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Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey

17 Jun 01 - 12:46 PM (#485467)
Subject: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: GUEST,Buzzy Frets

Hi,
I was told that this might be a good place to help me research the origins of Black Jack Davey. I've been listening to David Alvin's cd of that name and got curiouser and curiouser...

Buzz


17 Jun 01 - 12:57 PM (#485474)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: Malcolm Douglas

It's an American descendant of a Scottish ballad, The Gypsy Laddie (and many other names); Professor Child (English and Scottish Popular Ballads) assigned it his number #200.  If you want to research, you should begin by using the "Digitrad and Forum Search" facility on the main Forum page: start by searching for child #200, which will find you a lot of variants and some parodies.  You will also find many of the names under which versions of the song have gone down the years, and will then be able to search for discusiions about them -there have been a great many here in the past.  See also the FAQ at the top of the threads list for help on using the various search engines on this site.

Malcolm


17 Jun 01 - 01:42 PM (#485499)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: GUEST,Buzz

Thank you very much Malcolm,
I had used your search but only came up with two songs and threads that only touched on the song in passing. Armed with the childs# I shall start afresh!

Buzz


17 Jun 01 - 02:20 PM (#485511)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: InOBU

Black Jack Davy is a varrient of Raggle Taggle Gypsy, Gypsy Davie, Nine Yellow Gypsies, Whistling Gypsy, and a couple of - maybe hundreds of others. Most likely origionaly Scotish, as the Romanichal community is more found in Scotland than Ireland, where there is a decendant culture, Pavees or Travellers, but fewer Rom - Cheers, Larry


17 Jun 01 - 03:30 PM (#485546)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: GUEST,X

Child, #200 misssed the boat on this one. Probably made up in 1643 to embarrass the Earl of Cassillis, a staunch Covenanter. His (loving) wife has died the previous December. The tune was already known as "Lady Cassillis' Lilt" at the time (Skene MS). Child though 'Cassillis' was a corruption of 'castle', but it's the other way around.


17 Jun 01 - 04:06 PM (#485562)
Subject: Lyr Add: BLACK JACK DAVY (Mike Heron)^^^
From: Jon Freeman

This thread got me wondering about a "Black Jack Davy" a friend of mine sings. I think I've found the one. As I can't find it here, I'll post the words:

BLACK JACK DAVY
by Mike Heron

Black Jack David is the name that I bear
been alone in the forest for a long time
But the time is coming when a lady I'll find
I will love her Hold her
singing through the green green trees

And the skin on my hands is like the leather I ride
and my face is hard from the cold wind
But my heart so warm with the song that I sing
Charm a fair lady
Singing through the green green trees

Fair Eloise rode out that day
From her fine fine home in the morning
In the flush of the dawn came a sound to her ear
Drifting and floating
Singing through the green green trees

Now fifteen summers was all that she'd seen
And her skin was as soft as the velvet
But she's forsaken her fine fine home
And Black Jack David is
Singing through the green green trees

Last night she slept on a fine feather bed
Far far from Black jack David
But tonight she will sleep on the cold cold ground
And love him and hold him
Singing through the green green trees

Saddle me up my fine gray mare
Cried the lord of the house next morning
For the servants tell me my daughter's gone
With Black Jack David
Singing through the green green trees

And he rode all day and he rode all night
But he never did find his daughter
But he heard from afar come adrift on the wind
Two voices laughing
Singing through the green green trees

Oh Black Jack David is the name that I bear
Been alone in the forest for a long time
But now I have found me a lady so fair
I will love her and hold her
Singing through the green green trees

^^^ ;-)


Opps - Sorry about that - never thought to check Blackjack as one word - Jon


17 Jun 01 - 04:25 PM (#485575)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: GUEST,Buzz

Man, you guys are amazing!

Do you treat all you guests with service this fast?!

Thanks!


17 Jun 01 - 04:38 PM (#485582)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: Noreen

Yes

Noreen


17 Jun 01 - 04:49 PM (#485585)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: GUEST,Adolfo

Those words are also Robin Williamson's version. Robin's Black JAck is the first Celtic reggae I've ever heard.


