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Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest

21 Sep 97 - 07:49 AM (#12741)
Subject: Snows they melt the soonest
From: acormack@opera.iinet.net.au

Does anyone know who wrote this song?? I got the words that I sing from an Archie Fisher album and he says it's traditional, but maybe someone knows different.


21 Sep 97 - 02:00 PM (#12756)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: Shula

Dear acormack,

Would you mind sharing the lyrics, since you have them?

Thanks,

Shula


23 Sep 97 - 02:06 AM (#12936)
Subject: Lyr Add: SNOW THAT MELTS THE SOONEST (Horslips)^^
From: alison

Hi

Here are the lyrics as taken from a Horslips LP. I think you're right it is Trad.

THese lyrics look a bit suspect, it's a long time since I transcribed them, feel free to correct.


THE SNOW THAT MELTS THE SOONEST
Horslips

Oh the snow it melts the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the corn it ripens fastest when the frosts are setting in,
And when a woman tells me that my face she'll soon forget,
Before we part I want to croon, she's fain to follow yet.

Oh the snow it melts the soonest when the wind begins to sing,
And the swallow skims without a thought as long as it is Spring,
But when Spring goes and Winter grows, my loss and you'll be fain,
For all your pride you'll follow my across the stormy main.

Oh the snow it melts the soonest when the winds begin to sing,
The bee that flew when Summer shone, in Winter cannot sting,
I've seen a woman's anger melt between the night and morn
And it's surely not a harder thing to tame a woman's scorn.

Oh never say me farewell here, no farewell I'll receive,
For you shall take me to the stile, I'll kiss and take your leave,
But I'll stay here 'til the woodcock comes and the matler takes his wing
Since the snow it melts the soonest when the winds begin to sing.


Nice song

slainte

Alison^^


23 Sep 97 - 09:06 AM (#12952)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE SNOWS (they melt...from Pentangle)^^
From: Alan of Australia

Another version:

THE SNOWS

The snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the corn it ripens faster when the frosts are settling in,
And when a woman tells me that my face she'll soon forget,
Before we part I'll wage a croon (wager a crown), she's fain to follow yet.

For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the swallow flies without a thought as long as it is Spring,
But when Spring goes and Winter blows my love she will be fain,
For all her pride to follow me across the stormy main.

For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the bee that flew when Summer shone, in Winter cannot sting,
And I've seen a woman's anger melt between the night and morn
So it's surely not a harder thing to melt a woman's scorn.

Oh don't you bid me farewell now no farewell I'll receive,
For you must lie with me my lass then kiss and take your leave,
And I'll wait here 'til the woodcock calls and the martin takes the wing
For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing.

From the album Solomon's Seal by The Pentangle.
Traditional is implied but not explicitly stated.

Cheers,
Alan^^


24 Sep 97 - 05:43 AM (#13030)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: Wolfgang (Hell)

Dick Gaughan has this song on "Handful of earth" and explicitely calls it traditional


22 Jan 01 - 10:18 PM (#380148)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: GUEST,Tradmusic427@cs.com

Slightly different words on the Susan McKeown album also:\ "So bid me not farewell, nighean, nor farewell I'll receive,

For you will be with me my love, then you'll kiss and take your leave."

Nighean, I believe, is Irish for "girl", as in

an nighean dubh, the dark-haired girl.

Doug


23 Jan 01 - 01:47 PM (#380589)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: Malcolm Douglas

Are you sure that's what she sings?  The word certainly doesn't belong to the song, which is from the North of England.  See  Snows They Melt the Soonest...Author?

Malcolm


23 Jan 01 - 05:12 PM (#380758)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: GUEST,Les Brown

Check out the definitive version by Ann Briggs!


24 Jan 01 - 03:22 PM (#381481)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: Paul Mitchell

Anyone got the chords? Just to save me working them out, you understand. Paul


18 Mar 04 - 06:27 AM (#1139846)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: GUEST,Alison Butler

I'd like to know the chords too, especially that Dick Gaughan plays - nicer than the very simple Am, Em, D that I've found on the internet so far.


