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Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)

DigiTrad:
GEORDIE
GEORDIE (2)
GEORDIE (3)
GEORGEY
GIGHT'S LADYE


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Lyr Req: Roy Bailey's Geordie (4)
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Parodies (using FS for Dummies) (1)


Roberto 18 Jan 04 - 11:09 AM
Jim Dixon 19 Jan 04 - 04:49 PM
Roberto 04 Feb 04 - 10:11 AM
Stewie 04 Feb 04 - 10:11 PM
Roberto 05 Feb 04 - 12:33 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Feb 04 - 03:05 PM
GUEST 23 Dec 09 - 07:36 PM
GUEST 23 Dec 09 - 07:40 PM
GUEST 23 Dec 09 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,Stripedcat 09 Nov 10 - 11:48 PM
GUEST,Hilary 20 Sep 12 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Adam Garfinkle 03 Jan 14 - 05:49 PM
Lighter 03 Jan 14 - 06:26 PM
Reinhard 04 Jan 14 - 01:19 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: GEORGIE (from Martin Simpson)
From: Roberto
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 11:09 AM

I'd like to get a correct transcription of Sam Russell's version of GEORDIE (Child #209), AS I WALKED OVER LONDON BRIDGE. The ballad was recorded in 1936 and it can be heard on the CD "Virginia Traditions, Ballads from British Tradition," Global Village 1002. Recently, Martin Simpson has recorded Sam Russell's version on his CD "Righteousness & Humidity," Topic TSCD540, but with some slight differences. I have written down Martin Simpson's text, I hope without mistakes. It is a little easier than writing down Sam Russell's, because the quality of Sam Russell's recording is not too good (but his song and singing are magnificent). Martin Simpson's is beautiful as well, and could also be a good starting point to get Sam Russell's text, if some Mudcatter has the CD (Virginia Traditions) and is going to help me in this deed. Thank you. Roberto

GEORGIE, as sung by Martin Simpson

As I rode over London Bridge
So early in the morning
I overheard a fair bonnie maid
Saying ? Spare me the life of my Georgie
I overheard a fair bonnie maid
Saying ? Spare me the life of my Georgie

Go saddle an' bridle my bonny white steed
Go saddle an' bridle him neatly
I will ride to London's Court
And plead for the life of my Georgie
O, I will ride to London's Court
And plead for the life of my Georgie

She rode all day and she rode all night
Till she was wet and weary
Then combing back her long yellow hair
She pleaded for the life of her Georgie
Then combing back her long yellow hair
She pleaded for the life of her Georgie

And out of her bosom pulled a purse of gold
The likes I've never seen many
Saying ? Lawyers, lawyers, fee yourselves
And spare me the life of my Georgie
O, lawyers, lawyers, fee yourselves
And spare me the life of my Georgie

And Georgie, he was standing by
Said ? I've never killed anybody
I stole sixteen of the king's white steeds
And I sold them in Bohenny
I stole sixteen of the king's white steeds
And I sold them in Bohenny

The eldest lawyer at the bar
Says ? George, I'm sorry for you
For your own confession has condemned you to die
May the Lord have mercy on you
Your own confession has condemned you to die
May the Lord have mercy on you

As Georgie walked upon the hill
He bid farewell to many
And he bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worst than any
He bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worst than any

My Georgie will be hanged in chains of gold
The likes I've never seen many
For he has come of the royal race
And courted a virtuous lady
Oh, he has come of the royal race
And courted a virtuous lady

I wished I was on yonder hill
Where times I have been many
My sword and pistol by my side
I'd fight for the life of my Georgie
My sword and pistol by my side
I'd fight for the life of my Georgie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 04:49 PM

I listened to a sound sample of the recording you mention at Barnes & Noble. Indeed, as far as sound quality is concerned, it is an appallingly bad recording. Since I don't own the CD myself, I'm afraid I can't help much. Your best bet might be to look up all the versions of GEORDIE that have been posted at Mudcat, or in the DT, and compare each one to the recording you have. Maybe you will find some bits that correspond more closely to what Russell sings than the Martin Simpson version does.

You could start here and follow the links to other versions.


