agree that "Tom Boleyn" (Or "Tambolin" or "Tom a'Linn," etc.) is most likely to have been the song mentioned in "The Complaynt."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Jan 19 - 07:51 PM

So, do we have a print source for Eliza Pace's verses?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Jan 19 - 09:20 PM

Brian, I believe this is the source:

http://www.americanantiquarian.org/thomasballads/items/show/242


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Jan 19 - 05:55 PM

From "The distracted sailor's garland. Beautified with two delightful New Songs" [Newcastle ?ca1765], pp. 7-8:

                                     TOMMY LINN

Tommy Linn is a Scotchman born,
His Head is bald and his Beard is shorn,
He has a cap made of a Hare Skin,
An Elderman is Tommy Linn.

Tommy Linn has no Boots to put on,
But two Calves Skins and the Hair it was on,
They are open at the Side, and the Water goes in,
Unwolsome Boots, says Tommy Linn.                           [sic

Tommy Linn has a Mare of the Gray,
Lam’d of all Four, as I hear say;
It has the Farcy all over the Skin,
It’s a running Yade, says Tommy Linn.

Tommy Linn no Bridle had to put on,
But two Mouse’s Tails that he put on;
Tommy Linn had no Saddle to put on,
But two Urchin skins, and them he put on.

Tommy Linn went to yonder Hall,
Went hipping and skipping among them all;
They ask’d what made him come so boldly in,
I’m come a Wooing, says Tommy Linn.

Tommy Linn went to Church to wed,
The Bride follow’d after hanging down her Head,
She hung down her Cheeks, she hung down her Chin,
This is a glooming Quean, says Tommy Linn.

Tommy Linn’s Daughter sat on the Stairs,
Oh, dear Father, gin I be not fair;
The Stairs they broke and she fell in,
You are fair enough now, says Tommy Linn.

Tommy Linn’s Daughter sat on the Bridge,
Oh, dear Father, gin I be not trig;
The Bridge it broke, and she fell in,
You are trig enough now, says Tommy Linn.

Tommy Linn, and his Wife and his Wife’s Mother
They all fell into the Fire together;
They that lay undermost got a hot skin,
We are not enough, says Tommy Linn.                  [sic


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Jan 19 - 05:29 PM

Great stuff, Lighter, but the two stanzas from Eliza Pace are not in the US broadside you linked above. I was wondering whether there was another source.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Jan 19 - 06:22 PM

Brian, both can be found elsewhere (in "Bryan O'Lynn") though only the first example antedates Eliza Pace.

Fraser's Magazine (Feb. 1842):

        Brian O'Linn, his wife, and wife's mother,
        They all went into one bed together;
        The blankets were broke, and the sheets were thin,
        "Let's lie close together," says Brian O'Linn.


Fred High, "Old, Old Folksongs" (1951?) [typos corrected]:

         After supper they must have a dance
         There was nobody there that could caper or prance
         His shoes were rent & his socks were thin
         I’ll shake my old tatter said Bryno-o-Lynn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jan 19 - 10:58 AM

Brian, both can be found elsewhere (in "Bryan O'Lynn") though only the first example antedates Eliza Pace.

Thanks, but I already knew about that Brian O'Lynn 'bed' verse. What I am asking about is a 'bed' verse that conforms to the 'After the dinner' formula, and had that interesting and archaic-sounding line about spreading straw (apologies for mis-transcribing this stanza previously:

After the dinner they must have a bed
The sheets they were spread and the straw it was spread
The sheets they were short, the sides were thin
Stick close to my back, says Tom Boleyn

Eliza Pace's text sticks pretty closely to the Coverley broadside apart from those two stanzas, with little hint of oral processing. All of this suggests to me that there was another, longer version knocking around at some point, that included elements of both 'Tom' and 'Brian'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Jan 19 - 12:15 PM

Brian, I'm not aware of any other text - of either "Bryan" or "Tom" - that includes the line about straw.

Nor am I sure that it's necessarily archaic.

"Tom" and "Brian" are so similar in structure that it was easy for stanzas to migrate from one to the other, but the available evidence is that it was usually in the direction of "Brian."

