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Origins: Vandy Vandy

DigiTrad:
ALL I WANT IS A HANDSOME MAN or RIPEST APPLES
VANDY VANDY


Joe Offer 06 Oct 05 - 04:44 AM
RoyH (Burl) 06 Oct 05 - 12:58 PM
Joe Offer 06 Oct 05 - 01:02 PM
open mike 06 Oct 05 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson (from a different computer) 06 Oct 05 - 04:39 PM
Joe Offer 06 Oct 05 - 04:47 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 07 Oct 05 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 07 Oct 05 - 03:43 PM
Charlie Baum 07 Oct 05 - 03:56 PM
Joe Offer 07 Oct 05 - 09:16 PM
Stewie 07 Oct 05 - 09:33 PM
open mike 07 Oct 05 - 09:48 PM
open mike 07 Oct 05 - 09:54 PM
Sandy Paton 08 Oct 05 - 03:44 AM
open mike 08 Oct 05 - 01:20 PM
Jeremiah McCaw 09 Oct 05 - 01:08 AM
Nathan in Texas 09 Oct 05 - 10:26 PM
Charlie Baum 19 Jan 06 - 11:08 AM
Joe Offer 19 Jan 06 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Gerry 09 Apr 07 - 10:01 PM
OldeTimeyBeard 11 Jun 09 - 04:56 AM
nickp 12 Jun 09 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Ballad Silver John / production video 08 Jan 12 - 07:27 PM
GUEST,Vandy 14 May 16 - 08:02 PM
Richie 28 Jun 16 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Roger Roush 06 Jun 17 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Roger Roush. 06 Jun 17 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,Brian Grayson 09 Jun 17 - 03:24 AM
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Subject: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Oct 05 - 04:44 AM

I'm researching songs for a friend, and coming across some real puzzles. "Vandy, Vandy" is in the Digital Tradition, attributed to Science fiction/fantasy writer Manly Wade Wellman (1903-1986). Wellman wrote a 1953 short story titled Vandy, Vandy, and the song text was apparently included in the story.

Intended tune was "Drowsy Sleeper," but one singer recorded it to the tune of "Oh, No John" - the song shares a couple of verses with "Oh, No John."

Here's what's said in a Mudcat Thread:
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=2162 -
The "Silver John" books by Manly Wade Wellman: fine short fantasies set in Appalachia about a roving musician whose guitar is strung with magic; he encounters Evil in many guises and tries to fight back. NOT cutsie like the Scarboroughs; Wellman actually includes both traditional Appalachian songs and wrote a few trad. sounding ones for these stories. Bob Coltman, a fine American folk musician, set one of these, "Vandy, Vandy" to music and recorded it.



Or maybe it IS traditional:
    Fascinating article by Joe Christopher about Manly Wade Wellman's songs. I knew Wellman--I drove him to DeepSouthCon one year--and my recollection is that he always insisted that the song "Vandy Vandy" was collected in the Sand Hill country in North Carolina. Of all the songs quoted, this and the published version of "The Desrick on Yandro" seem to me to be the ones that may be older than Wellman himself. I have the Betancourt tape, and a much older record where Hoyt Axton sings "Vandy Vandy", but I don't really find either of them satisfactory. I am curious as to why the spelling "AMERIKA" appears in the title of this article. It is not historical and had a certain political connotation in the 60s - but what does it have to do with fantasy folksongs?
Source: http://www.efanzines.com/ERM/veh29.htm


So, is it traditional, or did it really originate in a 1953 fantasy story?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 06 Oct 05 - 12:58 PM

Ask Debbie McClatchy. She sings it beautifully. Burl


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Oct 05 - 01:02 PM

Funny you should say that, Burl. I'm researching it for Debby McClatchy for a new recording. I'm also guilty of doing some of the research for her Chestnut Ridge CD.

She thinks the song is traditional. It's my job to keep her honest. I wonder what Debby would say if she heard me say I was trying to "make an honest woman out of Debby McClatchy."

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: open mike
Date: 06 Oct 05 - 03:29 PM

HA! I cannot answer for thw source of the tune,
but we DID produce a musical based on Wellman
"the Ballad Of Silver John" which i hope will
be edited into a video that will one day be
available!! We performed it in Chico a decade
ago. I just scanned the cast t-shirt last week!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson (from a different computer)
Date: 06 Oct 05 - 04:39 PM

I can remember a friend singing it --and have an old reel to reel tape of him singing it dating from 1961 or so, a year after we each got our guitars. Don't remember where he got it. I can still remember how it goes & would be intereted to compare his tune to Coltman's. I do remember asking if he'd learned it from Wellman's story & he'd never heard of Wellman, which proves nothing. The "Gone to fight for King Washington" line is memorable. . .


