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Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?

DigiTrad:
FALSE SIR JOHN
FALSE SIR JOHN 2
LADY ISABEL AND THE ELF-KNIGHT
LADY ISOBEL AND THE ELF KNIGHT
OUTLANDISH KNIGHT
THE KING O' SPAIN'S DAUGHTER
THE LONELY WILLOW TREE


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Kentucky version of Lady Isabel (8)
Penguin: The Outlandish Knight (13)
Lyr Req: Castle by the Sea (Lena Bourne Fish) (8)
meaning: 'beechen gold' (from False Lover John) (4)
Lyr Req: charlotte renals' a man from the north #4 (9)
(origins) Origins/Authenticity:Lonely Willow Tree (Child #4) (14)
Version of Lady Isabel and Elf Knight (6)
Tune Req: Outlandish Knight (Fred Jordan) (6)
Lyr Req: Outlandish Knight (Cyril Tawney) (10)
question on Outlandish Knight (82)
'Italian' Lady Isobel (6)
Lyr Add: The False Young Sailor (10)
Chords: Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight (5)


Peter T. 05 Mar 05 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,Nerd 05 Mar 05 - 09:55 PM
GUEST 07 Mar 05 - 12:24 PM
Peter T. 07 Mar 05 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Nerd 07 Mar 05 - 03:02 PM
Peter T. 07 Mar 05 - 04:12 PM
Nerd 07 Mar 05 - 11:04 PM
Nerd 07 Mar 05 - 11:08 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Mar 05 - 11:30 PM
Acme 08 Mar 05 - 12:42 AM
DaveA 08 Mar 05 - 03:24 AM
GUEST,Philippa 08 Mar 05 - 04:48 AM
GUEST,Nerd 08 Mar 05 - 11:00 AM
Peter T. 08 Mar 05 - 08:44 PM
GUEST,frenchfriedfae@cox.net 08 Mar 05 - 09:17 PM
Peter T. 09 Mar 05 - 08:10 AM
GUEST,Nerd 09 Mar 05 - 12:19 PM
Tannywheeler 09 Mar 05 - 04:45 PM
Peter T. 09 Mar 05 - 06:56 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Mar 05 - 08:14 PM
Peter T. 09 Mar 05 - 11:38 PM
GUEST,Opie 10 Mar 05 - 07:12 AM
Peter T. 10 Mar 05 - 08:03 AM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Mar 05 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,Nerd 10 Mar 05 - 05:32 PM
Peter T. 10 Mar 05 - 07:44 PM
Tannywheeler 11 Mar 05 - 02:32 PM
Peter T. 11 Mar 05 - 10:00 PM
Malcolm Douglas 11 Mar 05 - 10:18 PM
GUEST 14 Mar 05 - 09:18 AM
Malcolm Douglas 14 Mar 05 - 07:55 PM
Acme 15 Mar 05 - 07:43 PM
Peter T. 15 Mar 05 - 10:44 PM
Peter T. 09 May 05 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Andrew Sullivan 23 Dec 10 - 11:43 AM
Tootler 23 Dec 10 - 03:06 PM
Joybell 23 Dec 10 - 04:09 PM
Tootler 24 Dec 10 - 04:23 PM
Joybell 24 Dec 10 - 08:27 PM
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Subject: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Peter T.
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 05:07 PM

We have had a number of threads on "The Outlandish Knight" (and many of its variations), and I am trying to track down the version that Rick Fielding used to sing (part of a project of mine). I suspect that it is a version by Peggy Seeger, or even one by Pete Seeger, since there is a banjo involved, and the playing sounds a lot like Peggy Seeger. Can anyone tell me where one might find these (that is, the original albums or reissues that would assist in tracking down the version)? The original version must be from the 50s anyway, since Rick played it from the age of 15. Any help would be appreciated.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 09:55 PM

Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger did five versions on The Long Harvest LP set. It's from volume 6, 1967, but they had been singing at least two of the versions since the 1950s at least. I'll give you the opening stanza of each, and maybe you can identify it:

