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Tune Req: Little Jim

In Mudcat MIDIs:
Little Jim [Almeda Riddle (tune only)] (from A Singer and Her Songs: Almeda Riddle's Book of Ballads)


Uke 05 Dec 03 - 04:25 AM
Sorcha 05 Dec 03 - 09:54 AM
Uke 05 Dec 03 - 04:00 PM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Dec 03 - 04:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Dec 03 - 04:55 PM
Alaska Mike 05 Dec 03 - 05:19 PM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Dec 03 - 05:56 PM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Dec 03 - 06:37 PM
Uke 06 Dec 03 - 01:29 AM
Joe Offer 06 Dec 03 - 04:20 PM
Joe Offer 07 Dec 03 - 02:17 AM
Joe Offer 07 Dec 03 - 02:23 AM
Uke 07 Dec 03 - 05:18 AM
Uke 07 Dec 03 - 05:29 AM
Uke 09 Dec 03 - 02:29 AM
GUEST,Me 23 Jan 05 - 11:32 AM
masato sakurai 23 Jan 05 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,Ira Aten 24 Jun 10 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,derek lowdon 07 Jun 11 - 09:56 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jun 11 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,Clifford Campbell 21 Jan 12 - 09:39 AM
GUEST 14 Nov 17 - 06:42 PM
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Subject: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Uke
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 04:25 AM

I am lucklessly searching for the tune to this song, can anyone be of help? The words would be good too.

It's from about 1900 I believe, probably an American song, but the music has eluded me so far.

I've found a NZ union parody based on this song from about 1925 called "Little Hope", the first verse goes

The cottage was a 'lean-to',
Th worst I'd ever seen -
Yes, everything, inside and out,
Should be burnt with kerosene.

And goes on to describe someone's miserable living conditions at the time.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Sorcha
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 09:54 AM

Well, I found this, but there is no cottage in it....


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Uke
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 04:00 PM

Thanks Scorcha, but I don't think this is the right one, it's a contemporary song (copyright 2003) by Tom Flannery (nice tune though)...


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 04:32 PM

A number of broadside editions of Little Jim the Collier Boy appeared during the second half of the 19th century, and also as Little Jim; or, The Collier's Home; Poor Little Jim; and Poor Jim, the Collier Lad. You can see examples at Bodleian Library Broadsides. The identified copies are from English printers.

Little Jim, the collier boy

The author is named on some of these as E. Farmer.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 04:55 PM

Almeda Riddle published a "Little Jim" in "Singer and her Songs, Almeda Riddle's Book of Songs," Louisiana State University, 1970, p. 105. Not seen.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 05:19 PM

I wrote a song called, "Little Jim" for my 3rd CD. Story of a drunk fisherman who gets caught up in the devastation of the 9.2 earthquake that struck Alaska in 1964. Jim is passed out during the earthquake and tidal wave that throws his ship up on dry land. When he finally wakes up, he thinks he might have caused the whole thing. This isn't the song you were looking for either. Just thought I'd share.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 05:56 PM

I haven't seen the Riddle set either, but Roud lists it (on its own) at number 3522; the first line is The night was dark and stormy, so it's likely enough a shortened form of the broadside song. According to Edith Fowke ("Old Favourites": A Selective Index in The Canadian Journal for Traditional Music, Volume 7, 1979) the song appeared in the "Old Favourites" section of the Family Herald and Weekly Star (Montreal) on the following dates:

22/12/1915; 14/7/1926; 23/10/1935; 26/1/1944; 22/10/1947

This under yet another title, The Collier's Dying Child.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 06:37 PM

"Little Jim's got no Cottage in him!"


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Uke
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 01:29 AM

Thanks for all the info everyone...

The tune I'm after is definitely the one that goes with "Little Jim" aka "The Collier Boy" aka "The Collier's Dying Child". The parody conforms with the Bodleian broadsides very closely.

Unfortunately there are no tunes! (I know the Bodleian collection contains only a little music).

The Canadian reference (thanks for this also Malcolm) doesn't have a tune either - but perhaps Almeda Riddle's version does - is there anyone with access to this who would be kind enough to check?


