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Mattie Groves - What year?

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FATTY GROVES
LORD BANNER
MATTIE GROVES


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Maryrrf 17 Aug 05 - 01:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Aug 05 - 01:33 PM
Maryrrf 17 Aug 05 - 01:35 PM
Bunnahabhain 17 Aug 05 - 02:25 PM
Maryrrf 17 Aug 05 - 03:02 PM
Le Scaramouche 17 Aug 05 - 03:31 PM
Maryrrf 17 Aug 05 - 05:14 PM
Bunnahabhain 17 Aug 05 - 05:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Aug 05 - 08:17 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Aug 05 - 10:16 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Aug 05 - 12:13 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Aug 05 - 12:15 AM
Paul Burke 18 Aug 05 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,Santa 18 Aug 05 - 07:50 AM
Maryrrf 18 Aug 05 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Steve Parkes 18 Aug 05 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,DB 18 Aug 05 - 09:15 AM
Les from Hull 18 Aug 05 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,DB 18 Aug 05 - 11:36 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Aug 05 - 11:37 AM
Le Scaramouche 18 Aug 05 - 11:47 AM
Paul Burke 18 Aug 05 - 11:53 AM
Le Scaramouche 18 Aug 05 - 12:10 PM
Maryrrf 18 Aug 05 - 12:19 PM
Les from Hull 18 Aug 05 - 12:25 PM
DannyC 18 Aug 05 - 01:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Aug 05 - 04:15 PM
Le Scaramouche 18 Aug 05 - 04:21 PM
Snuffy 19 Aug 05 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,maryrrf 19 Aug 05 - 07:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Aug 05 - 10:16 PM
GUEST,wife of punkfolkrocker 19 Aug 05 - 10:59 PM
Le Scaramouche 20 Aug 05 - 10:03 AM
GUEST,DB 20 Aug 05 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Big Vern 08 Apr 08 - 12:33 PM
GUEST, Sminky 08 Apr 08 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Steve Gardham 08 Apr 08 - 08:16 PM
GUEST,Steve Gardham 08 Apr 08 - 08:19 PM
GUEST 08 Apr 08 - 08:43 PM
dulcimerjohn 08 Apr 08 - 10:19 PM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Apr 08 - 11:12 PM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 09 Apr 08 - 01:07 AM
Nerd 09 Apr 08 - 01:22 AM
GUEST,Neovo 09 Apr 08 - 03:26 AM
pavane 09 Apr 08 - 05:35 AM
Maryrrf 09 Apr 08 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,Margaret 10 Apr 08 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,Steve Gardham 10 Apr 08 - 01:16 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Apr 08 - 08:51 PM
pavane 11 Apr 08 - 05:18 AM
pavane 11 Apr 08 - 05:29 AM
Uncle_DaveO 11 Apr 08 - 10:57 PM
GUEST,Big Vern 12 Apr 08 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Margaret 12 Apr 08 - 09:25 PM
GUEST 13 Apr 08 - 06:32 AM
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pavane 13 Apr 08 - 09:29 AM
Rusty Dobro 13 Apr 08 - 09:38 AM
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Subject: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 01:13 PM

I've looked over previous threads on "Mattie Groves" and haven't found the answer, nor have searches on the net yielded it. The "first known date" for the appearance of the song is 1611, I think. However there is a line in the song that says "Lord Arlen's gone to consecrate King Henry at Whitehall" which made me think it must have occurred during the reign of Henry VIII, around 70 years previous to that.   I've been checking through some history books trying to figure out if Henry VIII was ever "concecrated" at Whitehall, or it might be this consecration ritual was a yearly event of some kind? I'd always thought the meeting between Mattie Groves and Lord Arlen's wife took place on New Year's Day because in some versions it says "the first day of the year". Then again, sometimes it's "best day of the year". Well, does anybody want to venture a guess as to what might be the exact year, if we could deduce such a thing?


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 01:33 PM

"First day of the year" needn't be assumed to mean January 1st. Up until 1752 in England the year was seen as beginning on March 25th, the feast day of the Annunciation, nine months before Christmas Day.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 01:35 PM

Oh I didn't know that! I'm so glad I posted this question - it sheds new light on the subject. Thank you!


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 02:25 PM

Also, why assume Henry VIII? Henry I reigned in the 12th C, whitehall has been a centre of goverment since about then.

There is no record of a Lord (or earl etc) Arlen in Burkes Peerage, and the 1901 UK cencus has no Arlens at all. The name, has therefore suffered from the folk process.

Going to obvious mishearings does not help, as there are too many options. The nearest is probably the earls of Arden, who have held titles from Saxon times. Not a lot of good....

So neither the King nor the Lord can pin it down. We tried to pin the place down a while back, and that didn't get to a proper answer either. Can't find that thread now. How ironic...


