Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Add: Billy Barlow 3 (Civil war)

DigiTrad:
BILLY BARLOW


Related threads:
Folklore: Study of the Billy Barlow Phenomenon (21)
Lyr Add: Billy Barlow in Australia (15)
(origins) Origins: Billy Barlow (24)
Lyr Add: Billy Barlow (England) (9)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Billy Barlow (A civil war song)
Billy Barlow (2) (from Belden's Ballads and Songs Collected by the Missouri Folk-Lore Society )


Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Sep 03 - 05:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Sep 03 - 05:43 PM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Sep 03 - 08:04 PM
Joe Offer 16 Sep 03 - 09:22 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Sep 03 - 10:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Sep 03 - 10:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Sep 03 - 10:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Sep 03 - 11:01 PM
Joe Offer 17 Sep 03 - 02:58 AM
Joe Offer 17 Sep 03 - 03:09 AM
Joe Offer 17 Sep 03 - 03:21 AM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Sep 03 - 04:45 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Sep 03 - 11:50 AM
Goose Gander 02 Aug 06 - 01:18 AM
Goose Gander 02 Aug 06 - 01:25 AM
Billy Weeks 02 Aug 06 - 06:16 AM
Joybell 02 Aug 06 - 08:31 PM
Billy Weeks 03 Aug 06 - 05:18 AM
Joybell 04 Aug 06 - 03:11 AM
Billy Weeks 05 Aug 06 - 12:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Aug 06 - 03:49 PM
Joybell 05 Aug 06 - 10:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Aug 06 - 12:01 AM
Joybell 06 Aug 06 - 07:21 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Aug 06 - 08:07 PM
Joybell 06 Aug 06 - 08:16 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Aug 06 - 10:09 PM
Goose Gander 06 Aug 06 - 11:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Aug 06 - 05:22 AM
Goose Gander 07 Aug 06 - 11:09 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 05:38 PM

Lyr, Add: Billy Barlow 3 (Civil War)
Edward Cliford, 1863

Good evening, kind friends, how do you all do?
'Tis a long time since I've been to see you.
I am a volunteer for the Union I go;
And I'm down on Secession, is Billy Barlow.

Refrain:
Oh! yes, I'm rough, I well know,
But a bully old soldier is Billy Barlow.

Since last I saw you, to Richmond I've been,
And during my stay Mrs. Davis I've seen.
She treated me kindly, and smiled on me so.
Old Jeff he got jealous of Billy Barlow.

Oh! yes, I'm rough, I well know,
But the ladies all like Mr. William Barlow.

Now the other night, while out for a lark,
I lost my way, it being quite dark.
A sentinel grabbed me, to the guardhouse I did go
Oh! That was too rough on old Billy Barlow.

Oh! yes, I'm rough, I well know,
But they should not abuse old Billy Barlow.

Now I see on picket every time I go out,
A nice little gal her name is Lize Stout.
They say she's Secesh, But I know that's not so.
For she'll stand by the Union with Billy Barlow.

Oh! yes, I'm rough, I well know,
But a very good fellow is Billy Barlow.

Now there's one thing I can't help but to look at
That is what keeps our Quartermaster so sleek and so fat
It may not be good living but there's one thing I know
He'd get thin on the grub he gives Billy Barlow.

Oh! yes, I'm rough, I well know,
But I'm used to good living, is Billy Barlow.

It's down in Virginia at a place called Bull Run
Where first our brave soldiers, their fighting begun
It's true they got routed but then you all know
It was on account of the absence of Billy Barlow.

Oh! yes, I'm rough, I well know,
But a bully old soldier is Billy Barlow.

Just a few words more then I shall have done
And I hope what I've said you'll take all in fun
If I have not done right, why, please tell me so
And I'll bid you good night will Billy Barlow.

Oh! yes, I'm rough, I well know,
But I hope you'll excuse poor old Billy Barlow.

At several websites:

Civil War Barlow
Civil War Barlow
Midi at: Midi

Click to play


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 05:43 PM

Right site for the midi, but wrong page: Civil War Barlow


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 08:04 PM

Now that explains where the "Mudcat Midi Pages" midi came from, that has been erroneously linked to the DT Billy Barlow (which is an American variant of Hunting the Wren, and completely unrelated to the series of Billy Barlow songs of which this is one). You can tell it's the same midi, because whoever brought it here, although they removed the bass part, left the treble chords in. Sigh.

