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Lyr Req: Shirley Collins' George Collins

DigiTrad:
GEORGE COLLINS
GEORGE COLLINS (2)
GEORGE COLLINS (3)


Related threads:
George Collins Is Innocent! (18)
(origins) Origins: George Collins: revisited (86)
George Collins - what's it all about? (18)
Penguin: George Collins (13)
Lyr Req: Tony Rose's George Collins (5)
TUNE ADD: George Collins (3) (1)


GUEST,Roberto 19 Nov 03 - 03:35 AM
Joe Offer 19 Nov 03 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,Roberto 19 Nov 03 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,MCP 19 Nov 03 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Roberto 19 Nov 03 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,JOHN of ELSIE`S BAND 19 Nov 03 - 11:00 AM
Malcolm Douglas 19 Nov 03 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Roberto 19 Nov 03 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,MCP 19 Nov 03 - 02:45 PM
Malcolm Douglas 19 Nov 03 - 06:27 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: George Collins
From: GUEST,Roberto
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 03:35 AM

I'm trying to get the text of George Collins as sung by Shirley Collins on The Sweet Primeroses (Topic). Here is what I can get from the recording. I've put the question mark where I am particularly uncertain of what I've written. Can somebody please check this song and correct the mistakes? Thank you. Roberto

George Collins rode out on a May morning
When May was all in bloom
And there he saw a pretty fair maid
A-washing her white marble stone

She called, she hollered, she highered her voice
She waved her lilywhite hand:
Come hither to me, George Collins - she cried
For your life it won't last you long

He put his foot on the broad water side
Over the lea sprung he
He embraced her 'round her middle so small
And kissed her red rosy cheeks

George Collins rode home to his father's door
He pulled on the bell and it rang
Rise up, mother, (?)and you make my bed
Rise, sister, and let me in

For if I should die this night
As I suppose I shall
Bury me by the marble stone
That's against Lady Elanor's hall

Lady Elanor sat in her castle door
Weaving her silken skein
She saw the fairest corpse a-coming
That ever her eyes shone on

She said unto her serving maid:
Whose corpse is that so fine?
The girl replied – It's George Collins's corpse
An old true lover of thine

Come set him down, my six pretty maids
Throw open the coffin so fine
That I may kiss them clay-cold lips
Ten thousand times they have lapped(?) mine

You go upstairs and fetch me the sheet
That's wove with the silk so fine
And hang it over George Collins's corpse
That (?)tomorrow shall hang over mine

Now the news being carried to London town
And hung (?) upon London's gates:
There's six pretty girls died all in one night
And all for George Collins' sake


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Shirley Collins' George Collins
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 04:27 AM

Hi, Roberto - I think you have it pretty close. I put my understanding in parentheses below (or marked OK if I agree with you).
-Joe Offer-


George Collins rode home to his father's door
He pulled on the bell and it rang
Rise up, mother, (to) make my bed
Rise, sister, and let me in

Come set him down, my six pretty maids
Throw open the coffin so fine
That I may kiss them clay-cold lips
Ten thousand times they have (met) mine

You go upstairs and fetch me the sheet
That's wove with the silk so fine
And hang it over George Collins's corpse
That (OK)tomorrow shall hang over mine

Now the news being carried to London town
And hung (OK) upon London's gates:
There's six pretty girls died all in one night
And all for George Collins' sake


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Shirley Collins' George Collins
From: GUEST,Roberto
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 09:04 AM

Thank you very much, Joe. Roberto


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Shirley Collins' George Collins
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 09:28 AM

Two more slight corrections Roberto (to go with Joe's):

v3 l3: He embraced her 'round the middle so small

v9 l2: That's wove of the silk so fine

(And the lady is usually spelled Eleanor)

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Shirley Collins' George Collins
From: GUEST,Roberto
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 09:55 AM

Thank you, Mick. Roberto


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Shirley Collins' George Collins
From: GUEST,JOHN of ELSIE`S BAND
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 11:00 AM

Roberto,
       Do listen to the version by the late Tony Rose on his CD "Bare Bones". You will not be dis-appointed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Shirley Collins' George Collins
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 11:28 AM

Shirley states in her sleeve notes "Peter Kennedy had this from Enos White in Sussex".

That isn't the whole story, and it may be that her memory failed her on this occasion; it was Bob Copper who recorded the song from Mr White (in July 1955, and at Axford in Hampshire, not Sussex), rather than Peter Kennedy, and transcriptions appear in Bob's Songs and Southern Breezes (Heinnemann, 1973, 246-7) and in The Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (IX (2) 1961 72-3). They were both collecting for the BBC at the time. The recording has been issued a number of times (usually there is a Kennedy connection, of course, hence perhaps the confusion): most recently on Topic's O'er His Grave the Grass Grew Green (TSCD 653).

In fact, Shirley seems here to have mixed Enos White's text with the one in The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, the tune and first verse of which were noted by Dr George Gardiner and J. F. Guyer from Henry Stansbridge at Lyndhurst in Hampshire (1906); the rest of that text came from Henry Gaylor and Philip Gaylor, both of Minstead, New Forest, Hampshire, also 1906. She has also made various changes, whether deliberate or unconscious, of her own.

Credit where it's due, then: there are several people whose names we know who were involved in the immediate history of this song (and we should also include A. L. Lloyd, who collated the Penguin text). Shirley herself tries to encourage people to go back to traditional sources rather than learn songs directly from her records; that way they can make their own, informed synthesis. George Collins is classed under Child's numbers 42 and 85, and is no. 147 in the Roud Folk Song Index.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Shirley Collins' George Collins
From: GUEST,Roberto
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 11:41 AM

John, I know and love Tony Rose's recording of this ballad, as most of the songs he recorded. In a couple of days, I'm going to ask for help with that text. Thanks. Roberto


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Shirley Collins' George Collins
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 02:45 PM

Malcolm

Shirley amended her attribution in her notes accompanying the 4CD collection Within Sound where she says "...I have to aplogise to Bob here, because on the original Sweet Primerose LP I credited Peter Kennedy as the collector. Sorry Bob! I know how important Enos was to you - and you to him. Here's another link in the great folk song chain; Enos was married to a daughter of Mrs Ronald of Ellisfield from whom Vaughan Williams collected songs in 1909."

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Shirley Collins' George Collins
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 06:27 PM

Shirley will have been glad to have the opportunity of putting the record straight. This is what Bob Copper had to say about Enos White:

"Enos will always be one of my favourite singers. A slight man of 70 years (at that time — now deceased), face and arms tanned to the colour of old oak by the sun of nearly as many harvests. He had been a carter for the whole of his working life, working on the farms in the immediate surroundings. I took all his recordings in the front parlour of his tiny cottage at the back of the 'Crown Inn', Axford, and afterwards spent the remainder of many long summer evenings on a rickety wooden bench under a gnarled apple tree in his garden. There we would sit while he recalled many of the old singers, sipping our ale until the last of the light had faded. He remembered Ralph Vaughan Williams's visit to the area some 50 years before. 'He used to come up with another gentleman from the station at Micheldever, in a horse and fly', he said, 'Black coats and hard-hats they had on and one was the "song-getter" and the other the "music writer".'

Bob Copper, The Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (IX (2) 1961 73).


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