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Lyr Req: If I Were a Blackbird [not DT]

DigiTrad:
IF I WAS A BLACKBIRD
IF I WAS A BLACKBIRD (2)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: If I Was a Blackbird (26)
(origins) If i was a blackbird? (14)
Lyr Req: If I Were a Blackbird (14) (closed)
(origins) Origins: Blackbird / If I Was a Blackbird (11)
Lyr Req: If I were a vulture (5)
If I was/were a blackbird? Author? (15)
Lyr Req: If I Was a Blackbird (from Silly Wizard) (6)


Mr Happy 27 Oct 04 - 08:41 AM
Gervase 27 Oct 04 - 08:47 AM
Janie 27 Oct 04 - 08:51 AM
MMario 27 Oct 04 - 08:59 AM
Mr Happy 27 Oct 04 - 09:03 AM
Mr Happy 27 Oct 04 - 09:24 AM
Georgiansilver 27 Oct 04 - 10:25 AM
Lil Dog Turpy 27 Oct 04 - 11:02 AM
mg 27 Oct 04 - 11:26 AM
Georgiansilver 27 Oct 04 - 12:44 PM
BB 27 Oct 04 - 06:55 PM
The Fooles Troupe 27 Oct 04 - 11:03 PM
radriano 28 Oct 04 - 12:36 PM
Mr Happy 03 Nov 04 - 08:45 PM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Nov 04 - 08:57 PM
Bob Bolton 03 Nov 04 - 11:14 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Nov 04 - 05:53 AM
Maryrrf 04 Nov 04 - 08:49 AM
Roberto 04 Nov 04 - 12:59 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Nov 04 - 07:35 PM
Roberto 05 Nov 04 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,JTT 05 Nov 04 - 11:17 PM
GUEST 20 Nov 04 - 10:38 AM
Lin in Kansas 21 Nov 04 - 05:59 AM
Jess A 22 Nov 04 - 08:22 AM
BB 22 Nov 04 - 03:56 PM
Jess A 23 Nov 04 - 09:06 AM
GUEST,Bob Brooker 12 Dec 04 - 01:48 PM
Mr Happy 22 Jun 09 - 09:11 AM
Mr Happy 22 Jun 09 - 09:17 AM
Little Robyn 22 Jun 09 - 03:47 PM
BobKnight 22 Jun 09 - 07:23 PM
Mr Happy 23 Jun 09 - 09:47 AM
billybob 23 Jun 09 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,docelder 26 Oct 11 - 02:40 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 08:41 AM

This is a version I half remember, but I'm pretty sure there was another verse.

Anyone know it?


IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD

If I were a blackbird I'd whistle and sing
I'd follow the transport my true love sails on
And in the top rigging I'd there build my nest
And there beat my wings o'er his bonny white breast.

My love he is handsome in every degree
My parents despise him because he loves me
But let them despise him and say what they will
While there's breath in my body I'll love that lad still.

And if I was a scholar who could handle my pen
I'd write a long letter, to my truelove I'd send
I'd tell of my sorrows, my sad grief and woe
If I could but find him, to my truelove I'd go


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Subject: Lyr Add: IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD
From: Gervase
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 08:47 AM

The version I know is:

I once knew a maiden, a maiden so rare
Fell in love with a sailor, a young sailor boy
He courted her truly by night and by day
Til at length that young sailor he sailed far away.

        And if I was a blackbird I'd whistle and sing
        I'd follow the ship that my true love sails on
        And in the top rigging I'd there build my nest
        And cradle my head on his bonny white breast.


My love he is handsome in every degree
My parents despise him because he loves me
But let them despise him and say what they will
While there is life in my bosom I'll love that boy still.

And if I was a scholar who could handle a pen
A long loving letter unto him I'd send
I'd tell of my sorrows, my griefs and my woes
If I could but find him I'd crown him with gold


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Janie
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 08:51 AM

There are two versions in the DT. The other version has additional verses. I am wondering, from the verses you have, if the verse you are seeking is the the one that starts "There was a young maiden..."

I think I saw it in one of the DT versions. If not, let me know and I'll post it.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: MMario
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 08:59 AM

see If I were a blackbird (2)

see also previous discussion


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 09:03 AM

Both Dt versions resemble the one I remember but they're not the same.

Previous threads on this song seem to conclude that it may be an immigration song, but the line in my version 'I'll follow the transport' I think implies that it may be about the transportations of felons to the then British Commonwealth.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 09:24 AM

MMario + al,

Thanks for info.