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 03:02 PM

Oh I know we can't ever be completely sure, but it's fun to try. What about this hypotheses - (as you know, Mattie Groves is also referred to as Little Musgrave)- that it took place in Cumbria? Check out the link http://musgravemanor.homestead.com/Cumbria.html


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 03:31 PM

Musgraves are an old Cumbrian family and isn't the lord in the original song lord Barnard?
Don't think we need go back as far as Henry I, the ballad is certainly not that old.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 05:14 PM

Yes, I usually sing the "Mattie Groves/Lord Arlen" version but the Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard version may be even more prevalent.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 05:57 PM

I know it's not that old, but I was making the point it King Henry doesn't help much on it's own. Could well be Henry VII.

I've not heard the King Henry verse, and it's not in the DT. How's it go?


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 08:17 PM

The episode referred to might be a lot older than the ballad we've got. Or, another way of putting it, the story could be a lot older than any historical characters it may have got itself attached to. The original Lord Arlen would have been some Alpha Male Homo Erectus...


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 10:16 PM

The earliest reference is c.1611 (Beaumont and Fletcher, Knight of the Burning Pestle, one verse quoted). The ballad was probably quite new at that time. Barnet or Barnard to begin with; the "Arlen" form is much later.

So far as I recall, King Henry doesn't appear in the song until early 20th century sets found in America. Not something to be used in any attempt at dating it wihout a lot more detail. What was your source for that line?


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 12:13 AM

The version found in Canada, "Lord Banner" ("and young Magrue from Scotland too") is more interesting. In that song, Lord Banner has gone to fair England "to take King Henry's throne. Now an attempt to take the throne was certainly newsworthy, and would be meat for Wackipedia.

A version collected by Sharp (Lady Banner and little MacGroves involved here) has Lord Banner "Redemption gone, he's on Queen Anne's throne." That shifts the date a bit.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 12:15 AM

Those two are in Bronson's "Singing Tradition."


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 04:05 AM

Do I detect a little naievity here? Most of the 'big ballads' are timeless STORIES. Even if there was an incident that inspired a particular reworking of the theme, it's almost always heavily vested in a mythological coating.

Just as an instance: since Lord Whatever killed both Matty/ Musgrave and the lady, who recorded the conversation between them about hearing the horn of Mattygrave's pal: "away, Musgrave, away"?

It's a timeless tragedy, a work of art, not a historical record.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 07:50 AM

There's always some spoilsport out to ruin the fun!

Yes, of course it is a work of art etc. That doesn't mean that it was a total invention. The song may have had some historic grounding, and some people find it interesting to try to tease out any such factual basis from thin textual references and any other research. Whether it did or it didn't, often we can learn something from the gleanings they find or the path they take. (Or even, it must be admitted, sometimes gain a mild amusement from errors.)

Good for the diggers. Full speed ahead and damn the philistines.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 08:07 AM

Well I got the line about "King Henry at Whitehall" from the singing of Joan Baez, which I'm pretty sure was taken from an Appalachian version. (Some of the Appalachian variants have Lord Donald/Arnold/Arlen/ or whatever blasting Mattie Groves with a shotgun, so I know they can't be regarded as reliable sources). Oh I'm sure it's a story that's been repeated many, many times (husband walks in on unfaithful wife and her boyfriend and kills both of them - nothing new!) but in the back of my mind I think the song might be based on an incident that really happened and probably at some time during the reign of Henry VIII. I think it was one of those scandals like Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher that would have caught people's imagination enough for them to still be singing it in 1611. I really enjoy the song - always have and while I'm singing it or listening to it I picture the characters and the scene in my mind. I just wanted to "glean" (as Santa so aptly put it) other peoples opinions to see if there was the faintest chance that the actual incident may have been recorded or pinpointed.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Steve Parkes
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 08:15 AM

Sarah Gray's version has the usual swordfight, but Lord Darnall shoots Lady Darnell with his "special" (surely not a gentleman's weapon)?! Andthe name of the page is Robert Ford!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 09:15 AM

Child no. 81 is 'Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard' and Child gives the earliest written citation as 1611 - as given above. It's not unreasonable to suppose that if the ballad is based on historical events then those events could have taken place a century or more earlier - or not, as the case may be.
Interestingly, some versions of Child no. 83, 'Child Maurice' ('Gil Morice', 'Bob Norice', etc., etc.) also feature a homicidal 'Lord Barnard'who, this time, mistakes Lady B's illegitimate son (Child M.) for her lover and chops his head off. This seems to be a much later ballad (printed versions from mid-18th century)but perhaps at some time in the 15th/16th centuries there was a Lord Barnard, in the North of England, who was known to fly off the handle when he thought that his missus was 'playing away' and his savagery stuck in the folk memory and generated (at least) two ballads.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 10:13 AM

The first Lord Barnard (Sir Christopher Vane) was created in 1698.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 11:36 AM

Thanks Les from Hull. Hmm, that does rather blow my theories out of the window, doesn't it? Nevertheless, if Lord B. wasn't 'created' until 1698 how did he get into a ballad cited in 1611 and probably created even earlier?
I suppose the moral is never enquire too deeply into the historical backgrounds of ballads - it can drive you crazy - gibber, gibber, drool, drool!!


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 11:37 AM

1927 - A bloke in the pub told me.

