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Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188

28 Jul 15 - 07:25 PM (#3726812)
Subject: Border ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST,Sadie Damascus

I have had since November a weekly radio show about ballads, presenting five in order each week, and it has gone well until the end of Child's volume three, where almost none of the border and hero ballads (#171 to #188) seems to have been recorded by anybody.   I need to find online or free or very cheap versions of the fifteen that I don't know (I know the Bonny Earl o Murray and Willie Macintosh and Mary Hamilton only).
I have spent two days trolling the internet, youtube, itunes, wikipedia, and my own collection, to no avail. Nobody sings all these songs with "o" in the middle (Dick o the Cow, Jock o the Side, the Laird o Logie)--can someone advise me? Even CD's donated to the radio station would be a tax writeoff for some lucky collector.
The show is from six to eight pm pst, on kggv.blogspot.com. Traditional Ballads with Sadie. I feel like giving up. Any help will be appreciated.


28 Jul 15 - 07:58 PM (#3726817)
Subject: RE: Border ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST,#

I lifted the following from Wikipedia because it may help those who know of recorded versions and thus help the OP. I cannot attest to the accuracy of the list.

177        The Earl of Westmoreland        
178        Captain Car, or, Edom o Gordon        
179        Rookhope Ryde        
180        King James and Brown        
181        The Bonny Earl of Murray        
182        The Laird O Logie        
183        Willie MacIntosh        
184        The Lads of Wamphray        
185        Dick o the Cow        
186        Kinmont Willie        
187        Jock o the Side        
188        Archie o Cawfield


28 Jul 15 - 08:01 PM (#3726818)
Subject: RE: Border ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST,#

Doh. I should have lifted from 171. That said, heres a link that will definitely be of help.

http://www.contemplator.com/child/cmpltchl.html


28 Jul 15 - 09:37 PM (#3726834)
Subject: RE: Border ballads, Child #171-188
From: Joe Offer

I'm a little upset by this, because I have believed for years that Sadie was the one person in all the world who could sing all the Child Ballads without referring to notes. Alas, I now find that my Goddess of Ballads has some she doesn't know....

But hey, I still like her. After all, Sadie is the brilliant celebrity who wrote Cruelish Sister (Child #10). I don't know anyone else in the world who's written a Child Ballad.

I called Sadie and sent her MP3 files for 182, 184, 186, and 188 - so those are taken care of. I think she's ok for 181 (Earl of Murray) and I know she's fine with 173 (Mary Hamilton).

We came up with nothing at all for
171
172
174
175
176
177
179
180
185

Can anybody find recordings of these Child Ballads?

YouTube or Spotify links are very helpful, or you can send an MP3 to me at joe@mudcat.org and I'll forward it to Sadie.

-Joe-


29 Jul 15 - 02:36 AM (#3726868)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST,Allan Conn

Quick youtube search brought up a version of Kinmont Willie by a Ross Kennedy. Found this version of the song also on Napster on the compilation album of songs for the "Great Tapestry Of Scotland" by Greentrax.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw2p22kZw10


29 Jul 15 - 04:35 AM (#3726886)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST,AR

Here is a recitation of a fragment of 'Edom o Gordon' by Adam Lamb, recorded in 1956 by Hamish Henderson for the School of Scottish Studies:

http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/3192/1


29 Jul 15 - 07:54 PM (#3727068)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST

One of the reasons for the lack of recordings is the ballads are very long and have as a result fallen out of favour with singers in the borders. It is difficult to sing shortened versions without loosing the narrative thread.I have a memory of Terry Conway from Allandale singing some of the less well known border ballads. I will have a hunt through some cds and live recordings.The only titles I remember very clearly are the Death of Percy Reed and The twa clerks of Ousenford not what you want but there are more Child ballads in that recording.