I've checked previous discussions & believe this is the verse I was seeking:

I am a young maiden my story is sad
for once I was courted by a bold sailor lad
he courted me fondly by night and by day
and now my poor sailor has sailed far away

Cheers,

Mr H


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 10:25 AM

Hi Mr Happy.
You might like to go to Cantaria website and find the full song in the alphabetical list..you may also play some or all of the song(assuming you have speakers)
http://www.chivalry.com/cantaria/
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: Lyr Add: IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD
From: Lil Dog Turpy
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 11:02 AM

Here's the version I have - sounds like the opposite parties view :-)

I am a young sailor my story is sad
Though once I was a carefree and brave sailor lad
I courted a lassie by night and by day
But now she has left me and sailed far away

Chorus
        If I were a blackbird I'd whistle and sing
        And follow the ship that my true love sails in
        And in the top rigging I'd there build my nest
        And lay down my head on her lilly white breast

If I were a scholar and could handle a pen
One secret love letter my true love I'd send
And tell of my sorrow my grief and my pain
since she's gone and left me in yon flowery glen

I sailed over ocean my fortune to seek
I missed her caress and her kiss on my cheek
I returned and I told her my love was still warm
But she turned away lightly and great was her scorn

I offered to take her to Donnybrook fair
and buy her fine ribbons to tie up her hair
I offered to marry and stay by her side
but she says in the morning she sails with the tide

My parents they chide me they will not agree
Say married to my false love I never should be
but let them deprive me and do what they will
while there is breath in my body she's the one I love still


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Subject: Lyr Add: IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD
From: mg
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 11:26 AM

Here's what I remember..probably off an Anne Bryne record (the finest of all fine singers)

If I was a blackbird I'd whistle and sing
And follow the ship that my true love sails in
And on the top rigging I'd there build my nest
And lay down my head on his lily white breast

I am a young maiden my story is sad
For once I was courted by a _____ sailor lad
He courted me fondly by night and by day
And now my poor sailor has sailed far away

He promised to take me to Donneybrook fair
to buy me red ribbons to bind up my hair
And when he returned from the ocean so wide
He'd take me and make me his own loving bride


His parents they spite me and do not agree
that I and my sailor lad married should be
But when he returns he will greet me with joy
and I'll take to my bosom my ______ sailor boy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 12:44 PM

There are of course both male and female perspectives and both are on Cantaria website, mentioned above.
Best wishes.


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Subject: Lyr Add: IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD
From: BB
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 06:55 PM

The version I sing doesn't have a chorus, and the singer it was collected from, May Bradley, from Shropshire said it was the old way of singing it, and called it 'My Love'.

Don't know whether my words now are exactly as it was collected, but here they are.

It's of a fair maiden, my fortune was sad;
I was overcourted by a rakish young lad;
I kept my love company by night and by day;
Now my Johnny has left me and he's gone far away.

My love's now a soldier; he's neat, tall and slim,
And there's none in the army that can better him;
With his red rosy cheeks and his curly black hair,
His flattering tongue has my heart in a snare.

Now there's some people say that I'm out of my mind,
And there's some people say that I'm large with a child,
But it's let them be talking and say what they will,
For the love I've got for him, I'll keep it up still.

Now if I were a blackbird, I'd whistle and sing,
And I'd follow the ship that my true love sails in;
At the top of his mainmast I would build my nest
And at night I would gaze on his lily-white breast.

And if I were a scholar and could handle my pen,
I would write him a letter, to him would I send,
So God send him safe sailing and a fair wind to blow,
And adieu to my true love wherever he goes.

It has a beautiful melody, too.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 11:03 PM

I heard one of the versions of this on Australia Radio - it was a big thing in the hit charts here during the 60's - my mother said it was an old song. The version I heard had the chorus, I think - but it was a long time ago.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: radriano
Date: 28 Oct 04 - 12:36 PM

I believe the original, or older, song was from a woman's point of view. The commonly sung version is a re-working of the trad song by Andy Stewart, given from the man's point of view.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Mr Happy
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 08:45 PM

I did a song this evening that I used to do long ago: 'The Bonnie Light Horseman'.

I got a little confused with a missing verse & may inadvertantly put in one from 'If I were a Blackbird'- it fitted!

I wonder if there's connections between these songs?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 08:57 PM

Not really; though of course there is imagery in common, as in so many other songs of the time.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 11:14 PM

G'day Foolestoupe/Robin,

There was a recording of the female perspective If I Were a Blackbird on the small Sydney Folk label Wattle Recordings around 1957. I think the singer was Barbara Lysiak (although it could have been Beth Schurmann ... ) and the song was as collected from Sally Sloane of Teralba and Lithgow (various periods) ... a great source of both Australian and British Isles songs and tunes.