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Subject: DTADD: Little Jim
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 04:20 PM

This is from A Singer and Her Songs: Almeda Riddle's Book of Ballads (Edited by Roger D. Abrahams, 1970, Louisiana State University Press)

LITTLE JIM

The night was dark and stormy,
The wind was howling wild.
A patient mother watched beside
The deathbed of her child.
A little wornout creature,
His once bright eyes growing dim;
It was a coaler's wife and child,
They called him Little Jim.

And, oh, to see those briny tears
Fast hurrying down her cheeks;
She kneels to offer up a prayer
But is afraid to speak.
Lest she might wake the son
She loves far better than her life,
For she has all a mother's love
Has that poor coaler's wife.

Uplifted hands and so she kneels
Beside the sick child's bed.
She prayed, "O God, please spare my son
And take my life instead."
She gets her answer from the boy,
Softly falls the words from him,
"Oh, Mother, angels do so smile
And beckon Little Jim."

"I have no pain, dear Mother, now,
But I am, oh, so dry,
Just give poor Jim another drink
And, Mother, please don't cry.
Tell Father when he comes from work
I said 'good night' to him
And now I think I'll go to sleep."
'Twas the last from Little Jim.

The door is softly opened,
The coaler's step is heard;
The father and mother meet again
But neither speaks a word.
He knew that all was over,
Yes, knew his son was dead;
He took the candle in his hand
And walks toward the bed.

His trembling lips give token
Of grief he tries to conceal;
Now, see, his wife has gained him,
The stricken couple kneel.
With heart bowed in sadness,
They humbly ask of Him
In heaven that they may meet again
Their own poor Little Jim.


Riddle found this poem in a poetry book or newspaper, but she didn't recall her source. She says:
    "Little Jim" I wanted to sing so bad—we lived over on the mountain then—that I just clipped the words and put it to my own tune, and since then I've always sung it. And I've never heard anyone else sing it. I doubt if it was a song. It probably as just a poem somebody wrote—just a poem in a paper, and I don't even know what paper.


-Joe Offer-

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 02:17 AM

This page speaks of a poem called "Little Jim," by E. Farmer. It's in at least two books, Passion for Poetry, and More Poetry, Please.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 02:23 AM

This page has a somewhat different version, attributed to E. Farmer - source not stated.

Little Jim
   
The cottage was a thatch'd one,
The outside old and mean,
Yet everything within that cot
Was wondrous neat and clean.

The night was dark and stormy,
The wind was howling wild;
A patient mother knelt beside
The death bed of her child.

A little worn-out creature,
His once bright eyes grown dim;
It was a collier's only child,
They called him Little Jim.

And, oh! to see the briny tears
Fast hurrying down her cheeks,
As she offer'd up a prayer in thought,
She was afraid to speak.

Lest she might waken one she loved
Far better than her life;
For there was all a mother's love
In that poor collier's wife.

With hands uplifted, see, she kneels,
Beside the sufferer's bed;
And prays that He will spare her boy,
And take herself instead.

She gets her answer from the child,
Soft fell these words from him,
'Mother, the angels do so smile,
And beckon Little Jim.

I have no pain, dear mother, now,
But oh! I am so dry;
Just moisten poor Jim's lips again,
And mother, don't you cry.

With gentle, trembling haste she held
The tea-cup to his lips;
He smiled to thank her, as he took
Three tiny little sips.

'Tell father when he comes from work,
I said "good-night" to him;
And, mother, now I'11 go to sleep,
Alas, poor Little Jim.

She saw that he was dying -
The child she loved so dear
Had uttered the last words that she
Might ever hope to hear.

The cottage door was opened
The collier's step is heard,
The father and the mother meet,
Yet neither speak a word.

He knew that all was over,
He knew his child was dead;
He took the candle in his hand,
And walked towards the bed.

His quivering lips gave token
Of the grief he'd fain conceal;
And see his wife has joined him -
The stricken couple kneel.

With hearts bowed down with sadness
They humbly ask of Him,
In heaven, once more to meet again.
Their own poor Little Jim.

                      E. Farmer
This is very similar to the Broadside Ballad in the links above.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Uke
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 05:18 AM

Thanks Joe for those references.

I'm starting to think that this set of words - "Little Jim" - was originally a poem as opposed to a song.

None of the Bodleian broadsides mention an Air or tune.

