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Lyr Req: The Footboy (Canadian ballad)

In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Footboy (from The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs, Edith Fowke)


Matthew Edwards 03 Feb 04 - 05:50 PM
Joe Offer 03 Feb 04 - 06:35 PM
Matthew Edwards 03 Feb 04 - 07:01 PM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Feb 04 - 07:02 PM
Joe Offer 04 Feb 04 - 03:25 AM
MartinRyan 04 Feb 04 - 08:51 AM
karen k 04 Feb 04 - 09:11 AM
Matthew Edwards 04 Feb 04 - 09:49 AM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Feb 04 - 09:59 AM
Joe Offer 04 Feb 04 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 05 Feb 04 - 05:27 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 05 Feb 04 - 05:52 AM
karen k 05 Feb 04 - 09:16 AM
Joe Offer 05 Feb 04 - 12:55 PM
MartinRyan 07 Feb 04 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,marg 13 Oct 04 - 08:56 PM
Matthew Edwards 14 Oct 04 - 05:30 AM
Matthew Edwards 14 Oct 04 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Marg 06 Nov 04 - 09:12 PM
GUEST,Marg 06 Nov 04 - 11:47 PM
Matthew Edwards 07 Nov 04 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,Emersons Grandson Floyd jr. 27 Nov 04 - 11:47 PM
GUEST,Kerry Woodcock 28 Nov 04 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,Kerry Woodcock 28 Nov 04 - 01:37 PM
Matthew Edwards 28 Nov 04 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Clive Pownceby 18 Jul 17 - 08:35 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Jul 17 - 09:36 AM
Matthew Edwards 18 Jul 17 - 10:14 AM
meself 18 Jul 17 - 10:44 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 05:50 PM

I've been listening to Far Canadian Fields, an LP on the now deleted Leader label which has field recordings by Edith Fowke of Canadian songs as a companion to her (out of print) Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs.

I have been trying to make out the words to The footboy as sung by Emerson Woodcock from Peterborough, Ontario in 1958. I can get most of the words, but not all, so I'd be grateful if anybody who has them (possibly from the Penguin book) could help me out.

It is a very intriguing song - it begins like Holland Handkerchief/Suffolk Miracle and has some elements of The Kitchie-boy so it would be nice to have some ideas about this song as well.


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Subject: ADD: The Footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 06:35 PM

Interesting song. I wonder if we can find out anything more about it. There's no listing at the Traditional Ballad Index. A Google search for "footboy" brings up rather salacious results.
-Joe Offer-

The Footboy

1. There lived a man in Devonshire,
A cruel-hearted man was he.
He had one daughter, a beauty bright;
On her father's footboy she took delight.
He had one daughter, a beauty bright;
On her father's footboy she took delight.

2. Oh, one day this couple were left alone,
And the truth to him she did make known.
Said he, 'Fair lady, put no trust in me;
I'm your father's footboy of a low degree.'
Said he, 'Fair lady, put no trust in me;
I'm your father's footboy of a low degree.'

3. So this old man in the ambush lay,
And he heard all that they had to say.
This made the old man both curse and rage,
For he knew his daughter was of a tender age.
This made the old man both curse and rage,
For he knew his daughter was of a tender age.

4. So the very next morning at break of day,
Said he, 'My lad, you can take your pay.'
With ready wages he paid him down,
As the teardrop from his eye did fall.
With ready wages he paid him down,
As the teardrop from his eye did fall.


5. Well he had not got but a mile from town
When in a circle they did surround.
They searched his pockets and found within
A gay gold watch and a diamond ring.
They searched his pockets and found within
A gay gold watch and a diamond ring.

6. So he was taken and lodged in jail,
No friends or relations to go his bail.
Great calculations the old man made
On the executions that he had laid.
Great calculations the old man made
On the executions that he had laid.

7. As he stepped up on the gallows high,
'O father dear, do you want to see my true love die?
O father, father, it's a dreadful sight
For to see my true love all dressed in white.'
O father, father, it's a dreadful sight
For to see my true love all dressed in white.'

8. As she stepped out on the gallows stand
The old man did not surmise her plan,
And with a dagger she pierced her heart.
'Now I welcome death, it to pain and smart.'
And with a dagger she pierced her heart.
'Now I welcome death, it to pain and smart.'