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Subject: Lyr Add: GEORGIE (from Sam Russell)
From: Roberto
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 10:11 AM

This is all I could get from SAM RUSSELL'S SINGING, and I'm not sure of many words, besides not understanding at all to which place rode the girl. I can't believe no mudcatter has this beautiful CD: VIRGINIA TRADITION, Ballads from British tradition, Global Village Music CD1002. This recording of Geordie (As I Walked Over London's Bridge) is an outstanding one. Please, please, listen to it and help correct and complete this transcription. Yours, Roberto

As I walked over London Bridge
So early in the morning
I overheard some fair one say:
O spare me the life of Georgie
I overheard some fair one say:
O spare me the life of Georgie

Go saddle an' bridle my milk white steed
Go saddle an' bridle him neatly
I'll ride away to the ...
And plead for the life of Georgie
I'll ride away to the ...
And plead for the life of Georgie

She rode all day and she rode all night
Till she came wet and weary
A-combing back her long yellow hair
She pleaded for the life of Georgie
A-combing back her long yellow hair
She pleaded for the life of Georgie

And out of her pocket drew a purse of gold
The like I never saw any
Saying ? Lawyers, lawyers, come fee yourselves
And spare me the life of Georgie
Saying - lawyers, lawyers, come fee yourselves
And spare me the life of Georgie

Georgie was a-standing by
Saying ? I've never killed anybody
But I stole sixteen of the king's white steeds
And sold them in Bohenny
But I stole sixteen of the king's white steeds
And sold them in Bohenny

The oldest lawyer at the bar
Saying ? George, I'm sorry for you
That your own confession has condemned you to die
May the Lord have mercy on you
That your own confession has condemned you to die
May the Lord have mercy on you

As George was walking up to the street
He bid farewell to many
He bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worst than any
He bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worst than any

George was hung with a golden chain
The like I never saw any
Because he came of the royal race
And courted a virtuous lady
Because he came of the royal race
And courted a virtuous lady

I wished I was on yonder hill
Where kisses I've had many
My sword and pistol all on my side
I'd fight for the life of Georgie
My sword and pistol all on my side
I'd fight for the life of Georgie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: Stewie
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 10:11 PM

Roberto, I reckon you have done an excellent job of transcribing Russell's version. Like you, despite many listenings, I am unable to decipher the 'I'll ride away to ...' line in the second stanza - it sounds a bit like 'lone castle fair', but it could be anything. The only other places where I hear something different are:

St 1, L 1   'London's bridge'
St 1, L 4&6 'Lord, spare me'

St 7, L 1 'up through the street'
St 7, L 4&6 'worse'

St 8, L 4&6 'And he courted'

St 9, L 1    'I wish'

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: Roberto
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 12:33 PM

Thank you very much, Stewie. As for "I'll ride away to", could it be Lord castle town?????


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 03:05 PM

Fortunately, the line that begins "I'll ride away to..." is part of the sound sample at Barnes & Noble. But, after listening again, it's still obscure. My guess is "...lone castle fair." "Lord's castle fair" would also make sense. If you want something to sing, I'd sing that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 07:36 PM

The title for the Sam Russell version is entitled

"As I Walked Over London's Bridge".

Note the possessive case. That may change search parameters.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 07:40 PM

Biblio info.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 07:43 PM

Bit more info here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: GUEST,Stripedcat
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 11:48 PM

Folks, there is a lovely version of this song sung by Doc Watson who does a fabulous job in an Appalachian sort of way. I have only found this on Youtube here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxyXXM0dW5Y

The lyrics are much more clear. Enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: GUEST,Hilary
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 10:52 AM

Broson, in Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads, gives these lyrics for Sam Russell's version.

As I walked over London's bridge
So early in the morning
I overheard some fair one say
O spare me the life of Georgie
I overheard some fair one say
O spare me the life of Georgie

Go saddle and bridle my milk-white steed
Go saddle and bridle him(either swiftly, or quickly)
I'll ride away to the lone castle Carr(or Ker?)
A-pleading for the life of Georgie

She rode all day and she rode all night
Till she came wet and weary
A-combing back her long yellow locks
A-pleading for the life of Georgie

And out her father drew his purse of gold,
The like I never saw any,
Saying, Lawyers, Lawyers come fee yourselves
And spare me the life of Georgie

Georgie was a (standing by?)
And he never killed anybody
But a' stole sixteen of the King's white steeds
And sold them in (Golandie?)