:D


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 11:47 AM

I think Barnard Castle in Teesdale might be a candidate. Varnet was created Earl Barnard because his family took the place. A quick google should give you the family details.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 11:53 AM

Barnard could have been his first name:

"The ballade of ane right noble victorius [and] myghty lord Barnard Stewart lord of Aubigny erle of Beaumont Roger and bonaffre consaloure and cham[ber]lane ordinare to the maist hee maist excelle[n]t [and] maist crystyn prince Loys king of France knyght of his ordoure capitane of the kepyng of his body co[n]queror of Naplis and vmquhile co[n]stable general of the same." - by William Dunbar, Walter Chepman and Androw Myllar, 1508.

Which would be a disaster for dating the song, as you'd have to look up everyone called Barnard, Bernard, Bernhardt etc.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 12:10 PM

How true.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 12:19 PM

Oh well it's fun to speculate, isn't it!


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 12:25 PM

Actually the current Lord Barnard lives in Raby Castle. Anybody fancy popping over and asking him?


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: DannyC
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 01:20 PM

I fall with Mr. Burke here. When the lady "cast her eye on the little Musgrave as bright as the summer sun" I caught a divine glimmer from a nearby tangled hedge. A Graves he said - a Graves he said to place these lovers in.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 04:15 PM

The thing is there's nothing particularly unusual about the story as such. Stuff like this happens pretty regularly in real life. (For example see this rather horrible storythat I came across today when looking for soemthing quite different, about a man who went out and killed his former lover and her family; he also beat a dog to death with a shovel. Typical ballad material, except he wasn't a lord. Unlike the equally unsavoury Lord Lucan, who could also have well featured in a ballad.)

I'd have thiught it pretty likely that the text we have does in fact relate to some actual episode, though it'd likely enough have incorporated stuff from some pre-existing account of the same kind of thing.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 04:21 PM

Wouldn't have surpised your average Englishman much 400 years ago.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Snuffy
Date: 19 Aug 05 - 09:02 AM

Speaking of real life throwing up modern instances like the stories of old songs, this one put me in mind of Polly Vaughan/Molly Ban, etc


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,maryrrf
Date: 19 Aug 05 - 07:26 PM

Some interesting speculation - I tend to agree that the incident must have happened but then was elaborated on and confused with other incidents...people have always been fascinated with scandal, haven't they - and "Mattie Groves" has it all - sex, violence, involvement of rich prominent citizens, must have been quite a sensation in the surrounding area when it happened!


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Aug 05 - 10:16 PM

As posted by Pavanne in another thread, in the 17th c. versions of Child 81, and the one in Pepys Ballads I, the characters are Little Mousgrave (Musgrave, Musgrove) and Lady Barnet. The lord was feasting with friends; no kings, queens or Whitehall are mentioned.

Child, the English and Scottish Popular ballads, quotes Percy: "This ballad is ancient, and has been popular; we find it quoted in many old plays." He mentioned one of about 1611.
It is likely that the song originated in the theatre; the characters entirely fictional.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,wife of punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Aug 05 - 10:59 PM

Mattie Groves..


folk rock at its best !!!

a really good song to drink and dance to..

so does anyone actually ever bother listening to the lyrics..!!????


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 20 Aug 05 - 10:03 AM

The lyrics are the whole point.
Who says the incident had to happen?


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 20 Aug 05 - 03:08 PM

So, 'Wife of punkfolkrocker'

"a really good song to drink and dance to..

so does anyone actually ever bother listening to the lyrics..!!????"

Words failed me for a moment - and I managed to bite back some rude ones!

Thing is, some authorities believe that ballads were originally danced to - but I think that at the stage of ballad evolution reached by the 'Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard' / 'Matty Groves' ballad, the words are important - at least they're important to me!

I wonder, have you ever tried listening to this ballad without a heavy rock accompaniment? Try, for example, Jimmy Hutchinson's rendition on his CD 'Corachree'- Living Tradition 'Tradition Bearers Series' LTCD 1002, 2000. Mr Hutchinson's version is, of course, based on Jeannie Robertson's - I'm sure I've got a reference for that, somewhere, but can't find it at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Big Vern
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 12:33 PM

The first (1658) version mentions 'our lady's (i.e. Virgin Mary) grace' in the opening preaching scene. Late 16th and 17th century England and Scotland being Calvinist countries did not do sermons on the Virgin Mary's grace. This rather suggest a pre- or early reformation origin (i.e 1550s or before).


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 12:43 PM

The following quote is from Fletcher's play 'Knight of the Burning Pestle' (first performed 1607, published 1613):

"OLD MERRYTHOUGHT
(sings)
And some they whistled, and some they sung,
Hey, down, down!
And some did loudly say,
Ever as the Lord Barnet's horn blew,
Away, Musgrave, away!"


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 08:16 PM

The names Musgrave and Barnard and their derivatives occur in place names all over northern England and southern Scotland which isn't surprising as through intermarriage the nobility acquired castles, towns etc all over the place. The Percys of Northumberland for instance had all sorts of land in various parts of England and probably Scotland too after the Union. Ballads of this sort had their heyday in the 16th century but as has been stated the stories they tell could date back to much earlier times.