I can't imagine that Wattle recording getting high in the pop charts ... although their Alan Scott/Bushwhackers Band recording of The Drover's Dream apparently charted well in country towns in the late '50s ... and even penetrated the city charts. It may be that some singer of the early "Folk Revival" picked up Sally's song and made a more commercial recording - or, perhaps, the Wattle 78rpm disc was popular enough in country areas to register on the local charts.

Where would your mother have heard the song played on radio?

(I have a copy of the original Wattle &8 ... but it is currently with a friend who is doing a meticulous job of capturing the best possible copy onto CD format ... I might get all that back when we meet at the Lithgow Concertina Gathering ... mid-December!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 05:53 AM

The song has been issued commercially a number of times; like many others in the UK, I remember a rather sentimental arrangement being played frequently on mainstream radio programmes in the 1950s and '60s. I think that was recorded by Ronnie Ronalde in the 1950s; Delia Murphy made a very popular recording of it in the 1930s, as has been mentioned in most of the earlier threads on this song. I'd be surprised if both were not also frequently played on Australian radio.

The song probably isn't very old (though it borrows extensively from older songs), but it has been widespread in Britain and Ireland for more than a century; Sharp and Gardiner both found it in the South West of England in the first decade of the 20th century, for example. Most people who sing it nowadays will probably have learned it, directly or at a few removes, from the Ronalde or Murphy records.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Maryrrf
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 08:49 AM

I read somewhere (can't remember where) that "If I were a Blackbird" was composed almost entirely of "floating verses" - as are many lovely songs. It all comes together very nicely in this one. I love Andy M. Stewart's version although to me it really is a woman's song and is better sung from a woman's point of view.


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Subject: Lyr Add: IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD
From: Roberto
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 12:59 PM

Two recordings, the first one from a great traditional singer, WALTER PARDON, the second from a revival singer, ANDY M. STEWART, sung to a tune elaborated by himself.

IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD
Walter Pardon, Put a Bit of Powder on it, Father, Musical Traditions MT CD 305-6; recordings 1978-82

I am but a poor girl, my life it is sad
Many months I've been courting a fine sailor lad
I courted him truly, by night and by day
And now on a transport, he's gone far away

If I were a blackbird, I'd whistle, I'd sing
I'd follow the vessel my true love sailed in
High on the top rigging I'd there build my nest
I'd lay all night long on his lily-white breast

My love he was handsome in every degree
But my parents despised him because he loved me
And let them despise him and say what they will
Whilst I've breath in my body I'll love my lad still

If I were a blackbird, I'd whistle, I'd sing
I'd follow the vessel my true love sailed in
High on the top rigging I'd there build my nest
I'd lay all night long on his lily-white breast

He promised to take me to Donnybrook fair
With a bunch of pink ribbon to tie up my hair
And if I could see him, I'd greet him with joy
Upon the fond lips of my young sailor boy

If I were a blackbird, I'd whistle, I'd sing
I'd follow the vessel my true love sailed in
High on the top rigging I'd there build my nest
I'd lay all night long on his lily-white breast

If I were a scholar and could handle my pen
Such a fond, loving letter to him I would send
I'd tell him my troubles, my joys and my woe
On the wings of a blackbird together we'd go

If I were a blackbird, I'd whistle, I'd sing
I'd follow the vessel my true love sailed in
High on the top rigging I'd there build my nest
I'd lay all night long on his lily-white breast


If I Was A Blackbird
Andy M. Stewart, in Silly Wizard, Wild & Beautiful, Shanachie 79028

I am a young sailor, my story is sad
Though once I was carefree and a brave sailor lad
I courted a lassie by night and by day
Ah, but now she has left me and sailed far away

Oh if I was a blackbird, could whistle and sing
I'd follow the vessel my true love sails in
And in the top rigging I would there build my nest
And I'd flutter my wings o'er her lily-white breast

Or if I was a scholar and could handle the pen
One secret love letter to my true love I'd send
And I'd tell of my sorrow, my grief and my pain
Since she's gone and left me in yon flowery glen

I sailed o'er the ocean, my fortune to seek
Though I missed her caress and her kiss on my cheek
I returned and I told her my love was still warm
But she turned away lightly and great was her scorn

I offered to take her to Donnybrook Fair
And to buy her fine ribbons to tie up her hair
I offered to marry and to stay by her side
But she said in the morning she sailed with the tide

My parents they chide me and will not agree
Saying that me and my false love married should never be
Ah but let them deprive me or let them do what they will
While there's breath in my body, she's the one that I love still


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 07:35 PM

Walter Pardon's set is currently available from Musical Traditions on Put a Bit of Powder on it, Father: the Other Songs of Walter Pardon (MT CD 305-6). Well worth getting hold of if you like the real thing.