The oldest lawyer(at the Bar?)
Saying, Georgie I'm sorry for you
That your own confession has condemned you to die
May the Lord have mercy upon you

As George was looking up through the street
He bid farewell to many
He bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worse than any

George was hung with a golden chain
The like I never saw any
Because he came from a royal race
And courted a virtuous lady

I wish I was on yonder hill
Where kisses I've had many
My sword and pistol all on my side
I'd fight for the life of Georgie

Presumably, the parentheses and question marks indicate that the collector, or Bronson, was unsure of what those words were. It's interesting that this version seems to focus much more on Geordie himself rather than his grieving lover, like all the other versions I know. She doesn't seem as present here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: GUEST,Adam Garfinkle
Date: 03 Jan 14 - 05:49 PM

It's "sold them in Romany"--it's a reference to Gypsies, to selling horses to gypsies. Sheesh.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: Lighter
Date: 03 Jan 14 - 06:26 PM

Except that "Romani" isn't a place. Sheesh.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: Reinhard
Date: 04 Jan 14 - 01:19 AM

From the notes of "Virginia Traditions, Ballads from British Tradition", downloadable from Smithsonian Folkways:

4. As I Walked Over London's Bridge
[Geordie, Child 209]— S.F. “Sam” Russell, vocal.
Recorded in Marion [Smyth County], Virginia, November 13, 1936, by Sidney Robertson, 3:46.

"London's Bridge," often called "Geordie" or "Georgie" in folksong collections, has been collected in many sections of North America, but only sporadically in each locality. Davis, in both of his books, lists five examples, including one collected from Mr. Russell in 1932 and, except for minor verbal variations, sung exactly as it is sung here. All of Child's fourteen versions were collected in Scotland, including two broadside texts slightly different from the oral ones. All American versions are very similar and seem to be an amalgamation of both oral and printed versions. This joining is most evident in the ending; Child's oral versions spare Geordie's life, whereas in his broadside ones, he is hung despite his lover's attempts to buy his freedom. Some scholars feel that the "Georgie" of this song could actually be George Gordon, fourth Earl of Huntly, who was involved in a somewhat similar situation in 1554.

This ballad perfectly demonstrates the highly stylized language characteristic of ballad poetry. In much ballad poetry a white horse is a "milk white steed"; blond hair becomes "long yellow locks"; and a lover is one's "own true love." The ballad tune is also an excellent example of a very early tune type. It is pentatonic, rhythmically loose, and—as described by E. C. Mead in More Traditional Ballads of Virginia—has a "beautiful flowing melodic line whose beauty lies largely in the 'non-harmonic notes of real melodic significance.' "

Sam Russell died in 1946 when he was about 89 years old. He worked as a carpenter and cabinetmaker, but is most well known among folklorists for his dulcimer making. Although he did play with a band made up of his son Joe on fiddle, grandson Robert on guitar, and Joe's brother-in-law Worley Rolling on banjo, he more often played and sang by himself. He played at many festivals in the 1930s, most notably at the Yorktown Centennial and for Eleanor Roosevelt at the White Top festival where. incidentally, he got most of the orders for his dulcimers. He was born in Grayson County, but moved to the Marion area as a young man shortly after his marriage. He learned much of his music from his mother and father and, in addition to the dulcimer, played the fiddle and fife.

As I walked over London's Bridge
So early in the morning,
I overheard some fair one say
Lord, spare me the life of Georgie.
I overheard some fair one say
Lord, spare me the life of Georgie.

Go saddle and bridle my milk-white steed
Go saddle and bridle him quickly,
I ride away to the lone castle there
And pleading for the life of Georgie.
I ride away to the lone castle there
And pleading for the life of Georgie.

She rode all day and she rode all night
Till taken wet and weary,
A-combing back her long yellow locks
A-pleading for the life of Georgie.
A-combing back her long yellow locks
A-pleading for the life of Georgie.

And out of her pocket drew a purse of gold
The like I never saw any,
Saying, “lawyers, lawyers, come see yourselves
And spare me the life of Georgie.”
Saying, “lawyers, lawyers, come see yourselves
And spare me the life of Georgie.”

Georgie was a-standing by
Saying, “I've never killed anybody,
But I stole sixteen of the king's white steeds
And sold them in Gowandy.
But I stole sixteen of the king's white steeds
And sold them in Gowandy.”

The oldest lawyer at the bar
Saying, “George, I'm sorry for you,
That your own confession has condemned you to die,
May the Lord have mercy on you.
That your own confession has condemned you to die,
May the Lord have mercy on you.”

As George was walking up through the streets
He bid farewell to many,
He bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worse than any.
He bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worse than any.

George was hung with a golden chain
The like I never saw any,
Because he came of the royal race
And courted a virtuous lady.
Because he came of the royal race
And courted a virtuous lady.

I wish I was on yonder's hill
Where kisses I've had many,
My sword and pistol all on my side
And fight for the life of Georgie.
My sword and pistol all on my side
And fight for the life of Georgie.


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