17 Jun 01 - 09:52 PM (#485716)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: Malcolm Douglas

Well, Mike Heron wrote that one himself -words and tune,if I remember correctly- though of course it was based on traditional sets.  Robin's "version" is just an arrangement of Mike's song.


17 Jun 01 - 10:06 PM (#485724)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: Joe Offer

Here's what the Traditional Ballad Index has to say about the song.
-Joe Offer-

Gypsy Laddie, The [Child 200]

DESCRIPTION: A lord comes home to find his lady "gone with the gypsy laddie." He saddles his fastest horse to follow her. He finds her and bids her come home; she will not return, preferring the cold ground and the gypsy's company to her lord's wealth and fine bed
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1740 (Tea-Table Miscellany)
KEYWORDS: elopement Gypsy
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber,Bord,High),England(All)) US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,So,SE) Canada(Mar,Newf) Ireland
REFERENCES (23 citations):
Child 200, "The Gypsy Laddie" (12 texts)
Bronson 200, "The Gypsy Laddie" (128 versions)
Randolph 27, "The Gypsy Davy" (8 texts, 4 tunes)
Eddy 21, "The Gypsy Laddie" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Leach, pp. 539-543, "The Gypsy Laddie" (4 texts)
Friedman, p. 105, "The Gypsy Laddie (Johnny Faa)" (2 texts)
OBB 148, "The Gypsy Countess" (1 text)
Warner 42, "Gypsy Davy" (1 text, 1 tune)
PBB 18, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text)
Sharp-100E 5, "The Wraggle Taggle Gipsies, O!" (1 text, 1 tune)
Niles 52, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp/Karpeles-80E 22, "Gypsy Davy (The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text, 1 tune -- a composite version)
Sandburg, p. 311, "Gypsy Davy" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H124, p. 509, "The Brown-Eyed Gypsies" (1 text, 1 tune)
Asch/Dunson/Raim, p. 108 "Black Jack David" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hodgart, p. 72, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text)
JHCox 21, "The Gyspy Laddie" (4 texts, 1 tune)
TBB 6, "The Gipsy Laddie" (1 text)
Abrahams/Foss, pp. 181-184, "Gypsy Davey"; "Gypsy Laddie O"; "Gypsy Laddie" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
Gilbert, p. 35, "The Gypsy Davy" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 194, "Gypsy Davey"; p. 211, "The Gypsy Rover"; p. 213, "The Wraggle-Taggle Gypsies" (3 texts)
BBI, ZN2567, "There was seven Gipsies all in a gang"
DT 200, GYPDAVY GYPLADD GYPLADD2* GYPLADD3 GYPLADX GYPBLJK* GYPSYRVR* GYPHARBR* BLCKJACK* BLCKJCK2 BLKJKDAV GYPLADY*

RECORDINGS:
Lawrence Older, "Gypsy Davy" (on LOlder01)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Black Jack David" (on NLCR04); "Black Jack Daisy" (on NLCR14, NLCRCD2)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Black Jack Davy
Clayton Boone
The Gypsy Davy
Johnny Faa
Davy Faa
The Wraggle Taggle Gypsy
The Lady and the Gypsy
Harrison Brady
Gypson Davy
Notes: Although the hero of this song is often called "Johnny Faa" or even "Davy Faa," he should not be confused with the hero/villain of "Davy Faa (Remember the Barley Straw)." - RBW
[Silber and Silber mis-identify all their texts] as deriving from "Child 120," which is actually "Robin Hood's Death." - PJS
File: C200

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2000 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


17 Jun 01 - 10:24 PM (#485731)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: InOBU

I see that Johney Faa is listed as a varient... This confirms the Scottish origion, as Faa was the boro, or headman of the Romanichal (Gypsies) in Scotland when King James drove them out, committing the first genocide against them in that part of western Europe... Cheers, Larry


17 Jun 01 - 10:32 PM (#485741)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: Malcolm Douglas

The Scottish origin wasn't in doubt, and hasn't been for a century or more; the earliest known text can be seen on Bruce Olson's website, unless I'm mistaken.