1) O! False Sir John A Wooin Came
To a maid of beauty rare
May Colvin was this lady's name
Her Father's Only Heir

2)It's of a handsome tall young man
William was his name
He come across the raging sea
all for the courting of me, of me,
all for the courting of me

3) An outlandish knight from the north lands came
and he came wooing to me
He promised he'd take me to the north lands
and there he'd marry me

4)Billy came over the main white ocean
Billy Came over the sea
Billy Came down to my father's house
Billy came courtin' of me, of me
Billy came courtin' of me

5) There was a youth, a cruel youth
he lived beside the sea
six pretty maidens he drowned there
by a lonely willow tree.

Anything ringing a bell?


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 12:24 PM

Refresh: Is it one of those, Peter T.?


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Peter T.
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 12:32 PM

Sorry, got delayed.
Thanks for the help.

His version is:

"Now there was a youth, and a well-bred youth,
Being a squire's son...."

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 03:02 PM

Well, the Child Ballads Project lists another version of Child 4 as sung by Peggy Seeger, but gives "The False Knight On The Road" as the title (usually the title of Child 3). It's on Blood and Roses, Vol. 1, which I don't have and so can't check for you. I also have the Peggy Seeger song book at home somewhere, so I'll try to find that!


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Peter T.
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 04:12 PM

much thanks. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Nerd
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 11:04 PM

Sadly, the Peggy Seeger songbook is only songs she wrote herself, so there's no help there!


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Nerd
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 11:08 PM

Incidentally, that's the identical opening from many broadsides (and orally-collected versions) of "The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington." I wonder what the connection is...


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 11:30 PM

Bronson, I, 4.74, pp 69-70, perhaps. "Twas of a youth and a well bred youth/ He being a squire's son..." from Creighton & Senior, Traditional Songs of Nova Scotia, 1950, 2-3, version A. Dennis Smith, Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Acme
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 12:42 AM

I do have Blood and Roses! (I didn't have the last McColl album someone asked about).

I'll trace this and check it out tomorrow (it's late now).

SRS


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: DaveA
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 03:24 AM

Hi Peter,

Your Number 5 (there was a youth & a well bred youth etc) was sung by Pete Seeger (with banjo) on a vinyl record I used to own but lost (along with many others) after a marriage breakup. As I recall it, the title was "The False Knight Upon the Road" but it was very different from the Steeleye Span version

The Bitter & the Sweet was the name of the Album but I dunno if it has been re-issued on CD

Good luck - it is a great version

Dave


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 04:48 AM

I learned the version "There was a youth and a well-bred youth, he being a squire's son ..." from a Pete Seeger recording. I don't know which album it was, but it was definitely Pete Seeger. Do you want me to post the words as I remember (and still sing) them?

The version of this story I hear locally in N Ireland (esp from Brian Mullen)is called "False Lover John"


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 11:00 AM

Good thought, Malcolm. Bronson's #73 and 90 also follow this "Bailiff's daughter of Islington" pattern, meaning we have one text from England, one from Atlantic Canada and one from what was then the independent Crown colony of Newfoundland. You can almost see it migrating!

I'll see if it's on any of my Pete Seeger records when I get home...


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 08:44 PM

Gee, thanks everyone. They keep releasing Pete Seeger Ballad records, but they all seem to be American ballads.

It would make sense that it might be an early Pete Seeger album (well. not early for him, but early for Rick).

I wonder if it is on a Folkways album -- unfortunately they don't seem to give the album cuts, just the title. So if one of you stalwarts could find the album, at least there would be a chance of getting hold of it.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: GUEST,frenchfriedfae@cox.net
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 09:17 PM

Can anyone help me as to what the tune to this song is?

Lasairfhíona


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:10 AM

The version I am referring to has a kind of a "down the scale" tune, a bit like "Pretty Peggy-O" at least at the outset.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 12:19 PM

Yes, those Pete Seeger CDs are nice, but they're badly titled. Why "American Favorite Ballads" when

1) Favorite American Ballads would be more idiomatically American

and

2) Many of the songs on them are not, in fact, ballads.

