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Lyr Req: Edom o' Gordon (Ewan Maccoll)

Roberto 09 Jan 04 - 10:31 AM
nutty 09 Jan 04 - 12:14 PM
Roberto 09 Jan 04 - 12:24 PM
Barb'ry 09 Jan 04 - 12:54 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Jan 04 - 01:37 PM
Barb'ry 09 Jan 04 - 07:30 PM
Roberto 10 Jan 04 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,big tim 31 Oct 08 - 10:07 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 08 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,big tim 01 Nov 08 - 11:16 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 08 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,big tim 01 Nov 08 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,big tim 02 Nov 08 - 05:23 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 08 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,big tim 02 Nov 08 - 02:19 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: ewan maccoll's edom o' gordon
From: Roberto
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 10:31 AM

Trying to get the text of the ballad EDOM O' GORDON (Child #178) as sung by Ewan MacColl (on Blood and Roses Vol.1). I miss some words. Here is what I've written down. Please, help me correct and complete it. Thank you. Roberto

It fell aboot the Martinmas time
When the wind blew shrill and cauld
Said Edom o' Gordon tae his men -
We maun draw tae some hald

Whit hald, whit hald, my merry men
Whit hald, whit hald ? – quo' he
I think we'll gang to Towie's hoose
And see his fair lady

She thocht it was her ain dear lord
That she saw riding hame
But 't was the traitor Edom o' Gordon
That reck'd nae sin nor shame

Come doon, come doon, Lady Campbell – he said
And gie your hoose tae me
Or else this nicht I swear I'll burn
You and your bairns three

I winna come doon – the Lady said
For laird nor yet for loon
Nor yet for ony rank robber
That comes fae Auchendoun

Come here, come here, my Jock – she cried
And gie my gun tae me
This nicht I'll mak a Gordon bleed (???)
A fause traitor tae be

The Lady frae the battlements
Two bullets she let flee
But she missed her mark wi' Gordon
For it only …. (? – sounds like: griist) his knee

Noo Lady Campbell – the Gordon cried
That shot will cost you dear
And he has called the Lady's Jock
Tae bring the …. (? – sounds like: buggets) near

For siven years – the Lady said
I've paid ye weel yer fee
And would ye noo turn Gordon's Jock
And burn my babes and me?

For siven years I've served ye weel
And ye've paid me weel my fee
But noo I am turned Gordon's Jock
I maun either do or die

Then oot it spak' her youngest son
Sat on the nurse's knee
Open the door and let me oot
For the reek it's choking me

I wou'd gi'e a' my land – she said
My gear and a' my fee
For ae blast o' yon westlin' wind
To blaw the reek fae thee

Then oot and spak' her dochter dear
She was baith jimp and sma -
O row me in a pair o sheets
And throw me ow'r the wa

They've rowd her in a pair of sheets
And thrown her ow'r the wa
But on the point of Gordon's sword
She's gat her deadly fa

The Gordon turned her ow'r and ow'r
And O her face was wan -
Ye are the first that ere I slew
I wished alive again

The Gordon turned her ow'r and ow'r
And O her face was white -
I micht ha'e spared that bonnie face
To ha'e been some man's delight

O wae tae see yon castle brunt
That was built wi' stane and lime
And wae for lady Campbell hersel'
That was brunt wi' her bairns nine

Three o' them were married wives
And three o' them were bairns
And three o' them were li'l maidens
That ne'er lain in men's airms


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: ewan maccoll's edom o' gordon
From: nutty
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 12:14 PM

You'll find the ballad here in the online version of the Oxford Book of English Verse

CLICK HERE


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: ewan maccoll's edom o' gordon
From: Roberto
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 12:24 PM

Thank you, Nutty, but I'm trying to get specifically what Ewan MacColl sings on the recording I've mentioned. On books and on line it is possible to get many versions of this ballad, the Child texts and more, but I'd like to complete my Ewan MacColl's transcription. Besides, I don't know other recordings available of Edom O' Gordon. Does somebody know of some recordings of this ballad, available on CD or LP, cassette, etc?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: ewan maccoll's edom o' gordon
From: Barb'ry
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 12:54 PM

Hi - I think these are the words you're looking for - verse one is 'hold' or 'hall' depending on who you hear singing it..
The next question mark is bleed
Grazed his knee
Tae bring the faggots near (bundles of wood for burning, all you americans.......)
I sing this but got it off a live recording of Ewan MacColl and Bert Lloyd, complete with background chat and police sirens in the background.