17 Jun 01 - 11:11 PM (#485763)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: Sorcha

Guest,X sounds suspiciously like Bruce O........(sorry if I seem a little paranoid) I just don't think he can stay away from here and why else would someone that knowledable post as a guest? (Sorry if I'm wrong)


17 Jun 01 - 11:38 PM (#485768)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: GUEST,rangerogerlookingforcookiemonster

The Dave Alvin CD that Buzzy frets mentions is an excellent cover of this song.

The entire album is a treat, and I'm currently in the process of learning another song from it, "California Snow". Co-written with Tom Russell.

Been thinking about starting a thread on it.

rr


17 Jun 01 - 11:56 PM (#485770)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: GUEST,Buzz

Yeah, rangerogerlooking..., great cd, great feel for the material!

You all have been exceedingly informative and entertaining t'boot. Thanks for the lesson!
buzz


18 Jun 01 - 12:21 AM (#485780)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: Mark Cohen

Jon, Mike Heron is a friend of yours? I first heard about the Incredible String Band in 1970 as a freshman in college, when I found "The 5000 Spirits, or the Layers of the Onion" in the Princeton Public Library. Brings back many fond memories (and some fuzzy ones...)!

Aloha,
Mark


18 Jun 01 - 06:22 AM (#485879)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: Jon Freeman

No Mark. I just searched the internet to find the words my friend sings and it turned out to be that one. I don't think that I have ever heard the Incredible String Band.

Jon


18 Jun 01 - 12:33 PM (#486017)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: LR Mole

Nick Tosches' "Country: the Biggest Music in America" has an interesting early chapter on the song. I think Warren Smith backed "Ubangi Stomp" with it, and took author's credit. I could have that wrong, though.


18 Jun 01 - 01:01 PM (#486048)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: DaveJ

Also check out this well done site for information regarding Child Ballads.

DaveJ


18 Jun 01 - 01:44 PM (#486116)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: Lonesome EJ

Thanks for the link DaveJ. Great site!


18 Jun 01 - 09:57 PM (#486586)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: hackerguitar

Does anyone have the variant called "Black Jack Davy?"

Chris Caswell and Danny Carnahan have a good version but I can't quite get the words. Their refrain is something like:

And he walked o'er hills and walked o'er dales/and he climbed the wild high mountains/something something something here/Black Jack Davy he is hunting..

Thanks

mh


19 Jun 01 - 04:29 AM (#486766)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: Llanfair

If it's the version I know, the third line is;
And they did say that saw him go,
Cheers, Bron.


19 Jun 01 - 06:36 AM (#486801)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: IanC

HG

Sounds like Steeleye's version from "All Around My Hat".

Cheers!
Ian


19 Jun 01 - 07:47 AM (#486828)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: fret

There is a great version on a Chesapeake CD (a banjoless bluegrass outfit) featuring Jimmy Gaudreau, Mike Auldridge et al.


19 Jun 01 - 02:33 PM (#487149)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: Joe Offer

Maybe I shouldn't have been such a smart-ass about putting the triple-winged birdie to show that the lyrics Jon posted are already in the Digital Tradition. There are some significant differences, and some of the words in the DT just don't seem to fit. Is there somebody who'd like to come up with an authoritative version of Mike Heron's lyrics?
-Joe Offer-


19 Jun 01 - 07:12 PM (#487370)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: Malcolm Douglas

Mike Heron recorded two sets of his reworking of the song, several years apart, which had some significant differences in the lyric; one as Black Jack Davy (on I Looked Up; I forget the date as someone pinched my copy) and as Black Jack David on Earthspan (1972).  I think the set Jon posted is the former; the latter omitted the "15 summers" verse at least.

Malcolm


20 Jun 01 - 02:15 AM (#487591)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: GUEST,Zorro

Johnny Faa was the gypsy chieftain who inspired all of the songs, or so I've been told. This was a time when gypsies were outlawed in Scotland (and Ireland)There is a beautiful fiddle tune named Johnny Faa, a man (don't have his name handy) set words to it telling a story about Bonnie Prince Charlie. The song's title is "Wae's me (woe is me) for Prince Charlie" It's a beautiful lament and I'm told that this song was the only song the man ever wrote. My two cent contribution.


