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Help: The Unfortunate Rake

DigiTrad:
LOCKE HOSPITAL
ST. JAMES HOSPITAL
ST. JAMES INFIRMARY
THE UNFORTUNATE RAKE


Related threads:
(origins) Tune Req: St. James Infirmary Blues (24)
(origins) Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues (269)
(origins) Origins: Der Treue Husar and the Unfortunate Rake (25)
Lyr/Chords Req: St. James Infirmary (26)
Lyr Add: The Unfortunate Lad (#350 / Rake's Lamen (8)
Help: St. James Infirmary - by Rolling Stones? (41)
Lyr Req: St. James Infirmary (24)
Tune Req: St. James Infirmary (12)
Lyr Req: Bright Shiny Morning (9)
St. James Infirmary (from Josh White) (2)
Chords Req: St. James Infirmary (6)
Lyr Add: St. Jude's Infirmary (Parody for Spaw) (15)
Lyr Req: St James Infirmary (request only) (4) (closed)
Chords/Tab Req: St. James Infirmary (5)
Tune Req: St. James Infirmary (7)


Denise 01 Sep 98 - 01:26 PM
Joe Offer 01 Sep 98 - 01:59 PM
Susan of DT 01 Sep 98 - 09:31 PM
GUEST,Karen Heath 17 Jun 18 - 09:08 AM
Richard Mellish 17 Jun 18 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 17 Jun 18 - 10:28 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jun 18 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 17 Jun 18 - 12:21 PM
Lighter 17 Jun 18 - 01:46 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jun 18 - 03:52 PM
Lighter 17 Jun 18 - 07:20 PM
Lighter 17 Jun 18 - 09:06 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 18 Jun 18 - 02:49 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 18 Jun 18 - 02:55 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jun 18 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Karen Heath 18 Jun 18 - 06:04 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jun 18 - 06:27 AM
GUEST 18 Jun 18 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Karen 18 Jun 18 - 06:43 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jun 18 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,Karen 18 Jun 18 - 09:40 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jun 18 - 10:31 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jun 18 - 02:28 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jun 18 - 02:31 AM
Brian Peters 19 Jun 18 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 19 Jun 18 - 08:28 AM
Jack Campin 19 Jun 18 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,karen 19 Jun 18 - 09:13 AM
Jack Campin 19 Jun 18 - 09:33 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jun 18 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,Karen 19 Jun 18 - 10:04 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Jun 18 - 02:58 AM
Brian Peters 20 Jun 18 - 07:52 AM
Brian Peters 20 Jun 18 - 09:23 AM
GUEST,Karen 20 Jun 18 - 10:03 AM
Brian Peters 20 Jun 18 - 10:29 AM
Brian Peters 20 Jun 18 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Karen 20 Jun 18 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Karen 20 Jun 18 - 11:37 AM
Brian Peters 20 Jun 18 - 02:10 PM
Brian Peters 20 Jun 18 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Karen 20 Jun 18 - 02:51 PM
GUEST 21 Jun 18 - 04:00 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 21 Jun 18 - 04:01 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Jun 18 - 06:44 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jun 18 - 10:18 AM
Lighter 21 Jun 18 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Karen 21 Jun 18 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,karen 21 Jun 18 - 11:21 AM
Lighter 21 Jun 18 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 21 Jun 18 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 21 Jun 18 - 03:31 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Jun 18 - 05:39 PM
Lighter 21 Jun 18 - 06:03 PM
Lighter 21 Jun 18 - 07:09 PM
Lighter 21 Jun 18 - 07:27 PM
GUEST,Karen 21 Jun 18 - 09:29 PM
GUEST,Karen 22 Jun 18 - 10:46 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Jun 18 - 10:59 AM
Richard Mellish 22 Jun 18 - 11:31 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Jun 18 - 02:28 PM
GUEST,Karen 22 Jun 18 - 05:45 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Jun 18 - 06:26 PM
Lighter 22 Jun 18 - 07:44 PM
GUEST,Karen 23 Jun 18 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Karen 23 Jun 18 - 06:24 AM
GUEST,Karen 23 Jun 18 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,Karen 26 Jun 18 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,henryp 26 Jun 18 - 08:11 AM
GUEST,Karen 26 Jun 18 - 02:48 PM
GUEST,henryp 26 Jun 18 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Karen 27 Jun 18 - 01:50 AM
GUEST,henryp 27 Jun 18 - 03:57 AM
GUEST 27 Jun 18 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 27 Jun 18 - 04:31 AM
Reinhard 27 Jun 18 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Karen 27 Jun 18 - 07:50 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jun 18 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 27 Jun 18 - 02:35 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Jun 18 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Karen 28 Jun 18 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 28 Jun 18 - 08:04 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 18 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 28 Jun 18 - 08:57 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 18 - 09:38 AM
Lighter 28 Jun 18 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 29 Jun 18 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 08:02 AM
Lighter 29 Jun 18 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 29 Jun 18 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 29 Jun 18 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 29 Jun 18 - 04:59 PM
Lighter 29 Jun 18 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Karen 29 Jun 18 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 30 Jun 18 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 30 Jun 18 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 30 Jun 18 - 09:38 AM
Lighter 30 Jun 18 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Karen 30 Jun 18 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 30 Jun 18 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,Gerry 01 Jul 18 - 12:10 AM
GUEST,Karen 01 Jul 18 - 02:57 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 01 Jul 18 - 04:44 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Jul 18 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 01 Jul 18 - 05:49 AM
Richard Mellish 01 Jul 18 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Kevin W. 01 Jul 18 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,Karen 01 Jul 18 - 09:57 AM
GaryG 01 Jul 18 - 04:17 PM
Lighter 01 Jul 18 - 07:07 PM
GUEST,Kevin W. 02 Jul 18 - 04:56 AM
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Subject: unfortunate rake
From: Denise
Date: 01 Sep 98 - 01:26 PM

Hi,

I'm interested in finding out about the unfortunate rake family, as referred to (so I have been told) in Steeleye Span's song 'When I was on Horseback' and in Christy MOore's 'Locke Hospital'

There is supposed to be a folkways record devoted to them, but I can't seem to get anywhere.

Any ideas???

thanks


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Subject: RE: unfortunate rake
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Sep 98 - 01:59 PM

Hi, Denise - go to the Smithsonian Folkways Home Page and search under "Unfortunate Rake." I found an album with that title there, and I think it's the one you want. All of the original Folkways records are available there, on your choice of CD or cassette.
If my memory serves me right, there was an earlier thread that made mention of this album. You might find it in a forum search. Also, if you put DT #350 in the search box in the upper-right corner of this page, you will find several members of this family of songs. There are other songs that will appear if you search under [unfortunate rake] - not all the songs in the family got coded. Interestingly, there is no song in the database that actually has the title "Unfortunate Rake."
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: unfortunate rake
From: Susan of DT
Date: 01 Sep 98 - 09:31 PM

Joe - Your comment that not all the songs with [unfortunate rake] are labeled #350 brings up the issue of "when is it the same song?" The two songs that came up unlabeled (HALLSCHL and TARPJCKT) are certainly related to Unfortunate Rake, but should they be labeled with the #350 to indicate that they are The Unfortunate Rake? No real answers on the limits, but question certainly comes up.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen Heath
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 09:08 AM

I think that the song called The Unfortunate Rake usually turns out to be a version that in my opinion is a composite written by Bert Lloyd. It is based largely on a 19th century broadside published by Such of London, with a tune taken from an Irish fragment heard in Cork, and bits of lyrics lifted from articles in the old English Folk Dance/Folk Dance and Song society journals of the early 20th century, and one or two other sources.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 09:19 AM

Take a look at this thread.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 10:28 AM

Here's a selection of field recordings of different variants:

This version was recorded quite recently in 2016 from Molly Collins, a Traveller of County Longford, Ireland and is closely related to the version that you know from Steeleye Span, which originally came from the singing of Mary Doran, a young Traveller of Waterford, Co. Waterford, Ireland in 1952:
As I Went Out Walking One Fine Summer's Morning - Molly Collins

Here's a traditional version that has the seldom heard "Pills of White Mercury" verse, from Harry Brazil, a Traveller who was recorded in Gloucestershire, in 1978 by Gwilym Davies:
Through the Dark Arches - Harry Brazil

Here's one which actually mentions St. James Hospital.
It's sung by an Irish singer, Tom Lenihan of Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, recorded by Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie in 1976, although this version originated in America:
St. James' Hospital - Tom Lenihan

And here's another version which makes it clear that the cause of death is Syphillis, from Texas Gladden of Saltville, Virginia, recorded by ALan Lomax in 1941:
One Morning in May - Texas Gladden

And here's an Ohio version, recorded in 1937 also by Lomax which has almost completely lost the original story:
Captain Pearl R. Nye - Jones Hospital
The song starts at 02:50, before it is an unrelated song, Lord Lovel.

There are countless other variants of this interesting song, but those are some of my personal favourites that are easily available online.

If I may recommend a fine version from a revival singer, Tom Spiers sings "Pills of White Mercury" unaccompanied on "Tom Spiers - Allan Water (LTCD1005)".
It's a Scottish version, originally from the singer Alexander Robb of New Deer, Aberdeenshire, collected by Gavin Greig in 1906 under the title "Disordered".
It is quite graphic in terms of describing the questionable treatment of Syphillis in earlier times...


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 11:15 AM

"although this version originated in America:"
THere is no evidence that this was the case - it was argued here that it did, but in fact Tom got it from his sister who moved to America - there's no indication that she she didn't take it with her when she emigrated
It was unlike Tom to have ever sung an American song and his text bears no resemblance to any version I ever came across.
THe suggestion that Tom's version is American came from an American lady who appeared to be trying to fit a square peg in a round hole because of the 'St James Hospital' reference
We knew Tom well and recorded him closely for twenty years
I don't necessarily accept that the one Bert sings was made by him, or that it originated on a broadside - the fact is, we have no idea where any of these songs originated
Jim


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 12:21 PM

Sorry about that, Jim. I was too fast and jumped to conclusions here.
I read in Tom Munnelly's book "The Mount Callan Garland" that Tom Lenihan learned it from his sister Margaret who lived in America, that's why I assumed it must be an American version.

I does look like all other versions which mention St James Hospital and feature a female protagonist are from America and Canada, though.

Here's one such version, from Mrs. Georgia Ann Griffin of Newberry, Alachua, Florida, originally from Dooly County, Georgia, recorded by John A. Lomax in 1936:
St. James Hospital - Mrs. Georgia Ann Griffin

The tune of Mrs. Griffin's version is actually quite similar to the one that Bert Lloyd used.
I love Bert's version, it gives me goosebumps.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 01:46 PM

Many thanks for posting, Kevin!

Georgia Griffin's tune is rather like "Iron Head" Baker's. (See thread

/mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=46310

I wonder if the appearance of the name "St. James Hospital" in Baker's version (again, see the thread) is an editorial interpolation from Griffin's. (The recording of "Iron Head" lacks the published opening words.)


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 03:52 PM

Take a look at this thread.

Richard, it's my guess that the 'Karen Heath' you made that reply to is the same 'Karen' who made a lot of the running in that previous thread. Her thesis as I remember it was that (a) Bert Lloyd may have concocted the song he called 'The Unfortunate Rake', and (b) that the association of 'St James' Hospital' with Roud 2 was entirely spurious. In order to explain point (b) she felt the need to insist (amongst other things) that Tom Lenihan's version of the song had arrived in his repertoire from America.

We went into this question very fully in the thread you referenced. Personally I could sympathise with (a) but feel that (b) is not supported by the evidence. Kevin W's addition of a recorded version we weren't aware of before is helpful, though, and it's another early example of 'St James' appearing in Roud 2.

Lighter, why do presume that Ironhead Baker did not sing 'St James' Hospital'? Why would Lomax deliberately make the interpolation?


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 07:20 PM

Hi, Brian.

Two reasons.

1. The field recording of Iron Head's song (as we have it) lacks the opening line:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiFEd8UckVk

2. The Lomaxes routinely conflated their collected texts to make singable versions.

But the important point is that Georgia Griffin *did* sing "SJH." As did Sharp's American singer, Victoria Donald.

So what Iron Head may or may not have sung becomes rather moot.

The fact remains that "St. James's Hospital" did appear in some traditional
versions of the song, decades before Lloyd.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Jun 18 - 09:06 PM

Cf. the jig tune "The Unfortunate Rake" also with the well-known "Arran Boat Song."

The jig is now commonly known as "The Basket of Turf."


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 02:49 AM

I remember reading in a book that Lomax assumed the blues/jazz standard "St. James' Infirmary" to be based on "St. James' Hospital" and that the Ironhead version in particular was Lomax' proposed missing link between the two songs.

There's no way of knowing whether the text as Ironhead sung it really mentioned St. James Hospital, since the opening line is missing from the sound recording (coincidence?), so it is possible that Lomax made that up based on G. A. Griffin's or other similar versions.

I wish somebody had access to the original papers from Lomax' field collecting work to give us more insight into this.
I'm not trying to discredit Alan Lomax, but this is something that's been on my mind since I first heard about the St. James Hospital/Infirmary" connection.

I also just realized that I was posting those field recordings in response to someone who started this thread in 1998.
Anyways, I'm glad I could contribute something interesting by posting the Griffin recording.

I've been interested in the "Rake" family of songs for quite some time and I have assembled a huge collection of sound recordings of variants.
I'm at work right now, but when I'm back home I'll be happy to take part in the discussion and share whatever info and thoughts I have that might be useful.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 02:55 AM

My memory was failing me, I listened to the Ironhead recording again, it has the standard "Early one morning, all in the month of May" opening, no Hospital is mentioned.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 03:29 AM

"The fact remains that "St. James's Hospital" did appear in some traditional
versions of the song, decades before Lloyd."
I did a fair amount of research on the 'St James's Hospital' reference when I was annotating Tom Lenihan's version for the Clare Library website - can't lay my hand on the research notes but I'm hoping they turn up during my present sorting out of hard drives for archiving
St James's was a charity hospital for lepers, run by nuns, which was demolished to make room for the present St James Palace.
I think it possible that this was what being referred to in the song
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen Heath
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 06:04 AM

Hello Everybody. Yes, it is me. I hope Mr Carroll's hip operation was successful.

To deal with various points:


1 Tom Lenihan's version and the Clare Library website. On that site it says: 'Tom says he learned this from 'his sister living in America.' It would appear from what Kevin says that something similarly ambiguous appears in a book on Lenihen as Kevin has interpreted it the same way that I did. For clarity, if it is now claimed that she taught it to Tom before going there, then perhaps the text(s) could be modified to make it clear that this is the case.


2 I have never claimed that Bert Lloyd invented the words St James' Hospital. My claim is that he wrote the song that is often quoted as being a 19th century broadside version of 'The Unfortunate Rake'.


3 Historically, the idea that the St James' Hospital in question was a hospital on the site of St James' Palace derives mostly from an LP produced by Kenneth Goldstein called 'The Unfortunate Rake'. That LP has a picture of what purports to be St James Hospital on the cover and Goldstein states in his liner notes that it was St James Hospital in London. Where did Goldsein get this idea? He tells us via the references he gives. These include an article by an American called Kenneth Lodewick that was published in a magazine called Western Folklore in 1955. If you want to read this article, you can do so at no cost by registering on a web site called JSTOR which publishes a great many old articles. Lodewick says, giving no rationale or evidence for the idea: 'The St James title is also common to all but the earliest Irish version, coming from St James Hospital in London.'

The only Irish version cited by Lodewick is a fragment called 'My Jewel My Joy', of which only one verse was collected. Lodewick incorrectly states that it was heard in Dublin. This is wrong, as you will see if you look up the text Lodewick cites, a collection published by PW Joyce of songs collected by William Forde. The song was heard and collected in Cork. Goldstein's liner notes repeat what Lodewick says about Dublin. So does A L Lloyd in his book on English Folk Song! (Lloyd claims that the song was current in Czech long before it hit the streets of London, but as usual he doesn't provide any evidence for this.)


If you want to check that Joyce did say Cork and not Dublin, you can find the whole volume online in digitised form free, and read it for yourself, which is what I did when researching this topic.


If you google Royal Residences you will find a website on St James' Palace, which Henry VIII began to build in 1531.


It is possible that this is the hospital referred to in the song, though why Irish folk should be singing about a London hospital for lepers demolished in the sixteenth century beats me. Therefore, I don't think it is likely.

4 I am afraid that the Clare County web site has a lot of muddled comment/'information' on this song. But it does provide us with a link to just one of the many early pieces writen about it, "Songs from the Collection of Mr Frank Kidson, Folk Song Journal (English), 1904." This piece may be the actual origin of the myth that there was an Irish version called 'The Unfortunate Rake'. Once again, you can read the original free on JSTOR. In case you would like to do this, it may be helpful to have a full reference to help you in the JSTOR process. It is Volume 1, no 5. To save you the trouble, I'll give you as much information about it as I can. It is very short.

The writer says that the song is called 'The Unfortunate Lad' and that he has a copy of it on a broadsheet with no printer's name, but, he says, possibly by Pratt of Birmingham. He only quotes one verse of the version collected by Kidson.


    As I was a walking in Rippleton Gardens
    As I was a walking one morning of late
    Whom should I spy but my own dear comrade
    Bitterly weeping so hard was his fate.
   
They give the tune, which is not the Unfortunate Rake tune. You'll have to play it for yourself and make your own judgment on this.

I have found various broadsheet versions of this song. They are all called 'The Unfortunate Lad' even one with no printer's name on it. Not one of them mentions St James anything, and nor does any English version reported in any of the articles that appeared in this journal and its successsor after the EFDS changed its name.


The writer then surmises

'The words are likely to belong to an Irish air named 'The Unfortunate Rake'. This melody will be found in Crosby's Irish Musical Repository circa 1808 and in vol ii of Holden's Irish Airs. These bear some slight resemblance to the traditional tune given above, which was originally learned at Knaresborough.'


I think 'some slight' is an overstatement. I would say 'very little' myself.

So then we have to check these two sources (Crosby and Holden). The words cited in Crosby are about a wandering harper, and nothing to do with unfortunate rakes!   I have not found Holden's airs, or if I did I cannot now find it again. But again, it might just be the tune, or different words, all information gratefully received. The point is that if Holden had given Unfortunate Lad type words, then the author of the EFDS piece would have said so, rather than guessing.

What this 1904 does not do is demonstrate that there was ever a street song in Ireland called 'The Unfortunate Rake'.


This takes me back to the comment I made on this thread, which is about 'The Unfortunate Rake' as sung by A L Lloyd on the LP of that name. This is plainly a composite version invented by A L Lloyd, though the liner notes twice describe it as a 19th century broadside version. The liner notes to that LP refer to an article A L Lloyd wrote on the subject in 1956, the second he had written on the topic.

You can get this from the British Library which has copies of everything.

Lloyd says he has read the old EFDS EFDDS articles, and by the time he wrote the second of his pieces he has also seen one of the 19th century broadsides called 'The Unfortunate Lad', as he quotes the last verse word for word. He discusses the various tunes that have been collected. The one he likes best is one collected in Cork and called 'My Jewel My Joy'. This is the one he sings.


The first person to surmise that My Jewel My Joy was a version of the Unfortunate Rake was a Harvard trained folklorist called Philips Barry. Barry claimed that PW Joyce had traced the connection, but Joyce did no such thing. I don't buy it, because I don't believe that somebody dying of pox would ask his lover to arrange his funeral. If he got it from her, logically she will die first, and he might not be thinking of her as his 'jewel, his joy'. If he didn't, then she is not going to be very pleased with him, whether or not she caught it, as he is to be supposed to have explained to her how he got it, which won't endear him to her.   

The words Lloyd sings are not those of the 19th century broadsheets.
Once you have read the pieces he uses as references you can see where he picked and chose bits for his song. Some bits I believe he just made up. This is what Lloyd is well-known for doing. For example, the broadsheets do not mention 'laurel'. Also Lloyd misses out a verse from the broadsheets in which the 2nd narrator bewails the fact that he ignored his parents' advice. I believe Lloyd does this because he wants to make the 'lad' seem unrepentant. In his essay he says that the lad wants 'harlots' to accompany him. But the broadsheets don't say 'harlots' or anything like it.

The 19th century broadsheets refer to 'lock hospitals'. There was a surge in building of these after the Contagious Diseases Acts had been passed, and there was one in Cork, which was a naval port with lots of soldiers and lots of contagious diseases, presumably.

The word 'lock' was originally the name of a hospital outside the City of London where lepers were 'locked up' and not allowed to enter the city. The same hospital was later called the 'lock hospital', following which the term came into general use for hospitals treating venereal diseases.