18 Mar 04 - 08:09 AM (#1139895)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: Spot

Hello everybody....lookout for Bob Fox's version...delightful....I think on a currently available CD..

    Regards to all.... Spoy


18 Mar 04 - 08:30 AM (#1139910)
Subject: Chords Add: THE SNOWS THEY MELT THE SOONEST
From: GUEST,KB

I sing it with the following chords:

(Am)The snow it melts the (C)soonest (C7)when the (G)wind begins to (D)sing
(Am)The corn it ripens (C)fastest (C7)when the (D)frost is setting (Am)in
(Am)When a woman (G)tells me my (D)face she'll soon (C)forget
(Am)Before I go I (C)wad a (C7)crown she'll (G)fain to follow me (Am)yet

At least I think that's it..(its amazing how much memory is in the fingers & not the head - so I need to check later when I've got my guitar)

I think I remember from somewhere that it is a very old song.


18 Mar 04 - 12:20 PM (#1140100)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: Malcolm Douglas

For full details, see the other thread on the song indicated above.


18 Mar 04 - 01:41 PM (#1140177)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: LesB

All the best versions I have heard have been unaccompanied!

Les


30 May 04 - 12:49 PM (#1197123)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: GUEST,scouse git

the furey's do a superb version,as does john renbourne (they are the only versions i have heard)


02 Jun 04 - 04:41 AM (#1198312)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: GUEST,Phil.

Was the first thread from singer Alyth Cormack/McCormack, do you think?


02 Jun 04 - 06:59 AM (#1198382)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: GUEST,Duncan McFarlane

Hi LesB!
You say ....'All the best versions I have heard have been unaccompanied!'....
Have a listen to Eliza Carthy's version on Red Rice - beautiful!
Stark accompaniment and voice - I melt!
Made me learn it (though I seem to have slightly more chords than those in the thread above).


04 Jun 04 - 04:44 PM (#1200553)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: JulieF

I can recommend Karan Casey's version on 'The winds begin to sing'

Julie


04 Jun 04 - 05:46 PM (#1200593)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: LesB

Yes Duncan I had forgotten that one. Thanks for reminding me.

Les


04 Jun 04 - 07:42 PM (#1200664)
Subject: RE: Snows they melt the soonest
From: gnomad

Graham Pirt (Cockersdale & father of SamP) did a fine recording some years ago too.

A lovely song IMO


04 Dec 06 - 07:51 AM (#1899500)
Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: GUEST,John Wilson

You could always try my version on LEAP YEAR WHFF001 from roots2music.co.uk Idiosyncratic you night say but you might like it!


04 Dec 06 - 10:04 AM (#1899632)
Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: GUEST,kenny

Good version by Tony Wilson on the "Iona" album.
"Bothy Band " used to play it as an instrumental with flute & low whistle, but I don't think ever recorded it. A good song with a lovely melody.


04 Dec 06 - 10:17 AM (#1899653)
Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: leeneia

I'm not the least suprised that the author of these lines decided to fade into obscurity. After penning this:

"For you must lie with me my lass then kiss and take your leave",

he no doubt found that his love life had gone right down the tubes. Every lass he met after that greeted his overtures with "Oh, you're the cocksure jerk that wrote 'The Snows they Melt the Soonest,' aren't you? Have a nice day."

How much do you wanna bet this song originated as a song in a play sung by an unsympathetic character?


04 Dec 06 - 10:24 AM (#1899662)
Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: Liz the Squeak

This is of course, one of the most famous Mondegreens, being known across the world as 'The Snows of Mount Vesuvius'...

LTS


04 Dec 06 - 10:31 AM (#1899672)
Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: Malcolm Douglas

Whoever wrote the lyric (it may have been Thomas Doubleday, but that isn't certain; see the other thread: link above) wasn't responsible for that line, which was introduced by somebody when the song was discovered by the Revival in the 1960s. The original (that is, first published, in 1821) had

For you shall set me to the stile, and kiss and take your leave.