As for conjecturing dates of origin from internal evidence, yes this is great fun, and marvellous if you can turn up something new and concrete. Try working on 'The Cruel Mother' and 'John of Hazelgreen'

Cheers,
SteveG


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 08:19 PM

I should add, even if you get a definite fix on a surname and a Christian name, try ploughing through the online family trees of the nobility, bred like rabbits they did!!


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 08:43 PM

Bunnahabhain-- No one answered your question in as many words, so:

The lead-in is when Groves & Lady Whosis first meet in the church and she invites him home.

He:
"I cannot go, I dare not go; I fear 'twould cost my life,
For I see by the little ring you wear, you are Lord Arlen's [?] wife;
You're the great Lord Arlen's wife."

She:
"This may be false, this may be true; I can't deny it all,
But Arlen's gone to consecrate ... King Henry at Whitehall,
King Henry at Whitehall."

FWIW, at the U. of Oregon c.1968 I went to a session in the Anthro Dept., I think, with a folklorist named Barry Tolkein. He insisted that Baez had pirated a bunch of ballad lyrics from him, I think including this one. Which is neither here nor there and doesn't help pin down the song.

My guess would be that if a real event were meant, it would refer to the coronation of either Henry VII in 1485 or Henry VIII in 1509. I have no idea if either event took place at Whitehall.

Chicken Charlie


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: dulcimerjohn
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 10:19 PM

most significant version..1969..'liege and lief' classic fairport lineup.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 11:12 PM

Certainly very influential on the modern revival, but 'most significant'? Over a span of nearly 400 years, I very much doubt it. It's largely irrelevant to this particular discussion in any case; as a modern collation it can tell us nothing about the history of the song.

To answer a few points made a little earlier in this recently revived thread:

Charlie:

Let's give that folklorist his proper name: Barre Toelken. It's a matter of record that Baez was, shall we say, rather less than frank about where she got some of her early material. Anything of hers should only be considered authentic, and useful for the purposes of discussion, if it can be traced to a traditional source. That particular text isn't in Bronson, but plenty of oral examples have turned up since than. It would be interesting to know more about the provenance of this one. It wouldn't be at all surprising to find that she got it from Toelken and 'forgot' (see Sandy Paton's comments in earlier discussions here on songs that she learned from him and later pretended to have had from 'little old men in Ireland' or some such).

'Big Vern':

England has never been a 'Calvinist' country. The 1658 printing (Child 81A) has:

Little Musgrave came to the church-dore
The preist was at private masse
But he had more minde of the faire women
Then he had of our lady['s] grace.

1658 was the year Cromwell died. Although Catholicism was widely frowned upon (in much the same way that Communism, for example, has been in America in more recent times) a reference to 'our lady' clearly was not considered odd or inappropriate at that time. In fact, the ballad sheet issued by Henry Gosson (Child 81C) was around 20 years earlier, perhaps more, and makes no reference to 'our lady' at all. There is probably no future in trying to guess the age of the song by that means.

Similarly, King Henry appears only in late (collected in the 20th century) American versions; so there is no help to be had there, as was pointed out when this discussion was originally started in 2005.

We can say only that the song was known around 1611; as I said a few years back in this very thread, it was probably quite new at that time.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 01:07 AM

Malcolm--

Thanks for clarification. My only excuse is I never saw the name in print, just heard it, and that forty years back. Good to have it right.

CC


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Nerd
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 01:22 AM

Just to amplify on the observations above by Steve Parkes, Sara Grey's version of this ballad, with the "special" (pistol), and "little Robert Ford" as the footpage places it as likely a Madison County, North Carolina version. Cas Wallin sang it that way, as did his relative Dillard Chandler. Both have versions available on CDs, Cas's on one of Mike Yates's releases though Musical Traditions, and Chandler's on the Folkways album "Old Love Songs and Ballads," recently reissued as "Dark Holler: Old Love Songs and Ballads."

The joke, of course, is that "Little Robert Ford" is also the betrayer of Jesse James. When Wallin sang the song, he paused after the verse mentioning Ford, chuckled, and said, "he busied hisself, didn't he?" This showed, I think, that he was in on the joke!

In general, it's well and good to speculate, but unless an earlier version turns up in some manuscript (which does sometimes happen), it isn't likely that any version will push the date back to before 1611. It's always more likely that the details which pin it to an earlier date were added in modern times than that they survived in oral tradition undetected until today.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 03:26 AM

The version of Mattie Groves I sing has Lord Donald as the cuckolded husband. Maybe mis-remembered but would that make any historical sense?


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: pavane
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 05:35 AM

Just a note:
If you go to Google Books, and search on Musgrave and Barnard, you can view a lot of books containing different versions, including a full view of Percy's Reliques, and partial views of Child and other well known collections.

Nothing in the way of new information found there yet, though, buit I was surprised to find one interpretation that the man who blew the horn was in fact a rival of Musgrave, who fancied his OWN chances with the Lady Barnard, and therefore didn't want her killed.