The liner notes to the LP refer to various articles by Wayne Hand, which I cannot read as they are in German. However, a 1958 article by Wayne Hand which I did read claims that A L Lloyd has finally sung a genuine broadside version. Lloyd must have had a good chuckle over all this.


Lloyd sang another version which he did call 'St James Hospital', and he changed the words about a bit. He adds the words 'me jewel, me joy' (obviously taken from the Cork fragment). In his book on folk song he includes an extract which is different again.

Thank you for reading.

The versions of the song that were known prior to Lloyd with the words St James Hospital in were a) a version collected in Dewey by Sharp and Karpeles and b) a version collected in Nova Scotia by Mackenzie. I have never denied that the words were known before Lloyd sand his piece. Indeed, Lloyd is said to be the first person to make a link between St James Infirmary Blues and The Unfortunate Lad.

One point I would make is this: if Waylon Hand and Kenneth Goldstein were right that Lloyd had found and was singing a genuine 19th century broadsheet version called 'The Unfortunate Rake', then where is it? How come nobody can say whose collection it is in, who printed it and so on?

Probably haven't explained things clearly enough. Sorry if so.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 06:27 AM

"if it is now claimed that she taught it to Tom before going there, "
No it isn't Karen
Tom was in constant contact with his sister when she emigrated
When he was building up his repertoire he got songs from her that he had not learned when she left
We got the impression that this was one of those songs, though, to be honest, we never specifically asked him if it was.
She also sent him song-books and records of Irish music that were being produced in The States - Coleman, et al.
Tom learned a number of his sings from a songbook entitles 1001 Irish songs - that is the only American collection Tom ever mentioned as learning songs from.

As far as St James's Hospital origins, I researched the St James' Park information myself, that was the conclusion I reached independently - it still makes sense to me
AS far as I know, while the song is fairly popular in Ireland, I have never come across a version entitled 'The Unfortunate Rake'

"a lot of muddled comment/'information' "
Not sure what this was - we non-academics do our best
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 06:42 AM

Hello Jim

Still hoping your surgery went well! Thank you for this helpful response. I like Lenihen's version: to be honest I don't much like Lloyd's version. I came into this via St James Infirmary Blues. Somebody told me it was originally Irish, but I cannot find any firm evidence of this. It might have been, but maybe not.

I expected the 'academic' jibe! I'm not an academic, just occasionally I get my teeth into a topic and won't let go. Sorry if I what I wrote came across as harsh: but so much that has been written on this song seems muddled when you dig into the background.

Thanks for your help on the Unfortunate Rake title question, which is what I have spent some time puzzling over.

Just to back up my view that those liner notes have a lot to answer for in terms of spreading incorrect ideas about old broadsheet versions, they are quoted word for word with no full attribution on a mudcat page here

https://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=7101

This sort of this seems to me to explain why so many people believe that there was a 19th century broadsheet called 'The Unfortunate Rake'.

I was grateful for the discussion on the St James thread as it made me think carefully about my ideas. The big question was whether the finding of the words 'St James' in Nova Scotia in the early 20s and in Dewey in 1918 demonstrated a European origin as the simplest explanation, or whether these words could have originated in the US and been spread there. I recently read something about the old entertainment 'booking circuits' that told me that these crossed the US/Canada border, so clearly the musicians did cross borders in the ealy 20th century, just as much as they crossed the oceans.


Bishop and Roud (I know there has been some heated discussion on Roud's book about folk song) say that the earliest version of the Unfortunate Lad is one set in Covent Garden called the Buck's Lament, 18/19 century and nothing about hospitals in it. For me this further undermines the idea athat the song was originally about St James in London. It's a nice idea, but it doesn't seem to fit really!

Have a nice day.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 06:43 AM

Sorry forgot to sign last post. It was from me.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 07:38 AM

"Still hoping your surgery went well! "
Sorry aen - forgot to thank you for your enquiry - it went excellently
Can't dance yet - but I never could!

"been written on this song seems muddled when you dig into the background. "
I agree totally
As you may have noticed, I am not a strong suscriber to the growing claim that most of our folksongs originated in print - I've experienced so many examples of song-making, particularly in rural Ireland and among Travellers, that any of our folk-songs might have made their way into print eventually
Our non-literate Traveller ballad singer described to us how that was practically carried out.
I believe that many printed versions are comparable to photographs of a race-hore part-way through a race

The notes for the website were a response to al st minute request by the librarians who, while they were in a hurry to put up the songs before their bosses changed their minds about allowing the site, thought it would benefit from song annotations - I annotated around five hundred songs in a couple of weeks - - not an excuse, just a reason
I tend to be a little over sensitive on such things.

I think one of the most significant remarks about the song was that made by Walter Pardon who underlined the reluctance on the part of some singers to sing songs on such singers
Best wishes
Jim


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 09:40 AM

Aha! At last something in common, as I cannot dance either. Nor sing, but I do play instruments after a fashion.

I cannot take a view on the question of how many if any folk songs originated in print. I do feel certain that non-literate people can make songs. This is how the earliest poetry I know of was composed, ie sagas and so on, recited by 'bards' and telling history and tradition.

But a view that they originated in print might undermine attempts (as per Lloyd, perhaps) to assert that old folk songs were in some Marxist sense representative of the dialectic. On that basis it would be disturbing to some, and please be assured that I am not not not hinting at any posters here, just making a general observation. I have been reading what they call 'revisionist' histories of blues music (often treated as 'folk music' of a sort, which raise somewhat analogous issues.


Maybe a thread on that issue (the issue of how much if any folk originated on broadsheets) might be interesting, but not sure if my blood pressure could cope with reading the high spirited and passionate posts.


Oh good, the sun's come out. :)


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 10:31 AM

"I do feel certain that non-literate people can make songs."
One of the greatest discoveries we made in recording in Clare was the number of locally made songs
I've told this often enough during arguments, but on 90-odd year singer told us a few years ago, "If a man farted in Church, someone made a song about it"
This appears to have been a common practice throughout Ireland, though many have been ignored because they don't identify with other songs - they disappeared as soon as the incident faded from memory and they never really travelled because of their somewhat insular nature
Virtually all are anonymous, even to the singers who would have lived through the events described.

There are a number of very fine songs describing protest cattle-rustling during the land wars - none made it into print.
Threads on the subject of broadside/folksong relationships tend to end in tears here (the one on Roud's new 'Folk Song in England, for instance)

I feel strongly about it because it seriously impinges of ny interest in the function of song as a "voice of the people"
I've always believed that broadside hacks were far too unskilful and limited in experience to have written our folk-songs

Not sure what you mean by 'Marxist dialectic' (I am familiar with the term
Early in Bert's 'Folksong in England' he imagines a man talking to a tree to express his feelings

Lucky old you with the sun - I've just started painting window-frames and its now pissing with rain!!!
Jim


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jun 18 - 02:28 AM

Karen
This is some of the information I gathered on St James's Hospital, Westminster: it is the entry in The London encyclopedia, eds. Ben Weireb and Christopher Hibbert, Papermac 19830 (p. 715)
Jim Carroll

31 St James’s Hospital Westminster.
Stow said that the hospital here was founded by some London citizens before the Norman Conquest but the first record of it is in the reign of Henry II. In about 1267 the Papal Legate and the Abbot of Westminster limited the inmates to eight brothers and 16 sisters. They laid down that the rule of St Augustine should be read in English to these brothers and sisters four times a year, and that a chapter should be held every week when faults were to be corrected. Everyone had to confess once a week and attend all services. Brothers had to eat with the Master. If they were absent from the hospital they could eat, drink or sleep only at the house of a king, bishop or another religious order. Clothes were to be either russet or black. After a visita¬tion by the Sub-prior of Westminster in 1277 the brothers were reminded that they were not to eat or drink with the sisters or enter their houses. Vigils at the death of a brother or sister were to be held ‘without drinking or unseemly noise’.

In 1290 Edward I granted the hospital the right to hold an annual fair from the eve of St James’s Day for seven days. In 1317 the Abbot of Westminster found that the Master had not been holding a weekly chapter and had been making special beer for himself, and that the Prior was often drunk, had embezzled funds and disclosed the secrets of the chapter. By 1319 there were no more than three brothers and six sisters, and by 1320 discipline had become utterly lax and the property neglected. The black death of 1349 killed all the inmates except William de Weston who became Master, but he was deposed two years later. By 1384 there were no inmates and Thomas Orgrave, the Mas¬ter, let most of the building to Elizabeth le Despenser for life. In. 1450 Henry VI gave the hospital, by then a leper hospital for young women, to Eton College. In 1532 Henry VIII acquired it as a site for st James’s palace. Eton College was recompensed with other lands and the four remaining sisters were granted an annual pension of £6-13s 4d each.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jun 18 - 02:31 AM

Should read Papermac 1983
Jim


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 Jun 18 - 07:57 AM

"I listened to the Ironhead recording again, it has the standard "Early one morning, all in the month of May" opening, no Hospital is mentioned."

Where did you access the Ironhead recording, Kevin? The version on Youtube definitely lacks the first line and the first couple of syllables of the second line. Does anyone know whether this is just poor Youtube editing, or whether the version on the Lomax album (or the original in the LOC) had the line missing?

I can't find the Lomax transcription of the song, but Doc Watson (who learned it from this source) sang:

Early one morning at the St James Hospital
Early one morning, morning month of May

I agree that it is curious - and very frustrating for us - that what is now regarded as a key line is missing, but to me it would smack of conspiracy theory to suggest that Lomax deliberately interpolated it in order to prove a connection that was only claimed some years later.

And, as Lighter says, we have several versions that did mention the hospital, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 19 Jun 18 - 08:28 AM

You're right about that, Brian.
The first line is indeed missing from James Ironhead Baker's recording.
I was confused when I listened to it again because many other versions begin with "Early one morning, one morning in may", but that is actually Ironhead's second line.

I'm adding a selection of recordings of this song family, including Ironhead Baker's to soundcloud at the moment.
I'll post them when I'm done.

It doesn't help much, but I noticed that John A. Lomax made two recordings of Ironhead's version, of which only one was released comercially.

First recording, sung by Ironhead Baker:
The St. James hospital - James Baker (Iron Head)
This is probably the recording that we have.

Second recording, spoken by Ironhead Baker:
St. James hospital - James (Iron Head) Baker
It is possible that the first line is included in the spoken version, but we have no way of confirming this without access to the recording.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jun 18 - 08:48 AM

Cf. the jig tune "The Unfortunate Rake" also with the well-known "Arran Boat Song."

The Arran Boat Song uses the tune best known as "The Banks of the Devon" in the early 19th century, from Burns's use of it. It probably dates back to the middle of the 18th century in Scotland in much the same form. It must have been specified as the tune for dozens of songs.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,karen
Date: 19 Jun 18 - 09:13 AM

Hello Everybody.

On the air 'The Unfortunate Rake'; if you look at a post above I cite a source which guessed that the song 'The Unfortunate Lad' might originally have been sung to the Irish 'Unfortunate Rake' air, but if I recall aright, when I looked into this that 'air' has several names and its national origin appears uncertain. Is this what Jack Campin is saying?

Jim, sorry to spout jargon which I only half understand. By dialectic I meant the idea a la Monty Python that history is the history of class struggle. So on some arguments, folk music produced by the working class would be part of this struggle and reflect the interests of that class. If it turned out that all 'folk music' has been produced for commercial purposes by hacks etc then maybe it would be more difficult to see it as expressing the working class (except that one bit from Mayhew I read about a 19th century hack suggests that they too were badly paid and exploited! Pity we don't have 'The Lament of the Underpaid Ballad Writer' as a folk item, that would wrap it up nicely!


Thank you for the material on St James in London. It was just about still in existence when the major syphilis outbreak in Europe happened. But there's no evidence it ever functioned as a syphilis hospital.


My theory is that those 19th century broadsheets came out when they did and mentioned lock hospitals because of the concern leading up to the Contagious Disease Acts, which were contemporaneous. And they took the idea from an extant song, which we have as 'The Buck's Elegy'.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jun 18 - 09:33 AM

The oldest known version of the tune is quite definitely Scottish, and its association with Burns's text is what made it familiar worldwide. Its earliest known text, I think, is "The Brown Dairymaid", a Gaelic song about the 1745 rising (and written very soon after it) by Alasdair MacMaster Alasdair, which is what Burns heard on his trip to Inverness. But it doesn't sound very Scottish, and my guess is that it started out as one of the Italian-Baroque-influenced tunes created in England in the late 17th century and labelled as "Scotch". You can imagine it fitting pretty well into a Baroque violin sonata as a siciliano-type slow movement.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jun 18 - 12:54 PM

" By dialectic I meant the idea a la Monty Python that history is the history of class struggle"
I'm well aware of the political version of the term ie 'Dialectical Materialism', but I wondered how it applied to Bert's approach.
Bert and Ewan both believed passionately that fok song was 'The Music of the People' - not "for the people" as many would have it nowadays, but the old and pretty wel universally adopted definition, "by the people"
Child called his ballads 'Popular', not because they reached number one in some nineteenth century hit parade, but because they were 'of the people'
There has been an ongoing as to whether the 'common people' were capable of making the ballads (these would be the same 'common people' who queued to get a seat in the premier performance of Hamlet), but I think Motherwell dealt quite well with that in his 'Minstrelsy' preface, where he warns against tampering with the oral versions.
For me, MacColl's summing up of the traditional repertoire and its origins was thet he gve at the end of the (still unsurpassed) 'Song Carriers series:

"Well, there they are, the songs of our people. Some of them have been centuries in the making, some of them undoubtedly were born on the broadside presses. Some have the marvellous perfection of stones shaped by the sea's movement. Others are as brash as a cup-final crowd. They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets at the plough-stilts and the handloom. They are tender, harsh,, passionate, ironical, simple, profound.... as varied, indeed, as the landscape of this island.
We are indebted to the Harry Coxes and Phil Tanners, to Colm Keane and Maggie MacDonagh, to Belle Stewart and Jessie Murray and to all the sweet and raucous unknown singers who have helped to carry our people's songs across the centuries."

" It was just about still in existence "
I wasn't suggesting that the song was contemporary to the Hospital
These institutions tend to lend their name to similar ones that follow them
WE still talk about people 'ending up in the workhouse", though they disappeared nearly a century ago (before my time)
I grew up with 'Lock Hospital', Grub Street and Carey Street', still popular long after the original institutions disappeared.
Folk memory is a wonderful thing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 19 Jun 18 - 10:04 PM

Hello Again Jim

Thanks for the clarification

Sorry, baffled as to why you should be asking about the relevance of class struggle to Bert Lloyd's approach to folk song! But so often web conversations go awry.

Have a nice day.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jun 18 - 02:58 AM

"Sorry, baffled as to why you should be asking about the relevance of class struggle to Bert Lloyd's approach to folk song!"
In't that what you said ?
"that history is the history of class struggle. "
It's often been argued about Ewan and Bert that their politics got in the way of thir understanding of folk song - I thought that this was what you were saying
While both Ewan and Bert were 'of the left' to different degrees, their approach to the genre was social rather than political.

Ewan's own-made songs were coloured by his political stance, the very best of them, in my opinionion (the Radio Ballads songs, Tenant Farmer, those for 'The Irishmen', Shellback... et al), were made by talking to the people they represented.
Often, when you listen to the actuality, you can here phrases he has lifted from what people have said - Sam Larner being the best example.
As with traditional songs, I believe what distinguishes them from all other forms (certainly including broadsides), is the speech patterns and the use of vernacular language.

You do realise that when you write "have a nice day" you are doing so in the middle of the night !
Have a nice day
Jim


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jun 18 - 07:52 AM

Karen wrote:

'Songs from the Collection of Mr Frank Kidson, Folk Song Journal (English), 1904'... may be the actual origin of the myth that there was an Irish version called 'The Unfortunate Rake'.

The writer says that the song is called 'The Unfortunate Lad'...
   
They give the tune, which is not the Unfortunate Rake tune. You'll have to play it for yourself and make your own judgment on this.


I did make my own judgement, using the Vaughan Williams Library Online Archive. There you can see an image from Kidson's original notebook, where he transcribes the song beginning 'As I was a walking in Rippleton Gardens' and remarks on the similarity to 'The Unfortunate Rake' tune as printed in 'Crosby's Irish Minstrel'.

Lucy Broadwood (who co-wrote the FSJ paper with Kidson) provided an additional comparison of Kidson's collected tune with 'The Unfortunate Rake' from Kerr's'Merry Melodies'.

I'd have said that the two melodies have a lot in common. The first three bars are pretty near identical.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jun 18 - 09:23 AM

I went back to the blog by Robert Harwood, one of the main sceptics on the link between the 'Unfortunate Rake' and 'St James Infirmary'. Of A.L. Lloyd's article in 'Keynote: The Music Magazine' (1947), he writes:

Re-reading this article I was again struck by Lloyd's peculiar logic, for he concentrates on the relation... between "The Unfortunate Rake" and "Streets of Laredo." Then, through some process of, uhm, magical thinking, inserts "St. James Infirmary" into the mix with very little in the way of transitional or supportive argument. Even so, this is the moment that SJI became fixed in history as a direct descendent of "The Unfortunate Rake."

In another passage Harwood writes:

John Lomax recorded the song [from] James "Iron Head" Baker... and Alan touted it as a link between the two songs. Actually listening to the songs, however, does not bear this out. One gets the impression that Alan wanted to find a missing link between "St. James Infirmary" and "The Unfortunate Rake, " but this is not it.

Harwood does not quote Baker's lyric, so here it is - I've tried to correct a couple of errors in the online version, and indicated the 'missing' first line.

'St James' Hospital'
Collected by John and Alan Lomax from James (Iron-Head) Baker, Central State Farm, Sugarland, Texas, 1934.

[conjectural] It was early one morning I passed St. James Hospital,
[It was] early one mornin', mornin' month of May,
I looked in the window and I spied a dear cowboy--
Wrapped up in white linen, well, he was cold as the clay.

Sayin', "Come, dear mother, come an' seat yourself nigh me,
Come, dear father, to sing me one song,
For my knee-bones are achin' and my poor heart is breakin',
I know I'm a poor cowboy, and I know I done wrong.

I want sixteen young gamblers, papa, to carry my coffin,
I want sixteen young whore gals for to sing me my song,
Tell them bring 'long a bunch of them sweet-smellin' roses,
So they can't smell me as they drive me on.

Well in my saddle, father, I used to go dashing,
Father, in my young days when I used to look gay,
Well now roun' some church-house, can those handsome young ladies,
Well the women gonna carry me, follow me to my grave.

Discounting for the moment the missing line purportedly referencing St James Hospital, it's clear to me that verses 1, 2, the second half of 3, and 4 find close analogues in British variants of Roud 2 and/or the cowboy version. However, the first two lines of v 3 are very much like the corresponding couplet from the Armstrong hit.

There are other links between cowboy versions and Armstrong, notably the opening of the action in a bar-room.

So (while happy to concede Lloyd's occasional use of magical thinking) I'm still puzzled as to why Harwood concedes a link between Roud 2 and 'Streets of Laredo', but none between them and 'St James Infirmary'.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 20 Jun 18 - 10:03 AM

Hello Brian

Harwood also wrote

I have listened to these songs … countless times, and have played several variations of them on my guitar. I have not detected any significant similarity in tune or chord progression. Lyrically, too, the connection is weak. What is similar is the idea of the funeral request. This is very different from a direct correlation.

He also seems to take issue with A L Lloyds view that St James Infirmary is a 'direct' (his emphasis) descendent of 'The Unfortunate Rake'.

I don't think Harwood is denying any/all connection. It is the idea of a direct link (of a parent child type going back in a line like genealogy).

To try to give an analogy: one might have some resemblance to a second cousin several times removed. This does not mean that one is descended from that cousin.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jun 18 - 10:29 AM

Hi Karen,

Harwood's statement that "What is similar is the idea of the funeral request. This is very different from a direct correlation." considerably understates the case. What we definitely have are the following:

'St James' Hospital' appearing in versions of Roud 2 preceding SJI.

The setting in a named individual's bar-room, common to cowboy versions (which he concedes are derived from Roud 2) and SJI.

A meeting with a loved one who is sick and beyond medical care.

Not just a 'funeral request', but close resemblance in the requested mourning party.

The most likely explanation IMO is that at some point a new song, which we can call 'Gambler's Blues' or whatever you please, has been put together by someone well-acquainted with the previous song, in either or both its cowboy or 'Unfortunate Lad' forms. I'd say that's more than a 'second cousin' relationship.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jun 18 - 10:37 AM

I've been trying with some difficulty to decipher the lyrics to the Georgia Ann Griffin version linked by Kevin W. above. Can anyone help me with the truncated verse 2? I'm not at all confident about the dancehall, though I'm pretty sure about the bar-room.