(That's if I didn't mistype "set" for "see"; I shall have to check, if I can find the notes).


04 Dec 06 - 11:03 AM (#1899699)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE SNOWS THEY MELT THE SOONEST (C Dillon
From: MuddleC

Cara Dillon has a beautiful version on her CD 'After the Morning'.
'trad arr'!! -from the female point of view and with some small differences

The snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the corn it ripens fastest when the frosts are settling in,
And when a woman tells me that my face he'll soon forget,
Before we part I'll wage a crown he's fain to follow yet.

For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the swallow flies without a thought as long as it is Spring,
But when Spring goes and Winter blows my love then you'll be free,
For all your pride to follow me across the raging main.

For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the bee that flew when Summer shone, in Winter cannot sting,
And I've seen the young man's anger melt between the night and morn
So it's surely not a harder thing to melt a young man's scorn.

So don't you bid me farewell here, no farewell I receive,
For you will lie with me my love then kiss and take your leave,
And I'll wait here 'til the Moorcock calls and the martin takes the wind
For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing.


04 Dec 06 - 11:07 AM (#1899702)
Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: MuddleC

oops missed it in line 3!

The snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing
And the corn it ripens fastest when the frosts are settling in,
And when a man tells me that my face he'll soon forget,
Before we part I'll wage a crown he's fain to follow yet.


04 Dec 06 - 11:55 AM (#1899756)
Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: GUEST,Keith (Pegleg Ferret)

The words are in "Songs Of Northern England" collected by John Stokoe and first published in 1893. In his notes Stokoe asserts:- "This melody was picked up from a street singer in Newcastle, by Mr Thomas Doubleday and inserted in a contribution to 'Blackwood's Magazine' in 1821. He presumably was the author of the ballad"


04 Dec 06 - 12:21 PM (#1899781)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE SNOW IT MELTS THE SOONEST (1821)
From: MuddleC

Mondegreen City it seams...

O, the snow it melts the soonest when the winds begin to sing;
And the corn it ripens fastest when the frosts are setting in;
And when a woman tells me that my face she'll soon forget,
Before we part, I wad a crown, she's fain to follow't yet.

The snow it melts the soonest when the wind begins to sing;
And the swallow skims without a thought as long as it is spring;
But when spring goes, and winter blows, my lass, an ye'll be fain,
For all your pride, to follow me, were't cross the stormy main.

O, the snow it melts the soonest when the wind begins to sing;
The bee that flew when summer shined, in winter cannot sting;—
I've seen a woman's anger melt between the night and morn,
And it's surely not a harder thing to tame a woman's scorn.

O, never say me farewell here—no farewell I'll receive,
For you shall set me to the stile, and kiss and take your leave;
But I'll stay here till the woodcock comes, and the martlet takes his wing,
Since the snow aye melts the soonest, lass, when the wind begins to sing.

Josiah Shufflebotham
Gowk's-Hall, Oct. 27th, 1821
aka Mr Thomas Doubleday


04 Dec 06 - 03:18 PM (#1899919)
Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: Herga Kitty

I've got a rotten cold, so I'm missing Webber and Fentiman at Herga this evening (sniff, sniff, but at least I saw them at Haddenham on Saturday). Anni (who does a lovely version) recorded it on Together Solo in 1993. The CD note says "The tune was collected in Newcastle by Thomas Doubleday and published in 1821. The words may have been written by him." The track listing on the back of the CD says "Trad".

Kitty


05 Dec 06 - 02:31 AM (#1900268)
Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: Cluin

Hmmm. i'd always thought Archie Fisher wrote it. It is certainly in his style (and philosophy).


05 Dec 06 - 08:49 AM (#1900494)
Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: VIN

I learnt the song initially from the great Anne Brigg's first (or was it second?) album on Topic many years ago. Brilliant natural traditional singer and two fab albums!