I think "Favorite American Folksongs" would have been better.

Sorry for the digression...


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 04:45 PM

The Pete Seeger album with "False Knight Upon the Road" was recorded live at The Bitter End. Odd song: the girl saves herself by cleverness, but when she gets home her parrot questions her going off with the guy but coming back without him. She admits:

..."Young Henry(?) lies under the sea",

and then she has to bribe the bird to keep quiet:

"Don't prittle, don't prattle, my pretty, pretty Polly--
Don't tell no tales on me --
And you shall have a cage of the purest, beaten gold
And be hung on an ivory tree."

I guess self-defense was not an option for women in whatever day and age that was.                Tw


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 06:56 PM

The version I am looking for has no parrot part.


He goes on in verse one:

And he courted him an innkeeper's daughter,
belonging to North Cumberland.

yours,
Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:14 PM

That'll be the one I mentioned earlier, then. As it happens, there is< a"parrot part" (verses 12 and 13) but evidently it was omitted.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 11:38 PM

Like Dylan's
"Simple Twist of Fate" -- the parrot part is thankfully omitted.


yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: GUEST,Opie
Date: 10 Mar 05 - 07:12 AM

There seems to be some confusion of ballads here (maybe the confusion is Pete's; he isn't above mixing sources)...

"False Knight on the Road," Child #3, is the song that begins:

The knight met a child on the road,
Where are you going to, said the knight on the road,
I'm going to my school, says the child on the road... etc.

The "parrot part" pretty much belongs to the ballad variously known as Henry Lee, Salt Water Sea etc. ... it's Child #4, Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight originally, with words to the effect:

Hold your tongue, pretty poll parrot, and say no word of me,
Your clothes shall be of the finest gold, no need for poverty

And as Nerd remarks, the opening really is mostly heard in the Bailiff's Daughter of Islington, though it's probably older:

There was a youth, and a well beloved youth, and he was a squire's son,
He loved the bailiff's daughter dear, that lived in Islington.

Untangling all these rubber bands is a job for Hercules (Child #749), and I haven't heard the Seeger song in question, but from the various descriptions above it sounds more like a medley than a distinct song in its own right.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Mar 05 - 08:03 AM

Yeah, it is a skein of song. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Mar 05 - 11:51 AM

I don't think that False Knight on the Road has anything to do with it apart from a mix-up of titles; let's not make ourselves unnecessarily confused.

I'll quote the set I mentioned earlier when I have time (or perhaps someone else would like to?); meanwhile, perhaps someone would quote what they remember of what Pete Seeger sang? Although I'd expect the Nova Scotia set to be Seeger's source, we do need more than a few opening words if the discussion is to be productive.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 10 Mar 05 - 05:32 PM

Well, Bronson already commented that the field-collected versions of Child 4 that he numbered 73, 74, and 90 had absorbed the opening of "The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington," so the presence of this opening in a version of Child 4 does not imply any tampering on Pete Seeger's part. As Malcolm says, I suspect that the only part of "The False Knight on the Road" involved is the title; since "The Outlandish Knight" is sometimes called "The False Knight," "False Henry," "False Lover John," etc, this is not so outlandish either (pardon the pun).

Like Malcolm, I would expect the Nova Scotia set was Pete's primary source.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Mar 05 - 07:44 PM

I will post it from the tape I am working with as soon as I find the time.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 02:32 PM

Whoa, Nellie.

1)There's a "song" (family of) about a knight courting a gal who has been bewitched (the knight has) and he gives her instructions on how to break the enchantment.
2)And there's a (family of) song(s) about a "knight" who seduces girls from well-off families, gets them to run away with him, kills them, and steals the stuff they've brought on the adventure, and goes off to repeat the process.
3)And there's a group about one who's trying to determine if the girl he's interested in is "safe" to hook up with, to which end he asks her trick questions that require special answers.
4)Not to mention numerous other scenarios....