"The Bad Girls Lament" sung by Mrs. Georgia Ann Griffin of Newberry, Alachua, Florida, originally from Dooly County, Georgia, recorded by John Lomax in 1937.

As I was a-walking by St James’s hospital
As I was a walking one morning in May
It’s who should I meet but my own dear daughter
Wrapped up in white linen and there did she [go?]

It’s first to the bar-room and then to the [dancehall?]
[And not to the dance room and not on my grave]??

Oh it’s six jolly sportsman to carry my coffin
It’s six pretty fair maids to carry me there
And each one them a bunch of red roses
To keep them from smelling me as they carry me along


Interesting to note the reference to the bar-room. Then compare Mrs Griffin's last verse with this couplet from Sussex (Edith Sebbage):

And into my coffin throw handfuls of roses
So as they may smell me as I go along


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 20 Jun 18 - 10:41 AM

Lloyd does provide arguments of a sort, but not evidence of the direct line of descent of the sort that Harwood seems to be requiring.

He notes that several versions of St James Inf. have been copyrighted at various times.

His view of St James Infirmary is basically that it has problems. He says it has 'more of the feel of folksong than is usual with a jazz number'. He says that it is often taken for granted that it is an original 'Negro song', but that it is clearly a narrative ballad. He asserts that the form is rare in 'true American Negro song'(whatever that might be, some sort of 'purity' seems to be in his mind here).

He then says, and I quote so you can judge the tone for yourself,

"Most versions of 'Infirmary' include a number of stanzas from other songs, drafted on to the main stem - a confusion especially current among Negros. The curious switchover from the actual dath of the girl to the hypothetical death of the gambler creates some ambiguity too."

He then skips to 'The Dying Cowboy' asking why a cowboy should be requesting a military funeral.

He then links the Dewey/Sharp Laura Donald song with both St James Infirmary and the Streets, via the St James hospital reference and the drum and fife burial. He also brings in the Novia Scotia version, saying it is almost identical with the Kidson and Lucy Broadwood song.


Then he mentions the Such broadside, claiming that this is the origin of the opening verses of the Kidson Broadwood songs.


Lloyd then claims to have solved the 'problems' he found with Laredo and St James Infirmary: a) the military funeral; b) the smelly corpse requiring flowers c) the confusion in Infirmary where a woman dies but the funeral is requested for a man.

The latter problem he thinks came about because some versions were about an unfortunate woman, some about an unfortunate man and the negro version is therefore 'confused' about the gender of the unfortunate person.

Finally he says that the My Jewel My Joy tune is the nicest of all. This is I think the one he sings when he sings The Unfortunate Rake (the version which I believe he made up as a composite, drawing on the various versions he mentions in his articles). It is the tune he sings when he does St James Hospital too (with a lot more twiddly bits). In the St James Hospital, he even uses the words 'me jewel me joy' in the last verse.

What do you think of Lloyd's idea that St James Infirmary is confused? Because if you don't buy it, then maybe 'magical thinking' is a way to describe Lloyd's ideas. Because this is what his argument rests on.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 20 Jun 18 - 11:37 AM

Hello again.

I agree about the first few bars on the basis of the version Brian posted. Maybe this is why in the article they said 'slight resemblance'. After that not so much resemblance. Problem is so many folk tunes resemble each other, as Julia Bishop points out.

On the Unfortunate Rake Liner notes there is a reference to an article by Lodewick. You can get this via JSTOR. It's dated 1955 (I find noting dates helps a bit). The magazine is Western States Folklore Society, Vol 14 No2. This is some time after Lloyd's first article on St James and just before his second.


It's a bit rambly, even by my standards, but what he says on St James Infirmary seems fair to me, and fits with what I understand Brian to be saying:

'The line of descent is again lost ... No folk connection has been shown, but the composer of the hit song apparently knew the tradition - and used it'

Lodewick as I may have said before is the person who mistakenly put Dublin for Cork when setting down the place where My Jewel My Joy was learned by William Forde's example. This is repeated in the liner notes, and in Lloyd's book on English folk song.

He claims there is a version called 'The Irish Rake' from Ireland, but no reference! So annoying!

********************************************************

On John Lomax: he is like the curate's egg maybe. He was looking, it is said, for a true 'African American' folk culture, untainted by commercial music, and, it is said, he imagined that he would find it in a prison. If prisoners were relectant to sing for him, as some were, he would get the prison governor in to persuade them to comply.

Lomax did admit to tinkering with Cowboy songs he published in a way that would not please the purists, and he copyrighted many songs he collected, which apparently A L LLoyd was uneasy about. In line with his desire to portray a folk image of African American musicians, he would not let Leadbelly sing everything that he wanted to (which was often popular commercially produced music). Apparently in real life, cowboys were desperate for ballad sheets to give them new songs to sing! So there were problems collecting stuff that was not from a written source!

There is some scathing comment on Lomax in Miller's Segregating Sound. One inmate did not want to sing 'sinful' songs for the phonograph, but apparently taunted Lomax by singing them out of the reach of the microphone. Lomax called in the warden to make the man comply. Lomax wrote 'Soon the big black man, frightened but smiling ingratiatingly, came into the room... He prayed: "Oh Lawd, I hope you will understand and forgive me for de sin I is about to commit and not charge it up against a po negro who cain't hep hissef..." Meanwhile our machine had recorded both the prayer and the songs'

Miller suggests that Lomax was misusing his white privilege and power when he did stuff like this. When Leadbelly put a hat down and sang for tips, Lomax ended up insisting that the takings were shared three ways!

When Lomax wrote to prison governors asking about inmates who knew folk songs, one governor wrote back saying in his prison there was a very little folk song, possibly because the prison had an orchestra and a band and the inmates listened to radio every night.

I mention this just to suggest that whatever the words Ironhead Baker sang, it seems to be that it cannot be assumed that this is a pure folk version untainted by the various written and recorded versions.
I am not 'accusing anybody' of saying that it is, except it appears from Harwood's account that at one point Harwood appears to have believe that it was some sort of missing link.

Enough.

PS Have a nice evening (and I am consciously writing this prior to the evening) :)


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jun 18 - 02:10 PM

Hi Karen,
I certainly don't intend to defend either the Lomaxes or Lloyd's practices, although some of Lloyd's statements   quoted above are valid. On the detailed question of "the confusion in Infirmary where a woman dies but the funeral is requested for a man", this is only a problem in SJI itself, and not in the precursor song 'Gambler's Blues' - either the 1925 Moore / Baxter sheet music or the two versions in Sandburg.

Here its clear that it is the dead woman who’s being buried:

Sixteen coal-black horses
All hitched to a rubber-tired hack
Carried seven girls to the graveyard
And only six of 'em coming back

However, following this powerful Memento Mori, the narrator begins to think about his own funeral arrangements:
Oh when I die just bury me
In a box-black coat and hat... etc

So we don't really need to invoke the indeterminate gender of the victim in older versions to explain it.

Just because 'St James' Infirmary' was a hit record and is known to millions in a recorded version now set in stone, doesn't mean it isn't a garbled version of the tale, as so many orally collected folk songs are.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jun 18 - 02:15 PM

I agree about the first few bars on the basis of the version Brian posted. Maybe this is why in the article they said 'slight resemblance'. After that not so much resemblance. Problem is so many folk tunes resemble each other, as Julia Bishop points out.

I can't access the version of 'Unfortunate Rake' in Holden, mentioned in Kidson & Broadwood's FMJ article, but I did find the other one they cite, in 'Crosby's Irish Music Repository'. This indeed resembles the song tune only slightly. However, the version from 'Merrie Melodies' copied out by Broadwood, resembles it much more strongly.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 20 Jun 18 - 02:51 PM

Brian

Thank you for the response. I think your 'momento mori' is a good way to think about it.

I didn't think you were defending anybody, but I had been shocked to read about these aspects of Lomax's behaviour, as I knew his relationship with Ledbelly was dubious but had not realised how far things went. So I shared it.

I think the Armstrong version is a composite to some extent as Harwood traces the let her go verse to another song extant at the time.

All this is on the wrong thread, but I like the Fess Williams version. It has humour, as do several of the other early recordings of similar songs. Martha Copleland's Dying Crapshooter's Blues. In both versions there are musical jokes.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 04:00 AM

Here's something for your enjoyment. I've added a few interesting variants of the "Unfortunate Lad / Bad Girl" family to soundcloud.
I've written a few short notes on the songs as well.

I also made the effort to add transcriptions for every variant, where I found them online I've checked them against the recordings to make sure they are correct.
Some I've transcribed myself.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

The Unfortunate Rake - A. L. Lloyd & Alf Edwards

From "English Street Songs" (1956) Riverside Records - RLP 12-614.

This is a composite, the tune is from "My Jewel, My Joy", a fragment collected by P. W. Joyce on December 17, 1848, from the singing of Mr. W. Aldwell of Cork, who said that he learned it about 1790, first printed in "Old Irish Folk Music & Songs" (1909) and the words are taken from "The Unfortunate Lad", printed on various 19th century broadsheets with a few additional changes made by Lloyd.

There has been some debate over whether the mention of "St. James' Hospital" goes back to a version from the British Isles or not. It is possible that Lloyd took this name from one of the American or Canadian variants of "The Bad Girls Lament".

See Mrs. G. A. Griffin's version for an example:
St. James Hospital - Mrs. G. A. Griffin

The title "The Unfortunate Rake" was possibly made up by Lloyd, broadside texts of this song were usually titled "The Unfortunate Lad".

Look here for some examples of broadside texts:
http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/search/roud/2
https://www.earlyblues.com/Essay%2093.gif

See also this recording of Ewan MacColl singing a similar text which he most likely got from A. L. Lloyd:
http://tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/7955/1

Here's the full text as A. L. Lloyd sang it:

As I was a-walking down by St. James' Hospital,
I was a-walking down by there one day,
What should I spy but one of my comrades
All wrapped up in flannel though warm was the day.

I asked him what ailed him, I asked him what failed him,
I asked him the cause of all his complaint.
"It's all on account of some handsome young woman,
'Tis she that has caused me to weep and lament.

"And had she but told me before she disordered me,
Had she but told me of it in time,
I might have got pills and salts of white mercury,
But now I'm cut down in the height of my prime.

"Get six young soldiers to carry my coffin,
Six young girls to sing me a song,
And each of them carry a bunch of green laurel
So they don't smell me as they bear me along.

"Don't muffle your drums and play your fifes merrily,
Play a quick march as you carry me along,
And fire your bright muskets all over my coffin,
Saying: There goes an unfortunate lad to his home."

----------------------------------------------------------------------

St. James' Hospital - A. L. Lloyd

From "First Person" (1966) Topic 12T118.
A later recording of A. L. Lloyd's "The Unfortunate Rake".

There are minor wording changes in the last verse that move it closer to "My Jewel, My Joy", a fragment collected by P. W. Joyce on December 17, 1848, from the singing of Mr. W. Aldwell of Cork, who said that he learned it about 1790. It was first printed in "Old Irish Folk Music & Songs" (1909).

The title has been changed to "St. James' Hospital".

Listen to A. L. Lloyds earlier recording for comparison:
The Unfortunate Rake - A. L. Lloyd & Alf Edwards

Here's the full text as A. L. Lloyd sang it on this album:

As I was a-walking down by St. James' Hospital,
I was a-walking down by there one day,
What should I spy but one of me comrades
All wrapped up in flannel though warm was the day.

I asked him what ailed him, I asked him what failed him,
I asked him the cause of all his complaint.
"Well, it's all on account of some handsome young woman,
'Tis she that has caused me to weep and lament.

"And had she but told me before she disordered me,
Had she but told me of it in time,
I might have got pills and salts of white mercury,
But now I'm cut down in the height of me prime.

"Get six young soldiers to carry me coffin,
Six young girls to sing me a song,
And each of 'em carry a bunch of green laurel
So they don't smell me as they bear me along.

"And don't muffle your drums, me jewel, me joy,
Play your fifes merry as you carry me along,
And fire your bright muskets all over me coffin,
Saying: There goes an unfortunate lad to his home."

----------------------------------------------------------------------

My Jewel, My Joy - Sam Hinton

From "The Wandering Folksong" (1966) Folkways Records - FA 2401.
A recording of Folk Revival singer Sam Hinton singing "My Jewel, My Joy", a fragment collected by P. W. Joyce on December 17, 1848, from the singing of Mr. W. Aldwell of Cork, who said that he learned it about 1790. It was first printed in "Old Irish Folk Music & Songs" (1909).

It has been expanded with some sample verses of unknown origin which are not unlike A. L. Lloyd's "The Unfortunate Rake".

Liner Notes are available here:
The Wandering Folksong

Here's the full text as Sam Hinton sang it:

My jewel, my joy, don't trouble me with the drum;
Sound the dead march as my corpse goes along.
Over my body throw handfuls of laurel,
And let them all know that I'm going to my rest.

As I was walking by St. James Hospital,
As I went down by the hospital gate,
I met a young man all wrapped in white linen --
All wrapped in white linen, so cruel was his fate.

"Had she but told me before she disordered me;
Had she but told me about it in time,
I might have got salts and pills of white mercury,
But now I'm a young lad cut down in his prime. "

My jewel, my joy, don't trouble me with the drum;
Sound the dead march as my corpse goes along.
Over my body throw handfuls of laurel,
And let them all know that I'm going to my rest.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Pills Of White Mercury - Tom Spiers

From "Allan Water" (2001) LTCD1005. Tom Spiers learned it from Peter Hall, who collected it from Peter Anderson, a resident of Ellon Old People's Home in Aberdeenshire in the 1960s.

It may have originally come from Alexander Robb of New Deer, Aberdeenshire, collected by Gavin Greig in 1906 under the title "Disordered".

Alex Robb's version had a different opening line:
One night as I walked thro' Caperally

I don't have access to "The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection Vol. 7", so I'm unable to provide the complete text as Alexander Robb sang it.

Here's the Roud entry:
https://www.vwml.org/record/RoudFS/S203119

This version is unique in it's graphic description of the questionable treatment of Syphilis in earlier times.

Here's an article on the medical uses of mercury in the 1700's:
http://www.umich.edu/~ece/student_projects/remedies/mercury.html

Here's the full text as Tom Spiers sings it:

As I was a-walking by the banks o' the Ugie
Listen dear friends what I have to relate
Who should I spy there but one of my comrades
Wrapped up in white flannel aye and sad was his fate

The mercury was beatin', the limestone was reekin'
His tongue all in flames hangin' over his chin
A hole in his bosom, his teeth they were closin' / were a loosin'
Bad luck tae the girlie that has gi'ed him the glim

And had she but told me, when she disordered me
Had she but told me of it in time
I might have been cured by the pills of white mercury
But now I'm a young man cut down in my prime

Down at the street corner two flash girls were standin'
And one tae the other did whisper and say
There goes that young man who once was so jolly
But now for his sins his poor body it must pay

My parents they warned me and often they've chided
Sayin' with those flash lassies do not sport and play
But I never heeded, and I scarce ever listened
But still carried on in my own wicked way

Oh doctor, dear doctor before your departure
Take all these bottles of mercury away
Then send for the minister to say a prayer over me
Before that they lay my poor body in the clay

Then you'll get six fine young fellas to carry my coffin
And six pretty fair maids tae bear up my pall
And you will give each one a bunch of red roses
So that when they pass by me they'll not know the smell

And had she but told me, when she disordered me
Had she but told me of it in time
I might have been cured by the pills of white mercury
But now I'm a young man cut down in my prime

It bears some likeness to "The Buck's Elegy", the earliest known full text of the "Unfortunate Lad" song family dating from the mid-nineteenth century:

As I was walking down Covent Garden,
Listen awhile, and the truth I'll relate,
Who should I meet but my dearest comrade,
Wrapt up in flannel, so hard was his fate.

Had I but known what his disorder was,
Had I but known it, and took it in time,
I'd took pila cotia, all sorts of white mercury,
But now I'm cut off in the heighth of my prime.

Doctors take away your mercury bottles,
For I am going to draw my last breath,
And into my coffin throw handfuls of funeral fine,
Let them all see that I die a sad death.

When I am dead wrap me up in funeral fine,
Pinks and fine roses adorning my head,
Come all gallows whores that do mourn after me,
Let them all follow me unto my grave.

There is Capt.— , and likewise Capt. Townsend.
These are the men that shall hold up my pall;
Come draw up your merrymen, draw them in rank and file,
Let them fire over me when I lay low.

Come bumble your drums, bumble them with crapes of black,
Beat the dead march as we go along,
Come draw up your merry men, draw them in rank and file,
Let them fire over me when I lay low.

From Holloway & Black, "Later English Broadside Ballads Vol. 1" pp.48-49.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Young Man Cut Down In His Prime - Harry Brazil

From "Down By the Old Riverside" (2007) MTCD345-7.
Recorded by Mike Yates in Gloucester, 1978 from Harry Brazil, a Traveller.

A traditional version that includes the seldom heard "Pills of White Mercury" verse.

Full Liner Notes are accessible here:
https://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/brazils.htm

The album can be bought here:
https://gumroad.com/l/MDrqY

See also "Pills Of White Mercury" as sung by Tom Spiers for a more complete text:
Pills Of White Mercury - Tom Spiers

An alternate recording of Harry Brazil made by Gwilym Davies is accessible here:
http://glostrad.com/through-the-dark-arches/

A third, text only recording made by Dr Peter Shepheard is available here:
https://www.springthyme.co.uk/brazil/SoldierCutDown.html

Here's the full text as Harry Brazil sang it on this occasion:

As I was a-walking all through the dark arches,
Dark was the night and dull were the day;
Who should I meet only one of my comrades,
Who was wrapped up in blankets much colder than clay.

Give me a candle to light him to bed with,
Likewise a flannel to bind up his head;
His poor head is aching, his kind heart is breaking,
There's nobody knows how that poor man lays ill.

If I'd a-known that my friends they disliked me
If I'd a-known it I took it in time;
It might have been one of those pills of white mercury,
But now I'm a young man cut down in my prime.

At the top of the street there was two girls a-standing,
One to the other they whispered and said;
"There goes a young man whose money we've squandered,
Now we have brought him to his solemn grave."

So beat the drums over and play the fife mallorys *
Play the dead march as you carry him along;
Take him to a churchyard and fire three volleys over him,
There goes a young soldier that never done wrong.

My poor aged father, my old aged mother,
Often times told me they'd bring me to ruin;
To never go courting flash girls of the city,
Pray stay at home and keep sweet company.

If I'd a-known that my friends they disliked me
If I'd a-known it I took it in time;
It might have been one of those pills of white mercury,
But now I'm a young man cut down in my prime.

* merrily

----------------------------------------------------------------------

The Sailor Cut Down In His Prime - Nelson Ridley

From "Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland" (2015) MTCD254.
Recorded by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger in 1974 in Harlow New Town, Essex, from Nelson Ridley, a Traveller, originally from Kent.

This traditional version displays a rather curious phonetic corruption in verse 3 which begins at 01:00:

Now, beat the drum slowly and play the dead march now,
Beat the drum slowly as we carry him along;
That's sweet Billy Caution as I said to Marjorie,
I'm in a deep sitivation, I'm sure I will die.

The strange expression "sweet Billy Caution as I said to Marjorie" is a corruption of "pila cotia and salts of white mercury". The word "sitivation" is a misunderstanding of salivation, which was caused by mercury poisoning from the treatment of veneral disease.

Here's an article on the medical uses of mercury in the 1700's:
http://www.umich.edu/~ece/student_projects/remedies/mercury.html

Here's the coresponding verse from "The Buck's Elegy", the earliest known full text of the "Unfortunate Lad" song family dating from the mid-nineteenth century:

Had I but known what his disorder was,
Had I but known it and took it in time,
I'd took pila cotia, all sorts of white mercury
But now I'm cut off in the height of my prime.

From Holloway & Black, "Later English Broadside Ballads Vol. 1" pp.48-49.

"Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland" can be bought here:
http://www.mtrecords.co.uk/index2.htm

See Harry Brazil's version for a longer text:
Young Man Cut Down In His Prime - Harry Brazil

Here's the full text as Nelson Ridley sang it:

Now, as I was a-walking down through the dark arches,
Dark was the morning and dark was the night;
Who should I spy then was one of my shipmates,
He was wrapped up in flannels, much colder than clay.

We will carry him to the churchyard, three valleys over,
Play the dead march as we carry him along;
Now, never go courting flash gels in the city,
Flash gels in the city are the ruin of me.