Thanks for posting this. Other Billy Barlow songs can be seen at  The Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection (can't link to bulk search results), and at  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, where not only can you link to search results, but you can also edit the string to include other material not found by one simple query:

Billy Barlow (various).
    Thanks for the alert, Malcolm - I corrected the link for the Mudcat MIDIs entry, so it links to the lyrics Q posted in the first message. The tune is the same as what I found in Silber's "Songs of the Civil War."
    -Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 2 (1836)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 09:22 PM

Billy Barlow (2)
(Pub:1836, Geo. Endicott, NY)

Verse 1
Now ladies and gentlemen how do you do
I come out before you with one boot and one shoe
I don't how 'tis, but some how 'tis so
Now isn't it hard upon Billy Barlow
O dear, raggedy o, Now isn't it hard upon Billy Barlow

Verse 2
Do show me a boarding house where I can stay
I'm so hungry and sleepy, I eat nothing today
They'll not let me in, at Astor's I know
But a market stall's vacant for Billy Barlow
O dear, raggedy o, There's a market stall vacant for Billy Barlow

Verse 3
As I went down the street, the other fine day
I met two fair ladies just coming this way
says one "-now that chap, he isn't so slow"
"I guess not" says the other, "that's Mr. Barlow"
O dear, raggedy o, "I guess not" says the other, "that's Mr. Barlow"

Verse 4
I'm told there's a show coming into the town
Red lions and monkeys and porcupines brown
But if they should show, I shall beat them I know
For they've never a varmint like Billy Barlow....

Verse 8
Oh dear but I'm tired of this kind of life
I wish in my soul I could find a good wife;
If there's any young lady here, in want of a beau
Let her fly to the arms of sweet Billy Barlow....

Verse 9
No ladies and gemmen, I bid you good-bye
I'll buy a new suit when clothes ain't so high
my hat's shocking bad, as all of you know
but looks well on the head of Billy Barlow...

See Q's post below for the missing verses.


Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on the song above:

Billy Barlow (II)

DESCRIPTION: William Barlow "come[s] before you with one boot and one shoe." He arouses the wonder of the girls, is given free entrance to the races, and is more unusual than any animal in the circus. He hopes some young lady will accept him as a beau
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1910 (Belden)
KEYWORDS: talltale courting clothes
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Belden, pp. 253-255, "Billy Barlow" (1 text, 1 tune)
Notes: Belden notes this as a comic song performed as far back as 1842, and popular enough to parody during the administration of Franklin Pierce (1853-1857). Belden also notes that Edgar Allen Poe refers to his ex-publisher as "Billy Barlow," implying that, by 1840, the name was already used for a buffoon.
Joy Hildebrand brings to my attention Sam Cowell (1820-1864), who performed as Billy Barlow. From the dates, it looks like Billy probably predates Cowell. But Hildebrand speculates that Cowell might have converted Billy into a character in the "Cutty Wren" type song "Billy Barlow (I)." So far, this is just speculation -- but it makes some sense. - RBW
File: Beld253

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2003 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Billy Barlow (3 - this is the same song Q posted, so I have deleted all but the first verse, which is somewhat different.)
(words by Ed Clifford)

Good evening kind friends, how do you all do?
'Tis a very long time since I've seen all of you
I am a volunteer, for the Union I go
And I'm down on secession, is Billy Barlow
Oh, yes, I'm rough well I know,
But a bully old soldier is Bill Barlow...

I found these songs here (click), but the link failed and I had to get them from the Google cache


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 10:09 PM

Joe, hard to keep them straight.
1. The English Minstrel-Music Hall Billy Barlows- Billy is a raggedy comic commenting on English and European affairs. Not posted here yet.
2a. The American Minstrel Billy Barlows- the same raggedy comic but American-based material. Your # 2 and the (II) in the Trad. Index.
2b. The Australian Billy Barlows- He emigrates and gets taken. Not posted yet.
3. The homespun Billy Barlow, developed from 2a.- The Civil War Union patriot. My (3) and your second post above.
4. The American 'Hunting' Billy Barlow. In the DT and posted in 62969. Descended from old songs from Europe, certainly from "Fozie Mozie" posted in that thread, and possibly from the Cutty Wren song.
5. The outlaw Billy Barlow. Not in Mudcat as yet.