I also found that killing BOTH lovers was apparently the necessary way of doing it to make it legal, and in such a place and manner that their guilt was clear. Then you were off the hook, it was a crime of passion. No good waiting until later, because you had then no evidence of their adultery.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 10:05 AM

Well I'm glad this thread was revived. I don't suppose we'll ever know the true "origins" of the ballad - i.e. when, and if, it really happened, and who the unfortunate lovers were. Interesting to speculate though!


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Margaret
Date: 10 Apr 08 - 09:42 AM

It probably isn't helpful, but in the headnotes Bronson says there is a Scottish version older than any of the published ones. I've never seen anything else about this so it may be a mistake.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Apr 08 - 01:16 PM

Some of these old boadside ballads are simply moral warnings to the well-to-do to persuade them to stick to the straight and narrow. In this case a simple message of avoiding adultery (or getting caught!) The Cruel Mother is simply a warning to young girls from noble backgrounds to avoid liaisons with servants.

SteveG


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Apr 08 - 08:51 PM

Bronson wrote: 'There has also survived a Scottish text, earlier than any of these [ie earlier than any of the Child texts] in the Panmure MS, as yet unprinted.'

That was in 1962. The MS commonplace-book compiled by Robert Edward is, I think, now considered to date from the 1630s at the earliest; so it is likely pre-dated by the Gosson broadside and certainly by the Beaumont and Fletcher verse. It appears that the text, 'Litel Musgray', was printed in Marion Stewart and Helena Mennie Shires, King Orphius; Sir Colling; The brother's lament; Litel Musgray: Poems from Scottish Manuscripts of c.1586 and c.1630 lately discovered (Cambridge: Ninth of May, 1973). I should have a copy of this fairly soon, and will report back on anything material it may contain.

In another discussion here on this song, I listed all (or nearly all) of the many names given the cuckolded aristocrat in traditional versions of the ballad. If 'Neovo' has a look at that, he or she will see why 'the version [he or she] sing[s]' (unless learned directly from a 400-year-old source) is unlikely to tell us anything helpful.

Best to treat the song as fiction, as Steve suggests. Some of the old ballads have roots in real (and sometimes even identifiable) events; the majority don't.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: pavane
Date: 11 Apr 08 - 05:18 AM

A search of Google Books on Litel Musgray turns up the following references, in case it helps. But nothing relevant can be viewed online:

Aberdeen University Review - Page 290
by University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Alumnus Association - World War, 1914-1918 - 1974
Litel Musgray in its new version has the wonderful simplicity of the best ballad art : as the horn-blast is distantly heard announcing the ...

Women Medievalists And The Academy - Page 744
by Jane Chance - Biography & Autobiography - 2005 - 1073 pages

... "Sir Colling, " "The Brothers Lament, " "Litel Musgray": Poems from Scottish Manuscripts of c. 1586 and c. 1630. Cambridge: The Ninth of May, 1963. ...


Annual Bibliography of Scottish Literature
by Library Association Scottish Group - Dialect literature, Scottish - 1969
Page 53 ... and Litel Musgray : poems from Scottish manuscripts of C.1586 and c.1630 lately discovered, transcribed and edited by M. Stewart and HM Shire. ...


Annual Report of the Council Under Statute D, III, 10 on the General and ...by King's College (University of Cambridge) - Universities and colleges

Page 8
Litel Musgray.' (Editor with Marian Stewart.) 'Information for Collective Action. A Microanalytic View of Plural Decision-Making.' 'Eastern Monarchs. ...

Medieval Studies for J.A.W. Bennett: Aetatis Suae LXX
by Jack Arthur Walter Bennett, P. L. Heyworth - Drama - 1981 - 438 pages
[ Sorry, this page's content is restricted ]


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: pavane
Date: 11 Apr 08 - 05:29 AM

Other forms of the name which occur are:

(Maestries) Musgraeffe, said to have been Sir John Musgrave's wife, c1502, and Agnes Musgraif, c1511

See "The Poems of William Dunbar"

Thomas Musgray or Musgra was an Englishman "captane of Beruik (Berwick)" who came with a "greit armye"
(The Buik of the Croniclis of Scotland)

There are many other similar references in the 1500's


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 11 Apr 08 - 10:57 PM

Warning: Thread drift!

Back in '05, Maryrrf commented that

I really enjoy the song - always have and while I'm singing it or listening to it I picture the characters and the scene in my mind.

This reminds me of a comment I once heard Peggy Seeger say, when someone asked her if--and why--she often sang ballads with her eyes closed.

"Because I want to watch the movie!"

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Big Vern
Date: 12 Apr 08 - 11:32 AM

Malcolm - I note what you say about the Gosson text - but as to early modern England not being a Calvinist country - i'm afraid that almost all historians of the early modern period would disagree with you (eg Collinson, Lake, Tyacke, Morrill, etc). The Elizabethan and Jacobean Church of England was solidly Calvinist in its doctrine and it was not until Charles I' support for William Laud that anti Calvinist elements began to dominate the Church of England. Laud paid the ultimate price for that in 1645. Further, the 'official' Cromwellian church was a blend of Presbyterian, particular baptist and congregationalist elements - all of whom Calvinists.   