Now, beat the drum slowly and play the dead march now,
Beat the drum slowly as we carry him along;
That's sweet Billy Caution as I said to Marjorie,
I'm in a deep sitivation, I'm sure I will die.

It's yonder, round the corner there's three maids a-standing,
One to each other they whispered and said:
'Here comes the young sailor, what money he squandered -
He's the young sailor cut down in his prime.'

Now beat the drum slowly and play the dead march now,
Beat the drum slowly as we carry him along;
Never go courting flash gels in the city,
Flash gels in the city are the ruin of me.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Noo I'm A Young Man Cut Down In My Prime - Willie Mathieson

From "The Unfortunate Rake" (1960) Folkways Records - FS 3805.
Sung by Willie Mathieson of Ellon, Aberdeenshire, recorded by Hamish Henderson, for The School of Scottish Studies archives, on a field trip in February 1952.

A Scottish variant of "The Unfortunate Lad".

Liner Notes are available here:
The Unfortunate Rake

See this recording from The School of Scottish Studies for more info:
http://tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/15832/10

Here's an alternate recording made by Alan Lomax in 1951:
Willie Mathieson - Noo I'm A Young Man Cut Down In My Prime (Fragment)

See also "Pills Of White Mercury" as sung by Tom Spiers for another Scottish variant:
Pills Of White Mercury - Tom Spiers

And here's another Scottish version, sung by Neil Robertson of Strichen, Aberdeenshire:
http://tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/55045/4
http://tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/48307/5

Here's the full text as Willie Mathieson sang it:

As I was a-walking one bright summer morning,
As I was a-walking one bright summer day,
Its who did I spy but one of my comrades,
Rolled up in white flannel and cauler than clay.

O love, it is cruel, cruel to deceive me,
Why didn't you tell me your sorrows in time?
My head is an-aching, my heart is a-breaking,
Noo, I'm a young man cut down in my prime.

Its I have an aged father, likewise a mother,
Oft times they did tell me it would ruin me quick,
I never did believe them, I always did deceive them,
And still with the city girls I spent all my time.

Go send for my mother to wash and to dress me,
Go send for my sister to comb my black hair;
Go send for my brother to play the pipes slowly,
And play the dead march as they carry me along.

O love, it is cruel, cruel to deceive me,
Why didn't you tell me your sorrows in time?
My head is an-aching, my heart is a-breaking,
Noo, I'm a young man cut down in my prime.

There's a bunch of roses to lay on my coffin,
There's a bunch of roses for my head and my feet,
There's a bunch of roses to lay in the churchyard,
To perfume the ways as they carry me along.

At the gate of the churchyard two girlies were standing,
The one to the other in a whisper did say:
"Here comes the young man whose money we have squandered,
And noo they have laid him down in his cauld grave."

O love, it is cruel, cruel to deceive me,
Why didn't you tell me your sorrows in time?
My head is an-aching, my heart is a-breaking,
Noo, I'm a young man cut down in my prime.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

One Bright Summer Morning - Beatrice Mapsey Johnson

From "Zoop Zoop Zoop" (1993) New World Records 80427 - 2.
Sung by Beatrice Mapsey Johnson of St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands in 1980.

A traditional version of "The Bad Girls Lament" that has the line "I am deep in salvation, and surely must die" in verse 2. "Salvation" is here a misunderstanding of "salivation", which was caused by mercury poisoning from the treatment of veneral disease.

Here's an article on the medical uses of mercury in the 1700's:
http://www.umich.edu/~ece/student_projects/remedies/mercury.html

See also Texas Gladden's version from Virginia where this is made clear:
One Morning In May - Texas Gladden

The word "introduced" in verse 3 "Oh send for the young man that first introduced me" is probably a corruption of "had seduced" and "the tricks he would've sold me" may have originally been "pills".

Liner Notes are available here:
http://www.newworldrecords.org/album.cgi?rm=view&album_id=80427

Here's the full text as Beatrice Mapsey Johnson sung it:

One bright summer morning as I was walking,
One bright summer morning, so early one morn,
Whom shall I met up, my dear darling damsel,
She was wrapped up in flannel most colder than clay.

Oh come dearest mother, come and sit down besides me,
Oh come dearest mother, come and pity my crime,
My sad heart is aching, my poor heart is breaking,
I am deep in salvation, and surely must die.

Oh send for the young man that first introduced me,
Oh send for the doctor although it is late,
For if he would've told me the tricks he would've sold me,
For I am a poor girl cut down in my prime.

Six jolly young sailor; come and carry my coffin,
Six jolly young sailor; come and walk by my side.
And a bunch of primroses to put on my coffin,
For the people will smell me when I'm passing along.
For my name is Loretta, but don't call my name.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

One Morning In May - Texas Gladden

From "Ballad Legacy" (2001) Rounder CD 1800.
Sung by Texas Gladden of Saltville, Virginia, recorded by Alan & Elizabeth Lomax in 1941.

This traditional version of "The Bad Girls Lament" contains the very unusual expression "My body's salivated and I'm bound to die". Salivation was caused by mercury poisoning from the treatment of veneral disease.

Here's an article on the medical uses of mercury in the 1700's:
http://www.umich.edu/~ece/student_projects/remedies/mercury.html

Here's the full text as Texas Gladden sang it:

When I was a young girl, I used to see pleasure,
When I was a young girl, I used to drink ale,
Out of the ale house and into a jailhouse,
Right out of a barroom and down to my grave.

Come Papa, come Mama, and sit you down by me,
Come sit you down by me, and pity my case,
My poor head is aching, my sad heart is breaking,
My body's salivated and I'm bound to die.

Oh send for the preacher, he'll come and pray for me,
And send for the doctor to heal up my wounds,
My poor head is aching, my sad heart is breaking,
My body's salivated, and Hell is my doom.

I want three young ladies to bear off my coffin,
I want four young ladies to carry me on,
And each of them carry a bunch of wild roses,
To lay on my coffin, as I pass along.

One morning, one morning, one morning in May,
I spied this young lady all wrapped in white linen,
All wrapped in white linen and cold as the clay.

Here's an earlier transcription made by Miss Alfreda M. Peel on April 28, 1934 and titled "When I Was a Young Girl":

One Morning, one morning,
one morning in May
I spied a young lady all wrapped in white linen
and cold as the clay.

When I was a young lady
I used to see pleasure
When I was a young girl
I used to drink ale

Out of the ale house
into a jail house
Out of a jail house and
into my grave.

Come papa, come mama
and sit you down by me
Come sit you down by me,
and pity my case.

My poor head is aching,
My sad heart is breaking
My body's salivated,
And I am bound to die.

Send for the preacher
To come and pray for me
Send for the doctor
to heal up my wounds.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

When I Was In Horseback - Mary Doran

From the singing of Mary Doran, a young Traveller of Waterford, Co. Waterford, Ireland, recorded by Sean O'Boyle and Peter Kennedy in 1952.

The introduction was spoken by A. L. Lloyd, in a radio programme "Songs of the People", originally broadcast circa 1967.

My thanks go to ChrisJBrady from mudcat.org for providing the full recording of the programme:
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=144129

A related variant was recorded in 2016 from Molly Collins, a Traveller of County Longford, Ireland by the Song Collectors Collective:
As I Went Out Walking One Fine Summer's Morning - Molly Collins

Mary Doran's version has a beautiful modal tune, quite similar to the tune used by many American singers of "The Bad Girls Lament", see Texas Gladden's Virginia version for a fine example:
One Morning In May - Texas Gladden

The mention of "Will you bring me to Tipperary" here may be influenced by "The Streets of Laredo / Tom Sherman's Barroom", which often has the line "Take me to the prairie" in the corresponding verse.

Here's the full text as Mary Doran sang it:

When I was in horseback wasn't I pretty?
When I was in horseback wasn't I gay?
Oh but wasn't I pretty when I entered Cork City
When I met with me downfall on the fourteenth of May?

Six jolly soldiers to carry my coffin,
Six jolly soldiers to march by my side.
And let each jolly soldiers take a bunch of red roses
And them for to smell them as we go along.

Play the pipes only, play the drum slowly,
Play up the dead march as we go along.
Will you bring me to Tipperary and lay me down easy,
I am the young soldier that never did wrong.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

St. James Hospital - James 'Iron Head' Baker

From "Deep River Of Song: Black Texicans - Balladeers and Songsters of the Texas Frontier" (1999).
Sung by James 'Iron Head' Baker at the Central State Farm, Sugarland, Texas, May 1934, recorded by John Avery Lomax.

One of the few traditional variants recorded from African American singers.

The title "St. James Hospital" is a bit of a mystery, the sound recording doesn't include that line.

The tune is of the beautiful modal type also heard in Texas Gladden's and Mary Doran's versions, but here the protagonist is a cowboy instead of a soldier or young girl.

This version is closer to "The Unfortunate Lad" than it is to "The Streets of Laredo / Tom Sherman's Barroom". For an example of a more typical cowboy version from Texas look here:
https://www.loc.gov/item/lomaxbib000174/

"The Cowboy's Lament" was written by the cattle drover Francis Henry Maynard (1853-1926) who based it on a variant of "The Bad Girls Lament" he heard in 1876 on the Wichita trail in Kansas.
Tom Sherman's Barroom was a real place in Dodge City, Kansas.

Compare this to Moses 'Clear Rock' Platt's version, another African American singer and to "The Dying Cowboy" as sung by Alan Lomax:
The Dying Cowboy - Alan Lomax

See also this video of Doc Watson performing the song:
St. James Hospital - Doc Watson

Here's the text as James 'Iron Head' Baker sang it:

"It was early one mornin' as I passed St. James Hospital,
It was early one mornin', mornin' month o' May,
When I looked in the window and I spied a dear cowboy---
Wrapped up in white linen, he was cold as the clay."

"Says, "Come, dear mother, mother, an' seat yourself nigh me,
Come, dear father, too, and sing me a song,
For my knee-bones are achin' an' my poor heart am breakin',
Well, I know I'm a po' cowboy, father, an' I know I done wrong."

"Six young gamblers, papa, to balance my coffin,
Sixteen young whore gals for to sing me a song,
Tell them bring 'long a bunch of them sweet-smellin' roses,
So they can't smell we(sic) while they drive me 'long."

"Well, in my saddle, father, I used to go dashing,
Father, in my young days when I used to look gay,
Down roun' some church-house, carryin' those handsome young ladies---
Well, the women oughta carry me, follow me to my grave."

Taken from "Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads" John A. Lomax & Alan Lomax, 1966 (First pub. 1910) p.p. 420-21.
The recording lacks the opening line and the first three words of the second line.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

The Dying Cowboy - Alan Lomax

From "Texas Folk Songs" (1982) Arion - ARN 33690.
Originally from James 'Iron Head' Baker at the Central State Farm, Sugarland, Texas in May 1934, recorded by John Avery Lomax.

The mention of "St. James Hospital" in the opening verse is a bit of a mystery, the sound recording of James 'Iron Head' Baker is missing that line:
St. James Hospital - James 'Iron Head' Baker

Here's the text as Alan Lomax sang it:

It was early one mornin' I passed St. James Hospital,
It was early one mornin', mornin' month of May,
I looked in the window and I spied a dear cowboy
Wrapped up in white linen, well, he was cold as the clay.

Sayin', "Come, dear mother, come an' seat yourself nigh me,
Come, dear father, come and sing me one song,
For my knee-bones are achin' and my poor heart is breakin',
I know I'm a poor cowboy, and I know I done wrong.

I want sixteen young gamblers, papa, to carry my coffin,
I want sixteen young whore gals for to sing me my song,
Tell them bring 'long a bunch of those sweet-smellin' roses,
So they can't smell me as they drive me on.

'Twas once in the saddle, papa, I used to go dashing,
Father, in my young days when I used to be gay,
Down roun' that old church-house, with them handsome young ladies,
Them girls oughta carry me, follow me to my grave.

It was early one mornin', I passed St. James Hospital,
Lord, it was early one mornin', mornin' month of May,
I looked in the window and I spied a dear cowboy
And he was wrapped in white linen, he was colder than clay.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

St. James Hospital - Mrs. G. A. Griffin

A variant of "The Bad Girls Lament" sung by Mrs. Georgia Ann Griffin of Newberry, Alachua, Florida, originally from Dooly County, Georgia, recorded by John Avery Lomax in 1937.

The original tape I got this from is accessible here:
https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/238003

Here's the Library of Congress reference:
https://www.loc.gov/item/afc9999005.5309/

For another American text that mentions "St. James Hospital", collected by Cecil Sharp from Mrs. Laura Virginia Donald at Dewey, Bedford County, Virginia on June 8th, 1918 look here:
https://cecilsharpva.wordpress.com/songs-laura-virginia-donald/
https://www.earlyblues.com/Essay%20102.gif

Here's the text as Mrs. Georgia Ann Griffin sang it:

As I was a-walking by St. James' Hospital,
As I was a-walking one morning in May,
It's who should I meet but my own dear daughter,
Wrapped up in white linen and [dirty sheets on]*.

...
It's first to the barroom and then to the dance room,
And out of the dance room and now to my grave.

Oh it's six jolly sportsmen to carry my coffin,
Get six pretty fair maids to carry me there,
And each one of them a bunch of red roses,
To keep them from smelling me as they march along.

* The words in brackets are probably wrong, it's hard to make out what she is singing there, but it's not the standard "colder than clay".

----------------------------------------------------------------------

The Bad Girls Lament - Wade Hemsworth

From "Folk Songs Of The Canadian North Woods" (1955) Folkways Records - FW 6821.
Sung by Albert Wade Hemsworth, he learned it in the Canadian North Woods (Northern Ontario and Quebec).

Liner Notes are available here:
Folk Songs of the Canadian North Woods

Here's another Canadian version that is very similar:
https://www.earlyblues.com/Essay%20101.gif

Here's a recording from the Jack Horntip collection:
http://www.horntip.com/mp3/fieldwork/horntip_collection/s/abby_sale/

Here's the text as Wade Hemsworth sang it:

As I walked down to St. James' Hospital,
St. James' Hospital early one day,
I spied my only fairest daughter
Wrapped up in white linen as cold as the clay.

So beat your drums and play the fife lowly,
And play the dead march as you carry me along;
Take me to the churchyard and lay the sod over me,
I am a young maid and I know I've done wrong.

Once in the street I used to look handsome;
Once In the street I used to dress gay;
First to the ale house, then to the dance hall
Then to the poor house and now to my grave.

So beat your drums and play the fife lowly,
And play the dead march as you carry me along;
Take me to the churchyard and lay the sod over me,
I am a young maid and I know I've done wrong.

Send for the preacher to pray o'er my body,
Send for the doctor to heal up my wounds,
Send for the young man I first fell in love with,
That I might see him before I pass on.

So beat your drums and play the fife lowly,
And play the dead march as you carry me along;
Take me to the churchyard and lay the sod over me,
I am a young maid and I know I've done wrong.

Let six pretty maidens with a bunch of red roses,
Six pretty maidens to sing me a song,
Six pretty maidens with a bunch of red roses
To lay on my coffin as they carry me along.

So beat your drums and play the fife lowly,
And play the dead march as you carry me along;
Take me to the churchyard and lay the sod over me,
I am a young maid and I know I've done wrong.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

St. James' Hospital - Tom Lenihan

From "Tom Munnelly - The Mount Callan Garland: Songs from the repertoire of Tom Lenihan", Baile Atha Cliath Comhairle Bhealoideas Eireann, An Colaiste Ollscoile 1994.

Sung by Tom Lenihan of Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, Ireland, recorded by Tom Munnelly on March 13th 1973.

This version is unique, it is the only variant of the "Bad Girls Lament" recorded outside of America/Canada to mention "St. James Hospital".

Tom Lenihan learned the song from his sister Margaret who emigrated to America. Tom was not known for singing American songs, the rest of his repertoire is Irish, but we don't know where Margaret learned the song, so this question remains unanswered.

Here's Tom Lenihan's explanation of the "white house, red house, black house" verse:
"The first night he was with her 'twas grand. The second night it showed up there was danger - the red house. And the third night was the black house was - she was ruined, the craytur! Oh God, yes!"

Here's another interpretation given in the book:
white house = church/innocence, red house = bawdy house, and black house = mortuary

Another recording of Lenihan singing this song, recorded by Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie in July 1976 is accessible here:
Songs of Clare - Saint James' Hospital sung by Tom Lenihan

A third transcription made by Nathan D. Rose on June 30, 1988 may be seen here:
http://villasubrosa.com/Nathan/texts/lenihantext.html#6
http://villasubrosa.com/Nathan/watson.html

See also this recording of Luke Cheevers singing Tom Lenihan's version:
https://www.itma.ie/digital-library/sound/st_james_hospital_luke_cheevers

Here's a Newfoundland version that bears some likeness to Lenihan's text:
http://gestsongs.com/15/annie.htm

Here's the text as Tom Lenihan sang it for Tom Munnelly:

Once I was walking by Saint James' Hospital
Bright was the morning and clear was the day.
Who should I meet but a faithful companion
Wrapped up in flannels all ready to die.

From her sweet lips a few words were spoken,
From her sweet lips a few words there came:
"This is a warning for young girl's protection,
Which causes their ruin and leads them astray."

"Daughter, dear daughter 'tis often I told you,
Often I told you, but now you are lain,
To stop your street walking and all your old talking.
Often I told you, but now you are lain."

"If I had done what my old mother told me,
What a good girl would I be today.
Everyone hates me, my name does disgrace me.
Often she told me but now I am lain."

"Show me that young man that hangs round the corner,
Show me that young man that dresses so gay.
First your true lover and now your deceiver,
Show me that young man that led you astray."

"That is a question that I cannot answer.
He put me in a hack and he drove me away,
First by the white house, then by the red house,
In to the black house and now to my grave."

"There lies the body of one that was handsome,
There lies the body of one that was fair.
There lies the body of a lovely young lassie
Who died from destruction one bright summer's day."

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Jones' Hospital - Captain Pearl R. Nye

Sung by Captain Pearl R. Nye in Akron, Ohio in 1937, recorded by John Avery Lomax.

This version has almost completely lost the original story.
Interestingly the tune has been shortened here and the sanzas are sung as two liners.

"Jones' Hospital" is more commonly referred to as "St. James' Hospital" in American and Canadian variants of "The Bad Girls Lament".

The original recording is accessible here:
https://www.loc.gov/item/afcnye000015/

Here's the text as Captain Pearl R. Nye sang it:

At Jones Hospital I saw my own daughter,
Wrapped up in white flannel as cold as the clay.
It was first to the opera, then to the ale house,
Then to the dance hall, church, next was the grave.

Oh, parents and children, yes, friends and my neighbors,
My heart is breaking, my grief it is so sore.
She was fair and so handsome, a type of real beauty,
So lovely that most anyone would admire.

Her lover beguiled her, they fled from my presence,
The end you now see is here in death so cold.
I plead that they tarry and that they should marry,
She is here now, forsaken as you now behold.

Oh girls, here take warning, behold my poor daughter,
Who met, loved a stranger so cunning and wise.
He betrayed and soon left her, as he did some others,
Then in her anguish she weakened and died.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Bad Girl's Lament - Jack McNally

Sung by Jack McNally at Stacyville, Maine in 1942, recorded by Helen Hartness Flanders.

A poorly remembered fragment of "The Bad Girls Lament".
I apologize for the poor audio quality but there's no better recording available.

Original cassette recording is accessible here:
https://archive.org/details/HHFBC_tapes_D30B

Here's the text as Jack McNally sang it:

When I was a young girl I used to look happy,
When I was a young girl I used to look gay.
It was first to the alehouse and then to the jailhouse,
Then to the [resthouse] and down to my grave.

Let three/four [fair] ladies bear my pal,
Give them white ribbons and [make them go].
Take me to the churchyard and throw the sod over me,
I'm a young girl and I know I've done wrong

* The words in brackets are probably wrong, I can't make out what he sings there.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Bad Girl's Lament - Hanford Hayes

Sung by Hanford Hayes at Stacyville, Maine in 1942, recorded by Helen Hartness Flanders.

A single stanza fragment of "The Bad Girls Lament" with an unusual tune.
I apologize for the poor audio quality but there's no better recording available.

Original cassette recording is accessible here:
https://archive.org/details/HHFBC_tapes_D29B

Here's the text as Hanford Hayes sang it:

Beat your drums, play the fifes merrily,
Sound the deadmarch as you carry me on.
Take me to the churchyard and throw the dirt over me,
I'm a young girl and I know I've done wrong.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

The Girl In The Dilger Case - D. K. Wilgus

From "The Unfortunate Rake" (1960) Folkways Records - FS 3805.
Sung by Dr. Donald Knight Wilgus to a standard tune of the "Unfortunate Lad" song family. Originally collected by E. C. Perrow from Jack Sykes of Louisville, Kentucky, in 1915.

