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Lyr Req: Foreign Lander

01 Aug 02 - 02:41 PM (#758266)
Subject: Foreign Lander lyrics
From: GUEST,jazzcat

Does anyone know the lyrics to the song "Foreign Lander". It can be heard on Rory Block's "I've Got a Rock in My Sock" album.

Thank you!!!

Jazz


01 Aug 02 - 03:07 PM (#758287)
Subject: RE: Foreign Lander lyrics
From: Joe Offer

OK, this is supposed to be in Jean Ritchie's book, Singing Family of the Cumberlands (called "I've Been a Foreign Lander"), and also in the Armstrong Family recording Wheel of the Year. I have both, but can't find them just now. anybody got 'em?
I did find it on a recording by Martha Hall on the Folkways recording Mountain Music of Kentucky, but I can't understand it well enough to come up with a decent transcription.
I'm guessing the Rory Block recording is the same song. I don't have that one, but I see that Block lists it as "traditional."
-Joe Offer-


01 Aug 02 - 04:11 PM (#758329)
Subject: Lyr Add: FOREIGN LANDER (from Jean Ritchie)
From: Joe Offer

Well, when you look long enough....
-Joe Offer-


I'VE BEEN A FOREIGN LANDER

I've been a foreign lander, full seven long years and more;
Among the bold commanders, where the thundering cannons roar.
I've conquered all my enemies, both all on land and sea;
It is my dearest duel, your beauty has conquered me.

If I should build a ship my love, without the wood of tree,
That ship would burst asunder if I prove false to thee.
If ever I prove false my love, the elements will turn,
The fire will freeze to ice, my love, the sea will rage and burn.

Don't you remember Queen Ellen, all in her flowery reign,
As she walked out of her paradise, to cleanse the golden chain?
Her beauty and behavior, none with her could compare,
But you, my dearest darling, are more divinely fair.

I wish I was a turtledove, just fluttering from my nest;
I'd sing so clear in the morning, with the dew all on my breast;
So sweetly would be the music, so doleful and sad the tune,
I'd sing so clear in the morning in the beautiful month of June.

I wish I was ten thousand mile, all on some lonesome shore,
Or among the rocky mountains, where the wild beasts howl and roar.
The lark, the lily owl, the eagle, and the little swallow too,
I would give them all, my dearest love, if I was married to you.

from Singing Family of the Cumberlands, by Jean Ritchie
(Oak Publications, 1955 - with illustrations by Maurice Sendak[!])


Jean, any comments you can give us on the song?

-Joe Offer-


01 Aug 02 - 10:43 PM (#758482)
Subject: RE: Foreign Lander lyrics
From: masato sakurai

Rory Block's sound clip is HERE.

~Masato


02 Aug 02 - 07:22 PM (#759004)
Subject: RE: Foreign Lander lyrics
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)

Joe, gotta go watch the storm- big thunder and heavenly fireworks outside! I'll write later- Foreign Lander was my Dad's proposal song to Mom... Jean


03 Aug 02 - 06:24 PM (#759448)
Subject: RE: Foreign Lander lyrics
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)

Next day: Magnificent storm! Washed away all my petty little woes, and put Life back into proper perspective... My Dad's "Foreign Lander" is, as far as I know, the only variant around our part of Kentucky. The lyrics which you printed from SINGING FAMILY of the CUMBERLANDS, are the ones sung by my dad, Balis W. Ritchie, and his cousin Jason Ritchie. They were natives of Knott County, KY, so I guess the song came from there, and before that, Scotland/England.

Martha Hall, my second cousin Herman Hall's wife, lived in our village, Viper, KY. She learned some songs from us, and when John Cohen came visiting Roscoe Holcomb, I think he recorded her...she was a shy woman and wouldn't sing for just anyone. As for Rory Block's recording, I can only guess. Her treatment is very agressive and different (it's usually a sweet, gentle song), but basically she seems to have our original song underneath. Isn't she Alan Block's daughter? George and I used to know Alan when he had a sandal shop in Greenwich VIllage next to Izzy Young's Folklore Center. We attended many a rent party for Alan and his wife, in their loft flat, and they gave me my first guitar at one of those parties! Anyway, Alan may have learned, "Foreign Lander" at one of these evenings, and later passed in on the Rory. An example of how folk songs 'travel...' Jean


06 Oct 16 - 12:38 AM (#3813003)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foreign Lander
From: GUEST,mjlykos

These notably different lyrics come from the band "Socks in the Frying Pan" and album by the same name.

"I've been a Foreign lander, for seven years or more
Among the brave commanders, where wild beasts howl and roar
I've conquered all my enemies, on land and on the sea
But you my dearest jewel, your beauty has conquered me.

I can't build a ship of love without the wood of trees
A ship would burst asunder, if I proved false to thee
If ever I proved false love, the elements would mourne
The fire would turn to ice love, the seas would rage and burn.

Have you heard the mourning(/morning?) dove, she's flying from pine to pine
She's mourning for her own love, the way I mourne for mine
I lie awake, out in the night, I see the shining stars
I wonder if you see them too wherever you are.

I've been a Foreign lander, for seven years or more
Among the brave commanders, where wild beasts howl and roar
I've conquered all my enemies, on land and on the sea
But you my dearest jewel, your beauty has conquered me.
But you my dearest jewel, 'tis you that's conquered me."


06 Oct 16 - 02:07 AM (#3813006)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foreign Lander
From: GUEST,mjlykos

Does anyone know the significance of "Queen Ellen" and "cleanse the golden chain"?

In response to any Google searches with "Queen Ellen" I just get info about a TV personality.


06 Oct 16 - 08:43 AM (#3813063)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foreign Lander
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan

I suspect "Queen Ellen" is Helen of Troy and the golden chain refers to an incident in the mythology.

Regards


06 Oct 16 - 03:18 PM (#3813143)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foreign Lander
From: GUEST,AR

There's a version of this on the Smithsonian release 'Mountain Music of Kentucky' too, sung by Martha Hall. It's basically just the first two verses.


07 Oct 16 - 09:34 AM (#3813259)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foreign Lander
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

Guest AR

If you read the posts above there is a clear explanation of who Martha Hall was and how she learned the song.


07 Oct 16 - 12:02 PM (#3813284)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Foreign Lander
From: GUEST,AR

Yes, thanks Hootenanny. I noticed that after I posted my post! D'oh.