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happy? – Feb 10 (The Bloody Miller)

Abby Sale 10 Feb 06 - 08:09 AM
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Subject: happy? – Feb 10 (The Bloody Miller)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 08:09 AM

Expert Town, Expert Girl, Birkshire Tragedy, The Oxford Girl (Tragedy), Wexford Girl, Knowville Girl, Lexington Girl, The Cruel Miller, The Lexington Miller, In London's Fair City. In the US it's: Knoxville Girl, Waco Girl. (Ie, the murdering miller, a fatal beating with stick, explanation of the blood as "nose bleed.")

The New Lost City Ramblers Song Book (1964, Oak Productions): "is related to 'Pretty Polly', and verses are often interchanged. Although it originated in England, many American singers accept the song as being about a local murder in their own town; names and places are changed to fit this, yet the story remains the same. The Carter Family recorded it as 'Never Let the Devil Get the Upper Hand of You'..." NLC Ramblers version from the Blue Sky Boys, Bluebird B-7755B). In "Wexford Girl" from MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada [Wexford Girl] he kills his own father to rob father for money to spend on girl. The oldest version would likely be "The Berkshire Tragedy or The Wittam Miller" an English broadside from about 1700.

Bruce Olson found "The bloody Miller" (see The Bloody Miller) The murderer was Francis Cooper, a Miller's Servant, of Hocstow near Shrewbury. He "kept company with one Anne Nicols for the space of two years, who then proved to be with Child by him, and being urged by her Father to marry her he most wickedly and barbarously murderd her." None other than Sam Pepys entered in his diary 10 days later that the event occurred Feb. 10, 1684, the Sabbath no less. I sing the Scottish version, "The Butcher Boy."

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
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