A localized Kentucky variant of "The Bad Girls Lament".

No explanation is given how the story connects to the song, but this is the story as supplied by Dr. Wilgus:

"Dilger had been a policeman and a private bouncer in a
low class variety theatre. He was a husky, virile, rather good-looking
chap of about 35. He was surprised in a bawdyhouse by two policemen. He
killed them both and was subsequently executed for the crime."

Liner Notes are available here:
The Unfortunate Rake

Here's the text as D. K. Wilgus sang it:

Once I was young and sweet as the roses;
Out on the street so gaudy and gay.
I went first to the dance hall, from there to the whore house,
And now from the whore house I go to my grave.

Send for my mother to sit by my bedside,
Send for the preacher to pray over me,
Send for the doctor that heals me so easy,
Send for the young man that I like to see.

The Ninth Street girls will carry my coffin,
The Eighth Street walkers will sing a sweet song;
Give them each a bunch of red roses
To keep me from smelling as they carry me along.

* Ninth Street - Dr. Wilgus believes this should read Green Street.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

I have decided to leave out "The Streets of Laredo / Tom Sherman's Barroom", I feel that it's destinct enough to deserve separate treatment.
I also ignored the English "Young Sailor Cut Down" versions for the most part. There's little variation between them and I didn't feel like incuding lots of near identical texts.

Still, this should give anyone interested in this song family a good overview of versions.

I think that this song family should not be refered to as "Unfortunate Rake", that title was most likely made up by A. L. Lloyd.
There's no proof that the two stanza fragment he provided (the only one to actually contain the word "rake") was ever sung in Dublin or anywhere else.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 04:01 AM

That was me, above.
I don't know why but it wouldn't let me post when I added my name.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 06:44 AM

At the end of the premier performance of O'Casey's 'The Plough and the Stars' at the Abbey Theatre, a member of the audience was reported to have stood up and shouted, "Sir, there are no prostitutes in Ireland"
The evidence points to the contrary
The are around Christchurch Cathedral was a notorious red-light district - the street in which Handel's Messiah was premiered was named Copper Alley, after the cure for syphilis

Here in Clare, Tom Lenihan told us that, as a child he was warned to stay away from a local 'haunted house' - known as 'The House of Blazes' - in his innocence, he accepted the description, but a few years ago we were told it was a local 'Knocking Shop' (sited adjacent to a field of 'hungry grass', the location of an unmarked Famine Grave where, as in other such areas in Ireland, it was claimed that if you walked into it you would be stricken with hunger pains)

Not far away, we were shown a ruined house from which two elderly ladies operated a paraffin selling business
They would set of on a flat-backed car pulled by a donkey and visit local farms selling their wares while at the same time 'servicing' the old bachelors in the district.

Just thought I'd put a little flesh onto the bones of this discussion
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 10:18 AM

Great work, Kevin. It'll take me a while to sift through all that, but you've dug up a couple of versions I hadn't seen before.

Your effort at deciphering Mrs Griffin's lyric is better than mine, though I'm still not sure about the last line of the first verse. Sounds to me now as though it ends '.... she's gone'.

Interesting that 'Annie Franklin' from Newfoundland has those similarities with Tom Lenihan's quite unusual version - especially given the heavy Irish migration to Newfoundland in the late-18th and early-19th centuries. But it also includes that line: 'First to the barroom and next to the dance hall', which recalls Mrs Griffin's.

It's obviously a very complex set of connections - more so than Lodewick or Lloyd guessed. Interesting discussion.

Oh, and I enjoyed Jim's 'local colour' as well!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 10:53 AM

Great work indeed. In fact, better than anything since the Folkways LP!
Congratulations.

I've listened many times now to the Griffin recording without being able to determine the final words of stanza 1.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 11:15 AM

Hello Kevin

An amazing post.

I completely agree that Lloyd's "Unfortunate Rake", as per two releases, is a composite using the My Jewel My Joy tune.

But I think that the words, though largely following the Broadsheet versions, are also a 'composite. They are not, as the liner notes written by Goldstein state, and as person after person has repeated, the lyrics of a 19th century broadsheet.


For me, it isn't just that the title is different.The differences may seem slight, but I believe that they were made to fit in with a view of the song that Lloyd had argued for, in terms of both its content and its genealogy.

I base my view on the two articles Lloyd had written about St James Infirmary, which he believed was a descendant. In these he lists many of the versions you provided links to. In the first, he may not have actually seen a broadside, as he does not quote from one, but refers to one with no imprint on it, saying some people think it was by Pratt of Birmingham, some by Such. In the 2nd, he seems to have seen the Such broadside (one of them? Were there two?) and does quote bits.


Significantly for my account of his version, in Lloyd's first piece he says this: '...a soldier ..after a recital of his downfall, ends by begging for a military funeral of a defiant and cheery character, ("Beat your drums loudly and blow your fifes gaily," is his request), with six harlots carrying roses to liven the proceedings'


Here Lloyd is plainly claiming to be giving an account of one the broadsides. But this is not a fair description of any of the 19th century broadsides. None of them want the drums played loudly. None of them refers to harlots either. The broadsides include a verse in which the lad wishes that he had listened to the advice of his father. This is not defiant and cheery. Incidentally none of them has laurel, and if they did it would not cover the smell as it isn't like Roses and Lavender with a strong perfume.


My belief is that Lloyd is giving an account of the broadside which fits in with his theory that the song is linked to St James Infirmary Blues, with its jazz bands and so on.

And I also believe that the changes he makes to the Such when composing (or compositing) his own version fit with his misleading account and draw upon the versions he has listed. I cannot find a source for 'bright muskets', so I think that may be a touch of Lloyd.
I don't think I can find a source for Lloyd's 'Don't muffle your drums' either.

He misses out the verse My Father oft told me altogether, presumably because this doesn't give the defiant cheery mood he is looking for.

He introduces Laurel, which might come from the My Jewel fragment, or from an early EFSS version. But Lloyd says it will muffle the smell, which is I think nonsense, as it won't. And this was not the purpose for it in the originals where it occurred.

He puts in the words St James Hospital, which as he knew by the time he wrote the 2nd article were not in the Such Broadside Goldstein's liner notes direct us to, but which were, as he knew, in the Appalachian song and had also been found in Canada.

Lloyd sings: I asked him what ailed him, I asked him what failed him.
Not in the broadsides: source for this appears to be a version published in 1937 by English collectors, set in Bath Hospital. I quite like this internal rhyme, and I guess Lloyd did too. I have found this internal rhyme in another early folk song, but can't now remember which it was, dang it.

Broadsides have 'dead march'. Lloyd replaces it with 'quick march'. You can see how this change fits with the thesis about the song he had devised, and also how it adds credence to his claim that this song is an ancestor of St James Infirmary Blues.

I don't at all object to Lloyd rewriting it, but I would prefer it if Goldstein had refrained from describing Lloyd's version as a 19th century broadside version on liner notes to an LP explicitly aimed to be used as evidence about how a song spreads.

In his first article, Lloyd states: 'So through all the changing scenes of character St James' Infirmary is not very different, after all, from its 18th century original. (NB He has not seen such a thing, only a fragment. This is misleading waffle!) A folksong is indeed a tough thing to kill, and though the captains of industry did their damndest, many songs have survived and adapted themselves to new characters and new conditions in much the same way as the alleged modern, alleged American, alleged negro, alleged jazz ballad of St James Infirmary.'

This, I believe, is the thesis his changes to the actual broadsheet version are intended to support. And now that this thread has made me think about it, yes, I suppose this is done partly for political reasons.

Incidentally, in his first article Lloyd claims that the tune Henry Martin (which he knew Sharp felt some tunes collected in England resembled) 'has many points of correspondence with the tune of St James' Infirmary'. Hmm. Did it? Anyway, Lloyd claims that this tune 'may well have been the forerunner of that hardy old stand-by ... St James' Infirmary Blues'.

However, I would go further, and argue that the words are also a composite, and that they are the way they are because of two factors influencing Lloyd: 1) aesthetic ones and 2) ones to do with Lloyd’s own theory that the broadsheets were ancestors of St James Infirmary.

For details of Lloyd’s theory, see the article from ‘Sing’ (1956) referenced by Goldstein in his liner notes to the Unfortunate Rake LP and an earlier version of this article, in the magazine ‘Keynote’ (1947).


Lloyd had read many of the versions cited in Kevin’s post, and refers to them. In 1947 he does not seem to have seen any 19th century broadside, and to be basing his comments on secondary sources, but by 1956 he has seen the Such broadside as he refers to it and quotes from it.

As discussed above, Lloyd argues that St James Infirmary is descended from The Unfortunate Lad.

He claims that the tune of St James Infirmary has ‘many points of correspondence with’ the tune Henry Martin, which, he knew, Sharp thought some tunes collected for versions of the Lad resembled, they were ‘of that type’ Sharp said. I haven’t followed that up, being more of the Whitey Kaufman line of thought on that one, thanks to Harwood’s excellent research.

In the 47 Keynote article, Lloyd gives and account of the Lad broadside which, for me, misrepresents it. He claims that the soldier ‘ends by begging for a military funeral of a defiant and cheery character (“Beat your drums loudly and blow your fifes gaily,” is his request), with harlots carrying roses to liven the proceedings …’ No idea where Lloyd gets the idea of harlots from. It says ‘pretty maidens’ in the version he claims to be describing. And all the drums in the versions he refers to are to be muffled. And what, precisely, is ‘cheery’ about the dead march?

On this basis he says that ‘St James’ Infirmary is not very different, after all from its 18th century original (another gap in the argument here as he hasn’t actually seen or quoted any full 18th century version, only the My Jewel fragment).

‘A folksong is indeed a tough thing to kill, and though the captains of industry did their damndest, many songs have survived and adapted themselves to new characters and new conditions in the same way the alleged modern, alleged American, alleged negro, alleged jazz ballad of St James’ Infirmary. Not that Infirmary isn’t modern American negro jazz. It is all that, sure enough but in origin it is sturdily Anglo-Irish; and in that it resembles many – perhaps even most – well known American negro songs.’


When we look at the version Lloyd sang and compare it with the Such broadside that Goldstein’s references lead us to (via the Sing article), we can see that most of the changes Lloyd makes fit in with his theory. I am a bit old fashioned, granted, but for me ideally one shapes the theory to fit the data not the other way round.

So he does away altogether with the verse about My father oft told me. This does not fit with his assertions about cheery defiance.

He sings the words ‘St James Hospital’, which he knows were not on the broadside but were found in Appalachia by Sharp and in Nova Scotia by MacKenzie. The day/day rhyme in the first verse seems to come from Loredo-type songs.

The ‘I asked him what ailed him, asked him what failed him’ internal rhyme is probably from the Bath Hospital version published in England in 1937. I guess Lloyd probably liked this on aesthetic grounds. It does sound good.

The broadsheet does not have laurel, a detail which is in My Jewel and in the Bath Hospital one, but in neither of those is it said to cover a smell. Indeed, it has no perfume, unlike the roses and lavender of some versions.

Lloyd replaces the request to muffle the drum with its direct opposite. He uses ‘fife’ not ‘pipes’ as in the Such. The word ‘merrily’ comes from Appalachia and also Nova Scotia. He replaces the ‘dead march’ with ‘quick march’.

The ‘bright muskets’ appears to be a touch of Lloyd’s own, but if anybody can find a source, that would be good.

Lloyd puts ‘saying’ at the end, which makes sense, but isn’t in the broadsides.

So it looks to me as if Lloyd produced a composite which suited his theory about St James’ Infirmary being a descendant. That is my thinking on this song, though I admit I have had a lot of help in getting there.

I don’t mind him doing this at all. Where I am uneasy is in Goldstein stating plainly that this IS a 19th century broadside version when it isn’t and when Goldstein is acting as if he were an expert who had looked up the authorities, as per his references on the liner notes, but clearly hasn't done any checking up or doesn't care whether what he is saying is accurate. So many website and books quote Lloyd’s song and seriously state it is a 19th century broadside version, as opposed to being based on such a thing. The LP was designed to show how a folk song mutates, to be educational. Better to teach folk how to take a statements and ask a) who says b) what is their evidence c) where can I find it to check it.

To me, given the number of printings and recordings of the songs in this 'family', there comes a point where one has to acknowledge that any 'folk-type' tradition must be interacting with the commercial and popular music of the times.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,karen
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 11:21 AM

Sorry above post repeats bits. I lost a lot of my post, or thought I had so I did it again in word and copied and pasted it in.

Just a theory, which people can take or leave.

Have a nice evening (and yes, I am aware it is presently afternoon)
:)


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 01:34 PM

RE McNally:

"[Resthouse]" sounds impossible to me.

What I hear is "luck house" or (do we dare conjecture?) "Lock house."

"Give them white ribbons and laces all" comes across clearly.

The melody of stanza two begins to incline toward that of "In Newry Town," with its parallel funeral verses.

The two stanzas of "The Bad Girl" are followed by others that seem to be from a different "dying protagonist" song - definitely not "Mrs. Foggerty's Cake," which then follows!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 03:06 PM

Here's two more recordings I forgot to add.

I'll be honest, I don't like the Golden String Band recording at all, it gets on my nerves.
It is a cover of yet another traditional version of "The Bad Girls Lament" which also shows some likeness to the Irish version sung by Tom Lenihan, so I decided to add it for completeness sake.

I also added a version of the "Unfortunate Rake" jig, from a field recording of the superb Australian singer Sally Sloane.
I was never good with tunes, but I think it does somewhat resemble the tunes used for our "Unfortunate Lad" song family.

Perhaps someone with a better musical ear than me can provide his/her thoughts on this one.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Wrapped In Red Flannel - The Golden Eagle String Band

From "Body, Boots And Britches: Folk Songs Of New York State" (1982)Folkways Records - FTS 32317.
Collected by Dr. Harold William Thompson from William Swackhamer in Troy, New York, and printed in Lippincott, "Body, Boots and Britches" (1939) p.386 under the title "Wrapped in Red Flannels".

Here's the Roud entry:
https://www.vwml.org/record/RoudFS/S226440

Another New York version of "The Bad Girls Lament" was sung by Ted Ashlaw on "Adirondack Woods Singer" (1976) Philo - 1022, I don't have that recording.

It begins with the opening line:
It was in the winter late in December

Here's it's Roud entry:
https://www.vwml.org/record/RoudFS/S136316

Liner Notes available here:
Body, Boots and Britches: Folk Songs of New York State

Here's the text as sung by Bill Hullfish and Larry Chechak of The Golden Eagle String Band:

When I was a-walking one bright summer's morning,
When I was a-walking one summer in May,
I stopped at the hospital to see my darling,
All wrapped in red flannel that hot summer's day.

Under her pillow these words she had written,
Under her pillow these words she did say,
"Never go courting or sporting or gambling;
It leads to destruction and leads you astray."

"When I am dying, send for my mother,
Send for my mother, don't let her delay."
"Woman, dear woman, your daughter is dying,
And I am the young man who has led her astray."

"When I am dead, lay me out in white satin,
Cover my coffin with flowers of May;
Six jolly sportsmen to carry my coffin,
And sing the dead march as they lay me away."

Now she is dead, and they all will leave her;
Now she is dead, and they laid her away.
Now she is dead and is highly forgotten,
By the hardy young man who has led her astray.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

The Unfortunate Rake (Jig) - Sally Sloane

Sally Sloane performs the jig "The Unfortunate Rake" (also called "Up Sligo") on the button accordion.
Recorded by John Meredith in Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia, in 1958.

The original tape is accessible here:
http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-214823752/listen/0-348~0-427

Here's the tune:
https://sallysloane.wordpress.com/tunes/up-sligo/


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 03:31 PM

- To Lighter:
Many thanks for the corrections to the McNally transcription, I've changed them accordingly on the soundcloud page:
Bad Girl's Lament - Jack McNally

Maybe I was getting tired when I was trying to transcribe that, now that I've read them I hear the same words you suggested.

I also failed to notice the Newry Town connection in the second verse, so thanks for mentioning that.
I've now added a link to a fine recording of Newry Town in the song description.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 05:39 PM

In the earlier years of the British revival, 1950s, many scholars on both sides of the pond would quote Lloyd and perhaps can be excused for doing so as there weren't that many scholars around at that time who were knowledgeable enough re folksong, particularly on this side of the pond. For at least 20 years now, probably longer, no British scholar worth their salt would have quoted Lloyd on anything without corroboration from a more reliable source or at least an earlier source.
He is highly regarded as a performer and pioneer but for a long time now we have known that his scholarship leaves a lot to be desired.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 06:03 PM

Sidelight:

The Irish tune collector and poet P. J. McCall (1861-1919), author of "Follow Me Up to Carlow," "Boulavogue," and other songs, wrote his own words to the jig-tune "The Unfortunate Rake."

The song appeared (with the air indicated specifically as that in Levey's Dance Music of Ireland, vol. 2) in The Pulse of the Bards (Dublin, 1904).

The chorus runs:

Look at me now on the high-road to ruin,
Money I scatter and glasses I break.
Everyone else but the maid I'm pursuin'
Pities, indeed, the Unfortunate Rake!

The words have no similarity to those of the better-known "Rake."


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 07:09 PM

The well-known Irish poet and music collector P. J. McCall (1861-1919) wrote a new song called "The Unfortunate Rake" set specifically to the air given in Levey's "Dance Music Of Ireland," Vol. II. It appeared in McCall's "Pulse of the Bards" in 1904. It has no similarity to the street ballad.

Charles J. Kickham (1828-1882), who wrote the well-known "Patrick Sheehan," also composed words to the air "The Unfortunate Rake."No "rake," however, unfortunate or otherwise, appears in Kickham's song "Rose of Knockmany," in The Irish Monthly in 1888.

"An Seoinin," in Sentinel Songs (1915), by "Brian na Banban" (Brian O'Higgins, 1882-1963) was also written to the air.

Far earlier was "The Wandering Harper" (no relation to "The Bard of Armagh") in "The Hibernian Cabinet: A Selection of all the Most Popular Irish Songs that Have Lately Been Written" (London, 1817).

An undated "ballad," "The Unfortunate Rake," is listed in "A Catalogue of the Bradshaw Collection of Irish Books in the University Library Cambridge" (1916). However, there's another one titled "Jenny Gordon, or The Unfortunate Rake" in the same collection; they may even be the same song.

The Unfortunate Rake" is mentioned specifically as "a song" (along with "The Cruiskeen Lawn," "The night before Larry was stretch'd," and others) in J. Morphy, "Ned Fenton's Portfolio" (Quebec, 1863). No text is given.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 07:27 PM

Re Karen's ref. Philips Barry:

Barry referred to the ballad "The Unfortunate Rake" in the Journal of American Folklore in 1911. He wrote that the complete lyrics were "too vulgar to print here."

In a follow-up article the following year, Barry expanded a little:

"Another form of the ballad of introspection is the homiletic ballad. Of this type is 'The Unfortunate Rake,' current in Ireland as early as 1790, and not yet extinct in England. In its original form, it is the lament of a dissolute soldier, dying in the hospital, who regrets his life of vice, and asks for military honors:

"Muffle your drums, pay your fifes merrily,
Play the dead march as you go along,
And fire your guns right over my coffin,
There goes an unfortunate lad to his home."

Note "lad," not "rake,"in the chorus.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 09:29 PM

Thanks, Lighter. To respond to your posts in reverse order:

I have seen Barry's 2nd article. I didn't mention it before as I was trying to keep it brief.

When he says 'current in Ireland about 1790' he must be referring to the Jewel fragment, which he linked to The Unfortunate Lad in his first article. The date cannot be a coincidence, and I don't know of any other explanation for it. What do you think?

He quotes a 'Don't muffle your drums' final verse, the same one he quotes in his first article, in which he attributed it to Such. But in the second article he doesn't give any source for it. So I'm assuming it's Such again.

I do note the 'lad' in the ending, thanks. But I also note he is calling the song 'The Unfortunate Rake', something he never explains in either article.

He also calls the funeral request 'a request for a military funeral'. This may be where Lloyd gets the idea/way of discussing/summarising the request.

I have looked and looked for information about 'military funerals', and as far as I can find out, there basically was no such thing for your ordinary squaddy, only for famous people eg Dukes and such like.

I know that drums and fifes were military instruments, but asking people to play these (or even a dead march) does not amount to a request for a 'military funeral'. I had several ancestors who were musicians in the army and when they left it they/the ones who survived their service continued to play but this did not make their concerts 'military' occasions, even though the same instruments were used (saxophone in one case!) My point here is that the way people have written about old songs isn't always strictly descriptive.