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Oct 05 - 04:47 PM

Any chance anybody has a copy of the "Vandy Vandy" short story?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 07 Oct 05 - 03:38 PM

Happens I can tell the story of the melody, at least.

I wrote it.

Found it in the John story and was entranced. Of course it's related to "Drowsy Sleeper," but that version is unique to Manly Wade Wellman's story.

Around 1960 I was singing it to my old friend Jim Butler, who knew Manly Wade Wellman. He said my tune was close to the one Wellman himself sang -- collected, he told me, in the Southern mountains and a real traditional song. Not exactly alike, but similar.

Jim gave me the refrain, which does not appear in the story, and I added it, tune and words, to my version.

For I love you, and I can't help it,
Oh, yes I do.

I sang this around a lot in the 60s, but didn't record it until 1971, on my first Minstrel Records LP. Got a lot of interest -- even John Fahey called me up and wanted to know how I had done the three-finger banjo part.

Yes, other melodies have been written -- understandably, as the song on the printed page is just dying to be sung. But mine was, as far as I know, the first time it was set to music by anyone apart from Wellman. Picking a verse at random, based on A minor scale, here's an ABC of my tune:

   E   D   E   A'--   E    G       G    E-D C---
Vandy, Vandy, I've come to court you,
   E   D   E    A'--   G   B'-A' G D---
Vandy, Vandy, it's almost day,
   E E   E    E      A'--    E      E    G   A'   E-D C---
Open up your doors and your divers windows,
   A    C       E--    C      D       .B A---
See your true love march away.

CHO
.G C C    A      G   C C   A-.B .E
For I love you, and I can't help it,
E    A B A
Oh, yes I do.

One of my best-loved songs. May Vandy treat you well.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 07 Oct 05 - 03:43 PM

Somehow my prior message got eaten. Here it is again.

Clarification in my first message above: "I wrote it" refers to the melody. "I found it" refers to the lyrics.

Hey, I'm not confused.

And Joe, tell Debbie hello for me after all this great long time, and that I can't think of a nicer singer than she is to record this song.

Best to you both, Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 07 Oct 05 - 03:56 PM

Bibliogaphic information:

First printed in Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1953.

Reprinted in Supernatural Sleuths ed. Charles G. Waugh & Martin H. Greenberg (Penguin/Roc 0-451-45579-7, Oct ’96 [Sep ’96], $5.99, 348pp, pb, cover by Romas Kukalis); Anthology of 14 stories of crime with elements of fantasy or SF. Authors include Larry Niven, Ron Goulart, and William F. Nolan.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0451455797/qid=1128714779/sr=8-4/r


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Oct 05 - 09:16 PM

Thanks a lot, Bob and Charlie-
I guess that solves the mystery...
and it means I have another book to buy.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: Stewie
Date: 07 Oct 05 - 09:33 PM

Debby McClatchy recorded it previously on her 1979 'Lady Luck' album Innisfree/Green Linnet SIF 1017. In her sleeve note to the song, she added a detail not mentioned by Bob above: 'a pre-Civil War courting ballad from North Carolina'. In light of what has been said above, what is the status of that description? The full text of her note was:


Bob Coltman found this song, a pre-Civil War courting from North Carolina, as a poem in an Appalachian science fiction story written by Manly Wade Wellman. Bob set it to music, sang it for a number of years, then ran into a friend who knew the original melody. Coincidentally, Bob's tune is remarkably similar.



Coincidentally, only last evening, I was listening to a beaut recording of this song by a banjo picker from Tasmania, Oz - Fred Pribac - on his CD Fred and Friends 'The Push on the Corner'. Fred credits 'MW Wellman' but says he learned the song from 'an old, barely playable tape that features an unidentified woman singing and frailing beautifully'. What's the betting that was McClatchy?