Note that I wrote Barlows- Several performers played the part, and each used somewhat different material.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 10:19 PM

The Trad. Index missed some in their note on Billy Barlow (II). American Sheet music from 1836 is at Levy, from two performers. At the Bodleian Library, broadsides from 1818-1829 and on to about 1880 covers the British performers. Sam Cowell is generally thought to be the first in England, but he was only nine years old in 1829, so either the date given for the broadside is wrong, or possibly someone else was first.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 10:37 PM

Lyr. Add: LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN (Billy Barlow)
Composed by John M. Valleau, Co. C, 109 PA Vol.

Tune- White Star, or Billy Barlow in Tennessee.

Good evening, kind friends, it's how do you do.
It's a very long time since I bid you adieu,
I have been to the wars, I suppose you all know,
And I need no introduction, I'm Billy Barlow.

Chorus:
Oh! dear, I'm ragged you all know,
But I'm an old soldier, says Billy Barlow.

In Wauhatchie Valley on a moonlight night,
The rebels attacked us, we showed them fight;
Yhey tried to surround us, but it was no go,
For we made them skedaddle, says Billy Barlow.

Lookout Mountain next we did take,
With the point of bayonet made Johnny Rebs break;
Our boys gave a yell, and away they did go,
They drove them to Dalton, says Billy Barlow.

We came back to camp, where we were before,
And I put my name down in the Veteran Corps,
The White Star Boys they hav'nt been slow,
They have all joined the Vets, says Billy Barlow.

I think I will finish, for I'm getting weary,
Our gallant Commander is John W. Geary,
He led us from Lookout to Ringgold you know,
And Victory was ours, says Billy Barlow.

Composed by John M. Valleau, Co. C, 109th Pennsylvania Vol.
Printed by J. H. Johnson, Philadelphia, nd. (1863?)
Civil War Song Sheets, Series 1, Vol. 2. American Memory.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 11:01 PM

Joe, your Billy Barlow (2) of 1836 is the one performed by Jack Reeve but is missing three verses in the sheet music published by George Endicot, New York.

Verse 5
I went to the races on Long Island so gay,
The man at the gate he ask'd to pay;
What pay, says I, and I looked at him so,
Pass on Sir, I know you, you're Mr. Barlow.

Verse 6
I had been on the track, but a minute or two,
Before the people flocked round me, what I tell you is true;
Whose that little fat Gentleman, does any one know,
Yes says a young lady, that's Mr. Billy Barlow.

Verse 7
There's a nigger been here, who they say was Jim Crow,
But he cleared out the moment I came, you must know;
If you doubt what I say, I can prove it is so,
Just look at the rigging of Billy Barlow.

Verses 8 and 9 as given.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 02:58 AM

There's an excellent commentary on Billy Barlow in Irwin Silber's Songs of the Civil War (1960 - available as a Dover reprint):
    BILLY BARLOW. One of the great stock characters of the nineteenth-century stage was the roguish, loud-mouthed braggart whose seif-confidence was matched only by his disreputable appearance and outrageous lies. The personification of this character took many names, but one of the mostt popular was "Billy Barlow." One of the earliest references to "Billy Barlow" in our popular music is 1836, with a version sung by Jack Reeve including such verses as:
    I went down the street the other fine day,
    Met two fair ladies just coming this way;
    Says one, "Now that chap, he isn't so slow,"
    "I guess not," says the other, "that's Mr. Barlow."

    I'm told there's a show coming into the town,
    Red lions and monkeys and porcupines brown;
    But if they should show, I'll beat them I know,
    For they've never a varmint like Billy Barlow.