Re the first post: amazing thoroughness! As far as my own quest for an early song related to 'The Unfortunate Lad' but called The Unfortunate Rake (which I am thinking is doomed), some dead ends.


I think I've come across the wandering harper, which to me has a 19th century sentimental vibe to it, but obviously I am no expert and may be completely wrong. Or I may even have read this somewhere. Happy for further information from anybody kind enough to provide it.


Re the Cambridge University Library: do you suppose they'll dig it out if phoned up? Because I'm itching to see this! Though my guess is that if this was relevant somebody would have dug it out by now, such is the interest that has been shown in this song over the years!

The last one is interesting. Completely new one for me; Canada again, I note. As nobody I have read mentions this one, it cannot be the source of their belief(s) that The Unfortunate Lad was originally called The Unfortunate Rake, even if it was the same song. But we shall never know!

Bishop and Roud have a version in their book of English Folk Songs, and they think the song probably dates from about 1740 but say there is no evidence to support this idea, so I don't know where they pulled this date from. I did think of writing to ask them about it!

Interested that there was a 'different' song called 'The Unfortunate Rake' because I had been thinking it would be surprising if there were not such a song somewere as the Rake was a popular cultural term, fashionable for a while, eg The Rake's Progress cartoons.

Thank you again.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 22 Jun 18 - 10:46 AM

Look at me/ now on the/ high-road to/ ruin,
Money I /scatter and /glasses I /break.
Everyone/ else but the/ maid I'm pur/suin'
Pities, in/deed, the Un/fortunate/ Rake!

These words do have the feel of a jig to them. I've marked where I think the bar lines would come.

If you try to sing the words to a 19th century Unfortunate Lad to this rhythm, it gets a bit tricky. You need a non-syllabic approach to the melody-tune relationship.

Not sure where this thought gets me. Except that maybe it shows how the verse I quoted was probably written by somebody trained in a one syllable per note tradition. But singers working with it may have introduced 'grace notes', depending upon their background, I guess.

Cannot think what I was reading that got me thinking about this word-tune relationship business.

Just for fun, Hogarth's Rakes Progress: date 1733, a time when the word and idea of a 'rake' was in fashion. Not attempting clicky, they never work for me.

https://www.soane.org/collections-research/key-stories/rakes-progress


On the term 'rake', if you're in England and your county library service subscribes to the OED you can read it online by inputting your library card number via the county library service web site (not sure what arrangements there might be in Ireland).


Doing this I learn their earliest use of 'rake' to mean fashionable or stylish man of dissolute or promiscuous habits dates from a poem of 1693 by R Ames. From 1710 the same word was applied to women.
The word as referring to a man appeared in a 'comic opera' published in Dublin by Sheridan in the late 18th century called The Duenna. Goldsmith used it in 1759 referring to a woman.


Wondering if this fits with Unfortunate Rakes tunes/airs dates.


The dictionary shows that following Hogarth's paintings/prints, the phrase 'rakes progress' came into the language.
It's information like this which made me suppose there might be downfall songs about 'rakes' written. The zietgiest (cannot spell this, sorry for not looking it up)


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jun 18 - 10:59 AM

"a time when the word and idea of a 'rake' was in fashion."
It was well established in Ireland at the same time- covered by John Walsh's 'Rakes and Ruffians' (published anonymously in the 1840s)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 22 Jun 18 - 11:31 AM

Just a couple of minor comments:

>> Alex Robb's version had a different opening line:
One night as I walked thro' Caperally

Presumably a corruption of "White Copper Alley".

Apropos the specific title "Unfortunate Rake"; whether or not any particular version uses that phrase rather than "Unfortunate Lad" or anything else, it seems to me an appropriate generic title for many songs of this family, even perhaps extending as far as Gambler's Blues, though not for the classic St James Infirmary, nor the versions where the unfortunate person is female.

Has anyone a better generic title, or are we best to stick to Roud number(s)?

My friend Clive Woolf, who has a liking for these songs, calls them "pox songs".


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Jun 18 - 02:28 PM

The Master Title for Roud 2 will soon, for the Roud Index, be SAILOR CUT DOWN IN HIS PRIME. The reasoning behind this was provided by an EFDSS committee about 10 years ago. My own preference was to use the best-known or earliest broadside title but the criterion I was given was to use the most widely used title in published collections. I have deviated slightly from this where the only known title is simply the first line (very confusing with 'As I rode outs'), then I have provided an editorial title.

Having said that, I still think there is a good case to be made for giving separate numbers to widely differing oecotypes as with this ballad's relatives. Currently the Roud Index doesn't provide for oecotypes, 2A, 2B etc., which is a great pity.

It would be a great surprise to me if there weren't several 'Unfortunate Rake' ballads from the 18th & 19th centuries as the words taken separately occur frequently, 'Unfortunate Maid' etc., and 'Limerick Rake' etc.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 22 Jun 18 - 05:45 PM

Going back to Robert Harwoods book on St James' Infirmary and his comment on Lloyd's 'magical thinking': Harwood ..

First I should say I bought the book and it was worth every penny. The stuff on Don Redman (one who claimed composer-ship at some level), Porter Grainger and on the copyright case brought by 'Joe Primrose' are just a few of the fascinating bits of research. Harwood dug out the papers from the case. That's dedication for you. I really enjoyed it and have read it several times.

What Harwood did not do was go back into the 19th century broadsheets. That wasn't his main interest. Harwood, as I read him, simply takes Goldstein/Lloyd's words for it that the version on the Goldstein LP "IS" a 19th century broadsheet version. If you take that claim at face value, you believe that the words St James Hospital are clearly evidenced in the 19th century UK, whereas they are not. You never see the My Father oft time verse. You see the title 'rake'.

It's not until you start seriously looking for this 19th century rake, tracing back through the references, that you realise that none of the people who claim he exists has seen him or provides a reference to him.

I don't think Harwood meant by magical thinking 'a belief you can bring something into existence by wishing that it exists', which is one sense of the term, as opposed to the sense in which it means fallacious attribution of causation. But in a sense Lloyd *was*, I believe, performing a magic trick. So many people had asserted that the Rake existed; they had traced his offspring, they had even been using him on folklore courses, if we believe what Goldstein says on the liner notes.

Lloyd, as I see it simply made everybody's life easier by miraculously producing the missing ancestor, neatly tailored to have some genetic markers from all over the place.

Hoping to take a break from this now, but still thinking about that Cambridge reference. Hmm. Also have to look up oecotypes. Sounds like something out of Jurassic Park. Or hiccups. :)


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Jun 18 - 06:26 PM

What date is Lloyd supposed to have made up the title 'The Unfortunate Rake'? Laws (Q26) in 1957 states 'is derived from a British broadside called 'The Unfortunate Rake' or 'The Unfortunate Lad'.

Apart from 'The Buck's Elegy' all the broadside copies I have are titled 'TUL' apart from a later issue titled 'The Sailor Cut Down in his Prime' which starts 'One day as I strolled down by the Royal Albion'.
The earlier ones have 'Lock Hospital' and those from later in the century '...……….Hospital'

No St James Infirmary'


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Jun 18 - 07:44 PM

> there basically was no such thing for your ordinary squaddy, only for famous people eg Dukes and such like.

Very true. But "The Buck's Elegy" implies that the victim is a military officer:

"There is Captain — , and likewise Captain Townsend,
    These are the men that shall hold up my pall."

The fifes and drums and gunfire salute all typify a military funeral.

It is just possible, however, that the "buck" is not a military officer but a highwayman. Several 17th-19th century highwaymen assumed the title of "Captain," notably

Captain Gallegher

Captain Will Hollyday

Captain Thunderbolt (at least two of these!)

Captain Lightfoot

Captain Melville

Captain Moonlite

Captain James Freney ("Feeney" in "Barry Lyndon")

Any highway robber styling himself "Captain" might reasonably demand a military-style funeral. And "merrymen" may suggest bandits, not soldiers.

The OED's earliest citation for "buck" ("A gay, dashing fellow; a dandy, fop, ‘fast’ man") is from 1725.

Philips Barry was presumably thinking of "My Jewel, My Joy" when he dated the "Unfortunate Rake" to 1790, but "The Buck's Elegy" (of uncertain    date) may also have been in his mind as a variant of the "same" song. It does have an 18th century feel.

Much, sometimes confusing, discussion at the "Buck's Elegy" thread:

https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=52843


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 23 Jun 18 - 06:16 AM

Hello everybody and thanks for responding to my thoughts. Just as I thought I was done with this for a while.


Can anybody point me to a digitised version of Belden's Ballads and Songs Collected by the Missouri Folk Song Society?

I am not saying that Lloyd personally invented the title 'The Unfortunate Rake'. What I am saying is that he used it for his version because people, and especially people in the USA, whose work he had come across, were calling TUL TUR. He did not use it because he had miraculously found an actual 19th century broadsheet/side of that title. He knew, for example, that Kidson and his co-author had conjectured in 1904 that TUL had originally been sung to a jig called "The Unfortunate Rake". He knew and says that TUL is sometimes referred to as TUR. The only broadside Lloyd refers to is the Such one.

Actually, if you trace back the references from Goldstein's liner notes, it becomes clear that it is in the USA that they are going with the TUR name; the English articles don't use it. An example is the piece by Lodewick referenced by Goldstein on his liner notes to The Unfortunate Rake LP. I found this on JSTOR. Lodewick writes about the 'stall ballad' but all he has seen is a couple of verses quoted by Belden (because they did not like to print the whole thing!!)

Lodewick's article is called 'The Unfortunate Rake and His Descendants' Sorry if I said this before, but he is the first person to state incorrectly that Forde's informant heard My Jewel in Dublin, a mistake repeated a) by Goldstein and b) by Lloyd in his Folk Song in England (where he produces yet another variation on the words as you probably know). Lodewick's 1955 article is, for me, long on imagination and short of references where you most want them. He starts by asserting with no evidence the following: ' …


"The changes that are made in a folk song by environment and other conditions are interesting to trace. The story which connects the old Irish ballad 'The Unfortunate Rake' with the 'Cowboy's Lament' of the American South West - with many offshoots along the way - provides a good example … The history of this song starts, as far as can be ascertained, with the Irish homiletic ballad 'The Unfortunate Rake' which was current in Ireland about 1790. It travelled to England, where a version developed about a woman cut down in her prime.... The earliest version 'The Unfortunate Rake' was a soldier's song. The hero died of syphilis contracted from a camp follower. Almost all armies of that day had a an army of prostitutes and other hangers-on with it, a situation which had been common for many centuries. For identification I will call this by its most popular title, The Unfortunate Rake."

Up to this point, Lodewick does not favour his readers with a single reference. This is an introduction that outlines the argument to follow/sets context as he sees it. It is worth noting that he appears to be in complete ignorance of The Buck's Elegy, which if Bishop and Roud are right about the dating, rivals Jewel as being the earliest version. Lloyd never seems to have seen this either. At this date it was not on the folklorists' radar, and I don't know when it came under that radar, as the story was built up in ignorance of it, which to me, means the story got flawed. But note that date 'about 1790'. And note 'most popular title', not 'actual title as evidenced by x, y and z. No primary source to use the historian's language. Not even a secondary one. What he says about armies of prostitutes is no doubt correct, but where he falls short is in providing any textual evidence to support his argument that this was a camp follower.


Later in the piece, he goes back over the argument with references. He makes it clear that the 1790 date he is referring to is the one provided by Joyce when publishing the Jewel My Joy he found in Forde's papers. Lodewick has decided to call this 'The Unfortunate Rake' and he has decided it was about a camp follower. He has also decided that the pipes would have been 'Irish shoulder pipes'.

I cannot work out which Irish army he believes had camp followers in Dublin at the time (which is where he says the song was collected, when in fact it was Cork). Or maybe he is guessing that the Irishman got the disease abroad on active service? And now he has come home he is asking his 'jewel', whom he has betrayed with a camp follower, to bury him with military honours. Personally I hope she laughed in his face ( and did not catch it from him) for the cheek of it. This interpretation of the fragment makes no sense at all to me. I don't believe it is the same song to be honest. Not even ballad-hacks were that daft, surely?


I hate to muddle things, but I'm going to quote him in full, in case anybody has a copy of Belden, which he uses as a reference at one point. Citing Belden, (if anybody, it isn't entirely clear) whose book appears to be versions collected in Missouri, he says "Other versions are called 'The Unfortunate Rake' and 'The Irish Rake' from Ireland and 'The Rakish Young Fellow', 'St James Hospital' and the 'Rambling Boy' all from England.


He cites Lomax's cowboy songs, and as we know Lomax admitted that he tinkered with these songs.


It's a badly organised article, with unclear and missing citations, conjecture masquerading as fact, and one hopes that if submitted to a proper peer reviewed journal they would have thrown it back at him and told him to sort out conjecture from fact and get his references clearer. He does cite some of the early English Folk Song Society articles we have all read, and on St James Hospital, which he claims is English he cites a Canadian book about songs in Novia Scotia! Later he also cites Sharp in the Appalachians.

Now I am ranting and I apologise.

Another American, Waylon Hand, also referenced on the Goldstein LP says all Belden has is a 'tantalising sketch'. Writing in 1968 Hand says that the full 19th century broadside can now be heard on an LP called The Unfortunate Rake as sung by A L Lloyd. In his dreams. Because I am sure that if Lloyd had found such a thing people would now know where it was, how Lloyd had found it, where it is now. But they don't! Not even Roud has located it. It doesn't in my view exist.


I referred previously to two Lloyd articles on the song. The dates are 47 and 56. By the time he writes the 2nd, he has plainly seen at least the last verse of the Such version, which he mentions by name, as if he has seen the whole thing. Can you explain how to upload images as I might scan them and try so people can read them for themselves. Might, this is time consuming if not very IT literate as myself. Only if you are interested. Better than complicated enquiries via library services!!

To answer your question about the date Lloyd produced his version and called it The Unfortunate Rake. I cannot say if he was singing this prior to recording it, but it first came out in the late 50s on an LP called English Street Songs, once again edited by Goldstein. Sorry don't have exact date. It's mentioned on the Mainly Norfolk Web site. It looks as if it is American issue only, and it must be the version that Waylon Hand had heard when he wrote his article in 1958. Reference available on request.


I cannot help wondering why if everybody believed Lloyd had found a 19th century ballad of that name they did not ask him where it was, how he found it, where they could see it, for a reference. I suppose the answer is that he was trusted and that they did not have the exacting standards of a Steve Roud!



***********************

Sorry if I gave the wrong impression about the military bits. I am happy that the characters, including the one in "Buck's Elegy", are soldiers, and that the instruments have military connotations. I 'researched' them and found that the drum and the pipe/fife (basically a sort of whistle) were used in battle to signal. The high and low pitches respectively used to carry over the noise of battle, which is why they were chosen. For me, the word 'comrade' also implies something military.

The distinction I was making was between a funeral at which your mates bring along their instruments, and a formal event sanctioned/organised/paid for by the military authorities. It seems to me that strictly speaking only the latter would be an actual 'military funeral'. Just because you died while in the service it did not mean the army would expend resources burying you.

Moreover, the military were a bit notorious where the women were concerned. This even crops up, in a genteel way, in novels (eg a Jane Austen character elopes with a 'wicked' soldier who demands money to pay for her).

And when it comes to the 19th century it was explicitly concern about the illness syphillis caused in the armed forces that brought about the building of lock hospitals and the compulsory detention of women thought (not much evidence required) to be prostitutes within these. For me, these laws probably resulted in the rash of later 19th century 'lock hospital' songs, which have been described as 'homiletic' and which fit with the concerns and laws of the time. That is my 'context' for the Such.


It may be pedantic, but I found Lloyd saying something like 'more than military honours', and I don't think this reflects the text at all. It is Lloyd making out that the character is cheerily defiant again.

Yes, I found the one with a blank, instead of lock.

I agree that the OED information is useful in suggesting an earliest possible date for Buck's Elegy. Thanks for this reminder!

Lighter is right that Philips Barry was thinking of My Jewel My Joy. I did track down two articles he wrote using the online JSTOR facility, which is a wonderful source, and also has some early blues pieces that are often mentioned in the 'literature'.

Not sure about the highwayman idea. Interesting, but songs about highwaymen I have read (not many I admit) are usually upfront about this occupation.

Nobody reads long posts, I know this. Sorry. Have a nice day!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 23 Jun 18 - 06:24 AM

Here is a bit about Belden who has a place in the historiography study related to these songs.

http://missourifolkloresociety.truman.edu/belden.html


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 23 Jun 18 - 07:05 AM

It occurs to me that if the chap in My Jewel did get the pox abroad on active service it might have just have been the American War of Independence as Cork was an important port in this battle.
Napoleonic wars seem too late.
I'm joking: I'm not convinced that My Jewel is even in the same family.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 07:10 AM

I have Vic Gammon’s book Desire, Drink and Death in English Folk and Vernacular Song, 1600-1900    (Ashgate, 2008) for a short while on inter-library loan, and very interesting it is.
I wondered whether the sections on death and desire might have anything of relevance to the story of The Unfortunate Lad. I was thinking about actual funeral practices and about ends including funeral requests and how these might be linked.
On venereal disease Mr Gammon quotes the Tarpaulin Jacket, and another song which does not seem linked to the TUL/R.
In a section on songs about abandoned girls, he has a verse (p35/6; source VWML, Broadwood Broadside Collection. Roud 1493) with some resemblance to verses in some TUL-linked songs, from the song Sarah Wilson (AKA Betsy Watson?), which I have seen mentioned before in the context of ‘The Rake Cycle’. A 1959 Goldstein article includes the whole song, citing a USA work by Carrington Cox as saying it is from a broadsheet published in London by P Saul. Cox listed it as a song related to The Cowboy’s Lament/TUR. This song may be interesting to somebody who hasn’t seen it before, so here is an extract from Gammon. The similarity is the request for female pall bearers:

Six pretty maids pray let me have
To bear me to the silent grave;
All cloth’d in white a comely show,
To bear me to the shades below.

Gammon discusses funeral practices and music as part of the context for the funeral hymns that he explores later in the book. Some bits of the C of E funeral service could be sung, but this was mostly psalms. So anything other than that could be regarded as a deviation by a C of E clergyman.

In some places there was a custom of singing over the coffin before its journey to the church began.

Fascinatingly, Gammon (p198) finds evidence that in 1851 observers saw a funeral precession in which maidens wearing white and singing as they went did carry the bier of a deceased girl to her grave, and that it was said the same practice ‘obtains in very many parts of England’. On this basis, the maidens in the lock hospital songs and in Sarah Wilson might possibly reflect actual practice?

Psalms, if anything, were sung during funeral processions. Some specific funeral hymns were written. One such hymn, written in the 1st person, tells people not to mourn as they will be going to heaven eventually. (Reminding me of the Dying Crapshooter’s Blues).


In church, Mozart’s dead march was sometimes played. (Snatches of this appear in some early recorded variants/possible variants of Gambler’s Blues/TUR.) A piece called ‘The Vital Spark’ was popular with some congregations, though clergymen, aware that the words were derived from something pagan, tended to strongly disapprove of this. This song, words originally by Alexander Pope, is mentioned in Bishop and Roud’s book of English folk song.

Gammon finds evidence that some families wanted people to sing over the coffins/graves of their loved ones.

But funerals were expensive and not everybody could afford one.

Poor Law Unions, an early form of local government carried the costs in such cases and provided minimum arrangements. Starting in 1831/2(?), if the family were paupers and could not afford a funeral, the body could legally be seized and used for dissection, with the institution where the person had died collecting a small fee.

Gammon’s main focus is on what he calls the Anglo-Catholicism.
For those of the population who were Dissenters, as were some of my own ancestors, burial and the C of E monopoly of graveyards brought its own problems.

I don’t get the impression that these clergymen would have been very pleased if people turned up with guns and drums and started their own ceremony using these.

Gammon’s book leaves us in no doubt, if we ever were in such doubt, that broadsheets were often used deliberately for propaganda purposes.


On this basis, I believe that the rash (pardon the expression!) of TUL broadsheets in the 2nd half of the 19th century, with their references to ‘lock hospitals’ reflects public policy at the time, which led to the building of many lock hospitals, hospitals which were, it should be remembered, explicitly aimed at women believed to be prostitutes.

I believe that the Victorian audience for TUL would understand that TUL knows he has the disease because his partner is locked up in the lock hospital, not because he has been in there himself. And that partner would have been judged (even if wrongly) by some local official to be a prostitute.