12 Oct 08 - 02:22 PM (#2463762)
Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: GUEST,Paul Denton

If you want the song from tess go tothis link.

http://www.last.fm/music/Anne+Briggs/_/The+Snow+It+Melts+the+Soonest

took me days to find one that was the same as the TV version

Hope this helps you all


23 Oct 08 - 04:45 PM (#2474077)
Subject: RE: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
From: Jim Dixon

A song that begins "O, the snow it melts the soonest" is printed (without a title) as part of an article called "Letter from Mr. Shufflebotham: On Cheese, Civilization, North Country Ballads, &c." in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. X., August—December, 1821.

The lyrics are on page 443 (Click the link.); the tune is on 446.

The text is identical to that posted by MuddleC above.


24 Oct 08 - 09:46 AM (#2474824)
Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: GUEST,Pip Barnes

It was rather beautifully deployed,I thought,in the recent 'Tess....' on TV, though now you tell me it has its origins in the north of the country I suppose I should retrospectively find it inappropriate!


05 Jan 09 - 11:12 PM (#2532588)
Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: GUEST,Ed Merrigan

In New York last night, watched Tess of the d'Urbervilles on public TV. Milk maidens sing it in a brief scene. I forgot how beautiful the song is and reserected - on my Ipod - the Dick Gaughan version on "Handful of Earth". Being from NY, I couldn't make out many of his words. Thanks to all above for the lyrics help. Now happen to like the Cara Dillion version the best. Will be learing it on the guitar and singing it by month end.


06 Jan 09 - 04:06 PM (#2533351)
Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: GUEST,Ian cookieless

I started a thread on this song 9 years ago which had some interesting replies and can be read here.

Ian


19 Nov 11 - 07:08 PM (#3260219)
Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: GUEST,finnegansword

This folk song as sung by Anne Briggs "The snow it melts the fastest when the winds begin to sing," was played on the BBC Programme, Private Passions on Radio Three, Sunday, 19th. 2011. I am old enough to remember the folk song revival of the 1950/60's and this was a welcome reminder of that time. It is interesting to learn that this song was collected in Northumberland as early as 1821 and appeared in print in the Gentleman's Magazine of that year, so in all probability it is of even earlier derivation.

A whole new generation has since grown up with an interest in English and Irish folk music popularized on various threads such as http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=2857 as well as Wikipedia and http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/~zierke/anne.briggs/songs/thesnowitmeltsthesoonest.html. The BBC commentator, Gary Fabian Miller, noted that Briggs' rendering included "the twiddles" or grace notes that are found in Northumbrian Pipe Music so perhaps the singer, in her travels, was able to consciously include such touches when in that area?


06 Aug 13 - 10:07 AM (#3546130)
Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge

The song's origins are as stated earlier- the main question is how it got into the folk clubs. I know that my sister Kath gave the song to Archie Fisher in the mid 60s after he heard her sing it- probably at Edinburgh University folk club. Not sure where Kath got it, but I suspect it was from one of the regulars at the Bridge in Newcastle at that time- one of Ray Fisher, Laurie Charlton, Johnny Handle, Tom Gilfellon or Louis Killen (my money would be on Louis). That club and its members were early and assiduous researchers of anything from the area. Again, not sure where Annie Briggs got it nor what LP it was on, but she was often in the NorthEast and has an ear for a good song- even if it is extremely misogynistic! If you don't believe me about that aspect, just read the words- the 'original' version in the Northumbrian Minstrelsy'


06 Aug 13 - 03:25 PM (#3546245)
Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: pavane

I recorded Tom Gilfellon singing it in 1973. But the words are totally devoid of sense or logic! Just poetic I suppose, I do like the song/


07 Aug 13 - 10:33 AM (#3546562)
Subject: RE: Origin: The Snow It Melts the Soonest
From: My guru always said

I enjoy singing this song, and I also enjoy introducing it as a 'milking shanty' as seen in 'Tess' *grin*