20 Jun 01 - 11:43 AM (#487881)
Subject: RE: Help: History of Blackjack David-y-ey
From: GUEST,X

Zorro, "Wae's me for Prince Charlie" was by Wm. Glen of Glasgow. The earliest name for it's tune is "Lady Cassillis' Lilt" noted above.


05 Mar 03 - 07:15 AM (#903867)
Subject: Lyr Add: BLACK JACK DAVID (Mike Heron)
From: BUTTERFLY

As an Incredible String Band fan, I can say that Mike Heron wrote 2 versions, one called "Black Jack DAVY" on the 1970 "I looked up" and "BLACK JACK DAVID" on the 1972 album "Earthspan". The former is I think the best, the latter having electric rather than acoustic fiddle, which I prefer; it also has a nice "false ending". Until about 2 years ago this was the only version I had heard, then I heard Woody Guthrie's version, on which Bob Dylan seems to have based his, though with many changes.

I also think "Black Jack Davy" sounds better than "Black Jack David". I imagine "Black" probably referred to hair colour, or complexion, as in "(Black) Jock/Johnnie Armstrong", the notorious Border "Reiver" of Gilnockie, who was hanged in 1530.

I am not aware of the other ISB man (not forgetting Clive Palmer), Robin Williamson, singing Black Jack Davy, though he does sing "Wae's Me for Prince Charlie" and also mentions Johnny Armstrong in a song called "Hughie the Graham", about a Border reiver of that name.

Anyway, the lyrics to the 1972 version as printed on the album sleeve are nearly the same as those posted by Jon Freeman on 17th June 2001, with a few very minor variations, and the omission of the following verse in the 1970 version:

Now fifteen summers was all that she'd seen
And her skin was as soft as the velvet
But she's forsaken her fine fine home
And Black Jack Davy
Singing through the green green trees

1972 version from "Earthspan"

BLACK JACK DAVID (Mike Heron)

Black Jack David is the name that I bear
been alone in the forest for a long time
But the time is coming when a lady I'll find
I will love her and hold her
singing through the green green trees

The skin on my hands is like the leather I ride
and my face is hard from the cold wind
But my heart so warm with the song that I sing
Will charm a fair lady
Singing through the green green trees

Fair Eloise rode out that day
From her fine fine home in the morning
In the flush of the dawn came a sound to her ear
Drifting and floating
Singing through the green green trees

Last night she slept on a fine feather bed
Far far from Black Jack David
But tonight she will sleep on the cold cold ground
And love him and hold him
Singing through the green green trees

Oh saddle me up my fine gray mare
Cried the lord of the house next morning
For the servants tell me my daughter's gone
With Black Jack David
Singing through the green green trees

And he rode all day and he rode all night
But he never did find his daughter
But he heard from afar come adrift on the wind
Two voices laughing
Singing through the green green trees

Oh Black Jack David is the name that I bear
Been alone in the forest for a long time
But now I have found me a lady so fair
I will love her and hold her
Singing through the green green trees

The theme of a young aristocratic lady running off with a gipsy seems to be a very old one, and while one can't deny the liking of some high born ladies "for a bit of rough" I wonder if it was really based on fact; would they really have swapped a life of luxury and ease to sleep on the "cold cold ground" (and live in poverty?). There is another variant on this theme "The Gipsy Rover" where the female runaway proudly boasts to her father, when he has caught up with her, that "He is no gipsy, father, but lord of these lands all over". At least in this case she knew which side her bread was buttered on.

As in some versions of the ballad the girl is only 15, legally this is basically a case of child abduction and if something similar happened today there would be an outcry about paedophilia, etc. In those times presumably people had a different attitude. I have just been reading that Henry VIII seduced Anne Boleyn's 14 year old sister Mary and then turned his attention to Anne (who was given tips on how to please Henry by Mary). The rest, as they say, is history.