9. As she lay in her bloody gore
Lamenting of her wound so sore,
'O father, father, you're the worst of men!
You have brought your daughter to a scornful end.
'O father, father, you're the worst of men!
You have brought your daughter to a scornful end.

10. 'So there's just one thing now that I do crave:
That's to bury us both in the one grave,
For I love my footboy you know so true,
And to this wide world I bid adieu.'
For I love my footboy you know so true,
And to this wide world I bid adieu.'

Source: Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs, Edith Fowke
sung by Emerson Woodcock, Peterborough, 1958

Fowke's notes:
    This ballad is puzzling: I have been unable to find it in any traditional collection in either Britain or North America, or in any broadside collection. It contains elements suggesting various known broadsides: the father who tries to prevent his daughter marrying a servant is common in the ballads of 'Family Opposition to Lovers', and the device of planting items on the lover so he can be accused of robbery occurs in such songs as William Riley (M 10), Henry Connors (M 5) and Mary Acklin (M 16). But in none of these is the lover hanged: at worst he is transported or imprisoned, although usually his sweetheart manages to free him.
    The form and style of The Footboy seem closer to the popular ballads than to the broadsides. It uses a common ballad metre and a type of repetition more often found in older ballads. The fact that the lover is hanged also suggests that it dates from an earlier period than those in which he is transported, and the term 'footboy' for a young manservant has a medieval flavour: it was in common use at the time of Shakespeare but had largely disappeared by the nineteenth century.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 07:01 PM

Joe, thanks for that and I'm sorry that you had to endure all the Google sites.*g* I was surprised as well not to find any mention on the Traditional Ballad Index. Emerson Woodcock sings this wonderfully and ends it by speaking the last line, rather than repeating it. He was born in 1899 in Kinmount, Ontario of mixed Scottish and Irish ancestry, and worked in the lumberwoods and then in the lumber mills for a while before taking up a job with GEC until he retired in 1964. Goodness knows where the song comes from.

Now I have to try to get hold of that book!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 07:02 PM

Roud lists this at number 3580, with only one example other than Emerson Woodcock's; a song called The Little Penknife, beginning "It was in Armagh near the County Clare" and recorded by James Foley from John Corry, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone, 1985/6 and issued by the Arts Council of N. Ireland (Harvest Home No.1). Hard to tell much from that, but a set of recordings of Corry, including that one, can be had from Peter Kennedy: http://www.folktrax.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/menus/cassprogs/178corry.htm. Kennedy also groups The Footboy and The Little Penknife, but then, he also includes O mother O mother come make my bed, which is a completely different song, so that's not much help.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 03:25 AM

I posted the tune (links above). Matthew, does it sound like what you hear in the recording? The time signature is 6/4 4/4, written one after the other. I don't know that I've ever seen that - one measure with 6 beats, and the next with four, alternating through the song.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 08:51 AM

Malcolm

I think I have a copy of that Harvest Home tape. I'll check tonight.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: karen k
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 09:11 AM

I sing this one and I really like it alot. So far I've not run into anyone else who sings it except for Sara Grey from whom I learned it in 1977 or 78. Glad to see you are interested in it. Thanks Joe for posting it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 09:49 AM

karen k - I hope that you'll sing this at the National. I gather Sara Gray also sings Willie drowned in Ero from the singing of Mrs Eva Bigrow on the same LP.

There is a song called Little Footman Boy sung by Alice Penfold, and recorded by Mike Yates, on the Topic LP 12TS395: Travellers Songs, Stories and Tunes from English Gypsies, but this could be a different song. As I haven't got the LP I can't tell.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 09:59 AM

That's a Mother, Mother, make my Bed variant, and not related to this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 03:50 PM

Karen, did Sara Grey record it? What album is it on?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: ADD: The Little Penknife
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 05:27 AM

Here's the version collected by James Foley, mentioned by Malcolm earleir in this thread:

The Little Penknife

It was in Armagh near the County Clare
A very rich farmer he did live there
He had a daughter of a beauty bright
And her father's coachman took her to great delight

As her old coachman walked out one day
These true words to his coachman say (sic)
"I have a lady, I think no crime
But I'll tell you more some other time"

As his servants walked in at noon
He called the young man in to a room
It was there he paid him his wages down
And his eyes filled up and the tears rolled down