Catholics were not just frowned upon - despite making up 2-3% of the population of England, they were actively oppressed, their estates seized and they were forced to worship underground. To talk openly of Catholic doctrine would inspire arrest and probably a riot and a pogrom. Most people had not ever met a Catholic but deeply feared fear them.

As to saying that references to 'our lady' 'clearly was not considered odd or inappropriate at that time' - do you have evidence?, I am a historian of the era and on my reading of this period it very much was inappropriate and odd to mention 'our Lady' - the Civil War was fought in part over the fear of popery, a fear dragged up by Charles I recruiting Irish soldiers into his Army. The Solemn League and Covenant of 1643 had declared that all who took it would 'endeavour the extirpation of Popery' from England, Scotland and Ireland - and this had been done, as all know, with much military vigour.

I have read hundreds of tracts and manuscripts from this period and references to 'Our Lady' are very rare. So therefore, the references to the 'preist was at private masse' in a public context indicates we are dealing with either pre-reformation England or Ireland, not England or Scotland from the 1560s onwards and certainly not England in the first half of the seventeenth century. In 1658 Mass had not been said in England or Scotland (except behind closed doors and with defiant trepidation) for just under 100 years.

I have had a look at the 1658 source text. The text is a book called Wit Restored (Wing Reference M1719) - the text is not an innocent broadside (if such a thing exists) but a Royalist wit book compiled by Sir John Mennes (1599-1671) a royalist vice admiral during the Civil War and and James Smith (1605-1667) a clergyman who whilst conforming to the church system of the Parliamentarian period, spent most of his time drinking in taverns, writing smutty poems and was imprisoned for debt.   

Wit Restored is a compilation of anti-Parliamentarian verse alongside smutty burlesque songs composed by Mennes and Smith, as well as numerous ballads. Little Musgrave (starts p.174) is called 'the old ballad of little Musgrave'. I would venture that it was a song Smith or Mennish had picked up from taverns on their travels and included it in their book because it was a scandalous.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Margaret
Date: 12 Apr 08 - 09:25 PM

Malcolm - thanks for checking my reference from Bronson. It has stuck in my mind since I read it.

Big Vern and others - the Catholic references could be an attempt to make the ballad sound old. If I wrote a ballad about a bank robbery and had the robbers ride off on horses I would at least be implying that the events of my ballad had happened over a century ago, if at all. Someone making a ballad around 1600 might do the same, especially if they WERE telling an old story, or if they wanted to make it sound like they were not talking about contemporary events.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 06:32 AM

Margaret - I agree. Although it settles the argument against my original assertion, having looked at the book Wit Restored in its entirety I think that is exactly what Mennish and Smith are trying to do. There's numerous 'merry England' ballads in the book referred to as the 'old ballad of. . .'

There is some recent work on how Royalists tried to re-create a vision of 'Olde Merrie England' as part of the propaganda effort against the Republican and Protectorate regimes (in 1658 very few in Charles II's close circle believed that he would be restored only 2 years later) - and Wit and Drollery books (which were publicly burned by the authorities who knew they were anything other than innocent books of ballads) were part of this effort. It would be interesting to go through them all because lots of folk material survives because of them.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Big Vern
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 06:56 AM

My apologies - I forgot to sign in above. Although the point still stands, that a reader in 17th Century England or Scotland would think the ballad set in the Catholic past or in present day Ireland. As to dating a ballad there are of course two issues - dating it from the point of view of the historian/folklorist - i.e. when it was actually first written and literary dating (or whatever the terminology is) - i.e. dating it on internal evidence when it was supposed to take place.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: pavane
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 09:29 AM

Thread creep again
I would just like to note that my ancestor was directly involved in the festivities of the Restoration in May 1660, including attending a banquet on board the 'Royal Charles' off Holland, addressed an ode to the new King, and included a description of the event in one of his books.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 09:38 AM

I sense this version may not be quite the original:

A holiday, a holiday, so the rain was falling hard,
Lord Arlen's wife went into the town with her husband's credit card
And when the shopping it was done, she went back to where her car was parked.
And there she saw little Matty Groves, nicking sat-navs in the dark.

Come home with me, little Matty Groves, come home with me today,
And I will do such things to you as will take your breath away.

I can't come home, I won't come home, I can't come home for my life,
For I see by your personal number plate you are Lord Arlen's wife.
What if I am Lord Arlen's wife, Lord Arlen he has gone,
Down to the pub at Eastbridge, to play his melodeon.

I can't come home, I won't come home, I can't come home, I fear,
For I'm due in court in half an hour for nicking a Cavalier.
You can come home, little Matty Groves, you can come home today,
For I'm the very close friend of a magistrate, he'll see that you're OK.

I can't come home 'cos if I did I'd be no use to you,
I've had a quart of Bacardi Breezer and six tins of Special Brew.
You must come home, little Matty Groves, I know we'll be all right,
For I can start without you, and you can take all night.