    I went to the races on Long Island so gay,
    The man at the gate, he asked [me] to pay;
    "What pay!" says I, and I looked at him so—
    "Pass on, sir, I know you; you're Mr. Barlow!"
    For the next quarter of a century ragged Billy kept bobbing up on the stage in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and New Orleans, commenting on the times and blowing his horn. Early in 1861, shortly before the war broke out, Billy Barlow was singing in New York:
    Our country's excited 'bout this thing and that,
    Both North and the South hardly know what they're at.
    They secession, coercion and compromise blow,
    But it's talk and no cider—thinks Billy Barlow.
    For once, Billy proved himself a poor political prophet. His prediction was belied by the attack on Fort Sumter, but he still managed to produce a couplet which deserves enshrinement along with the best of Mr. Dooley and Will Rogers:
    Our members of Congress have plenty to do,
    But it's seldom, if ever, they do it, 'tis true.
    The version printed in this collection (first message, top of this thread) is a wartime set of lyrics. While the subject matter is military, Billy Barlow is still the same, modestly pointing out in a verse concerning the Union defeat at Bull Run:
    It's true they got routed, but then you all know,
    It was on account of the absence of Billy Barlow.
    But all of the above is only half of the fascinating history of Mr. William Barlow. For Billy turns up in folk song, too, still an unreconstructed, obstreperous fellow in a traditional children's song. And this Billy Barlow traces his lineage back to fourteenth-century England through a score of characters such as John the Red-Nose and Robin the Bobbin.
    The melody of the stage song is different, and so is the story, the trace of traditional folk song remaining only in the title and the character of the hero. But there is no doubt that it is, if not the same Billy Barlow, a reasonable and remarkable facsimile thereof—in tune with the times.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 03:09 AM

Silber's Songs of the Civil War has two very different "Billy Barlow" songs, but they share the same tune. Q posted the first in the first message of this thread. Here's the second:

BILLY BARLOW-ON THE TIMES
Words by H. Angelo
Music: "Billy Barlow"

1. I beg your attention, kind gentlefolks all,
I hope no intrusion in making this call;
It's been a long time since you've seen me, I know,
But I'm the identical Billy Barlow.
Oh! dear, I'm ragged, I know,
But the times have affected poor Billy Barlow.

2. Our country's excited 'bout this thing and that,
Both North and the South hardly know what they're at.
They secession, coercion, and compromise blow,
But it's talk and no cider, thinks Billy Barlow.
Oh! dear, I'm ragged I know,
But "Stand by the Union" will Billy Barlow.

3. If I had but the power I'd soon bring 'em to,
Though this may be nonsense I'm singing to you.
I'd hang of ringleaders a hundred or so,
And choke off secession, would Billy Barlow.
Oh! dear, I'm ragged, I know,
Then times would be better, thinks Billy Barlow.

4. Our cities are flooded with traitors and spies,
And our papers are filled with a strange pack of lies;
They'll agitate questions for friend or a foe.
Whilst they pocket the rhino, says Billy Barlow.
Oh! dear, I'm ragged, I know,
Self-interest they go for, thinks Billy Barlow.

5. Our members of Congress have plenty to do,
But it's seldom, if ever, they do it, 'tis true.
Political speeches for hours they'll blow,
But it all 'mounts to nothing, says Billy Barlow.
Oh! dear, I'm ragged, I know,
Why don't they do something? says Billy Barlow.

6. Believe me, my friend, in my song I don't err,
But the poor have to suffer when such things occur;
And as I belong to that class, you must know,
I'd fight for the Union, would Billy Barlow.
Oh! dear, I'm ragged, I know,
Hurrah for the Union! says Billy Barlow


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 2
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 03:21 AM

One more, this one from Belden's Ballads and Songs Collected by the Missouri Folk-Lore Society (1940)
BILLY BARLOW (2)

Now, gentleman, ladies, how do you do?
Here I come before you with one boot and one shoe.
I don't know how 'tis, but somehow 'tis so.
Now ain't this a hard case on Billy Barlow?
Oh, oh, alackaday oh,
Now ain't this a hard case on Mr. Barlow?

As I was going down the street 'tother day
I met two young ladies; I heard one of them say
That 'that chap, he's not so slow.'
'Guess not,' Says the other, 'that's Billy Barlow.'

I went out to the race-course 'tother day
And the man at the gate he asked me to pay.
'Pay for what?' says I, and I looked at him so.
'Pass on, stranger, you are Mr. Barlow.'

