To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
20 messages

Lyr Req: King Henry (Child #32)

26 Aug 07 - 09:04 AM (#2133814)
Subject: KING HENRY (Child #32)
From: Jack Blandiver

Just kicking around for versions, variations, fragments, analogues, sources, mutations & general info on the ballad of King Henry (Child #32) - all ideas welcome. My own version (as Eleanor's Visceral Tomb) is presently available entirely gratis at Lady, Hap Yer Lingcan

26 Aug 07 - 10:24 AM (#2133835)
From: Susan of DT

We have one version in the digital tradition. I am fond of the song and sing it frequently. I heard it from Steeleye Span a looong time ago. Also recorded by:
The Bringers/It's About Time
Heather Alexander/Festival Wind
Martin Carthy/Sweet Wivelsfield, Carthy Chronicles
Uncle Dirtytoes/Make Them Come Alive
A Chorus of Two King Henry         As It Were .. So to Speak         
Bären Gässlin         Herr Heinrich         Mythomania - Von Hexen, Feen, Wassermännern, Zauberern Und Geistern         
Cloudstreet         King Henry         Violet Sarah and Muckle John         
Heather Alexander         King Henry/Black Nag         Festival Wind         
Lorna MacDonald Czarnota         King Henry         Dancing in Dark Waters
Martin Carthy         King Henry         The Carthy Chronicles         
Martin Carthy         King Henry         Sweet Wivelsfield         
Martin Carthy         King Henry         Shearwater         
Steeleye Span         Jigs + King Henry         Live BBC         
Steeleye Span         King Henry         The 35th Anniversary World Tour
Steeleye Span         King Henry         In Concert [Steeleye Span]         
Steeleye Span         King Henry         Folk Rock Pioneers in Concert
Steeleye Span         King Henry/Rosebud in June         
    Present - The Very Best of Steeleye Span         
Tarujen Saari         Kuninkaan Pidot         Susien Yö - Delirium Lupus         
The Bringers         King Henry         It's About Time [Bringers]         
The Pratie Heads         King Henry             Early Fare         
Uncle Dirtytoes         King Henry         
    Make Them Come Alive - Live at Stony Point Barn         
Ween         King Henry         Big Tim Wasserman - The Pod Outtakes II         

Sorry for the duplication - this is from a couple of websites and it is time to leave for the Jean Ritchie picnic. I may clean it up later.

26 Aug 07 - 03:11 PM (#2133967)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

The story of one doing deeds requested of him by an animal, ghost, etc., and being rewarded by a transformation of the apparition, is an old one, and "King Henry" is an excellent telling of the tale.

Bronson said " Mrs. Brown of Falkland is again the sole preserver of this offshoot of Arthurian romance. Her tune has been saved in two manuscripts, the "abbotsford" manuscript of Scottish songs in Scott's library, and William Tyler's manuscript at Aldourie Castle ....."

In other words, variations and mutations would be those of more modern singers such as those listed by Susan of DT.

A stray thought- would the story of King Henry II and the Miller of Mansfield perhaps provide inspiration for a variant, possibly involving cuckoldry?
This ballad is in the Bodleian Library, Harding B 2(82). I couldn't find it in the DT.

26 Aug 07 - 03:24 PM (#2133970)
Subject: RE: King Henry

There's a version of KH available in Youtube. I think it's Steeleye Span themselves! But something goes wrong: the singer forgets the words and gets lost.

26 Aug 07 - 04:14 PM (#2134008)
Subject: RE: King Henry
From: The Borchester Echo

Oh dear. That is truly awful.

This is roughly what they were supposed to be doing.

26 Aug 07 - 06:15 PM (#2134073)
Subject: RE: King Henry
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Ugh! In any case, the noisy percussion makes the words unintelligible.

26 Aug 07 - 09:16 PM (#2134188)
Subject: RE: King Henry
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Bronson speaks of the tune used by Mrs. Brown. In an article in the California Folklore Quart., vol. 1, no. 2, Apr. 1942, he speaks of this tune ("Professor Child's Ballad Tunes," pp. 185-200).

"The fifth and last of Child's Abbotsford tunes is "Lady Elspat" (Child, 247b). .... Ritson giving the Abbotsford tune to the following ballad in his transcript: namely, to "King Henry" (Child 32). The words of "King Henry" fit the tune without much difficulty. The proper tune, therefore, for "Lady Elspat" is the following" [short score given] (pp. 191-192).

Do any of the recorded versions use Mrs. Brown's 'Abbotsford' tune or the one in Tyler's MS.?