29 Jul 15 - 08:24 PM (#3727070)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST

nos 171,172174 175 176 177 179 or 180 do not appear in Bronson's tunes of the child ballads. His note on 185 says that it was sung and recited to him . 185 Dick o' the cow is 50 verses long .
I heard Kinmont Willie read in a concert in Berwick upon Tweed several years ago and have it sung by Ross Kennedy by on Fyre and Sword cd


29 Jul 15 - 08:39 PM (#3727074)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Jim Carroll

"Dick o the Cow, Jock o the Side, the Laird o Logie)--can someone advise me"
MacColl recorded all those and more - he recorded at least 137 of the Child ballads - the best are on a 4 volume set of ballads entitled Blood and Roses.
If you still need them, you will have to pm me or let me have an e-mail address
Jim Carroll


30 Jul 15 - 02:45 AM (#3727111)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Joe Offer

I forgot about Blood and Roses, Jim. I'll check through that and see if there's anything there that will be of help to her. She has enough now to keep her for a few weeks, so she's not in urgent need just yet.
-Joe-


30 Jul 15 - 06:58 AM (#3727159)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Susan of DT

There was a listing of "all" recorded versions of the Child Ballads done by Liz Anderson some years ago. Some of us here contributed to her listings. Her list is no longer up there, but an expanded mirror site is: Child Ballad Project
There are listings for 173(many), 175(1), 178(several), 181(many), 182(several), 183(many), 184(2).


30 Jul 15 - 03:13 PM (#3727264)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Dave Hanson

The Lament of the Border Widow, great song.

Dave H


12 Jan 17 - 02:40 AM (#3832009)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST

Sadie here. Jim Carroll wants my email address; it is "damascus at cds1 dot net". I don't have all of Blood and Roses, but I know most of the MacColl ballads and he pretty much skipped a lot of this part of the book. I would love to have more border ballad versions; I have been playing almost exclusively Raymond Crooke, who is plowing his way through all of Child, recording every ballad and putting them on youtube. I finish with #180 tomorrow (6 to 8 pm pst on radio KGGV.FM) and on Jan. 26 I will cover #181-185. Thanks for any help.


12 Jan 17 - 04:49 AM (#3832018)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Jim Carroll

Not sure I understand the reference to me - you'll have to PM me of contact Joe Offer if there's a message
Re the topic - the little known 'Poetry and Song' series has the not often recoded ballad, Johnny Armstrong sung by John Faulkner - and excellent version of an excellent ballad
Jim Carroll


12 Jan 17 - 09:37 AM (#3832068)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST,Wm

Jim, I trust you've heard the recording of Willie Beattie singing Johnny Armstrong on the Musical Traditions record Up in the North, Down in the South. Easily worth the price of the entire album. (Sadie, that album also has Beattie's set of Kinmont Willie, if you're unaware of it.)


12 Jan 17 - 11:53 AM (#3832111)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Jim Carroll

Don't think I have Wm - must check, I'm pretty sure we have it.
It's one of Mike Yates'compilations, isn't it?
Must check - thanks
If you are looking for recordings, please contact me
Jim Carroll


13 Jan 17 - 07:35 AM (#3832299)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST,Andymac

Alison McMorland has also recorded a fine version of Edom o Gordon.

Andymac (uten cookie...)


13 Jan 17 - 04:35 PM (#3832417)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST,gutcher

Have just found an item of interest----see "View of the Diocese of Aberdeen" pages 611 and 612.
It states there that it was not the Castle of Towie that was burned by Edom o Gordons men, the castle of Corgarf being the one given.
Have not yet found the volumes quoted to check this out.


13 Jan 17 - 05:01 PM (#3832422)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Lighter

"The Long Harvest" is MacColl & Seeger's multi-disk anthology of more or less authentic texts and tunes.

"Blood and Roses" consists of rewrites with tunes attached.

It may be that some of the "Border and Heroic Ballads" were *never* sung.


13 Jan 17 - 05:16 PM (#3832424)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Tattie Bogle

Should probably also contact Lucy Macrae at Edinburgh University who has made a particular study of Borders ballads; she was also responsible for putting together various concerts and lectures re "The Borders Minstrelsy" at Innerleithen Music Festival. You might also pm Diva on this site who sang some of the songs. But not sure if these concerts were recorded: they should have been!
http://edinburgh.academia.edu/LucyMacRae