I went 'tother day to a caravan show
Where there was lions and monkeys and porcupines too,
But the man that shows them loses, I know,
For they can't cage such a beast as young Billy Barlow.*

The tailors in town are running after me,
They want the cut of my coat, that 's very plain to see.
But before they get it I'll teach them to know
They must shell out the cash to young Mr. Barlow.**

Alack and alas, I am tired of this life
And I've got in the notion to get me a wife.
So if any young lady is in want of a beau
She must let it be known to William Barlow.


*In the repeat 'beast' is changed to 'bird.'
**'Cash' becomes 'rhino' in the repeat.
Belden sounds almost apologetic about this tune, as well he should...

Click to play



What's the significance of "rhino"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 04:45 AM

Rhino is money (old slang). I'm a bit dubious about Silber's making quite so clear a link with the British Hunting the Wren, as it seems to be based on the existence of one single variant, found in America, into which Billy Barlow has somehow found his way; but perhaps there is more to it than that. On the other hand, Silber seems to have accepted at face value A. L. Lloyd's unsubstantiated assertion that the Wren songs have some link with the Peasants' Revolt, so I think we should be cautious about what he says on that score.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 11:50 AM

Silber's statement about the song going back to 14th century England is based on a series of unsubstantiated speculations, as noted by Malcolm.
The 'folk' versions found by Silber just reproduce verses remembered from published versions. They only emphasize the popularity of the stage-vaudeville character.

Even more popular (based on verses often reproduced- see Belden's Ballads excerpt above) than Reeve's 1836 version was the one titled "Billy Barlow, a Favorite Comic Song as sung with unbounded applause at the Western and Southern theatres, by Himself." Arranged by P. F. Fallon and also published in 1836 (in Levy Collection). No sense in reproducing the entire song, but here are a few verses that were poorly remembered in the version from Belden, given above by Joe:

3. They say there's been a robbery committed in town,
I don't know who could have done it but Canker the clown
I feel perfectly safe I'd have you to know
I should like to see a man try to rob Billy Barlow.

7. They say there's a wild Beast show come to town,
Of Lions and Monkeys and Porcupines too
But if they start to show I'll beat them I know
For they ain't got a varmint like Billy Barlow.

8. They tried to buy me to go with the show,
But the Monkeys got jealous & the Lion snapped at me too-\The Hyaena growled, and looked at me so
Thinks I 'twill never do for you Mr. Billy Barlow.

11. The Tailors in town etc., etc.

One verse (10), There's been a nigger here asking about a long tail Blue, about a long tail coat in a color popular with minstrels, has led to some confusion with Blue Tail Fly, through the folkification process.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Goose Gander
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 01:18 AM

BILLY BARLOW

Oh, ladies and gentlemen, how do you do?
I've come out before you with one boot and shoe
I do not know how it is but somehow 'tis so,
Oh! Isn't it hard upon Billy Barlow.
Oh! Isn't it hard upon Billy Barlow.

As I was walking down street jist tother day
The people all gazed and some of 'em did say,
Why, that fellow there, why he ain't so slow
Humph! I guess not says a lady, that's Mr. Barlow.

I went to the races jist the other day,
The man that keeps the gate asked me to pay,
Pay, says I , and looked at him so,
O you can pass on, I know you, you are Billy Barlow

They say there's a wild beast show come to town,
Of lions and monkees and porcupines too,
But if they start to show I'll beat them I know,
For they ain't got a varmint like Billy Barlow

They tried to buy me to go with that show,
But the monkees got jealous and the lion snapped at me too,
The hyena growled and looked at me so,
Thinks I 'twill never do for you, Mr. Barlow.

The tailors in town are all running after me,
To get the cut of my clothes that's plain to see,
But before they can get them I'll just let you know,
They must spill out the rhino to Mr. Barlow.

Oh ladies and gemman I bid you good bye,
I'll get a new suit when clothes ain't so high,
My hat's shocking bad, that all of you know,
Yet it looks well on the head of this Billy Barlow.

From . . . .

T


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Goose Gander
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 01:25 AM

Before I accidently hit send I meant to write that this text was printed in . . . .

THE DRAWING ROOM, OR DIAMOND SONGSTER
Containing the Most Popular Comic, Sentimental, Scottish, Irish and National Songs and Ballads (Fisher and Brother, No. 10 South Sixth Street, Philada; 64 Baltimore Street, Baltimore; 71 Court Street, Boston; Wm. J. Bunce, 68 Bowery, NY).