26 Aug 07 - 10:15 PM (#2134209)
Subject: RE: King Henry
From: Malcolm Douglas

I'm from home just now, but will try to check that when I get back to Sheffield. I can add, for what it's worth, that the tunes used by Steeleye Span and by Martin Carthy don't belong, traditionally, to this song.

S Span used a tune more usually associated with 'The Shepherd's Song' (mostly found in the Southern counties of England), while Martin used (if I remember correctly) an American version of 'Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine'.

Can't be more than one Sedayne. Do you ever get down to Sheffield these days? I don't do sessions much any more, but have fond memories of your occasional visits back when Raymond and I ran the Wednesday sessions at the Dog and Partridge. First time I'd ever seen a crwth in action.

26 Aug 07 - 11:14 PM (#2134248)
Subject: RE: King Henry
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Very familiar with the old 4/4 tune "Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine" (Sherman's March); I have a hard time hearing it as a tune for "King Henry."

27 Aug 07 - 02:08 AM (#2134297)
Subject: RE: King Henry (Child #32)
From: The Borchester Echo

The tune Martin Carthy uses for it on Sweet Wivelsfield is Bonaparte's Retreat.

27 Aug 07 - 03:49 AM (#2134315)
Subject: RE: King Henry (Child #32)
From: Jack Blandiver

Many thanks for all this; once again, do check out my own version at Lady, Hap Yer Lingcan which won't cost you a penny...

There's quite possibly a gig coming up at The Grapes in Sheffield (September 11th?) in which I'll be doing a largely improvised set with Sheffield's own Martin Archer & Niel Carver; featuring both the crwth & King Henry...

27 Aug 07 - 01:22 PM (#2134626)
Subject: RE: King Henry (Child #32)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Which "Bonaparte's Retreat?"
1. An alternate name for the marches "Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine" and "Bonaparte Crossing the Rocky Mountains."
2. "Bonaparte's Retreat," the dance-fiddle tune (march, reel) to which Johnny Horton set lyrics.
3. ?
I have listened to a clip from the Sweet Wivelsfield recording and really can't identify either. Or did Carthy write his own tune, with some borrowed elements?

27 Aug 07 - 02:11 PM (#2134659)
Subject: RE: King Henry (Child #32)
From: The Borchester Echo

He says he got it off Mike Seeger.

27 Aug 07 - 03:15 PM (#2134709)
Subject: RE: King Henry (Child #32)
From: The Borchester Echo

. . . was just listening to it as played by his daughter Eliza and the Kings of Calicutt band.
There are a million examples of it up there.
Here's one of perhaps how not to.

27 Aug 07 - 03:56 PM (#2134740)
Subject: RE: King Henry (Child #32)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Yikes! A real ear twister.

Aly Bain plays the tune I know, but slower.
Bonapartes Retreat

The Custer City band has the speed, but beware those ear-twister notes!
Bonaparte retreated

27 Aug 07 - 04:13 PM (#2134756)
Subject: RE: King Henry (Child #32)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Sorry! Aly Bain-

[link edited to remove extra characters] - a clone

27 Aug 07 - 04:22 PM (#2134761)
Subject: RE: King Henry (Child #32)
From: The Borchester Echo

That Custer City Band version (complete with howling gale) is fab!
But just imagine it incorporating the Kings of Calicutt half-bars missing here and there.
And Eliza putting some Kay Starr vocals (got from her mum) on top . . .
That K of C Calicutt CD is 10 years old now, I see.
Must play it more.

Ah, Aly Bain, yes.
Your link doesn't work, says it's a 'malformed video link'.
If it was to the Transatlantic Sessions recording, I see the point.
It's a bit slick and awful (sorry Aly, not actually your fault):

Bonaparte's Retreat (Transatlantic Sessions)

It reminds me rather to much of Campdown Races, somehow.

[link edited to remove extra characters] - a clone

27 Aug 07 - 04:45 PM (#2134774)
Subject: RE: King Henry (Child #32)
From: The Borchester Echo

And now, notation, tab and MIDI,

How complete is that?

27 Aug 07 - 07:45 PM (#2134912)
Subject: RE: King Henry (Child #32)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Very, very complete. Martin Carthy didn't use either of the Bonapartes mentioned so far, but it does sound pretty generic so it could be a number of tunes (I only have a sound clip of Carthy's Henry, however).

27 Aug 07 - 08:58 PM (#2134961)
Subject: RE: King Henry (Child #32)
From: Malcolm Douglas

Ah, yes, the Retreat. I knew it was a Bonaparte tune, but here in Darkest Norfolk I don't have my usual resources to hand. Swarbrick used it, incidentally, as an instrumental break in Fairport's 'Sloth' (Full House). Who was it who introduced a quote from 'The Streets of Cairo' into it? I think that has been discussed here somewhere, and I used to play it that way myself.