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Lyr Req: May Carol: 'Remember lords and ladies...'

DigiTrad:
CORNISH MAY CAROL
DRAWING NEARER TO THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY
MAY DAY CAROL
MAY DAY CAROL (2)
MAY MORNING CAROL
MAY MORNING DEW
QUEEN OF THE MAY


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Compton 06 Apr 04 - 08:28 AM
IanC 06 Apr 04 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Mary Humphreys 06 Apr 04 - 11:15 AM
AggieD 06 Apr 04 - 11:21 AM
Compton 06 Apr 04 - 06:32 PM
AggieD 16 Apr 04 - 06:47 AM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Apr 04 - 01:07 AM
Jim Dixon 16 Sep 11 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,Alfred Norton On The Mouse 29 Mar 13 - 05:44 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: May Song / Carol Title Unknown.
From: Compton
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 08:28 AM

This could be a problem!. Untold numbers of years ago, I remember (once!) The Ian Campbell Folk Group singing a (I suppose) May Carol which had a chorus that I recall went.."For it is the First of May, It is the first of May, Remember, Lords and Ladies, It is the First of May..."
I've never heard it since, so,as May 1st coming around again, I wouldn't mind singing a little more than the bit of chorus!. Can ANYONE help??


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: May Song / Carol Title Unknown.
From: IanC
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 11:01 AM

Compton

You're right it could be a problem. I'm pretty sure The Ian Campbell Folk Group never recorded a May carol, because I've tried a load of their discographies and a UK National Sound Archive (CADENSA) search. The latter turns up 486 items, but no May Carols (or anything like). They may have sung it on one of their BBC radio programs, I suppose.

What you have is certainly the chorus of a May Carol. Around here (that's Herts, Cambs and Beds) almost every village had its own version, though they were often very similar to the next village. There's a Cambridgeshire version (collected in Coton or Comberton, I believe) and a Huntingdonshire version (?Abbots Ripton) that have been recorded (i.e. written down). Hitchin had a whole, well-documented, set of dances and songs in the 19th Century and Letchworth also had a song (pre Garden City) which I think has been recorded.

:-(
Ian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: May Song / Carol Title Unknown.
From: GUEST,Mary Humphreys
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 11:15 AM

Keith Kendrick has just recently recorded this on a Wild Goose CD WGS 317 - Well Seasoned. It is the Derbyshire May Carol.There is a Cambridgeshire May Carol the tune of which was collected by RVW from Hoppy Flack of Fowlmere. It has words supplied by the local vicar at the time, of a rather heavily doom-laden sort.It is quite different, with a modal tune and no chorus.
Mary


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: May Song / Carol Title Unknown.
From: AggieD
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 11:21 AM

We sing this May Carol every year at Ampthill Park, when Bedfordshire Lace & Redbornstoke gather at Katherines Cross at sunrise on Mayday, to dance up the sun. Works every year I'm pleased to say.

Anyone around please come & join in the celebrations


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: May Song / Carol Title Unknown.
From: Compton
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 06:32 PM

Ian C, you're right, they probably didn't record it...I have most of what they did..(I was a big fan) BUT it may well have been radio.
Aggie D may have something. Must try and get to listen to Keith Kendrick version. I haven't heard the damn thing in twenty years!!


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Subject: Lyr Add: MAY SONG (from Fred Hamer)
From: AggieD
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 06:47 AM

I think this is the song that you mean

May Song (As sung by Mum Johnstone)


Good morning lords and ladies it is the first of May,
We hope you'll view our garland it is so bright and gay,
For it is the first of May, oh it is the first of May,
Remember lords and ladies it is the first of May.

We gathered them this morning all in the early dew,
And now we bring their beauty and fragrance all for you,
For it is the first of May, oh it is the first of May,
Remember lords and ladies it is the first of May.

The cuckoo comes in April, it sings its song in May,
In June it changes tune, in July it flies away,
For it is the first of May, oh it is the first of May,
Remember lords and ladies it is the first of May.