14 Jan 17 - 04:30 AM (#3832479)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Jim Carroll

"The Long Harvest" is MacColl & Seeger's multi-disk anthology of more or less authentic texts and tunes.
"Blood and Roses" consists of rewrites with tunes attached.
I'm not sure that either of those statements are accurate Lighter - "authentic" to what?
Child is based entirely on printed texts, few of which haven't been altered by their sources.
Virtually all the early ballad anthologists took liberties with their material - I can't recall a collection that hasn't been adapted to meet the tastes of the time or the anthologist (it's why I've never understood why Peter Buchan was singled out for the nonsense he was subjected to).
Most of the recorded versions we have come from dying traditions where the singers are remembering them rather than repeating them from living traditions.
MacColl and Seeger were doing little more than repeating what all those who had made public the ballads have done before them.
In my opinion (and in Bronson's, by the way), the great milestone in ballad knowledge was MacColl and Lloyd's Riverside series.
"Harvest" and "Roses" were fitting follow ups from the revival.
It is interesting to examine the sea-change that occurred in MacColls approach by comparing the Riverside anthology to "Roses", we interviewed him on his approach to ballads and the problems he encountered and there is masses of recorded material of him talking about ballads, all hidden away on shelves and in cupboards.
It often occurs to me that it is a crying shame that we can't discuss MacColl's work without having to scramble over the usual mountain of garbage that surrounds his name - in thhe fifty years I've been involved in traditional song I've never encountered a singer who put in so much thought into what he sang - nor one so articulate.
'The Muckle Sangs' is the best single sample obtained from traditional singers.
Jim Carroll


14 Jan 17 - 07:48 AM (#3832514)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST,gutcher

It should be noted that the castle of Corgarf lies some 15 miles west of the castle of Towie.

Anent heroes, from the same volume it is given that the wife of Leslie of Balquain gifted to the Church a sum of money to pray for the souls of her ELEVEN sons killed at the battle of Harlaw.


14 Jan 17 - 08:10 AM (#3832519)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Lighter

"More or less authentic" in the sense that they're sensitive interpretations of genuinely collected texts and tunes, even if the texts are sometimes conflated (as I recall) and the tunes supplied to tuneless from similar versions. MacColl & Seeger conscientiously stay as close to traditional style and spirit as professional performers can.

MacColl's rendition of "Lamkin" is one of the finest a cappella ballad performances I've ever heard.

As for dying traditions: while I certainly agree with you there, my guess is that if somone had gone about collecting like Sharp in, say, the eighteenth century, he would have encountered plenty of mangled, half-forgotten, and partly ad-libbed texts and tunes. Of course, he would have found many of the better kind as well (as have modern collectors).

"Blood and Roses" was a different sort of project, of which I also think highly.


14 Jan 17 - 08:28 AM (#3832523)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Jim Carroll

""Blood and Roses" was a different sort of project, of which I also think highly."
In what way?
You talk about re-writes and attached tunes
I don't believe there to be any more "rewrites" than are to be fond in similar ballads from any revival singer.
Sorry - hate to labour this point, but if it were't for singers rewriting and adapting, a large section of both traditional songs and ballads would be either inaccessible or gibberish.
The basic difference between the two anthologies was that one set out to counter-pose American and British ballads, the other was a straight selection of ballads they had never been given the opportunity to record before they managed to set up their own company.
I still find the Blood and Roses versions a stunning listen, after all those years and regret that they didn't expand the set further.
I often think that only performing "authentic" versions would be extremely limiting.
Jim Carroll


14 Jan 17 - 10:25 AM (#3832539)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Lighter

Jim, I was not disparaging B&R. I was describing. Rewrites and new tunes are fine, as long as they're identified as such - which, like few others in the Revival, is what M&S did.


14 Jan 17 - 10:34 AM (#3832543)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Lighter

What also distinguishes the rewrites in B&R from so many lesser attempts by others is that in style and content they are in (if not "of") "the Tradition." They don't submit slavishly to current tastes.

For what I consider a successful attempt to write new "Child" ballads
from scratch, try Bob Coltman's "Son of Child":


thread.cfm?threadid=104920


14 Jan 17 - 12:03 PM (#3832561)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Jim Carroll

"as long as they're identified as such "
I used to think like this and got to wondering "why?"
I can see the converse being the case "as long they're not identified as traditional".
I know for a certainty, that Ewan got bits and pieces of songs from his parents and rebuilt tem into full versions, but he wasn't an academic and never claimed to be.
As a singer, he put out good songs to be sung - fine by me - that's what he did
The importance for me, in Ewan's 'productions', is he maintained the integrity of the song - something far too rare in what passes for folk song nowadays, with the electronic soup, and intrusive over-elaborate accompaniment, the deadly head-voice (woman's thing) the breaking up of sentences and words and the intrusive Hs.... which banishes the sense into a poor second place.
The narrative is what I come away with whenever I listen to his singing.
Jim Carroll


14 Jan 17 - 12:36 PM (#3832570)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Lighter

> he maintained the integrity of the song

That, Jim, pretty much sums it up.