Hope this helps
Barb'ry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: ewan maccoll's edom o' gordon
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 01:37 PM

And leal, not li'l, in the last verse. The usual question: did MacColl give any source information? This is particularly relevant in this case, as few examples of the ballad have been found with music. My impression is that this is a collated text and not a traditional one, but it would help to know what, if any, source information was given.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: ewan maccoll's edom o' gordon
From: Barb'ry
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 07:30 PM

Malcolm, I mentioned before, I have a live recording of Ewan singing the song and he does do a long introduction to it so I will listen tomorrow and see what he says.
Barb'ry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: ewan maccoll's edom o' gordon
From: Roberto
Date: 10 Jan 04 - 01:48 PM

Thank you very much, Barb'ry, and thank you Malcolm, always a point of reference. The lp was without booklet, and there are not notes on the cover.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edom o' Gordon (Ewan Maccoll)
From: GUEST,big tim
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 10:07 AM

According to Emily Lyle in her 'Scottish Ballads' (1994), the ballad was first published by the well known Glasgow printers Robert and Andrew Foulis in 1755. They said 'never before printed'. The Foulis version is much closer to Quiller-Couch. McColl's version is probably a later variant. The Scots group Malinky sing a version very close to McColl's, (the lead singer Fiona Hunter, successor to Karine Polwart, sounds like a young, modern, Scottish, Sandy Denny).

The events took place at Towie Castle in Aberdeenshire in November 1571.Sir Adam (Edom) Gordon of Auchindoun, Mary Queen of Scots' lieutenant deputy in the north, sent a group of soldiers under a Captain Kerr ['Car' in Child 178] to attack Towie, home of Alexander Forbes and his wife Margaret Campbell. A shot was fired at Kerr and he immediately had the Castle burned down. Margaret Campbell and her family and domestics, 27 people, died in the flames.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edom o' Gordon (Ewan Maccoll)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 07:42 AM

MacColl's text was almost certainly a collated one, though he does mention the Motherwell mss in the notes to 'Blood and Roses'.
When we interviewed him in 1978/79 he told us that it was a ballad he had a great deal of trouble identifying with. He said he had to learn it for a recording project and a great deal of difficulty in sympathising with the characters. Finally he said that he took his inspiration from the verses telling of the killing of the youngest daughter who was impaled on Gordon's spear.

(From memory)
And Gordon turned her ower and ower and oh, her face was wan.
He said, "you are the first I've slain, I wished alive again".

He turned her ower and ower again and oh, her face was white.
He said, "I might have spared that face to be some man's delight".

MacColl's comment was "The waste, the bloody waste of human life".

This is the not he wrote for Blood and Roses.

Jim Carroll

EDOM O' GORDON (Child 178)
The assassination in 1570 of the regent Murray plunged Scotland into a three-year orgy of furious and constant butchery. In Aberdeenshire, the struggle for power be¬tween Queen Mary's Catholic party, on the one hand, and her son's (James VI) Protestant party, on other, was fought out between the Catholic Gordons and the Protes¬tant Forbes family. Sir Adam Gordon (Edom o' Gordon), the queen's lieutenant-deputy in the north, was successful, on two occasions, in routing the Forbeses in armed encounters. "But what glory and renown," says the con¬temporary history of King James VI, "he (Gordon) ob¬tained of these two victories was all cast down by the infamy of his next attempt;   for immediately after this last conflict, he directed his soldiers to the castle of Towie, desiring the house to be rendered to him in the queen's name; which was obstinately refused by the lady, and she burst forth with certain injurious words. And the soldiers being impatient, by command of their leader. Captain Ker, fire was put to the house, wherein she and the number of 27 persons were cruelly burnt to death." This was in November, 1571.
Of the seven versions given by Child, only the one taken from Motherwell's MS contains the moving epitaph that concludes our version of the ballad.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edom o' Gordon (Ewan Maccoll)
From: GUEST,big tim
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 11:16 AM

'It fell aboot the Martinmas time', (feast of St Martin), this was the 11th of November, so the very first line at least is accurate!

I can't understand MacColl's attitude to a song about events that happened in 1571 but he was entitled to his opinion.

For anyone unfamiliar with the song, it's a classic Scots ballad and that's saying something. Check out Malinky's terrific recording, the band has its own website.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edom o' Gordon (Ewan Maccoll)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 01:32 PM

Big Tim
Don't you think it necessary to identify or sympathise with the songs you sing?
Just listened to Malinky - sorry - the bland leading the bland as far as I'm concerned.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edom o' Gordon (Ewan Maccoll)
From: GUEST,big tim
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 03:56 PM

As I see it, a so-called 'folksinger' really should appreciate that very old, traditional, songs shed a light into life long ago that history books can never teach and which would otherwise be totally lost. It's in the atmosphere and in the language. They reflect their time, place and reality. They shouldn't be retrospectively condemned by someone 400 years later. Frankly, I'm amazed that MacColl's political and social prejudices took him that far.

MacColl, a convinced communist, which, given his background, I can respect, definitely had prejudices about the 'aristocracy' - but to take it back to 1571 is I feel is a bit extreme.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edom o' Gordon (Ewan Maccoll)
From: GUEST,big tim
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 05:23 AM

PS, that must be the first time the tremendous voice of Fiona Hunter has ever been described as bland. But, hey, different strokes for different folks.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edom o' Gordon (Ewan Maccoll)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 05:46 AM

Tim,
Didn't think her voice bland, but that blend of voices and accompaniment takes the edge of the ballad for me (becomes 'nice' rhater than tragic - sorry.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edom o' Gordon (Ewan Maccoll)
From: GUEST,big tim
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 02:19 PM

Fair enough Jim. I don't now much about Malinky but they remind me of Fairport, jazzy, with a strong female vocalist.


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