At this a servant standing by began to grow quite vexed,
He swore Lord Arlen he would know, so he sent him off a text.
And when Lord Arlen read the news, he began to swear and cuss,
He chucked his melodeon back in its box and jumped on the very next bus.

When he got back to his own bedroom, he peered around the door,
His lady fair and Matty Groves still at it on the floor.
Then Lord Arlen turned around and hurried from the room,
He came back with his camcorder, with its twenty times optical zoom.

And when the filming it was done, it was sold to Channel 4,
The three of them got stinking rich, so they made a dozen more.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Big Vern
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 11:38 AM

Pavane - that is interesting. The Royal Charles of course was originally the Naseby, the flag ship of the Protectorate's Navy: by all accounts it was a massive ship. Charles II was utterly humiliated when it was captured by the Dutch in the Medway in 1667. I wonder if an ballads were written about it?


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Big Vern
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 11:44 AM

Indeed there is, although its pre-capture - in 1666 a broadside came out called Holland Turn to Tinder to the tune of Packington's Pound (Wing reference H2445A)


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 03:29 AM

Bit of a quibble Vern- I'm not so sure that the Elizabethan church was quite so Calvinist- what about Marprelate? But I quite agree about the role of the imagined past in the runup to the Civil War- on BOTH sides (Merry England v Norman yoke).


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: pavane
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 05:59 AM

I don't know about ballads, but I could lay my hands on the ode (written in French by Samuel Chappuzeau, a Calvinist as it happens, and tutor at the time to Prince William of Orange, Charles's nephew)


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: pavane
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 12:01 PM

Vern,
Even worse, the Dutch didn't have a use for it in their shallow waters, and soon sent it for scrap.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 05:30 PM

Rusty Dobro, is that your own writing?   It's spectacular!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 15 Apr 08 - 04:02 AM

'Fraid so, Dave! Lacking the voice and ability to do justice to 'proper' folk, I churn out this nonsense to appeal to the most coarse , brutish and undiscerning of pub audiences. They are rarely disappointed in me, nor I in them.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,Big Vern
Date: 15 Apr 08 - 05:44 PM

PMB - As historians such as Collinson and Lake show - Marprelate was anti Episcopalian and pro-presbyterian but, issues of church government aside, he was within a Calvinist doctrinal consensus. A seventeenth century Calvinist is not by definition a presbyterian or indeed a puritan.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 04:10 AM

Yes, Vern, that's what I was saying- the Calvinists were the opposition within the church, which was NOT Calvinist. They executed Penry because they thought he was the writer. If Whitgift had any Calvinistic tendency, it was in organisation only


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Apr 08 - 04:46 AM

I know that this is not really the place for a historical debate but you confuse what I said above. The Calvinists were NOT oppositional in the pre Laudian CofE and doctrinally the Church WAS Calvinist.

The view that Calvinists were an oppositional movement against the Church of England is untenable since historians such as Tyacke's, Collinson's and Lake's extensive research over the past 50 years. As every history undergrad since about 1980 knows, Whitgift's Lambeth Articles of 1598 are unequivocally Calvinist on the doctrine of grace and salvation as are the pre revision 39 Articles. The English Bishops at the Synod of Dort held Calvinist positions and the famous TULIP five points of Calvinism were largely the work of the English bishops. A study of even obscure Elizabethan and Jacobean printed sermons bears out that the Calvinist doctrine on grace and redemption was the centre of orthodoxy. There were of course disagreements as to vestments and the government structure of the church - but, with the exception of a minority of separatists, this was a debate that took place within the doctrinal Calvinist consensus of the Church of England. See the Peter Lake's numerous studies on this. Even in Europe, Calvinists were uncomfortable lifting the government structure of the Church to being a mark of the true Church.   Calvin himself did not do this (although he favoured Presbyterianism), rather it was largely Calvin's successor Beza in the 1580s.

As I said above the Marprelate controversy was not about Calvinism but about the government of the church and an attack on what Martin believed was the stalling of the reformation by wordly bishops. Yes Penry was executed, but not because he was Calvinist - Penry was not a member of the Church of England - he was a separatist and thus was something of an extremist. To call a separatist like Penry a 'Calvinist' and Whitgift not is is to equate the doctrine of ecclesiology as the sole mark of Calvinsim. This is plainly wrong: the TULIP formula agreed at Dort says nothing about the government of the Church. This is not 'Anglican' (which in the sense of ceremonial but protestant is an word only used by writers from the mid 18th century onwards - see OED) v Calvinist but Calvinists debating with themselves on the nature of a Reformed church.

I think that's enough from me on this topic, so i'll leave you to reply but I think we should eventually get back to Matty Groves :)


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 18 Apr 08 - 08:14 AM

Some time ago one of my friends was involved in a function at Rydal Hall in Cumbria (the north-west corner of England). He was shown an ornate wooden chest given to the Barnard family in the 16th century by the Musgraves on the occasion of a wedding in the Barnard family, in an attempt to end the long-running feud between them, said to have started in the 12th century.
This prompted him to sing the song. Having started, it occurred to him that there were several clergymen and numerous children listening, and perhaps it was not the most appropriate song for the audience. However, having started, he felt compelled to finish it, afer which there was a deathly silence until a small girl remarked "so it was quite like East Enders really, wasn't it"?
(East Enders is a soap opera on British TV.)