And now you've seen our garland we must be on our way,
So remember lords and ladies it is the first of May,
For it is the first of May, oh it is the first of May,
Remember lords and ladies it is the first of May.


Source: Fred Hamer: Garners Gay (EDFS Publications 1967)


Fred Hamer comments:
This carol Mrs. Johnstone learned from her grandmother who came from Carlton, and it seems to have been used in some villages near the Northamptonshire border. This is the fullest version I have come across so far.


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Subject: Tune add: May Song: Bedfordshire
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Apr 04 - 01:07 AM

Here is Mrs Johnstone's tune:

X:1
T:May Song: Bedfordshire
S:Mrs Johnstone, Bedfordshire
N:Learned from her grandmother who came from Carlton
N:Roud 305
Z:Fred Hamer
B:Garners Gay, London: EFDS Publications, 1967, p 33
L:1/8
Q:1/4=100
M:4/4
K:C
G2|c2 c2 G2 G2|E4 C2 C2|A2 A2 G2 F2|
w:Good morn-ing lords and la-dies it is the first of
E6 G2|c2 c2 G2 G2|E4 C2 C2|A2 A2 G2 F2|
w:May, We hope you'll view our gar-land it is so bright and
E6 GG|G2 G2 G2 G2|G4 c3 d|e2 c2 A2 B2|
w:gay, For it is the first of May, oh it is the first of
c6 G2|c2 c2 G2 G2|E4 C2 C2|A2 A2 B2 G2|c6|]
w:May, Re-mem-ber lords and la-dies it is the first of May.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: May Carol: 'Remember lords and ladies...'
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 06:58 PM

This version has a few of the lines that were quoted above--

From Notes and Queries, Volume 31, page 373-4:

A MAY-DAY SONG.
In the issue of this journal for July 29, 1854, (1st S. x. 91), I described the May-day customs as then existing in Huntingdonshire; and, in the Illustrated London News for May 2, 1857, I gave a sketch of "The May Queen and her Garland, at Glatton, Huntingdonshire." The May-day customs at Glatton and the adjacent village have been observed up to the present year; but, as they present no novelties, it is needless for me to encumber your space by a repetition of what I wrote eleven years ago. The description under the above reference in your first series would stand for an account of the May-day customs in 1865, at Glatton, Stilton, Denton, Caldecote, Folkesworth, and other Huntingdonshire villages. The immediate object of my note is to record in "N. & Q." the words of a May-day song, sung by "the Mayers" on May-day, 1865, in the village of Denton and Caldecote, when they went round with their "garland." The song, I may observe, was taught to the children by the mother of one of the singers; and the woman had learnt it as a child from her mother, who had been taught it, in turn, by her mother. Like the songs of the Christmas Mummers, it would appear to have been compiled by an uneducated person from odds and ends of verse. I give it precisely as it was sung: —

"Here comes us poor Mayers all,
And thus we do begin
To lead our lives in righteousness,
For fear we should die in sin.

"To die in sin is a dreadful thing,
To die in sin for nought;
It would have been better for our poor souls
If we had never been born.

"Good morning, lords and ladies,
It is the first of May;
I hope you'll view the garland,
For it looks so very gay.

"The cuckoo sings in April,
The cuckoo sings in May,
The cuckoo sings in June,
In July she flies away.

"Now take a Bible in your hand,
And read a chapter through;
And when the day of Judgment comes,
The Lord will think of you."

The sudden variations of this song between theology and ornithology, and its very slight relation to May-day, certainly invest its composition with a daring originality. It was sung to a tune that was "most melancholy," but not "most musical."
--Cuthbert Bede.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: May Carol: 'Remember lords and ladies...'
From: GUEST,Alfred Norton On The Mouse
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 05:44 PM

I know some alternate verses:

We all came by to see you,
With smiles upon our face.
We stopp'd by at the Ale House
Before we hit your place!

We hope you liked our garland,
But now it's time to go.
For since we've started singing,
We've had three feet of snow!

(as sung by Ye Merrie Greenwood Players of Richland, WA)


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