15 Jan 17 - 07:15 AM (#3832718)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST,gutcher

See George Buchanan et all 1587 for details of which castle was burned by Edom o Gordons men causing 37 deaths.

A warning to all budding ballad writers;--hangit at the cross of Stirling on the 12th. day of August 1579 William Turnbull and
William Scot for the making of certain ballads liable to sow discord amongst the nobility, the rulling class.


15 Jan 17 - 08:00 AM (#3832726)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Jim Carroll

Edom of Gordon was of one of the ballads we recoded MacColl talking about at length in terms of identifying with his songs - something he argued was essential if you were going to retain it in your repertoire over a length of time.
He described having to record it for the series, The Long Harvest (I'm pretty he had learned it earlier and abandoned it)
He'd been requested to include it by the producer of the series as said he just couldn't come to terms with it - his comment was something like: "how could you sympathise with any of these people; they were all killers, slaughtering each other for land and political power; one as bad as the other.
I tried it one way and then another, without success, until I came to the verses about the young daughter being thrown over the castle wall and impaled on Gordon's lance.

"And Gorden turned ower and ower, and oh, her face was wan,
He said "You are the first that e'ere I wished aliave again"

And then he turned ower again, and oh, her face was white,
"I might ha'e spared that bonnie face to be some man's delight".

He said; "that's what these ballads are about; the waste, the ***** waste of human life, and that's what makes them important - the humanity".
It's an approach that has always worked for me.
For the record, Ewan sang and recorded 175 Child Ballads, a number of them in multiple versions
Jim Carroll


15 Jan 17 - 11:50 AM (#3832778)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Stilly River Sage

The email was corrected in the guest thread above that was communicating with Jim.


15 Jan 17 - 12:58 PM (#3832791)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST,gutcher

A ballad such as Edom o Gordon would certainly sow dissention among the nobles, the Gordons being of the Queens [Mary] party and the Forbes"s being for the King. One can only speculate, could this have been one of the ballads for which they were hangit soon after that dreadful event.

Another character of a slightly earlier period deserves mention. Airchie Armstrong, court fool to James 1V and James V, may have had a hand in the production of the songs attributed to James V. he certainly appears to have had poetic ability if the extempore advice he gave to the latter be considered:---

Sow not your seed in Sandilands
Nor spend your strength in Weir-----[war]
nor ride upon ye Oliphant
For the gauin o yer gear------------[losing of your money or goods]

Ex. The king, by the policy of his stepfather, the Earl of Angus,regent of the Kingdom had not slept by himself since the age of 10 his bed being provided each night with a nubile young lady this the Earl hoped would keep his mind of matters of state and allow the said Earl to continue governing the country.

As a mere bit cullen, around the age of 15, James V spent a good while in Lanark castle, pursuing his amours with 3 of his lemans who all lived on the opposite side of the river Clyde from Lanark, one of them being a daughter of Sandilands of that Ilk, the second was a daughter of Weir of Stanebyres and the third was a daughter of Oliphant of Cora Castle [this having been the home of the hero of the ballad Clydes Waters, he probably being an Oliphant] One evening taking at night of from the ladies with the wine flowing free the courtiers were rousin up the young king as a gey lad when Airchie spoke out--hearkin tae me Jamie lad an I"ll gie ye some guid advice yr"ll no get fae thae messans [lapdogs] and he gave it as in the above form.

In a footnote in one of his works Sir W. Scott mentions that he knew it but does not give it.


15 Jan 17 - 01:26 PM (#3832796)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: Jim Carroll

"Airchie Armstrong,"
We have a nice 19th century reprint of Archie Armstrong's 'Banquet of Jests' (together with 'Archie's Dream') - we also have a copy of 'Joe Miller's Jests'.
Those fellers skated on thin ice in who the chose to make the targets of their humour - incendiary stuff!
Jim Carroll


15 Jan 17 - 02:38 PM (#3832813)
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
From: GUEST,gutcher

Thanks Jim I did not know Airchie had appeared in print. Another to add to my search list.
He held a privileged position and I am sure must have been the only man who could refer to the fiery Scots Lords as lapdogs, to their faces, and live to tell the tale