He had scarce a mile been outside the town
When a ??? army did him surround
A golden watch and a diamond ring
Was in his company - he knew no thing

They marched him off then to Armagh jail
It was there he lay till his trial came on
Her father told her to go and see
Her true love die upon the gallows tree

This to do was a shocking sight
To see this young man all dressed in white
With fainting tears and the ladies' cries
"Let me kiss him once before he dies"

With the little penknife she held in her hand
Little her father then knew her plan
Saying "From that man I will never part"
And she shed (sic) the knife through her tender heart

It was there she lay bleeding and bleeding on
Saying "Father , father you have done the wrong
You have hung this young man that I do adore
And she closed her eyes and she said no more

So come all ye farmers both one and all
Of high or low or rich or poor
Your daughter's lost with your serving man
And I would have loved to deprive your plan.

These are taken from a booklet accompanying the tape. Part of verse 4 is illegible - I'll check the tape when I get a chance.

I'll add Foley's comments (which refer to the Edith Fowkes song as the only other version he knows of) later today.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 05:52 AM

Foley's Notes on The Little Penknife

A rare old ballad, widely sung in the Castlederg Aghyarn area. The only other version I know in print is in Edith Fowke's Penguin Book of Canadian Folksongs ("The Footboy") where she states: "This ballad is puzzling. I have been unable to find it in any traditional collections in either Britain or North America, or in any broadside collections". The geographical confusion in the first line is repeated in all other local versions except one, which just as confusingly begins: "In the County Cavan near Kildare". The title is Corry's (the singer).

Here are some alternate readings from a version I recorded from Charles Edwards of Castlederg:

I.4        In her father's coachman she took great delight
II        As this young couple walked out one day
        Her old father heard Johnny say
        "To court a girl, sure, that is no crime
        I will tell you more, love, osome other time.

IV.2        When a guard of polis did him surround

IX3,4        If your daughter falls in love with your servant man
        Be sure and give her both heart and hand.
        


Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: karen k
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 09:16 AM

Matthew, I would be happy to sing this at the National if the opportunity presents itself. Thanks for asking.

Joe, to the best of my knowledge, Sara has not recorded it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 12:55 PM

The "geographical confusion in the first line" is that Armagh is in County Armagh, correct? If there is an Armagh in or near County Clare, it is not big enough to have a jail - or to have a listing in my road map.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 11:58 AM

Yes, Joe - and Cavan's not all that close to Kildare, either!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: GUEST,marg
Date: 13 Oct 04 - 08:56 PM

Can somebody please tell me how to go about getting any recordings of Emerson Woodcock's Shanty songs? He was my grandmother's twin brother.Any info would be much appreciated. Thank you.    Marg.
PS. Also a Dr. Pollack recorded some Shanty songs by Emerson Woodcock's brother Fred Woodcock. Is there anyone out there with info about that?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 05:30 AM

Welcome Marg; it is stories like yours that bring these songs to life, and I would love to know more about your great-uncles. I've already quoted above the sparse biographical information about Emerson Woodcock given in the LP notes.
Sadly that LP has been deleted, and is unlikely to be reissued anytime soon.
However Edith Fowke did record some other songs by Emerson for Folkways, and these are still available from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings who will make up a CD for you from the original 1961 LP "Lumbering Songs from the Ontario Shanties" FW04052

I believe that the University of Calgary has some of Edith Fowke's material, but I'm not sure whether this includes copies of her field recordings in Ontario. I haven't been able to find anything yet about Dr Pollack.

Hopefully somebody else here with some knowledge of Canadian resources will be able to help you. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 08:39 AM

Marg, could it have been Newbell Niles Puckett who recorded Fred Woodcock's shanties?
There is an online article from The Canadian Journal for Traditional Music about "The Puckett Collection of Ontario Folklore" which is a collection of tapes recorded in Ontario in the 1950's and 1960's. The singers aren't named in the article.

The tapes are now held in The Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive, but you would have to contact them for further information as the collection isn't indexed in their online catalogue.