The only evidence to support its existence as a song originally is that it is in the Roud index (perhaps this refers to Almeda Riddle's musical setting?) and the memory of "E Powell, Coventry" in the poetry link above, who remembers her mother singing it:

"As I read it I was about six or seven years old in a gas-lit room sitting again by the fire-guard of a blazing coal fire, with my back leaning against my Mother's knees. She was putting curling rags in my long hair before taking me to bed. At the same time she was singing this poem. As mother went through the song, my tears began to flow uncontrollably until I had to turn to her saying, 'Mother don't sing any more it's making me cry!'"

Then again, perhaps this was the mother's tune...


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Uke
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 05:29 AM

Hey Joe, just realised you'd added a midi of Almeda Riddle's tune too...

As we say in NZ, Cheers for that!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Uke
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 02:29 AM

Hi again everyone, (Joe, thanks for your message).

Here are the entire lyrics for the parody of "Little Jim" that I mentioned at the start of this thread.

It is entitled "Little Hope" and was written around 1925 by 'The Mixer', the non-de-plume of Henry Kirk, a wharfie and union secretary in Greymouth, New Zealand. I got it from an amazing and very rare book of his lyrics called "The Transport Worker's Songbook" (1927, Wellington).

LITTLE HOPE

The cottage was a 'lean-to',
The worst I'd ever seen -
Yes, everything, inside and out,
Should be burnt with kerosene.

The night was dark and stormy;
The roof let in the rain;
A woman caight it in a pail,
And threw it out again.

A little worn-out creature,
Whose once bright life was spent
To keep body and soul together,
And pay the blasted rent.

And oh! to see the chimney stack
Semaphoring in the wind!
You'd think the darned thing's coming down;
It's somehow tied behind,

Lest she might wake up some morning
To find it blown away,
The landlord then would raise the rent
Another bob a day.

With broom uplifted, see her belt
The rats along the floor;
While the spiders parachute the bugs
Across from door to door.

With trembling hands she fixed the sash
Of the window with a cleat;
A gust of wind came through the back
And blew it in the street.

She gets her answer very quick,
When she wants the shack repaired;
And told to find another place -
No money can be spared.

To her it must be hell on earth
To live in such a place;
And to this God's-own Massey-land
A damnable disgrace.


"Massey-land" refers to the NZ's Prime Minister of the day, Bill Massey. The term "God's-own" is used ironically here - NZ'ers like to refer to their country as 'Godzone', ie. heaven on Earth.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: GUEST,Me
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 11:32 AM

Im Warwickshire and my grandparents told me the story of little jim. it's a true story, and a poem was written about his life.They only live a few minutes away from the village where it happened. The cottage was still there until recently, when it was burnt down by kids.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: masato sakurai
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 12:14 PM

"Little Jim" (Harper's new monthly magazine. / Volume 14, Issue 84, May 1857), p. 799 (without the author's name).


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: GUEST,Ira Aten
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 05:08 PM

I dont know the name of the tune but it is very sad and mournful, I remember my mother singing it all the time when I was a small boy.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: GUEST,derek lowdon
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 09:56 PM

my grandmother used to tell the poem to my father and my uncle.They would cry and ask her to stop she told me. When i asked her if she could remeber all the words she could not.She died aged 89 in 2004 and my father died in 2007 aged 70


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jun 11 - 04:22 AM

A rhyme we were given at night-school classes for remembering scientific formulae:

Little Jim is dead and gone,
His face we'll see no more,
For what he thought was H20
Was H2SO4 (sulphuric acid)

Jim Carroll
PS and then, of course, there was Little Jim who has "fallen in the water", but that is for people of a certain age who remember 'The Goon Show'.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: GUEST,Clifford Campbell
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 09:39 AM

This is one of my Mother's favorite poem. She is 92yrs now and she still can remember every word. There was another poem she told us.."Oh call my brother back to me, I cannot play alone...." good poems


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Little Jim
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Nov 17 - 06:42 PM

My grandmother used to recite this ballad to us every year at Christmas (this was in the 1950s). I think my mum and aunts and uncles had grown up listening to her perform this as her party piece. She wasn't an educated woman, but she loved this sad story and could recite it word perfect each year. I think a lot of people of her age living in the Coventry knew this ballad.


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