It doesn’t surprise me that the song survived in the armed forces, because that is the group whose infection caused the concern resulting in the Contagious Diseases Acts being passed, and at whom the public policy was aimed. It wouldn't surprise me if it had been handed out with breakfast in an attempt to educate the soldiers.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 08:11 AM

Paupers' funerals continue today;

"Families who must reportedly rely on publicly-funded funerals are told they cannot be at the service. An official at Bracknell Forest Council, in Berkshire, was recorded telling undercover reporters that relatives would not even be told when the burial or cremation was taking place, according to The Sunday Times. “There’s no attendees, no keeping of the ashes,” the official is reported to have said. “Nobody’s invited, you don’t have any say at all.”

So there won't be any singing either.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 02:48 PM

Not even 'Out, Demons Out!'?


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 05:27 PM

That is a possibility, especially if you have political demons in mind.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 01:50 AM

Henry, I did have political demons in mind. For some reason, when I read your post an old Edgar Broughton band song sprang into my head. I put it down to this darned hot weather.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 03:57 AM

Some folk songs have themes that remain stubbornly relevant in today's society.

"Sexual health clinics 'at tipping point' after Government cuts and huge rise in demand, councils warn. Charities say under-funding is likely to lead to more people contracting sexually transmitted infections."

Unfortunate indeed.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 04:26 AM

As I was a walking down by the Special Clinic
As I was a walking there I realised
That the notice outside that said 'Virgin'
Meant not pure, but that's it privatised.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 04:31 AM

Well, one thing I didn't expect to see in this thread was a reference to Edgar Broughton.

That apart, good work Karen in carrying on digging. The exposé of Lloyd's claims was very thorough.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Reinhard
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 04:31 AM

Brian, I just bought the album "Deep River of Song - Black Texicans" on iTunes. Ironhead Baker's St James Hospital begins mid in the second line exactly as the Youtube copy from the album and both have the same duration of 2:11. So there's no extra Youtube editing/deleting.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 07:50 AM

In case you haven't seen it I put a chronological list of articles on the thread about Belden and the Rake.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 01:47 PM

Two versions I forgot - both recorded by us from Irish Travellers
Jim

Peggy Delaney (nee McCarthy) Caheciveen Kerry

On a fine summer's morning as I went out walking,
On a fine summer's morning I happened to stray,
It was up to Kilver Hospital to see my fine daughter
Wrapped up in red flannen (flannel) as cold as the clay.

Send for my mother and tell her I'm dying,
Send for the doctor and make no delay,
Six little maidens for to lead me on their shoulders
And they played the dead march as they take me away."

There were six little maidens for to lead her on their shoulders
And they played the dead march as they took her away.
He was my defaulter, he was my deceiver,
He brought me to destructions and now on my clay,

Here lies the body of one who was handsome,
Here lies the body of one who was gay,
Here lies the body of poor Hannah Franklin
That died for the young man that led her astray.

B   Cowboy Shot In North Long    (Laws B1) (Roud 2)
Mary Delaney Cashel Tipperary (tape) 79)   

I roamed to Tipperary one evening on sunset,
The nightingale whistled the merrily birds sing,
Bring me over Tipperary and leave me down easy,
I am yet the young cowboy was shot in North Long

Did anybody write to my dearest poor old mother?
Did anybody write to my sister so gay?
Come and bring me a cup of that pure Christian water,
I’m a dashing young cowboy and I’m dying today.

There goes a cowboy in his whole suit of linen,
In his whole suit of linen as cold as the clay,
If you give him a drop of the pure Christian water
He's a brave dashing cowboy and he's dying today.

Let six jolly cowboys come carry my coffin,
Six jolly more come and march by my side,
Let each of them carry a bunch of wild roses,
Let them know I’m gay cowboy was shot in the wrong.

Come play the drums merrily and play the drums slowly,
Play then the dead march as we go along,
When he came to it the spirit departed,
And it flew from the heart of the cowboy so gay.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 02:35 PM

Thank you very much for posting these, Jim!
The first version from Peggy Delaney is very interesting, it's like a missing link between the Newfoundland version "Annie Franklin" (even the name is very similar) and Tom Lenihan's Irish version.
Annie Franklin (Collected by Kenneth Peacock)

I think that the existance of Peggy Delaney's Irish version with that ending verse makes an Irish origin for Lenihan's version more believable.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 03:00 PM

Kevin
I'm pretty sure that Annie (or Hannah Franklin appears in one of the 19th century Scots collections - 'Pedlar's Pack' maybe
I'll check later (while I'm catching up on Holby City)
Jim


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 07:26 AM

Thanks for sharing these songs, Jim.

The Cowboy Shot in Long North is fascinating. Where is Long North, and do they have 'cowboys' there? Is it in or near Tipperary? Also, the mention of writing to his mother and his sister, in the context of widespread traveller non-literacy, jumped out at me.

The first one reminds me a bit of the Sarah Wilson songs, about jilted/disappointed women.

Just informal thoughts, not advancing any theory here.

Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 08:04 AM

I'm just guessing here, but "Will you bring me to Tipperary and lay me down easy" and similar phrases in Irish Traveller versions seem to be based on "Will you carry me to the prairie" as it often appears in the "Streets of Laredo" versions.

Jim, do you remember hearing any cowboy songs from Travellers?
I remember reading somewhere that cowboy songs where quite popular with Travellers.

It looks like the cowboy song "Streets of Laredo" has influenced the earlier "Soldier Cut Down" versions in Traveller repertoires.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 08:35 AM

"Jim, do you remember hearing any cowboy songs from Travellers?"
Not cowboy songs as such - plenty of modern Country and Western from the youngsters
Mary's version is interesting as it is very much her own somewhat confuse rendition
Knocklong is a reference to a rebel song entitled 'The Station of Knocklong' (in Limerick, not too far from the Limerick/Tipperary Border - the scene of a song about an ambush durig the War of independence - The Station of Knocklong')
Mary's life would furnish the a plot for a Dostoyevsky novel; she was blind from birth and brought up her sixteen children on the road, for part of her life, without a husband.
She loved singing and sucked up songs like a vacuum cleaner - entirely orally
She had a large repertoire which she usually remembered on request, but each time the songs came out slightly differently
When she chose to leave the road and into a squalid council flat in Hackney, our visits to her were like sitting next to an emotional volcano - she poured all her misery, anger and (for that period) loneliness into each song - on numerous times she broke down emotionally when she sang (she also fell about laughing at her comic songs)
A truly creative singer.
Listen to her 'Buried in Kilkenny' if it's on the web - I'm pretty sure that was recorded when she was in Hackney.

The was one of those who discriminated between her different types of song
The called those we would refer to as 'folk' as, "me daddy's songs" (when we recorded him he only knew six, mainly fragments) - she was talking about a type of song rather than actual songs.
She could have doubled her repertoire with her C and W songs, but she refued
She told us, "They're not the ones we're talking about - I only remember them 'cause that's what tha lads ask for in the pub"
Shwe was from Cashel, in Tipperary, by the way.

Now look what you've done - you've got me started
Jim


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 08:57 AM

Thank you for this background on Mary Delaney, Jim.
It's wonderful to hear memories of a singer like these from the man who met and recorded that singer.

'She had a large repertoire which she usually remembered on request, but each time the songs came out slightly differently'

That's something I noticed with many recordings of Travellers, many singers never sang a song the same way twice.
It's as if they don't have a fixed version of a song in mind, they put it together from stock phrases fitting the story on the spot each time they sing it.

I have heard Mary's version of "The Kilkenny Louse House", I think it's a great example of her sense of humor.
I'm sure it was quite the experience recording her.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 09:38 AM

"I have heard Mary's version of "The Kilkenny Louse House", I think it's a great example of her sense of humor."
It took us four goes to record that - seh broke down laughing each time she sang it
The same with 'Donnelly' (a version of 'Jolly Tinker)
One of the things about her songs was, by the time we started recording her, they had fallen out of fashion so she jumped at the chance of a captive audience
We were introduced to her while she was stopping on a field in West Drayton, west of London.
When we asked her for songs she was sitting at the bottom of the field on a chair - she immediately began to sing '
a version of 'Famous Flower of Serving Men' and by the time we reached her trailer she had sung parts of three
I recorded them as we walked on a Uher slung across my shoulder
The recordings are punctuated by trains going past - the field was on the main line to the West Country
Good memories
Jim


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 06:22 PM

More speculative discussion here, most of it familiar, much of it dubious:

https://www.earlyblues.com/Essay%20-%20Tracing%20The%20Origins%20of%20Dying%20Crapshooters%20Blues%20-%20Chapter%20II.htm


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 03:43 AM

The Crapshooter's Blues has a funeral request that is very close to "The Unfortunate Lad" and Blind Willie McTell's version also has the "head is aching, heart is breaking" line found in many versions of "Bad Girls Lament".

I think it's relationship to "Unfortunate Lad" is more obvious than that of "St. James' Infirmary".

Here are the interesting parts from Crapshooter's Blues:

Sixteen real good crapshooters
Sixteen bootleggers to sing a song
Sixteen racket men gamblin'
Couple tend bar while i'm rollin' along

He wanted 22 womens outta the Hampton Hotel
26 off-a South Bell
29 women outta North Atlanta
Know little Jesse didn't pass out so swell

His head was achin', heart was thumpin'
Little Jesse went to hell bouncin' and jumpin'
Folks, don't be standin' around ole Jesse cryin'
He wants everybody to do the charleston whilst he dyin'


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 06:23 AM


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 07:37 AM

Absolutely agree with Lighter about the essay he found. Some of it is plain wrong. The record store owner McTell sang it to was white, not African American. Admixture of knowledge and guesswork. The author gives 1940 as his birthdate on that same site, and the essay is dated at 1989. So presumably this is undergraduate work by mature student.


Also agree with Kevin's 'head aching' point.

Whatever Samuel Charters said about it, Blind Willie McTell didn't write that song. It was written by Porter Grainger, who registered the copyright in July 1927. I'm sure Grainger knew of the tradition and drew on it for the words. Not the tune though.

It seems that Samuel Charters did not do his research on that one, even if he did correctly perceive a link to Streets of Loredo!

McTell modifies the words and simplifies the harmonic structure, so that his version sounds a lot less like a professionally composed vaudeville/tin-pan alley song. Don't get me wrong: I like McTell's version, and most of his stuff, but I don't believe he wrote it. He 'made it his own', adding local colour and doing away with bits you could see as 'moralistic'. Rather like Lloyd did with his version in a way! McTell adds local colour too relating to Atlanta Georgia.


Porter Grainger also wrote the score for a Harlem African American performance of Macbeth that Orson Wells put on. Interesting character.

For more on Crapshooter, Harwood's book on St James' Infirmary seems to me to be a good source. And there is a book on McTell by Michael Gray.

The song was released in 4 different versions and, if I remember aright, a piano roll in the same year. Given that these 'Blues queens' who recorded it made their money largely by touring, not from recording, the song would likely have been taken round the country. Also sheet music would have been sold, this was a big part of the business. Grainger also wrote songs recorded by Clara Smith and Victoria Spivey.

The funeral request does seem to be the main link. I think, on the basis of reading Harwood, including his account of the St James Infirmary copyright case, and taking into account the appearance of songs in Sandburg's songbook, that various versions were being played by touring bands definitely in the early 20s and possibly before that.


This is speculative, but in Crapshooter the character begins with J (Jim Johnson) and so do other variants (Old Joe, St James). I have just this minute realised that Jim (as in Jim Johnson) is diminutive of James, so that is another link.

Another link is the embedding of a first person narrative within another narrative, though the first narrative is 3rd person not the first person of the early TUL.


Also, the early versions tend to have 'I know I done wrong' endings which this song also has. They mention the dead march in some early versions. On the Martha Copeland version the band actually plays a snatch of it. Quite a few links.

Even on the recorded versions the words differ slightly. Overall, the original words seems to me to reflect a Calvinistic predestination view of the human condition, but that is just me, on the basis of 'The devil told me what to do'.


I believe that gangster funerals in 1920s New York could be very well-attended affairs; maybe the song reflects that.

These are the words on the Martha Copeland version. You can hear it free on Spotify. Interesting to see which bits McTell added over the years and which bits he left out. (NB Mc Tell sang it slightly differently each time).

Jim Johnson gambled night and day
With crooked cards and dice.   
A simple man, without a soul,
His heart was cold as ice.

He said: ‘I feel so doggone blue
I want to die today
The devil told me what to do
But I ain’t had my say

I want you all to know
The way I want to go.

I want eight crapshooters for my pall bearers
And let them all be dressed in black
Nine men going to the graveyard
And only eight men coming back.

I want a jazz band on my coffin
A chorus girl on my hearse
And don’t say one good word about me
For my life’s been a doggone curse

Send poker players to the graveyard
To dig my grave with the ace of spades.
Have police in my funeral march
While the warden leads the parade.

I want the judge who jailed me 14 times
To put a pair o’ dice in my shoes.                           
Then let a deck of cards be my tombstone,
I’ve got the dying crapshooter’s blues

(Spoken) Oh, I ain’t never been on the level
Now I’m dying, I’m going to the devil

My head’s aching, my heart’s thumping.
I’m going down below, bouncing and a jumping

Don’t be standing round me crying;
I want everybody to Charleston (Charleston music here) while I’m dying –
One foot up and a toenail dragging.

Throw me in that hoodoo wagon
Mr Devil, stand outside -
I’ve got the dying crapshooter’s blues' (snatch of Dead March)


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 08:02 AM

When I say 'I know I done wrong' ending in the Crapshooters, I don't mean literally, I mean the sentiment/theme, in the Crapshooter this is developed in terms of going to hell and being controlled by the devil. I read a novel by Scottish folklorist/tradition bearer Margaret Hogg's son, James, which develops this belief via a character. James Hogg also collected folk songs, working with Scott. He played fiddle.
Sorry, going off at a tangent. Too much sun. Bring back winter!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 08:53 AM

> Nine men going to the graveyard
   And only eight men coming back.

This couplet also appears in at least one 1920s version of "Frankie and Johnny."


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 08:57 AM

Yes, Lighter. It does. It's like a 'floating line'.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 09:36 AM

Kevin: I take your point about limited resemblance of Crapshooters to St James as opposed to TUL. But in terms of music and tone, I see some links between the original Crapshooters to the earliest version of St James. Just my personal response, of course. As I've said, though I make no claims to be any good, I am not a singer, more of a musician and music communicates.

It's partly about humour.

If you listen to Fess William's Gambler's Blues (which is an earlier version of St James' Infirmary, very similar chord sequence, copyrighted by people who kept out of the copyright legal battle) it is spoken/sung by a man who, I believe, did comedy, the spoken parts by the band are comical, and there is musical humour in the arrangement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnrT2U_pA0k

Listen to the bit after 'jazz band on my hearse'. The same joke is in Martha Henderson's Crapshooters, albeit it expressed in different music.

Gambler's Blues as done by Fess Wiliams also has the dead march at the end, the same dead march mentioned in TUL. Ditto the Copeland Crapshooters. I imagine both versions may spring from stuff being played on the circuit and people taking up an idea and running with it. Just a guess.

Just listened again to the Armstrong Savoy Ballroom Five version; you forget how well he could sing. It is very good. In the 2nd early version by Armstrong, the slower one, he giggles in a couple of places, I think he is playing a character, probably a pimp, as Harwood and others have suggested.   

Another ludicrously hot day! Staying indoors with curtains shut.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 10:53 AM

Now this has nothing to do with the Unfortunate Lad whatsoever, but one thing I noticed is that the chorus of "St James' Infirmary Blues" also exists as a separate song.

Here's an example of this chorus, from Carl Sandburg's American Songbag "Those Gambler Blues":

Let her go, let her go, God bless her,
Wherever she may be;
There'll never be another like her,
There'll never be another for me.

Here's an example of a song with that floating verse:
If He's Gone Let Him Go, God Bless Him - Ollie Gilbert, Mountain View, Arkansas on May 26, 1969

Verse:
If he's gone let 'im go, God bless 'im
Wherever he may be
He may roam this wide world over
He'll find no other like me

No Girl Like Me - Holly Hodges, Prairie Grove, Ark. Dec. 17, 1960

Verse:
Since he's gone, let him go, God bless him
He is mine wherever he may be
He may ramble Arkansas over
And he'll find no girl like me.

Here's another, from Doug Wallin's "Let her Go, Let her Go" on the album "Far in the Mountains - Volume 5 (MTCD513)":
Let her go, let her go, God bless her
She’s nothing no more to me
For God in Heaven knows, love
It’ll be alright some day

The verse may have originated with the song "Fare You Well Cold Winter", also known as "Farewell He", here are some examples:
Adieu to Cold Winter - Mr. Frank Pool, Fayetteville, Arkansas on January 6, 1958

Verses:
If he's gone, let him go
Let him sink or let him swim
If he don't care for me
I'm sure I don't for him
And I wish himself a fortune
And myself, a better grace
And I'll catch another
In a fair and closer place

Reba Jenkins, Wheatland, Missouri on January 27, 1973

Verse:

My love is on the ocean
He can sink or he can swim
He don't care for me
An' I'm sure I don't for him
There's plenty more without him
As nice young me as he
An' I can find another
Since he's gone back on me

Let Him Go, Let Him Tarry - Tom Lenihan, Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay, Ireland, March 1988

Verse:
Let him go, let him tarry, let him sink or let him swim.
He doesn't care for me, nor I don't care for him.
He can go and get another, I hope he will enjoy,
For I'm going to marry a far nicer boy.

There's yet another song from the British Isles, "Go and Leave Me / Fond Affection / Dear Companion" which has a similar verse:

From the Carter Family's version of "Dear Companion":
Just go and leave me if you wish to
It will never trouble me
For in your heart you love another
And in my grave I'd rather be

From Percy Webb's "Go and Leae Me" on the album "King's Head Folk Club (MTCD356-7)":
So go and leave me if you wish, love
Never let me cross your mind
For if you think I'm so unworthy
Go and leave me I don't mind

I know this is probably meaningless, it's just a floating verse, after all, but I wanted to point it out.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 01:21 PM

Kevin

Wow! I had believed that this verse came from another song, I think Robert Harwood (in his I Went Down To St James Infirmary) says this, but I did not realise that it appeared so many times, and all over the place. I think I can add a few more to the list.

For example, Harwood cites a 1908 'Songs of the Cowboys' edited by Jack Thorp, which includes Loredo/Cowboy's Lament type songs including one with this verse:


My curse let it rest, let it rest on the fair one
Who drove me from friends that I loved and from home
Who told me she loved me just to receive me
My curse rest on her wherever she roam.

I guess Harwood is pointing out the 'wherever she roam' bit.

Then he cites a later, longer version of the same volume, dated 1966 Eds A & A Fife. In that there appears a song called 'St James Infirmary', allegedly sent in a letter dated 1926 from Terence Mackay to Thomas Winslow Gordon (who is famous...). This should have been in my chronology..

The song starts with St James Infirmary, and the 2nd verse is

If she's gone, let her go God bless her
For she's mine wherever she may be
You may search this wide world over
You'll never find such a one as she.

The phrasing of that sounds a bit 'literary' to me in terms of its diction/grammar. Where I wonder did MacKay get it?

The song ends with a reference to hell and the need for ice to cool him when he gets there, linking across to Crapshooters'

In 1925 Texas, according to an informant of collector Dorothy Scarborough, a song about 'John Seley's Hospital' had a verse along similar lines, and was widely sung by African Americans. NB I once looked into this and discovered that while the cowboys in the films we used to see where almost always white, there were in fact a great many African-American cowboys, often descendents of slaves used in the business who therefore had skills and could get work.

Harwood says a song called She's Gone, Let Her Go appeared in a 1902 Harvard University Glee Club book. Harvard, the home of Child etc etc. He says this is a 'parlour song'.

Harwood says a lot more. It's an interesting read.

Did I say that 'sweet man' as in St James is sometimes said to be a term for a 'pimp'. Probably. Sorry for repetition if so. I wonder what Armstrong sang when he was not on his best behaviour for the recording companies.

Excuse typos, typing quickly with book on knee.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 03:32 PM

Your additions are interesting as always, Karen.
For completeness sake, here is the text that mentions "John Seley's Hospital", it was originally posted to mudcat by Frank Staplin in 2007:

HOW SAD WAS THE DEATH OF MY SWEETHEART
(Negro folk song; Scarborough, 1925)

I went to John Seley's hospital;
The nurse there she turned me around.
She turned me around, yes, so slowly,
An' said, "The poor girl is sleepin' in the ground."

I was walkin' down Walnut Street so lonely,
My head it was hanging so low.
It made me think of my sweetheart,
Who was gone to a world far unknown.