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: open mike
Date: 07 Oct 05 - 09:48 PM

go to www.abebooks.com
and search wellman, vandy
there are 2 copies of cooolected short stories
6 and 8 dollars
http://dogbert.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=wellman&y=0&tn=vandy&x=0
<---here


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: open mike
Date: 07 Oct 05 - 09:54 PM

find more on the http://www.manlywadewellman.com/ site
home of voice of the mountain publishers..
don't forget your ouiji board mouse pad!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 08 Oct 05 - 03:44 AM

I find "Vandy, Vandy" in two of my Manly Wade Wellman short story collections, Joe. The first is in the classic "Who Fears the Devil" collection. My older copy is a Ballantine Books paperback, 1964. The other is in a later collection, "Owls Hoot in the Daytime and Other Omens; Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman, Volume 5" -- Night Shade Books, San Francisco & Portland, 2003.
    Curiously, the opening sentence of the early printing is : "Nary name that valley had." In the Night Shade printing, that has been changed to read: "That valley hadn't any name." Modernized language for modern readers? I prefer the former.
    Wellman, by the way, was a friend of Obray Ramsey, Byard Ray, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and other North Carolina traditional artists. His brother, Paul, writes fine western histories (and, occasionally, novels), also well worth investigating.
    I've long felt that Manly's "Silver John" stories would make a great television series. Superstitions, witchcraft, magic, adventure and folklore/folksong. I would have cast the late Paul Clayton as John.
    When I'm not so tired, I'll tell you about another song Manly Wade Wellman included in one of his longer stories. Oh, hell, I'll do it now - briefly.
    Back in 1959, I collected a dramatic western ballad from an ex-rodeo rider in Buffalo, Oklahoma. He had become a teacher, then a principal, and finally the Superintendant of Schools. I did a program in one of his schools, after which we got together in his office and swapped songs. He borrowed my guitar to accompany his songs. Seems his wife wouldn''t let him play any of that old stuff since they had achieved upper-middle class status., so his guitar languished in a closet, covered with dust.
    Anyway -- I recorded the western ballad, along with a bunch of other songs he played, on an old Webcor I packed with me on that school tour. The song was about a deadly fight over a bull at a round-up. both contenders were killed, and the witnesses decided to brand the word "MURDER" on the bull's side and turn him loose. That bull roamed the hills, occsionally appearing, a frightening image in the moonlight, with "MURDER" branded on his hide.
    In my later rambles, I managed to lose the tape of B. F. Rowley singing the song for me. Searched all of the western song collections I could find, but never found the song, or even one quite like it. UNTIL, reading recently all of Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John novels, I found one titled "After Dark." There was the ballad! Silver John sings it to a gathering, with this for an introduction: ""Let me try a song they call "Murder Bull." I learnt it from a Texas man who said the thing truly happened in his part of the world."
Wellman's novel was published as copyright 1980. I had heard the ballad in 1959.
    Of course, Wellman is no longer living, and I had no tune for the song. So, I did what any reasonably smart old folkie would do. I knew Bob Coltman had written a fine tune for "Vandy, Vandy," so I sent him the text from Wellman's book, with one additional verse fragment from my own memory of the song (which Bob brilliantly reconstructed), and in a few days, I received a tape of the ballad sung by Bob to an excellent tune of his own making. A most satisfying end to a long and frustrating search for a lost ballad.
    There you go. And now, goodnight. It's nearly 4 a.m.!
    Sandy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: open mike
Date: 08 Oct 05 - 01:20 PM

ha! when the Prairie Home Companion show was taped in Redding Calif,
a few years back, there was a rodeo going on near the coliseum.
Garrison Kiellor did a sketch about a bull named Death and Pestilance (nick named D and P) that a couple of cowboys were delivering to a rodeo outfit. Glad you found the story and song...thanks for the telling,
Sandy, and good to see you on here again.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: Jeremiah McCaw
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 01:08 AM

I learned it from Debby McClatchy (she was an instructor at "The Woods Music & Dance Camp" one year. As best I recall, the melody started:

D   D   D   (octave jump up)D   C    C    D (octave jump down)D    D
Van-dy, Van-                dy, I've come to                   court you

(If the notes don't line up, copy the 2 lines and change the font to 'Courier New'.)

I've performed the song (amateur status, mind you) and try to keep the vocal inflections she used which are part of the authentic singing style. Hope I get a chance to catch up with the new recording of it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: Nathan in Texas
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 10:26 PM

In 1988 a collection of all the Silver John stories was published by Baen Books, titled "John the Balladeer." Great stuff - 20 stories featuring the folk-singer with the silver-strung guitar. You can get it used from Amazon.com from $2.69 to $25.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 11:08 AM

It turns out Manly Wade Wellman's entire "John the Balladeer" is available in full text on-line.
And a direct link to the story "Vandy Vandy."

Now having read the story, I wonder if there's a clue if we could track down the the peculiar version of "Wife of Usher's Well" used in "Vandy Vandy":

There was a fair and blooming wife
And of children she had three.
She sent them away to Northern school
To study gramaree.