The song I remembered was one Pete did (on the Bitter End album) of the #2 variety. Which is the variety you're looking for?                      Tw


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Peter T.
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 10:00 PM

A version of # 2. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 10:18 PM

Well, yes; that's what we've been saying all along. One or two people have been led astray by misunderstanding the title, is all; and they have posted misleading comments as a result.

I might repeat Dick Greenhaus' often-made comment at this point:

Titles are a snare and a delusion.

It is to the content that we should look. Making assumptions based just on the "name" of one example of a song is dangerous, particularly if the assumer has only limited knowledge and has ignored the contextual information already given.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 05 - 09:18 AM

I offered to post the lyrics as I learned them from a Pete Seeger album (roughly 35 years ago, so it's changed a wee bit). No one said, "please do", but it's looking like the lyrics would be useful/

THE FALSE KNIGHT

There was a youth and a well-bred youth,
He being a squire's son,
and he did court an innkeeper's daughter
belonging to North Cumberland/ Northumberland.

Go get me some of your father's gold,
part of your mother's fee
and we shall away to some foreign country
and married we shall be.

He mounted on the milk-white steed,
She on the dapple grey
and they rode till they came to a river bridge
4 hours before it was day

"A-light, a-light, my pretty fair maid
A-light, alight," cried he,
"It's six pretty maids have I drownded here,
and you the seventh shall be."

"Cast off, cast off, thy silken gown
and hand it over to me,
For I do think your clothing is too fine
for to rot in the salt, salt sea."

"I'll cast off my silken gown
if you'll turn your back on me,
For I do think it a very great wrong
A naked woman to see."

He turned around his back to her
and faced yon willow tree,
And with all the strength that this fair maiden had,
She pushed him into the sea.

And as he rose, and as he sank,
And as he rose, cried he,
"Give me your hand, my pretty pretty Polly*,
My bride forever you'll be"

"Lie there, lie there, you false young man
Lie there instead of me;
It's six pretty maids you have drownded here -
Go keep them all good company."

She mounted on the milk-white steed
She led the dapple grey
And she rode till she came to her father's courtyard
Just an hour before it was day.

Well, the parrot was hung in the window so high,
"Where have you been?" cried she.
"I've been away to Scotland's fair land;
Young Henry lies under the sea."

"Don't you prittle, don't you prattle,
My pretty pretty Polly,
don't you tell no tales on me,
And you shall have a cage of the very finest gold
Which will hang from an ivory tree."


* I believe there was a comment in the album notes about both the woman and the parrot being named "Polly"


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Mar 05 - 07:55 PM

Thank you, Philippa. Assuming your memory is accurate, it looks rather as if Seeger started out with the Nova Scotia set, but mixed it up with more standard (broadside derived) texts; either deliberately or by accident. A pity, if that's the case, as some nice touches were lost; though admittedly Mr Smith had muddled the song in a few places.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Acme
Date: 15 Mar 05 - 07:43 PM

The words posted fit the pattern of songs that are typically called "The Outlandish Knight." I have a recording of my father singing it, along with his information about the parrot, who is offered a golden cage. I think Dad's first version was published in a book of poetry (and a few songs) called Rainbow in the Sky edited by Louis Untermeyer. The book version doesn't have the extended material about the parrot.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 Mar 05 - 10:44 PM

That is pretty close to the version I am looking for (I am having difficulty accessing the tape again, sorry), except for the parrot part (RF ends it at "good company" wisely).

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 May 05 - 09:56 AM

Suddenly solved most of this as I was listening to a 2CD compilation of the Ian Campbell Folk Group -- the tune they use for "The Unqiet Grave" is the same one that Rick uses on his song. According to the liner notes they got it from Shirley Collins.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: GUEST,Andrew Sullivan
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 11:43 AM

I came upon this thread only today while looking for something else. The version upthread someone mentions from Pete Seeger was indeed on his record _The Bitter and the Sweet_. The liner notes said it was "a version" of Child 4.