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 18 Apr 08 - 08:16 AM


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 18 Apr 08 - 08:26 AM

Third time lucky I hope! This time I'll try not to hit the tab key before checking my spelling!
    My friend also said that the Musgraves arrived in England with William the conqueror and adopted the name somewhat later. They were sent north to discourage Scots raiders and later took over Featherstone Castle, which is still habitable, a few miles south of Haltwhistle. He said Musgrave means "valley of rats", so I suppose an alternative description would be "ratty grove".


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: pavane
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 10:43 AM

Just found a reference to a Musgrove in a different song.

Johnny Armstrongs last goodnight

Printed around 1711, supposedly about events of 1528.

Towards the end, the page Musgrove is the last survivor of the fight, and takes the news to Armstrong's wife. Probably nothing to do with the other song - but you never know.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 09:51 PM

Well though I haven't read everything on this page, all the history and stuff, I know this ballad but in a very different way. My family has carried this ballad on for as long as anyone can remember, along with alot of other ballads like Barbra Allen and Lady Margret, at least that's what we call them. As far as we knew they were as true as could be to the original versions since my family came from the Appalachian mountains where people carried these ballads to. I'm really amazed at how different the versions are-so perhaps my version and the version from the mountains has been very diluted-though these mountains are very secluded and I know for a fact my family didn't leave until the late 70's. Just thought I'd add my opinion. And my family, who still lives up there, sings it the exact same as always. I've never heard any variations, though of course I have never looked for them.
ps-we always sang it as "Lord Darnell"


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: pavane
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 02:37 AM

Could you post the words to your version? Would be an interesting comparison.

Lord Donald, Barnard, Barnett, Arlen and many other Lords are known!


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 04:50 PM

If you've ever saw the movie songcatcher it's exactly the same, basically because they went up there and collected old ballads. But in case you haven't here are the words. This is all sung with a higher pitch tone at the end, kind of a trademark for old appalachian ballads.

Oh Holy Day oh Holy day
the first one of the year
Little Mattie Groves to church he goes
some holy words to hear, hear, some holy words to hear

He spied some women dressed in black as they came into view
Lord Darnell's wife was gaily plad the flower of the few
few, the flower of the few

She stepped right up to little mattie groves
her eyes cast on the ground
"oh please oh please come with me sir as you pass threw this town, town, as you pass threw this town."

But what is said by little mattie groves
as he sat up in bed
"I fear it is your husbands mad and I will soon be dead
dead, i will soon be dead."

but little mattie groves he laid back down and soon fell off to sleep
when he awoke lord darnell was standing at his bed feet, feet,
standing at his bed feet

Saying,"how do you like my snow white dove," said,"how do you like my sheets, and how do you like my pretty little woman that's a laying in your arms asleep, sleep, laying in your arms asleep."

Well the first swing that little mattie made it hurt lord darnell's sore
the next swing that lord darnell made little mattie hit the floor, floor, little mattie hit the floor

As you can tell, pretty different lol. I did some research and I've come to figure out that alot of those old english ballds that were carried over were "mountanized" and changed to fit the vocabulary and tune of the mountain people, who of course even today are still secluded. It's really interesting to actually research this stuff now, I just saw the movie songcatcher and it got me really interested, since these are my family's old songs and I was amazed to here this version of it on the movie. definatly go check the movie out.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 05:05 PM

Hello Guest -

Can we convince you to take a 'name' and join Mudcat? I'm sure there are many folks here who would be interested in your family's songs and your insights and observations about this music.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 05:41 PM

well i could im sure but i have no musical background other than these songs lol. my brother plays every instrument known to man but i have no idea about the tunes and pitches, i just know the words and how to sing the songs lol. im not sure i could be of any real help


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 05:45 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRgH_0zxqQE

no idea if this will help but i found this on youtube. it's from the movie songcatcher which has alot of the songs I grew up with. my grandparents sing these songs exactly like this. im sure most of ya'll know about this or have seen it but just in case..this is pretty much that "high pitch" at the end (i guess thats what you call it) lol
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: GUEST,mpainter
Date: 01 Sep 15 - 05:19 AM

The year can be put to 1535 through the one version collected near Asheville, NC. The reference " gone to consecrate King Henry at Whitehall" can be documented as a historical event.


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Subject: RE: Mattie Groves - What year?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Sep 15 - 07:52 AM

Don't know if this has been mentioned before on any other thread; but talking of the young man's name {Mattie Groves, Musgrave, Musgray &c}, Paul Carter used in the 1950s to sing what he said was a Canadian version where the young man is called The Young Leboux, which doesn't appear to be even a variant of the usual name[s]. Anyone come across that nomenclature? I forget what the lord & lady were called, but I think it was something akin to Barnard.

≈M≈


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