But the King's men came upon that school,
And when sword and rope had done,
Of the children three she sent away,
Returned to her but one. . . .

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 02:07 PM

Debby McClatchy did a recording of "Vandy Vandy" for her new CD, Sweet Sunny South: The Legacy of Charlie Poole (most of the songs on the CD are connected to Poole, but not "Vandy.") You can get ordering infromation at the Debby McClatchy Website. It's a good CD.


Debby lent me her paperback copy of stories by Manly Wade Wellman. they're good, too - I think the Website Charlie linked to has most or all the stories that are in the book I read.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 10:01 PM

The Australian duo, Kate & Ruth, have recorded Vandy, Vandy on their new CD (so new, it's not even mentioned on their website, http://www.kateandruth.com/).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: OldeTimeyBeard
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 04:56 AM

When I was about 13 years old, My grandmother had to be moved out of her house, and as a result my family had to clean it up and ready it to be sold. In the attic where my great aunt whom i never knew lived we found racks of book, of which I was allowed to keep any I wanted. One of those books was a collection published in 1953 entitled "The BEST from FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION: third series" Many of the stories left a lasting impression on me, but Vandy Vandy wasn't one of them, probably because at 13 I didn't have much tolerance for Fantasy.

I recently began rereading the book, and This time Vandy Vandy struck a chord with me, probably because since college I have developed an ear for Bluegrass and study History as a corollary to my degree. I Started doing web searches to see if I could find a recording of this song, or at least something more substantial about the melody so that I could convince some of my more musically inclined friends to perform it for me. Thanks to the information above I think I'll be able to do just that.

Since I have an original copy of the book from the same year it was published (with it's 35 cent price) I thought I might add some more information about the story which comes from the Editors which might help everyone here learn a little bit more about Manly Made Wellman. Like all the stories in the book there is a brief preview which I won;t bother you with here other than it does tip it's hat to "Desrick on Yandro" another Silver John story

Here's the intriguing part, and thanks for bearing with me this far. Vandy Vandy is one of two stories in the book that editors Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas followed with a comment which I will share with everyone verbatim. This may have been included in the original magazine which I believe because of the final line, but I think it might be of some use to everyone interested in this song...

"The Song, Vandy Vandy, was discovered by Mr. Wellman back in the sandy pine country of Moore County, North Carolina, and, to the best of his knowledge, has never been published anywhere before. From it's archaic scale-pattern and reference to the soldier gone 'seven long year' Mr Wellman is convinced the ballad refers to the American Revolution, allthough we can find no corroborative evidence for that theory. Mr. Wellman further remarks that he has never heard the name Vandy, or any name for which it might be a nickname, although the old lady who taught him the song said that her aunt was named Vandy. Since our sketchy preliminary research gives no data whatsoever either on the song or the name of its lovely heroine , we join Mr. Wellman in inviting reader comment on these matters."

Not a lot of new information here except that we know the editors of the Story in 1953 were just as confused about the origins of this song as we are now in 2009. Vandy is indeed a rare name, most searches in name directory's turn up nothing, and Google searches seem to come up with Vandy as a last name only. My father is very involved in genealogy and I do know through census rolls we can try to determine if there was in fact EVER a woman named Vandy in Moore County North Carolina. I will be looking into this and report back to this site if I do find anything as it might help us determine which niece taught Mr. Wellman the song and if there are any surviving members of that "old Woman's" family who might be able to shine a little more light onto the song and whether it was written by Mr. Wellman or does indeed have a more historical origin as he suggests.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: nickp
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 04:55 AM

I'll add this to my tracer, knowing Deb pretty well I shall be fasccinated to here more. Nick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: GUEST,Ballad Silver John / production video
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 07:27 PM

I have a VHS copy of "The Ballad of Silver John" - performed in Chico, CA in 1989. (Written and directed by Tom Kinnee, for his Masters degree project in a dual major, English/Drama, from CSUC.) Really great show. Should be reproduced...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: GUEST,Vandy
Date: 14 May 16 - 08:02 PM

My mother heard the album by Hoyt Axton, and my father read the short story in John The Balladeer.
Together they decided to name me Vandy Beck.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: Richie
Date: 28 Jun 16 - 02:18 PM

Hi,

This is Ed Cray's brief article in Notes & Queries; Journal of American Folklore, 1962. This is a hybrid version- only the last stanza is from Drowsy Sleeper. It is somewhat similar to two other versions: 1) "Hattie Belle" MS from Greer Collection before 1932; hybrid version of "A Sweetheart in the Army" and 2) "Annie Girl" Hudson JAF, 1926.