Someone has posted a recording of himself playing it on YouTube, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifFmCWMXDTw. He calls it "Well-Bred Youth." The tune he sings is not the one I learned from the recording, but it's not dissimilar. Also, the words as he gives them are not exactly what learned either. But I'm relying on my memory as he is on his, I suppose: I no longer have the record or even a phonograph on which to play it. I never learned to play banjo and always did this on my guitar. I remember playing it in Ottawa at one of the open mics at Rasputin's when I was an undergraduate, but I played it a lot when I was in high school.

On the Seeger recording I had, it was called "The False Knight Upon the Road", which I later figured was just a conflation with a different ballad.

Here's how I learned it:

There was a youth and a well-bred youth,
He bein' a squier's son,
And he did court an Inn-keeper's daughter
Belonging to North Cumberland.

Go fetch me some of your father's gold,
Part of your mother's fee,
And we will away to some foreign country,
and married we will be.

They went down to her father's stable,
There stood horses thirty-three,
And she picked out a milk-white steed
And he a fast-travelling grey.

She mounted on the milk-white steed,
He the fast-travelling grey,
And they rode until they came to a riverside
Three hours before it was day.

"Alight, alight my pretty, fair maid!"
"Alight, alight!" cried he.
"It's six pretty maidens have I drownded here,
And you the seventh shall be.

Take off, take off that silken gown,
And hand it over to me.
For I do think that your clothing is too good
For to rot in the salt, salt sea."

"If I do take off my silken gown,
And hand it over to you,
Why I do think it a very great wrong
A naked woman to view.

"I'll take off my silken gown.
I'll place it on the green.
But before that I do, you false young man,
You must turn your back on me."

And when he'd turned his back around,
And faced yon willow tree,
With all of the strength that this poor maiden had,
She shoved him into the sea.

And as he rose, and as he sank,
And as he rose, cried he,
"Oh give me your hand, my pretty pretty Polly,
And forever my bride you'll be."

"Lie there, lie there, you false young man,
Lie there instead of me.
It's six pretty maidens that you've drownded here.
Go keep them good company."

She mounted on the milk-white steed.
She led the fast-travelling grey,
And she rode until she came to her father's house,
One hour before it was day.

Now the parrot was hung in the window so high.
"Where have you been?" cried he.
"I've been away to Scotland Bridge.
Young Henry, he lies under the sea.

"Don't prittle, don't prattle, my pretty pretty Polly.
Don't tell no tales on me,
And you shall have a cage of the very finest gold,
And be hung in an ivory tree."


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Tootler
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 03:06 PM

I had the Pete Seeger album with this song on it. In fact it is almost certainly still up in the loft. I shall have to get it down, though I have nothing to play it on. I know someone who might put it on CD for me, so I will have to see.

As Andrew Sullivan says, the singer on the You Tube clip uses a slightly different tune. As he says he learnt it from the singing of Pete Seeger, it could be he has not quite learnt the tune as Pete Seeger sang it.

The words are as I remember them.

Blue clicky for You Tube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifFmCWMXDTw


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 04:09 PM

I've still got that album -- for what it's worth. I've been singing it since I first bought the album. It's identical to the version Andrew Sullivan posts.
I've never used the title "False Knight Upon the Road" which, as it's been pointed out is incorrect.

A little speculation regarding this ballad as Pete sang it. I've always wondered if the first verse is a corruption of the introductory verse of "The Fair Flower of Northumberland". North Cumberland -- from Northumberland. The story is very similar to the half-way point too. Hmmmm.
Oh! Malcolm how I miss you!
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 04:23 PM

Checked up in my loft today when I went up for some Christmas Tree Decorations. I still have the album plus a number of other Pete Seeger Albums as well as Tom Paxton, Pentangle, Robin Hall & Jimmie McGregor...

All I need now is to either decide whether it is worth buying a turntable (not sure where I will put it) or find someone to digitise the albums for me.


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Subject: RE: Seeger/Outlandish Knight version?
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 08:27 PM

We have got a turntable and the record. I could play it to be absolutely sure but the words are as Andrew Sullivan gives them, I believe. I used to make the comment about the bird and the girl both being called Polly, too.
Cheers, Joy


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