No date, but on the inside cover it is inscribed to someone 'Dec. 25, 1861'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 06:16 AM

A note, if any is needed, on Sam Cowell's adoption of 'Billy Barlow'. London-born Cowell(1820-1864) went to the USA with his actor father in 1822 and made his first appearance on the American stage in 1829. By the time he returned to Britain, appearing on the Edinburgh stage in the early 1840s with his father, he was an accomplished comic singer, having absorbed popular early minstrel songs like 'Jim along Josey', Yaller Busha Belle' and 'Sandy Holler'. He was inclined to claim some such songs as his own, but he certainly learned them in America. He must have heard'Billy Barlow' while still a child, later adapting it for a British audience.

He appeared as comic singer in the London pleasure gardens and Evans's Supper Room in Covent Garden in the late 40s and early 50s and became, arguably,the first real star of the emerging London music hall when he was engaged by Charles Morton to appear at Canterbury Hall, Lambeth in 1852. He enjoyed enormous success with character songs like 'Billy Barlow', 'The Ratcatcher's Daughter', 'Villikens and his Dinah' (inherited - or taken over - from Frederick Robson),'Old Dog Tray' and dramatic scenas like 'Alonzo the Brave', before meeting his premature death as an alcoholic.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Joybell
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 08:31 PM

The whole Billy Barlow phenomenon - and that's what it was - is so complex that it can't be explained briefly. I've been reasearching it for about 10 years now. I came up with a book of my findings. It contains many of the connections between the hundreds of "Billy Barlows" of the 19th century. Also it tells the stories of ones I believe were key "Billys". (Sam Cowell, George Coppin, Robert "Billy" Barlow, and others)

I've never been able to establish a connection between Sam Cowell (or indeed any other "Billys") and the American Let's go a-Huntin/Billy Barlow. I do believe that Sam Cowell may have introduced it to America but I've never found the documentation. I've speculated about how it might have come about.
Cheers, Joy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 03 Aug 06 - 05:18 AM

Joy, surely Cowell would have been too young to introduce the song to America? He was only two years old at the time of his early stay and by the time he came back in 1860-61 (for a less than triumphant tour)'BB' was an old song. Your book sounds like a must. Where can I see it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Joybell
Date: 04 Aug 06 - 03:11 AM

Hello Billy, The "Let's Go A-huntin'" Billy Barlow song is different from all of the other Billy Barlow songs. It seems to be related to the "hunting of the wren" songs and is a later song than the others. It's American in style. It may be that the Billy Barlow name has been slotted in. This could have been done for Cowell's 1860 tour but as I said this is speculation on my part. The song's earliest date in print (that I've come across so far) post-dates this tour.

(Cowell actually went to America at the age of 2 and was raised there. He went back to England at the age of 18.)

I print off copies of my book for anyone who is interested in Billy Barlow for free - because I'm so besotted with Billy. Might have to ask for postage or an exchage or something. It's rather bulky. Has a good index and reference notes. I'm proud of them. Cheers, Joy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 05 Aug 06 - 12:13 PM

Joy, that's a very generous offer. I'll PM you with an idea for an exchange. Searching my bookshelves right now!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Aug 06 - 03:49 PM

Looking at the Billy Barlow-Hunting song in the DT, The Lomax (FSNA) entry, and the citation for Brown, the earliest of these is is in Brown, 1916 (titled "Let's Go A-Hunting"). Is there proof of an earlier date of collection? My guess is that it is mid- to late 19th c, but a guess only. How early have you found it, Joybell?

Use of the name 'Billy Barlow' in the title seems inappropriate, since 'BB' in the verses is just one of the four. The title in Brown, (NC Folklore) and the Lomax title in FSNA, "Let's Go A-Huntin'," seems more appropriate than the title "Billy Barlow" applied by the Lomaxes in "Our Singing Country." Were they the first to title this version "Billy Barlow"?