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: GUEST,Marg
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 09:12 PM

Would it be possible for me to obtain a recording of Karen K singing this song ? I would love to hear it, since my great uncle Emerson Woodcock sang it. Please tell me how and where to purchase it/ Thank you. Marg.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: GUEST,Marg
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 11:47 PM

Hello Mathew
Thank you for your quick reply.About Fred Woodcock's Shanty songs I contacted his daughter who had given me the original info and when I called her to say you had asked if it could have been Dr.Puckett instead of Pollack, she agreed that it was Puckett. She said she thought he came from Pennsylvania and he had a summer home in Bobcaygeon Ont.where he recorded her father ,(my great uncle).She also told me that when Uncle Fred sang he always sat on the floor, and her maternal grandmother or Uncle Fred's mother-in-law would cry when he sang.The Woodcock's were great singers in the Irish tradition,and I was told by my grandmother (Uncle Emerson Woodcock's twin sister)thatwhen I sang it made her want to cry. Thank you again. Marg.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 08:48 AM

Hello again Marge, and welcome back. Those are great stories about your family, and I think its wonderful that you are singing as well.

From what I remember of the article in the Canadian Journal of Traditional Music (it isn't available online at the moment) Niles Puckett spent several summer seasons in the late 1950's and early 1960's in Ontario where he recorded lots of songs and singers on tapes which are now held by the Memorial University of Newfoundland. I would guess that these tapes would include examples of Fred Woodcock, but I don't know how you'd get hold of them to listen to.

Apparently Edith Fowke wrote more about Emerson Woodcock and his songs in her book Traditional singers and songs from Ontario, Folklore Associates, Hatboro,Pa., 1965

Best wishes, Matthew


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: GUEST,Emersons Grandson Floyd jr.
Date: 27 Nov 04 - 11:47 PM

I think alot of these songs Grandpa sang are available at the national archives. I got a copy for christmas a couple of years ago from a brother in law. Will post follow up message when I find out more floydw@sympatico.ca


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: GUEST,Kerry Woodcock
Date: 28 Nov 04 - 01:25 PM

hello all
Emerson Woodcock was my grandfather. I remember him singing this song and I will try to find out all the words for it and its origin from my aunts and uncles. I will be in touch soon.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: GUEST,Kerry Woodcock
Date: 28 Nov 04 - 01:37 PM

forgot to leave my e-mail.
ambvin2002@yahoo.com


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 28 Nov 04 - 02:10 PM

Hi Kerry and Floyd, its great to hear from you about your grandfather - I just love this song. He was a great singer and you are right to be proud of him in your family. Edith Fowke noted the words of the song as she recorded it from him, but it would be fascinating to know more about where the song came from. Did his mother sing it? (am I right to think that she had come from Ireland?).

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: GUEST,Clive Pownceby
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 08:35 AM

I have the book Matthew and the vinyl. Was lucky enough to meet with Edith Fowke not long before she died and she kindly autographed the paperback for me. I'll bring it along to The Belvedere sometime. Interestingly, Pete Coe sang 'The Footboy' at Southport Bothy on Sunday last - it was a memorable performance. His version is on his new CD.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 09:36 AM

It has all the hallmarks of a stall copy original. The 2 widely differing extant versions at least tell us something, a strong likelihood of an 18th century origin and a strong oral presence in Ireland and America, though there is really nothing to suggest an Irish origin. Relocation is very common in print and oral traditions.

Some of the verbal variations could be down to conscious rewriting but I would say most probably oral tradition is responsible for most of it. This indicates it has probably been in oral tradition for at least a century.

The motif of planting a gold ring on the victim is more common in Ireland as mentioned above, but it needn't have originated there.

If I come across a printed version I'll post it here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 10:14 AM

I'm sorry to have missed hearing Pete sing this at the Bothy, but I'll probably see him at Whitby and get the new CD as well. Re-reading this thread is a bit saddening as two of the contributors have since died:- Malcolm Douglas, and Karen Kobela (karen k) and they are both greatly missed.
Anyway it is great that Pete Coe is keeping this song going; I sang it myself for a while, but Pete will be a better force at giving it a wider circulation. I'd be interested to know if he has found any more about the background and history of the song.
It would be great to see you at the Belvedere again soon, Clive.
Matthew


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Footboy (Canadian ballad)
From: meself
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 10:44 AM

I wonder if Fred Woodcock's grand-niece Marg ever got to hear any of the recordings? Are you still out there, Marg?


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