Probably, in part, because of the various broadside printings, "Brian" is frequently quoted and seems to have been the more common of the two since well back into the 19th century.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jan 19 - 02:06 PM

Are you certain they are separate songs, Jon? I've always had them down as Brian O being a later adaptation of Tom B with a more Irish emphasis though not necessarily adapted there. Are early versions completely separate?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jan 19 - 05:11 PM

Post by Lighter at 5.55pm on 10/1/2018

In verse 4 on the above date the last line reads:--"But two Urchins skins, and them he put on."
The composer has not taken to flaying two small boys to make a saddle of their skins.
The Proggles of a Hurcheon {ie} the spines of a hedgehog, is a phrase still in common use in these parts.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Jan 19 - 05:59 PM

Steve, see the ca.1785 text I posted above.

The *tunes* seem not to overlap. "Tom" goes to two or three possibly related sing-songy tunes. The exception is Oscar Brand's version, which seems to be rewritten, edited, and expanded from that in Downes & Siegmeister's "Treasury of American Song." That in turn is based on the version printed by Helen Harkness Flanders, collected in Vermont in 1930.

Brand's melody resembles Flanders's, but is more tuneful.

Brian goes to "Villikins," "Irish Washerwoman," "The Laird o' Cockpen," something akin to "The Wagoner's Lad," and others.

Do you know any more about the tunes?

Strangely, I've never encountered it matched with the modal jig called "Bryan O'Lynn."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Jan 19 - 11:42 AM

Oscar Brand's "Tom Bolynn":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMefpLsundo

Brand also wrote a new song for children, in which Tom Bolynn "was a leprechaun king."

I found it on YouTube a few days ago, but now it's gone!

Of course!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Jan 19 - 11:44 AM

Well, well, here it is, as "Tam O'Lynn":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Prkkwp8nO8Y&list=PLsrl-dJPONzRArU7Wam7ZbePilXIHjsYZ&index=13&t=0s


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 19 - 04:47 PM

I don't think rewrites as part of the revivals i.e., post WWII have any relevance to what we're discussing. Tunes also have little meaning except to point out if the 2? songs have any tunes in common or if they are in the same metre. We all know that broadsides and folk songs can and do have a wide variety of tunes. A Bronson-type study would obviously be useful but that's not my expertise. I did do a textual study some time back as we have local versions of BOL. If you can itemise the more scarce ones you have in these several threads I will compare them with what I did earlier and any new texts I've come across since then. I tend to use stematic analysis which easily points up similarities and differences.

GUEST, round here (east Yorkshire) they were called 'pricky-otchins'.

When posting folk items or dialect it's usual and helpful here to at least say where you're from.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 19 - 05:21 PM

Had a quick look and BOL/TB became crossed with another song sometime in the 18th century (The Old Grey Mare, Roud 294/5418, ODNR 276). This song is equally as old as TB or perhaps even older. I've traced it back to 1559. It is the 3rd verse of your 1765 version above, still featuring in our local versions. In 'The Old Grey Mare' this stanza is usually the first one and the strong likelihood is it belonged to that song first. The song is actually scarce in collections but is quite widespread in England. The only American version I can see is in Our Singing Country p113 from Kentucky.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 19 - 05:23 PM

Just spotted another US version in JAFL26 p123 that I haven't compared yet.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 19 - 05:36 PM

The study I did on Roud 294 was done a long time ago and I have added lots of versions since then. In my index I have 65 entries so I haven't time at the moment to carry out a comprehensive study. However I would need quite a bit of convincing that TB and BOL are not basically the same song, largely evolving from a single original from the 16th century or earlier.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 19 - 05:49 PM

What I could perhaps fit in is all the versions prior to 1900 and compare them, if you let me have your references to these and I'll add in mine. Lots of broadsides as you might expect.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Jan 19 - 10:30 AM

I've continued the discussion on the current O'Lynn/Bolynn thread.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jan 19 - 05:17 PM

The use of Urchin for Hurcheon would lead one to suspect that the printers hack composing the broadside had overheard the song being sung on at least one occasion prior to making the version given, this makes one wonder how many other broadsides originated in anonymous folk productions.
I can think of at least one other--Hanna Le Gordon and am sure that a trawl of the song/ballad books would provide further examples of this practice.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tom Bolynn (3)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 19 - 05:50 PM

Absolutely. Lots of examples. Logic would tell us that most later versions were coming from oral tradition and there are plenty of clues as you suggest. 'Hannah Le Gordon' is always the first one that springs to my mind. I think it was printed in Leeds c1850. Much easier for a ballad writer to earn his living by taking in something he picked up in the street, than having to create something new. The Glasgow Poet's Box actually advertised on their sheets for people to bring in songs off the street.


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