I tend to agree that the name Billy Barlow was just slotted in, perhaps by some performer who was familiar with the very popular Cowell (and others) routines. Cowell was famous, but many performers built on his routines; there is no reason (unless Joybell has found something) to associate him with this version, which was collected in an east coast state (Brown).
I would guess some unknown (so far) American performer (agreeing, apparently, with Joybell).
The Lomaxes make no mention of Brown and his prior collection of the version they obtained from a Bud Wiley, Zweiful Ranch, Texas, in 1935.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Joybell
Date: 05 Aug 06 - 10:23 PM

Hello Q. I always refer to it as "Let's go a-Huntin'" but there's a problem with this title. Lomax collected another completely different song by the same title. I assume this might be why the song we are disscusing is usually called "Billy Barlow". Also the other Billy Barlow songs were long forgotten by then.
(For good reason because they were always meant to be topical and transient.)
No I have never found a 19th century version of this song and my speculation about a Cowell connection is only that. It's based on a hunch only. There is some circumstantial evidence. If I can ever come up with written confirmation I'll be posting it here and shouting it from the roof-tops. Believe me I've tried.
Cheers, Joy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 12:01 AM

Lomax and Lomax, "Billy Barlow" in "Our Singing Country," 1941, pp. 101-102, is the very same song as "Let's Go A-Huntin'," No. 159, pp. 311-312, in "Folk Songs of North America." It is a version of the one Brown collected in 1916. On p. 303 of FSNA, Lomax quotes two verses of "an old English version*" to show comparison but mentions no other American version.
I believe that you are mistaken; if either Lomax collected another version, it is not mentioned in their books.

(Not included in "American Ballads and Folk Songs" nor in "Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads").

* versions in England and Scotland, mid-18th c. Versions of the Wren ("Hunt the Wren" and "The King") collected in northeastern U. S., mentioned by Lomax in passing (p. 311 of FSNA) but not collected by him.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 07:21 PM

Q. The title wasn't my focus at the time. I'll have to search through my papers. Anyway no I don't dispute the information given by Lomax and Lomax. Just pondering on the (?1960s) name change. We both agree that "Let's Go A-Huntin'" is a more appropriate name for this song. Don't we?
Cheers, Joy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 08:07 PM

Yes, "let's go ..." is more appropriate. I think Lomax & Lomax were trying to distance themselves from the earlier collection by Brown (and not cited in reference by them). There are several instances of this less than honest citation on their part. They certainly knew of the earlier collection.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 08:16 PM

Q, I just found the other song - for what it's worth. It doesn't relate to the one we are discussing in any way. It's among a collection of slave songs and work hollers. It's actually called "Let's go Huntin"" - without the "a". Sometimes "Come on Boys Let's etc". It was collected by John and Ruby Lomax in 1940. I hasten to repeat that my comment about the possibility that someone began to use the "Billy Barlow" title to avoid confusion is speculative on my part.
Cheers, Joy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 10:09 PM

The song you refer to is a Black children's song, titled "Huntin'," in the Southern Mosaic Collection, 1939 Collecting Trip, John and Ruby Lomax, recorded 5-18-39. It is given the alternate titles "Let's go Huntin'" and "Come On Girls, Let's Go to-(a-)Huntin'." The WPA 1940 card catalogue (Folk Life Center) has "Let's Go Huntin'" underscored.
Sung by Henry Truvillion, Texas.

As you say, it has no bearing on the discussion here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Goose Gander
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 11:02 PM

I believe "Let's Go Hunting" is the song discussed in the 'Another Billy Barlow' thread, listed at the top of this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 05:22 AM

Michael Morris, not sure which song you mean. would you name the poster and date?
Reiver 2 posted one under the title "Let's Go Hunting," 'mis-remembered' from Lomax, FSNA; the title in that book is "Let's Go A-Huntin'." Reiver 2 also made a couple of small errors in transcribing the last verse.

But thanks for reminding me of that thread. I had forgotton about the version I posted from Owens, "Texas Folk Songs," 1950, with the Billy Barlow character. Owens titled it "Hunting the Wren." He said his mother used it as a nursery rhyme and his brothers sang it as a game.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY BARLOW 3 (Civil war)
From: Goose Gander
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 11:09 AM

Yes, I was referring to the 'Hunting of the Wren' / 'Let's Go Hunting' group of songs discussed in this thread , which we agree are distinct from the American Billy Barlow song(s) discussed and posted in this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 13 April 6:49 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.