Richie

VANDY, VANDY:- The "John Riley" or disguised lover's return ballads are numerous in American tradition both in variants and wide geographic spread.[1] However previous workers do not report what seems to be a unique member of the family, "Vandy, Vandy." I have two parallel versions from widely separate sources but as the ballad now stands, the text remains fragmentary.

Vandy, Vandy, I've come for to court you;
Be you rich or be you poor.
An[2] you will kindly entertain me
I will love you forever more.

Vandy, Vandy, I've a horse and carriage.
Vandy, Vandy, I've a house and land.
Come with me to my world of pleasure;
I will make you a handsome man.

"I have a love gone in the Army;
He's been gone some seven long year.
An he stays for seven year longer
I would await him only here.

"What care I for your horse and carriage?
What care I for your house and land?
What care I for your world and pleasures?
I'll but await here while I can."

Then when he saw that she loved him truly,
He gave her kisses one, two and three,
Saying, "It is I, your long lost lover,
Won't you come away with me?"

Wake up, wake up, the dawn is breaking;
Wake up, wake up, it's almost day.
Throw back your doors and your divers windows,
See my true love march away.[3]

The fifth stanza specifically links "Vandy" with the disguised lover's return cycle, though the balance of the verses are borrowed from songs outside of the tradition and are not normally thought to be a part of this cycle.
The first line of the song, for instance, plus stanzas two and four can be found in "All of Her Answers to Me Were No,"[4] and the offer-response pattern of stanzas two and four is also present in "The Quaker's Wooing." The fifth stanza is from "John Riley II" (Laws N 37). The audabe-like sixth stanza is probably intrusive-most likely borrowed from "The Drowsy Sleeper."

Some few years after first learning the song, the same singer learned an additional verse in Los Angeles in 1952:

I've got a love who is in the Army,
He's gone with King Washington.
He'll be away till George is dead
And until my freedom's won."

The singer (and his informant) cannot be certain of the placement of the stanza but feel certain that it does belong with the song. Arbitrarily, the singer has been replacing the third stanza in the above version, or singing this additional verse immediately after it.
The only printed version comes from a short story by Manly Wade Wellman, "Vandy, Vandy." [5] Wellman's parallel is from the Sandy Pine country of Moore County, North Carolina. Further sources, especially collectanea, and similar songs would be appreciated.

NOTES by Cray
1 See G. Malcolm Laws, American Ballads from British Broadsides (Philadelphia, 1957), pp. 217 ff. Laws has identified sixteen different ballads on the theme of the disguised lover's return, though many of them borrow rather freely from each other. The most popular seem to be "The Dark-Eyed Sailor" (N 35), "John Riley" I and II (N 36 and 37), "The Banks of Claudy" (N 40) and "Pretty Fair Maid" (N 42).
2 Archaic form of if.
3 As sung by Ed Michel, Los Angeles, 1957, learned in Chicago "about twelve or fourteen years ago as a little tad." Michel is a trained musician and has studied folk music for a number of years. Whatever doubts one might have about the authenticity of the song due to its urban source should be dispelled by Michel's knowledge and assurance that the song was learned from Courting and Complaint, Folkways Long Playing Record FP 49, c. 1957.
5 Elon Feiner, Los Angeles, supplied me with the Wellman version printed in The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction, eds. Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas, 3rd Series (New York, 1954). Wellman included a footnote to his story stating that this was exactly the way he had heard the song and asked his readers for any additional stanzas and information.

ED CRAY
Los Angeles, California


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: GUEST,Roger Roush
Date: 06 Jun 17 - 08:27 AM

I remember "Vandy, Vandy" being sung by John Jacob Niles prior to 1956.
Our first daughter was born it July of 1956 and I named her Vandy.

I also understand that either Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis had a wife named Vandy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: GUEST,Roger Roush.
Date: 06 Jun 17 - 08:38 AM

My reference to Vandy being the Name of either R.E.Lee or J.Davis wife
is wrong. The wife is "Varina" our youngest daughters name.
Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Vandy Vandy
From: GUEST,Brian Grayson
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 03:24 AM

There's an utterly horrible movie called 'The Legend of Hillbilly John' (aka 'Who Fears the Devil'), supposedly based on the Wellman stories. I found it on Youtube, and I couldn't believe how godforsaken bad it was.

It's almost worth watching, as long as you don't mind the ensuing nausea...


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