Andy M Stewart's rather self-conscious redaction will be more widely available, I expect, but I have no interest in it; I've never understood why revival performers so often feel the need to tinker with traditional songs in order to alter the gender perspective (and, as a result, the entire meaning of the thing). It suggests to me a lack of understanding of, or respect for, the material. And yes, I know that "traditional" singers have also been known to do exactly the same thing; they were operating within a quite different context.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Roberto
Date: 05 Nov 04 - 04:06 AM

I think Andy M. Stewart has some links to the real thing, through his family, and if I remember well, his If I Were A Blackbird too owns something to the tradition.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 05 Nov 04 - 11:17 PM

I think Delia Murphy used to sing a version with the verse:

*His* parents they slight me, and will not agree
That I and my sailor boy married shall be,
But let them deride me, and do what they will,
While there's breath in my body, he's the one I love still.

(and I think in her version the first verse - If I were a blackbird I'd whistle and sing... - is repeated at the end. But I don't remember any of that fancy scholar stuff.)


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Subject: Lyr Add: IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 10:38 AM

I once knew a maiden whose fortune was so.
She courted a sailor a young sailor boy.
She courted him dearly by night and by day
Until that young sailor he sailed miles away.

CHORUS: And if I were a blackbird I'd whistle and sing.
I would follow the ship that my true love sailed in,
And on the top rigging, I'd there build my nest.
Like an eagle I'd fly on his lily-white breast.

My true love is handsome in every degree.
My parents despise him because he loves me,
But let them despise him or say what they will,
While there's life in my bosom I'll love the lad still. CHORUS

And if I were a scholar could handle a pen,
A letter of love to my sailor I'd send.
I'd tell him my sorrows my griefs and my woes,
And when I would find him, I'll crown him with gold. CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 05:59 AM

Barley Bree does a very nice version of this song on their CD "The Best of Barley Bree," Shanachie 52039.

Lin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Jess A
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 08:22 AM

Crucible recorded the May Bradley version given above by BB (27 Oct 04 - 06:55 PM )
on our debut album 'Changeling' (WGS315CD)

Alright so I am advertising, sorry folks...

I agree though Barbara, gorgeous tune... Less well known than the version with the chorus I think...

Jess
www.cruciblemusic.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I Were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: BB
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 03:56 PM

You're forgiven for advertising, Jess. All the best people record with Wildgoose, you know...

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I Were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Jess A
Date: 23 Nov 04 - 09:06 AM

hehe, well I thought so ;)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I Were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: GUEST,Bob Brooker
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 01:48 PM

Just discovered this discussion page, absolutely brilliant, us performers need all the help we can get these days, what with backing tapes and Kareoke, (No offers of wirecutters - I already have some!)
Cheers!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I Were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Mr Happy
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 09:11 AM

I'd never heard the Ronnie Renalde version before as mentioned above.

Its here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trtxVvyzlrA & useful for me as its a male perspective rendering


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I Were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Mr Happy
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 09:17 AM

..........but think i'd pass on the trilling & warbling though!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I Were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Little Robyn
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 03:47 PM

Ronnie is alive and well and living in New Zeaaland.
Every so often on a nostalgia radio programme here, someone will phone him and chat about his singing days. He still sounds great tho' he must be getting on in years.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I Were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: BobKnight
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 07:23 PM

Is Andy M. Stewart a "revival" singer? He's one of the Stewarts of Blair after all. Not that I hold much truck with definitions myself.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I Were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: Mr Happy
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 09:47 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronnie_Ronalde


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I Were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: billybob
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 10:08 AM

Ronnie appeared at the Fisher Theatre Bungay, last month. He was over in the UK to get an award from the Variety Club of Great Britain, he was staying in Beccles where he used to live many years ago. So he did a one off performance at the Fisher. He was very entertaining and also had copies of his autobiography, he lives next door to Max Bygraves!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If I Were a Blackbird [not DT]
From: GUEST,docelder
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 02:40 PM

try Joseph Locke and Spotify!its fascinating how many versions there are.


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