Refrain:
Let her go, let her go.
May God bless her, wherever she may be.
She is mine.
She may roam this wide world over
But she will never fin' a man like me.

While walkin' I met her dear mother,
With her head hangin' low as was mine.
"Here's the ring of your daughter, dear mother,
And the last words as she closed her eyes:

"Take this ring, take this ring,
Place it on your lovin' right hand.
And when I am dead and forgotten
Keep the grass from growing on my grave."

Obtained from a 'young Galveston Negro, a student at Straight College, New Orleans'. Worth Tuttle Hedden, the collector, said it was rather widely sung among the Negroes in Galveston. John Seley Hospital is (or was) in Galveston.
p. 94, Dorothy Scarborough, 1925, "On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs," Harvard University Press. Facsimile 1963, Folklore Associates, Inc.

What's noteworthy about this version is that it makes no mention of gambling or pimps at all, it has a rather different feel.
It's almost as if the over-the-top, vulgar Gambler's Blues is a parody of this song.


I have uploaded some of my favourite recordings of "St. James' Infirmary Blues" to soundcloud.
I'm not sure if I could run into copyright issues with these old recordings, but I'll just add them and then we'll see whether they stay or disappear.

The earliest known appearance of the common St. James' Infirmary tune, as part of a dance tune called "Charleston Cabin", recorded in 1924:
Charleston Cabin (1924) - Whitey Kaufman & His Original Pennsylvania Serenaders
Second recording:
Charleston Cabin (1924) - Carolina Club Orchestra

The Fess Williams version, recorded in 1927:
Gambler's Blues (1927) - Fess Williams
I really like this one, it adds a comical touch to the song.

Here's Buell Kazee's version, recorded in 1929:
Gambling Blues (1929) - Buell H. Kazee
His version has a different tune and does not mention the name of the infirmary.

Here's Roy Harvey's version, recorded in 1931:
Gambling Blues (1931) - Roy Harvey
Seems to be a cover of Kazee's version.

Now here's a treat, the Hokum Boys version, recorded in two variants in 1929:
Gambler's Blues (1929) - The Hokum Boys
Gambler's Blues No. 2 (1929) - The Hokum Boys
This is my favourite version, I love it! I only wish the recording was a little less noisy, but what can you do.

Here's Mattie Hite's version, recorded in 1930:
St. Joe's Infirmary (1930) - Mattie Hite
Another fantastic early version. I slowed it down slightly, I always thought that the original recording was a little too fast.

Now here's a field recording of "St. James' Infirmary Blues" made by John A. Lomax in Atlanta, Georgia in 1934:
St. James Infirmary (1934) - Jesse Wadley
Pretty interesting version, it has the rare "shot down by a big cannonball" verse which is also found in the Hokum Boys version.

Here's Sam Hinton's version, recorded in 1947:
St. James Infirmary (1947) - Sam Hinton
I like this recording for some reason. Not as over-the-top as many other versions. It also has the "cannonball" verse, but I don't know the origin of Hinton's text.

And finally, here's Dock Boggs' version, recorded in 1965:
Old Joe's Barroom (1965) - Dock Boggs
Can't say that I'm a big fan of this one, but I never expected to hear Dock Boggs sing this song, so out of curiousity I decided to include it.

That's all, I tried to include some of the lesser known recordings, so no Louis Armstrong for now. Maybe some of you will discover a nice version they haven't heard before.

Have fun!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 04:59 PM

Here's one additional recording.

Philip Kazee, the son of Buell H. Kazee also recorded the song in 1995:
Gamblin' Blues (1995) - Philip Kazee
From "Rocky Island" Berea College Appalachian Center ?– AC006.

The booklet notes contains this interesting tidbit regarding Buell Kazee's version:

In any case, the family ballad book reveals that Buell depended upon a second book by Wyman and Brockway (Twenty Kentucky Songs) as well as Carl Sandburg’s American Songbag even during his first recording session (specifically, “Sporting Bachelors” and “Gambler’s Blues”). In many instances, he probably used these sources as a means of filling out songs with which he was already familiar.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 06:41 PM

"Harvard University Songs," Compiled by E. F. DuBois (Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1902), p. 72:

SHE'S GONE LET HER GO

They say true love is a blessing,
But the blessing I never could see,
For the only girl that I ever loved
Has done gone back on me.

[Chorus:]               
She has gone let her go, God bless her,
For she's mine where-ever she may be,
You may roam this wide world all over,
But you'll never find a friend like me.

There may be a change in the weather,
There may be a change in the sea,
There may be a change all over,
But there'll never be a change in me.


The tune doesn't sound to me at all like any of those we've been discussing.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 07:31 PM

Thanks for posts. I also like the Fess Williams, as I say elsewhere, maybe on the Belden/Unfortunate Rake thread.

Harwood suggests that the cannonball line may be a 'corruption' (my word not his) of 'bar-room brawl'. Fairly good idea, I think.

I am noting how 'floating verses' or 'floating lines' crop up both in US blues and English folk music. It seems to have been a standard thing, rather like they say some musical improvisers draw on a repertoire of micro bits for their solos.

I've heard the Whitey Kaufman; Harwood mentions it. Whitey Kaufman most probably was Jewish: he certainly copyrighted a piece called Yiddish Lullabye with Roy Reber (listed as composer of Charleston Cabin) and George Peace (I have a book called 'Funny, It Doesn't Sound Jewish by Jack Gottlieb). Now this is where it gets really multi-cultural. Listen to the tune of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSU0UG4VSEI


There is more discussion of this here:

https://nonotes.wordpress.com/2006/03/24/charleston-cabin-a-fresh-mystery/

You may know all this, I'm sure somebody will have been through it all on these threads before. Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 30 Jun 18 - 09:22 AM

So the St James Infirmary tune may have originated with Klezmer music?
That's amzing, it's the first time I've heard of that connection.

I wish I'd knew the name of the Yiddish tune, to take this research one step further.
It sure is fascinating how far both tune and words of St James Infirmary have travelled.
Despite quickly becoming a very commercial song it has all the makings of a folk song.

It reminds me a bit of Willie the Weeper in that regard.

Regarding the "cannonball" verse, it usually runs something like this:

I may die out on the deep blue ocean,
I may be shot by a big cannonball,
Now if you follow me to the end of my story,
You'll find a woman was the cause of it all.

Cannonball always seemed a bit out of place to me (even with the mention of the ocean), maybe it really is a corruption of bar room brawl.
I often wondered whether the expression "a woman was the cause of it all" was a hint that both he and his woman also died of veneral disease, like in the Unfortunate Lad.

Just some food for thought.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 30 Jun 18 - 09:24 AM

I'm stupid, the tune is called "Shalom Aleichem".


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 30 Jun 18 - 09:38 AM

Sorry for posting three times, but here's a video that allows for easy comparison of the tune:
Hewenu Shalom Alechem - Youtube
Hevenu Shalom Alejchem - Tune
Hevenu Shalom Alejchem - Info

I wish I could find anything on the origin of this tune, or early recordigs of it, but no luck so far.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 30 Jun 18 - 11:36 AM

> I may die out on the deep blue ocean,
I may be shot by a big cannonball

Ref (in pop terms) to WW1?   (Cannonballs were obsolete by then, but there were plenty of submarines.)


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 30 Jun 18 - 12:40 PM

I managed to surprise Kevin! I was expecting people would have heard of tis. I *think* it comes up in Robert Harwood's blog somewhere. I accept that we'll never know for sure if Kaufman lifted a trad song for his Charleston Cabin. But I'm fairly convinced he did, consciously or not, and that his Charleston Cabin, which was widely recorded, was in turn nicked for SJI.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 30 Jun 18 - 01:04 PM

That reminds me that I really need to buy a copy of Harwood's book.
I found the following early text on his website which makes the cannonball confusion clear, it is indeed gambling house brawl in this version.
"Old Time Gambler's Song" - St. James Infirmary in 1926.
Lyrics to "Old Time Gambler's Song"

This text was sent by Terence McKay to Robert Winslow Gordon in a letter dated April 5, 1926

Old Time Gambler's Song

I dreamed I went down to St. James Infirmary
Thought I saw my baby lying there;
Laid out on a clean white table,
So pale and yet so fair.

If she's gone, let her go, God bless her,
For she's mine wherever she may be;
You may search this wide world over
You'll never find another pal such as she

I may die out on the ocean
Be shot down in a gambling house brawl;
But if you follow me to the end of my story
You'll find a blonde was the cause of it all

When I die just bury me in a box back suit,
Blue shirt, roller hat, pair of shoes with toes so tall;
Put whiskey in my coffin, deck of cards in my hand;
Don't let them weep and wail, don't let them moan at all.

Put marihuana in my coffin,
Smoke it as you carry me along;
Take even rolling crap shooters for pall bearers,
Coke sniffers to sing my funeral song.

Put a twenty dollar gold piece on my watch charm
So the boys'll all know I'm standing pat;
Put ice on my feet, for in that place where I'm going
I won't even be cool with that.

Just carve it on my tombstone
In letters bold and black,
"Here lies an old time gambler,
Pray God won't you please bring him back!"

From "Songs of the Cowboys" (1966) by Austin E. and Alta S. Fife.

The references to marihuana and coke sniffers are interesting, looks like this bit was tamed down for the later commercially recorded versions.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 12:10 AM

Kevin, there's nothing Yiddish about Hevenu Shalom Aleichem – it's Hebrew, and Israeli. Although it appears that it actually traces back to a German cigarette advertisement where "Wir rauchen Salem Aleikum" ["We smoke (a brand of cigarette called) Salem Aleikum"] was sung to the tune now associated with Hevenu Shalom Aleichem. Type "Wir rauchen Salem Aleikum" into the internet (if you're interested) to trace this back.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 02:57 AM

Many thanks Gerry.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 04:44 AM

Thank you very much for the clarification, Gerry.
I first assumed that it was a Klezmer song because Karen's video was of a Klezmer band and it was the tune only without words.

I couldn't find any recordings of the cigarette advertisement song, but searching for it led me to more recordings of the traditional words.

Here's a website that has several recordings of the song to the tune that interests us:
https://www.zemereshet.co.il/song.asp?id=3152&artist=1852

And here's a recording of the words to another (presumably the older) tune:
https://www.zemereshet.co.il/song.asp?id=10987

And a quick google translation to English:

According to Eliahu Hacohen, in a lecture entitled "The Book of My Childhood Poems," the source of the melody in an advertisement for "Salam Alikum" cigarettes in Germany by a Turkish band. A Russian presentation on the web gives the full story. Here is the translation of the subtitles by Uri Yaakobovitch: 1. "We brought Shalom Aleichem." Background of one song; 2. German orientalism; 3. Synagogues; 4. Industrial buildings; 5. "The Tobacco Mosque", Ynidze *; 6. Architecture and Nazism; 7. Turkish tobacco; 8. Photographs of three boxes of cigarettes "Salaam Aleikum"; 9. German advertisement for Salaam Aleikum; 10. German radio. All Germany hears the Fuhrer from the shelter; 11. We smoke "salam alikum" (3X). We smoke salaam, salaam, salam alikum; 12. Soviet dissidents, let's go south and north! Fear and terror for enemies! And that Golda Meir will lead us to the one-eyed war god Moshe Dayan; 13. Back to the commercial: Israir flight from Berlin to Israel.
[*] The "Tobacco Mosque" in Binzedze was an Oriental cigarette factory established in the Jewish Dresden by Hugo Zietz.

Eliahu Hacohen (born 1935) told the same lecture that learned the Hebrew song already in kindergarten. The words (in the first person only) with the appropriate rehearsals were found in Aya Ruppin's private notebook, where the songs around him were put in place around 1939. The melody was found in print in an American poem for Jewish soldiers in World War. The "Davar" newspaper documented the song "We brought Shalom Aleichem" in various contexts, the earliest ones: a demonstration against the Mandate authorities (24.12.1945), the absorption of illegal immigrants (June 10, 1946), a toddler's song to Tom (June 20, 1947) A new moshav in the Negev (24.3.1952), and for the first time in artistic performance - the Polytek Choir from Finland (31.3.1952).

Additional Performance:

    Ahuva Zadok
    The Ran Singing Group
    Eartha Kitt
    Sabra Disco (Gali Atari, Tzruya Lahav, Riki Manor and Nava Baruchin) (1976)
    Sexta (also a disco style)
    The "Am Yisrael" group (first song in Rosary)
    Dancers and musicians from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance greet the Taglit Birthright Israel delegation at Ben Gurion Airport (June 2018, video)

See "We brought Shalom Aleichem" in another melody.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 05:21 AM

Just remembered ANOTHER SLANT TO THIS SONG
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 05:49 AM

Thanks for that one, Jim.

That's the first time I've seen a version where the Sailor/Soldier has become a Rebel.
However, the references to "flash girls" as the cause of death are still there.

Here's another Irish recording that I have heard, "The Sailor Cut Down in his Prime" on "Sarah Makem: As I Roved Out (Musical Taditions (MTCD353-5)" and also on "Ulster's Flowery Vale (1969 ) BBC Radio Enterprises ?– REC 28M".

It's a fairly standard version, much like the English "Sailor Cut Down" texts.

Here's the transcription, taken from the booklet notes:
https://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/makem.htm

1 - 7 The Sailor Cut Down in his Prime (Roud 2, Laws Q26)
Recorded by Michael O'Donnell, 1968

As I went a walking
Down by the Royal Avenue
Dark was the morning
And cold was the day
Who did I meet -
Only one of my shipmates
Wrapped in a blanket
More colder than clay.

He asked for a candle
To light him to bed
Also some flannel
To tie round his head
His poor head was aching
His poor heart was breaking
For he was a sailor
Cut down in his prime.

At the foot of the street
You will see two girls standing
Says the one to the other
"Here comes a young man
Here comes a young sailor
Whose money we squandered
Here comes a young sailor
Cut down in his prime. "

His poor aged father
His poor aged mother
Often they told him
Of his past life
Along with his flash girls
His money they squandered
Along with his flash girls
That was his delight.

So beat the drums o'er him
And play the fife lively
And sound the Dead March
As we carry him along
Lay him in the church yard
Fire three volleys o'er him
For he was a sailor
Cut down in his prime.

An extremely popular and widespread song throughout these islands and North America - in fact, almost two thirds of Roud's 355 entries are from the USA. There are only 8 Irish instances, accounting for just 4 singers - Mary Doran, Bill Cassidy, Tom Lenihan, and Sarah's is the only one available on CD. It's an old song, but doesn't appear in many broadsides (only 15), though it has been included in a few books - 154 to be exact!

There are 106 sound recordings, and those by: Harry Brazil (MTCD345-7); Harry Holman (MTCD309-10); Bob Hart (MTCD301-2); Bill Ellson (MTCD320); Hobert Stallard (MTCD344); Texas Gladden (Rounder CD1500); Fred Jordan (VTD148CD); Johnny Doughty (TSCD662); Harry Upton (TSCD652); Viv Legg (VT153CD); Moses 'Clear Rock' Platt and James 'Ironhead' Baker (Rounder CD1821) remain available on CD.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 06:30 AM

One of the anomalies in some Gambler's Blues versions is the change from the singer (or the reported speaker in the bar) seeing the girl's body to making requests for his own funeral. That is much better handled in the Fess Williams version, first by the inclusion of a verse about the girl's funeral and then by starting the next verse "Now, when I die ...".

Another of the anomalies is the juxtaposition of the girl being dead with the verse about her searching the wide world over. Some of the versions cited above make much better sense with words about searching the wide world over and not finding another like her.

As with many folk songs, sometimes they make sense and sometimes they don't, but that seems not to have bothered the singers.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 08:25 AM

It really looks like St James Infirmary Blues is a (slightly incoherent) amalgam of elements from several songs.

My thoughts on it:
- The "Old Joe's Barrom" opening may have been inspired by "Tom Sherman's Barrom / The Cowboy's Lament".

- The "St. James' Infirmary" verses about seeing his girl dying in the hospital may have come from Scarborough's "John Seley's Hospital" song (where the story makes more sense), or even from "The Bad Girls Lament / St. James Hospital", if we want to go back that far.

- The "Let Her Go, God Bless Her" verse makes sense in the various jilted lover songs it shows up in, but not in "St James Infirmary Blues" where the girl is dead.
It would make more sense if it was changed to "I may search this wide world over, but I'll never find another like she." but I've not seen it like that in any version of the blues.

- The funeral requests are an exaggeration/extension of those found in "The Bad Girls Lament / Unfortunate Lad", they make sense, if the guy is going to kill himself because he lost his girl and boasting about his gangster status, or if he's dying from a disease he got from his girl.
It's the sudden switch from the hospital scene to making his own funeral requests that leaves a gap in the story.
Porter Grainger's "Dyin' Crapshooter's Blues" first appeared in 1927, if I'm correct, so that can't be the origin of the verses, probably it's the other way round.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 09:57 AM

Richard

Your point about the gender anomaly is similar to one made by A L Lloyd. Lloyd believes it arose because early songs had either one gender or the other. My explanation is based on the idea that the disease the girl died of is contagious. If she died of it, then so will he (Kevin also sees this). I also suspect that the recorded versions were cleaned up versions of live versions, which may have been more explicit. I also believe that the 'lock hospital' versions do have two deaths in, since these are late 19th century (or so the Bodleian seems to believe) and this was the era of Victorian Lock Hospital Building, institutions where women (not men) were detained compulsorily if believed to be prostitutes. When the character 'passes by' the lock hospital, it is 'code' for 'my partner has been detained under the Acts, she must have the disease, oh dear, I will have it too'. There is no hospital in the earliest known version, Buck's Lament. Hospitals appeared in the song, it seems to me, just when they were appearing in England and Ireland. Just my idea; I've no problems with people not accepting it.

I agree that where the floating searching the world over verse is concerned, there are versions incorporating it that 'make more sense' on paper. I agree about the interpretation in the Fess Williams. If you listen to Armstrong's 'asides' in his 2nd, slower version, he is aware of the issue here. He says 'bragging' at one point and giggles. If you look at the Cab Calloway version as well, then the idea that some performers of this eventually decided he was a 'pimp', and not a very nice character, to deal with what they themselves felt to be a potential issue, or maybe because that was how they had understood it all the time, makes sense. Calloway is not singing this as 'himself' but as a character.

Kevin: I don't think anybody is claiming that Porter Grainger invented this song from scratch (though he may well have composed the tune, and arrangement from scratch). I'm not. I'm just dead certain that Blind Willie McTell's version derives from one of the Porter Grainger ones and not the other way around. I am happy that he knew of the tradition and made use of it in a song contextualised for the prohibitionist roaring twenties, with its speakeasies and gangsters.


For me, musically and in terms of the specific lyrics, Grainger's work has all the hallmarks of a Tin Pan Alley piece. It has more than one 'strain', the melody line doesn't sound at all folky, you get diminished chords in it etc. And it has the bluesy inflection that was all the rage at the time. Whereas St James' Infirmary seems to have been more of a dance tune initially. Fox Trot.

I am quite happy that jazzy versions were in circulation in the early 20s and possibly a bit before. This is clear from Harwood's book. I am not sure off the top of my head whether he copyrighted it as an arrangement of a traditional song (which was permissible, hence somebody copyrighted the version of 12 days of Xmas), or as entirely original. If Harwood is right, Joe Primrose copyrighted 'St James Infirmary' as an original title, which is a bit of a cheek. But nobody could find any documentary evidence that the precise words 'St James Infirmary' had been used before. So Primrose & co won the battle, which was, Harwood says, more like a trademark battle.


Another musician/arranger who doesn't get credit is Don Redman, about whom Harwood's blog will provide you with more information.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GaryG
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 04:17 PM

Concerning Pills of White Mercury by the Old Blind Dogs: In the line "Bad luck to the girlie that gied him the glim" could glim mean glengore? That seems to be a Scots term for syphilis.

How about "Oh the mercury was beating, the limestone was reeking"? Could this refer to mercury poisoning causing a rapidly beating heart? I have no idea about the limestone reeking.

Help is appreciated!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jul 18 - 07:07 PM

"Glim" was originally a slang term for a light, candle, lantern, or match.

"Douse the glim" meant to extinguish the light. It seems to have been a pretty common expression throughout the 19th century.

With a little clinical ingenuity, "glim" later also came to mean gonorrhea.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake
From: GUEST,Kevin W.
Date: 02 Jul 18 - 04:56 AM

Old Blind Dogs learned the song a recording of The Gaugers (The Fighting Scot, I think), by the way.
Tom Spiers (I posted his solo version earlier in this thread) was a member of The Gaugers until the group disbanded following Peter Hall's death.

Many people love the Dogs version, but few seem to know where they got that song.


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